My Pandemic Haircut

My pandemic haircut
Photo: Getty

As of late June, I had not been to a hair stylist since April 2019.

* Insert horror scream here *

I know. I know. That is bad. Don’t @ me.

I have some friends that religiously go every six weeks. I say, good for them. That’s awesome. For me, it is just harder. I tend to always put everyone else above myself. Kids. Husband. Dog. Cat. Friends. Neighbor. Extended family. You get the idea.

This winter alone, my son was involved in four sport activities while my daughter was taking three dance classes. But  made a promise to myself. Before the early April start of my son’s spring baseball season, I would go get my hair cut because I needed multiple inches taken off.

And then COVID-19 shut down the country.

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The quarantine routine

In the months that followed, we quarantined like everyone else. Only going out to get groceries every two weeks. Washing our hands after getting the mail. Trying to teach our kids through distance learning.

Throughout this time, my hair continued to grow (although I probably lost a fair amount to pulling it out during distance learning—insert another scream here). I figured when salons started opening up, I’d get about 6 inches cut off. However, I had no plans to run there the moment they opened back up in May. They were going to be super busy.

In mid-May, I saw a picture of actress Jamie Lynn Sigler in a magazine holding up a long braid of her own hair that she had decided to donate to a nonprofit. I’ve been a fan of Sigler since her days on “The Sopranos.” I thought it was really amazing that she donated her hair, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the picture. Then it hit me. If I was already planning on a sizable haircut, why not just add a few more inches to the total and donate my hair like Sigler?

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Where to give

I began researching the best places to donate hair. I am a cancer survivor, so I wanted to give to an organization that supports young children facing the disease. I very vividly remember the prospect of losing my hair to chemotherapy and I wanted to help others in the same position.

Some nonprofits wanted a minimum of 12 inches. Others can’t take hair that has been colored. In my research, I also found that some nonprofits charge families to make child wigs, or sell some of the donated hair to private companies which I was completely against. In the end, I decided to donate to Children With Hair Loss, a Michigan-based nonprofit that supplies wigs to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss. They only required a minimum of 8 inches of hair for a donation and provide wigs to recipients for free.

As temperatures started to climb into the 90s in June and our regular pool remained closed, I decided to make my appointment at my Frederick salon. Although I was very sure of my decision, I couldn’t help but be nervous that morning. Throughout my life, the largest haircut I had ever had was probably 3 inches. Now I would be going from having hair that reached to around my belly button to hair that was shoulder length.

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Making the cut

When I told my stylist about wanting to donate my hair, she divided it into four different sections, measured out 8 inches by marking the distance with a rubber band and chopped the hair off with a few quick cuts. My mouth flew open as she cut off the first ponytail.  But she couldn’t see because I was wearing a mask.

My initial feeling was shock, but shortly thereafter I felt a lightness—and not just because a huge chunk of my thick hair was now gone. I was finally taking care of myself. I was finally out of the house by myself after months of quarantine, and I could picture a child putting on a wig with my hair, excitedly looking in the mirror.

For those of you that have not made it to the hair salons yet due to pandemic shutdowns, perhaps consider delaying the appointment a little longer and donate your hair to a worthy nonprofit.

You will feel great afterward.