The American Cancer Society, in partnership with Pantene, a leading hair care product line, is holding a ponytail donation drive to support Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The campaign encourages people to grow and cut their hair so wigs can be made and donated to women who have lost their hair due to cancer-related treatments.

The Relay For Life of Androscoggin County is inviting all area men and women interested in donating their hair to come to the event, located at Edward Little High School, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 21. Local hair stylists Carlene Sperry and Deb Stanhope will cut the ponytails and tidy up the haircuts. Donated hair must be a minimum of eight inches long, and not be permanently dyed or bleached.

“We are very excited to bring this hair donation opportunity to the Relay For Life of Androscoggin County,” said Cathy Holt, co-chair of the event. “It’s a unique partnership that provides a special gift and raises awareness for women and their families affected by cancer.”

One in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in her lifetime; and nearly 60 percent of women regard hair loss as the single-worst side effect of cancer treatment. It takes at least six ponytails to make one Pantene Beautiful Lengths wig.

Once hair is donated, Pantene will work with Hair U Wear, the manufacturer of Raquel Welch wigs, to transform donated hair into high-quality, hand-tied, real-hair wigs for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society distributes the wigs through its network of local wig banks across the country and offers them free of charge to cancer patients. Since Pantene began the Beautiful Lengths program in 2006, they have donated over 24,000 free real-hair wigs to American Cancer Society wig banks.

To see if you or someone you know is eligible for a free wig, and to locate a Society wig bank near you, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end cancer for good. As a global grassroots force of three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As a result, an estimated 13.7-million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

A real-hair wig allows a woman to look in the mirror and at least see a familiar face while she fights to regain a sense of normalcy in her life.

Pre-donation hair care

DO use a conditioner after every wash to help keep hair moisturized and protected against damage.

DON’T use a brush on wet hair when you step out of the shower; once hair is washed and conditioned, use a comb with smooth, wide-set teeth to gently detangle hair, working from tip to root.

DO use a spray, leave-in conditioner for extra protection when using heated hair appliances.

DON’T attempt to blow-dry soaking wet hair immediately; to expedite your blow-dry process and help prevent thermal damage, towel-wrap your hair for 10-15 minutes and remove excess water before using a blow-dryer.

DO look for new technology in your drying and styling tools to help minimize damage.

DO use a root-lifter spray to achieve volume; avoid excessive teasing of hair, as it can uplift cuticles, making them fragile and susceptible to breakage.

DON’T overbrush hair; despite the common myth that 100 strokes a day are good for hair, this can lead to breakage. Regular, gentle brushing promotes hair health and natural oil distribution.

DO use deep-conditioning treatments once a week, or as often as needed, to help minimize split ends and keep hair in top condition.

DON’T wait more than eight weeks to get hair trimmed; regular salon visits are essential in keeping hair healthy and beautiful.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths donation guidelines

In order to make the most beautiful, realistic and durable wigs, donated hair must meet the requirements below.

Donated hair must be a minimum of 8 inches long (measure hair from just above the elastic band of the ponytail to the ends).

Wavy/curly hair texture is fine; you may straighten hair to measure.

Hair should be freshly washed and completely dry, without any styling products.

Hair may be colored with vegetable dyes, rinses and semi-permanent dyes. It cannot be bleached, permanently colored or chemically treated.

Hair may not be more than 5 percent gray.

Here’s why:

It takes at least six ponytails to make a Pantene Beautiful Lengths wig; in general, each ponytail comes from a different person and is a different color. Even though some hair colors may look similar, including gray hair, each is completely unique.

For a realistic-looking wig that has consistent color throughout, donated ponytails must be processed and then dyed to the same shade. It is critical for each ponytail to absorb dyes at the same rate in order to create wigs of consistent, natural-looking color.

Gray hair, as well as some chemically treated or permanently colored hair, does not absorb dye at the same rate as other types of hair. It is much harder to color and, once colored, fades more quickly.

Most permanently colored hair, once it is processed and re-colored, is too fragile and breakable under the rigorous processing required during the production of a Pantene Beautiful Lengths wig.

In appreciation of the sacrifice that a hair donation requires, Pantene Beautiful Lengths only accepts hair it knows can be used for its intended purposes.

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