How To Sell Hair
I first heard about selling hair in O’Henry’s Gift Of The Magi. In the story, Jim Dillingham and his wife Della, are a young couple very much in love, but with very little money.
In fact, they are in such a bad economic situation they have almost no money for Christmas gifts for each other.
In order to get her beloved husband the gift of a special chain for his prized pocket watch from his father, Della sells her gorgeous knee length hair to a man who wants to make it into a wig.
Meanwhile her husband sells the pocket watch to be able to buy Della a set of beautiful tortoise shell combs for her stunning hair.
The couple was very sad to discover the gifts they bought for each other was useless. Afterall, Jim no long had the watch for his wife’s new chain and she no longer had her hair for the combs.
Speed ahead to 2008 and the current economic crisis. Selling hair to make money has again become an option for those with long lush hair. Besides selling hair, people are also now selling blood and other appropriate body fluids. What will they think of next?
My Expertise On This & Related Topics
How do I know about this topic? I’ve been personally growing my own hair since 1988 and have been approached both in public and via email to sell my hair.
One time I was in the restroom at Mi Piaci in Addison back in 1998 and a woman offered me $500 on the spot for my hair – which was 5″ below my waist at the time.
Over the years – since starting HairBoutique.com in 1997 – I’ve received many emails from people with long hair who wanted to know about selling their hair. Whenever possible I’ve provided them with as many details as possible.
Recently I’ve started receiving many more emails than normal about the process of selling hair due to the failing world economy. As a result of these emails I’ve written this blog post.
Since I’ve been writing extensively about long hair topics since 1996 I feel that I have a good handle on long hair topics. Also, because I’ve spent so much of my own time dealing with my own long hair. In addition, I have gone to cosmetology school to get a hair license.
I have also had long conversations with many of my friends on the various long hair forums including the original The Long Hair Site, Long Hair Lovers and The Long Hair Community.
The information I am providing in this topic is based on previous AskKaren columns and articles I wrote many years ago on this topic about selling hair.
I will start by saying that I do not judge whether people should sell their hair or not or their reasons.
However, I do receive lots of emails from people who have cut their long luscious hair without giving it lots of thought and have lived many years trying to grow it back.
Why Is Hair Purchased?
Why is hair purchased? It’s acquired for a variety of reasons by commercial wig makers, private hair collectors or even by people who want to have their own custom wigs made for themselves or a family member.
In order to make a wig there has to be enough hair available. Which is why shorter hair may not have as much value in the market. It should be noted sometimes a private investor may actually be interested in hair which commercial hair buyers might not give a second thought to.
Private collectors may be buying the hair because they love owning it or because they want to have it made into a custom hairpiece for themselves. If you don’t have a problem with someone else wearing your hair or keeping it as a collectible than you are good to go.
If You Wish To Sell Your Hair
If you do decide you wish to sell your hair, please make sure you have really thought it through and have talked it over with your close friends and family.
Obviously if you have long hair you spent a lot of time growing it and pampering it.
While I’m not personally in favor of selling beautiful long tresses for money, I understand that sometimes, like the Gift Of The Magi, it’s necessary.
If you decide you must sell your beautiful long hair, then I want you have as much information as possible to help you avoid any and all pitfalls.
If you’ve searched your soul and still wish to sell your prized tresses, proceed with care and consider the tips and tricks I have been providing for years below:
1. The Length Of Your Hair Is A Key Selling Factor
The longer the hair, the better the price it will generally command. Please note that this is not an absolute. If you have hair which measures 12″ – 14″ (the minimum length normally required for purchase) but the condition is poor, you still may not be able to sell your hair.
Long hair (in terms of length) does not necessarily guarantee a sale or even a great price if other factors or not equal.
While hair can be purchased which is much shorter, the price may be very limited and there is a smaller market for hair that is not longer.
2. Determining The Value Of Your Hair
Supply and demand will have a major bearing on how much your hair is worth.
When hair for sale is readily available and of the highest quality, it will command less of a price unless it’s rare in some way.
In a lot of ways selling hair is pretty much like selling a used car or other possessions.
When hair is harder to find, or again, is rare for some reason, it will command a much higher price. Some textures are very desirable such as hair with loose natural waves or hair which is thick and lush. Thinner hair is often not as valued after as thicker tresses.
