How Wigs Are Made From Donated Hair | The Making Of

How Wigs Are Made From Donated Hair | The Making Of

What you’re seeing is 200,000 ponytails of human hair. Combined, that’s at
least 25 miles of hair. Dean Riskin: The hair is just busting out all over the place. Too much. Narrator: All these ponytails are donated. But not all of them
will be made into wigs. In fact, many get eliminated at the beginning of
the wig-making process. Suzanne Chimera: Cannot
be used. So, it’s a shame that these people donated their hair and they thought that it was gonna do something nice for somebody. But it’s not usable. Narrator: So, how do they
decide which ponytails to keep and which to toss? And once hair makes it through inspection, how does it go from this to this? Cutting the hair is only the
first step of the process, and perhaps the easiest. From there, workers perform over 50 hours of manual labor to transform
the single ponytails into full-fledged wigs. This can take four to six months. Hair We Share is a nonprofit that provides free wigs to people with hair loss
due to a medical condition. Suzanne: So, most people,
when they think hair loss, they think cancer. We’re way more than that. In the last month, we’ve
serviced a motorcycle accident, domestic violence, and two burn victims. Narrator: Its cofounders enlist the help of 20 volunteers to sort
through the abundance of donations at their
New York headquarters. The donated hair is sorted into categories of color, texture, and length. Suzanne: One more. Nope, that’s brown. Narrator: Sorters measure
the hair to make sure it reaches the minimum
length of eight inches. Otherwise, it can’t be used. Suzanne: The length doesn’t
need to be exactly the same. If it’s 3, 4 inches,
even 6 inches is fine, just not 2 feet and 8 inches. Narrator: In addition to
hair that’s too short, a lot of other things
disqualify donated hair, like hair that’s highlighted, tangled, or just has unnatural colors. Suzanne: This is a big problem. Like, this cannot be used. It cannot be used. Because the hair is not tied
together in a rubber band, and it’s reversed, it will tangle. So it’s not usable. The post office has rollers
that the mail goes through, and if it’s in an envelope that’s just a regular
envelope, it gets torn. And the hair gets caught in the rollers. And so, unfortunately, this
is beautiful blond hair, which we’re always in need of, but we just can’t use it. This came to us wet, so we appreciate that the
person washed their hair, but it needed to be dry
before they sent it to us. This is now molded, and it smells bad, and it just cannot be used. When we can’t use hair,
unfortunately we discard it. We have tried to find companies that will use it to clean up oil spills, and any of the companies we’ve contacted said that they’re getting too much hair. So, I’m gonna put one together now, OK? Yeah, so this is black. So, watch. Watch. No, yep, we can call this black. Narrator: The hair is
sorted into eight colors. Suzanne: When I look at
hair, I see 40 colors. I don’t see eight hair colors. Once the hair’s all mixed together, you’re not gonna know if it’s light brown or medium brown. And we all have more than
one color in our hair, so it’s perfectly fine. Narrator: It takes six to nine ponytails to make a single wig. Those of similar color,
texture, and length are packaged together and sent to Hair We Share’s manufacturer. There, the ponytails go through a hackle to evenly blend the hair and remove any uneven or weak strands. During this stage, anywhere from 10% to 60% of the hair can be lost, depending on
its strength and health. But what is left is smooth, blended hair. The freshly hackled hair is then pressed into a holding
card with tiny metal pins to ensure it doesn’t get tangled again. Part of the hair is sewn into wefts, which are then sewn onto the sides and the back of the wig cap. The rest of the hair strands
are ventilated by hand. This is what makes the
wigs look realistic. Small strands of hair are
pulled through the cap with a hook one by one. This is an extremely meticulous process that can take up to 10 hours per wig. After the last strand is ventilated, the manufacturer sends the finished wig back to Hair We Share, where it is washed and styled. But not all the donated ponytails are guaranteed to make
it to a manufacturer, even if they’re perfectly usable. Dean: The ponytails cost us nothing because they’re shipped to us. It’s all labor-intensive. Unless we have the financial
donation for this year, we won’t have enough money
to create 3,700 wigs. Those ponytails have to sit in inventory until they’re sponsored or funded. Narrator: But for the hair
that does get made into wigs, it finds a new purpose with a recipient. Kristen Berggren: You
know, I’m just excited. Excited to get the wig. Oh, it’s lovely. Hairdresser: Looks beautiful. Kristen: It is. I can’t even believe it’s not my hair. I got used to being bald, but honestly, putting the wig on and having that beautiful… just this hair makes me feel a little
bit like my old self. Which is a blessing.

🦋Escucha a tu corazón, no te rindas, ese dolor que hoy sientes en tu interior, se irá

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3 Replies to “How Wigs Are Made From Donated Hair | The Making Of”

  1. Are you also looking at the comments because you’re annoyed and liking comments of people who wrote about what’s annoying you? Yeah me too.

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