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How to sell your hair for cash

Many factors can affect the value.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:04PM

This post comes from Xin Lu at partner blog Wise Bread.

I first read about selling hair in "Les Misérables," when Fantine sold her head of gold to clothe her daughter, Cosette. The hair trade just seems like such an archaic idea, but, actually, high-quality hairpieces are still made from real human hair and there is a huge market for sourcing natural hair.

Here are some tips and information on how to sell your tresses for cash.

Leave your hair untreated. Most wig makers want "virgin" hair that has no chemical treatment. Virgin hair is generally less damaged, lasts longer in a hair piece, and looks more natural. If you want to sell your hair, make sure you do not dye, perm or bleach it.

Grow your hair out. Generally you need at least 10 inches of hair to be able to make a sale for extensions and wigs.

Take good care of yourself and your hair. Healthy hair that shines fetches a better price in the open market. Some basic tips I have read are to brush your hair gently, eat well, and do not take any drugs since hair retains traces of the drugs you take. Also, it is best not to shampoo your hair every day because that strips your hair of its natural oils. Smoking is also detrimental to your hair because the scent usually stays long after you light up a cigarette.

List and market your hair. Hairwork and The Hair Trader are two sites that specialize in hair-trading classifieds. The first site charges $20 to post an ad, and the second is free. They allow you to post a description of your hair, pictures and your price. It is usually recommended that you get paid first, then have your hair cut at a professional salon, and bundle the hair in a ponytail or braid. You could also try to auction your hair on eBay or post a classified ad on Craigslist, but I think your chances are much better on the sites specializing in hair.

How much can you make? The price that buyers are willing to pay really depends on the color, length and quality of your hair. Also, if you market it well, you will have better results. Some sold listings on The Hair Trader have great photographs and descriptions. For example, one woman specified that she grew her hair with the intention to sell and took very good care of it, and she managed to sell it for more than $1,000 in just a week. It took her four years to grow that hair, but $1,000 is still a good return on something that is fairly painless to give up. It also seems that her research into the hair trade led to a healthy lifestyle, and that is a great bonus for her.

If you are cutting your long locks but do not want to sell them, you can always donate them to Wigs for Kids, Pantene Beautiful Lengths or Locks of Love. These charities provide wigs to children who have lost their hair due to illness. Since wigs are considered cosmetic, they are not covered by insurance, and a lot of families cannot afford a wig made from human hair.

In closing, I think if you already have beautiful long hair and need a bit of cash, selling those locks is definitely something you should look into. It is quite profitable and definitely much less painful than selling any other body parts.

Other articles of interest at Wise Bread:



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