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.

64 comments on “How Wigs Are Made From Donated Hair | The Making Of”

  1. Edvards Kirsis says:

    ok and?

  2. Hannah WAN [6G] says:


  3. 100K Subs No Videos says:


  4. Evan Pangaribuan says:

    Hi Insider, a few days ago, a Korean movie called Parasite won 4 Oscars including best picture, and lately you make videos about movies, can you make video about this?

    Why European countries like Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Czechia, Russia tend to dub foreign movies while Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Phillipines, Singapore tend to subtitle foreign movies?

  5. Kefalonia Through our Eyes says:

    wow thats amazing

  6. Kawaii kittens says:


  7. Wath Miz says:

    inspiration 100? Isn’t it cool how they use DONATED hair to do this? Must be a while

  8. Alexandria Victoria says:

    Wow I didn’t even know… Now I learned something new 🙂

  9. Eclipse Effect says:

    I'm early

  10. Yeeyee Feetus Deletus says:

    nice im early

  11. touchmepickles says:

    Literally just got done donating all my hair lol I’m a bald girl now but at least I know it’s doing something good (:

  12. My Journey says:

    This is cringy 😖

  13. My Journey says:

    Just donate it to crimes scenes 😭🤣

  14. Hope says:

    Wigs are so hard to make!

  15. Allian3 says:

    I make mostly gaming videos…

  16. izkormvach says:

    Any nits?

  17. Y.R says:

    Ok it’s awesome what they do with donated hair, but they need better people to cut the hair and style it. The wig the woman in red was doing was not cute.

  18. taeisbae says:

    It’s unfortunate that some of the hair gets thrown away.

  19. Gara Sorše says:

    Companies use hair to clean up oil spills? How? What? Huh?

  20. Parps says:

    I know that you can't donate hair if its been colored before but does anyone know why??

  21. MangoBabie says:

    34 minutes early

  22. Gracie Max says:

    This! Finally a video I cam share with my clients on what happens to their donated hair!

  23. Winda_ drawz says:

    Would donate my hair but it's a mix of muddy blonde and strawberry blonde
    Tends to get lighter in the summer

  24. fox soda says:

    I'm so glad I donated 14 inches of my hair

  25. Xx•kawaiicutie•xX says:

    Wow amazing and early :v

  26. AGmarsen says:

    I almost threw up when I read it as:
    "Hot wings are made from donated hair"

  27. Vlk Etto says:

    sorry but those wigs are plain awful they are so flat and weirdly shaped. I would rather be bald then have a wig that makes me look stupid.

  28. Harshaa Mounika says:

    Anyone from india 🇮🇳 🙌 ?

  29. piz za says:

    narrator’s voice sounds annoying

  30. Lazy Lady says:


  31. Ashley Harris says:

    People actually donate their hair? That’s unheard of

  32. ghostbusta says:

    the styling looks so shit, it literally looks like a synthetic wig 💀 even getting a lace front from ali express would look better-

  33. No DAD Not Tonight says:

    The anchor's voice is so irritating

  34. Marwa Elali says:

    I think it’s weird seeing these cut ponytails

  35. Lost Soul says:

    I thought it said "how wigs are made from Donald Trump's Hair"

  36. Soph Gily says:

    I donated 18 inches to the uk princess trust before I had my brain surgery and it made me so happy

  37. Blossom Tv says:

    I'm happy now! I donated a few years ago to locks of love! I'm pretty sure it was usable too. Now I get to know!

  38. Leena Dey says:

    I’m donating my hair tomorrow this was good to know

  39. S R says:

    I was so hopeful, then they put the wig on the woman and it looked SO BAD 😂

  40. Melia Canales says:

    am I early?

  41. Mollyy.2x says:

    These wigs ….🤭

  42. None Ya says:

    Im surprised that there is ppl out there that donate the hair usually people just price gouge the ppl that need them ><

  43. Alexa L. says:

    Does anyone know if they reject really thin hair?

  44. Clifford 1 says:

    Why is this getting hate? SO much work goes into making these wigs that make people happy. Even if they're not the best, I'm sure if you went through an illness that made you lose your hair, you would be happy to get SOMETHING that reminds you of your old self. Be greatful for the hair on your head and clothes on your back, some people aren't as fortunate.

  45. Lenalight says:

    There’s no way I’m donating my hair only for it to be thrown out or used to soak up oil spills. Kudos to other donators, though and for the people that make the wigs. Huge respect goes to you all! ❤️

  46. OscarTorres says:

    I just had to say I 100% disagree with that lady saying it’s a shame these people donate their hair for it not to be useable like??? It’s going to waste anyway??? Don’t shame people for not knowing any better and trying to do something good lol ?

  47. GREENLALI says:

    You can also compost hair.

  48. GREENLALI says:

    So basically hair is useless unless you send them money for labor and stylist…. toss to the trash 😔

  49. UnchieZ says:

    i cant understand the narrator half the time :<

  50. Simpleplanqueen5 says:

    Is it just me or does the lady giving the tour just seem annoyed AF with her job?

  51. Simpleplanqueen5 says:

    honestly the owners of this company seemed annoyed AF and agitated…this literally made me irritated-watching this

  52. Linh Gia Nguyen says:

    Okay the comments are kinda mean…but eh,who am I to care.

  53. probably not says:

    I'm sorry but we may need a new narrator…

  54. Emily Fernandez says:

    It’s sad how people cut their hair for donation, but this company just throws them away 🙄

  55. 0w 0 says:

    “That’s at least 25 miles of hair”

  56. Sandra O. says:

    Every single one of them should be wearing gloves

  57. Katie Cheung says:

    My hair is over 2.5 feet (almost 3 feet?) I think I'll donate is soon…

  58. Jude Duarte says:

    the two wigs shown really just not cute or flattering at all wtf

  59. Christopher Manella says:

    That’s gross.

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