The value of your hair has a strong correlation to what other buyers are pricing their hair at. Just as you might look through the newspapers before pricing your car to determine where you own car ranks for sale, the same should be done with your hair.
Check out as many sellers you can find to try and set a good price for your hair. If you want to sell your hair quickly you may wish to price it a bit lower than if you are willing to wait for the right price.
It’s also possible as you do your diligence to figure out what your hair might bring on the open market that you will discover you don’t really want to sell your hair for the price it may pull.
3. What will the price of hair include?
The value of hair depends on a wide range of factors which include, but aren’tt limited to:
- Current length – The longer the hair the better although sometimes hair may be bought at much shorter lengths.
- Natural hair color – Some colors are more popular than others and may depend on whether the buyer is a private collector or a commercial hair buyer or wig broker.
- Hair Texture – Although straight is often more preferred over curly, loose waves are sometimes very desirable, especially for private collectors.
- Hair Type – Thick strands are often preferred over thin with medium thickness being the most common.
- Overall health – Just as a used car gets a higher price when it is in pristine condition with all the maintenance records, the same is true of hair. If you can show that you took excellent care of your hair and what products you used, it will make your hair generally more valuable. This is not always true, but often it is.
- Chemical Hair History – hair that has been chemically colored, highlighted, straightened or curled may or may not have value. It may not make a difference to private collectors but will not be viable for wigmakers or other hair merchants. If your hair has been chemically treated its important to disclose this fact when trying to sell your strands.
- Drugs – whether you took prescription drugs for a health reason or for recreational purposes this may or may not have a bearing on your hair’s condition and value. If your hair has not been obviously impacted, it may not be an issue but may need to be disclosed before the sale is finalized.
- Smoking – some long hair experts believe that smoking of any type of cigarettes, cigars, pipes or related products may impact the quality of the hair. At the very least it can leave an odor in the hair. If you are thinking of selling your hair you may wish to avoid any type of smoking around your hair.
- Presentation – the longest hair with the best care records may still not be the prettiest hair. Hair that has a unique or vibrant color, a rich shine or other “beautiful” features will always sell fastest.
- Unique Story – if you wish to sell your hair for a good cause or have an interesting story behind your hair, you may do better than someone who is selling their hair for the “heck of it”.
- Rareness factor – when hair is rare or unusual in some way it will also be much more valuable.
- Celebrity factor – Jane Seymour or some other famous “natural” long hair celeb would probably be able to command a much larger fee for the sale of their hair.
- Viral marketing – in today’s world of Web2.0 using a viral marketing technique might actually work.
- Twitter – set up a twitter account and use it to find and follow people privately and then offer your hair for sale.
4. Timing Of The Sale
Sometimes it’s better to wait to sell your hair until there is a much shorter supply.
If you’re not in a hurry to sell you can go ahead and have your hair professionally cut and bundled while watching the market or you can continue to wear your hair long until you have a chance at a much better price.
5. Social Acceptability Of Selling Hair
Selling hair is sometimes frowned upon by some long time or dedicated long hair wearers (or fans) who believe it’s objectionable, inappropriate or immoral for a number of reasons.
While some long hair wearers are non-judgmental about the desire or need to sell hair, others believe it sends a angst ridden message for long hair wearers everywhere.
You may be approached by people with long hair who urge you not to sell your hair for a variety of reasons. Unless you specifically wish to engage in email discussions about your decision, you may wish to avoid responding.
One hidden market to consider is the long hair market. If you absolutely must sell your hair to feed your children, pay the mortgage or other hardship, you may wish to publish your situation on one of the most popular long hair boards. Someone there may offer to buy your hair with the condition you don’t cut it (this has happened in the past) or they will buy your hair and keep it safe from a wigmaker or other private investor.
6. Known Risk Factors
Selling hair can be risky from the viewpoint that there have been examples of people cutting their hair, sending it off to the buyer and never receiving their payments.
This can be a heartbreaking experience after spending years growing your hair only to be ripped off after you cut it off.
A good friend of mine, Tom, grew his hair to his waist and decided to sell it before going into the military. He posted an ad, found a buyer for a price he felt comfortable with and somehow didn’t close the loop properly. Tom sent off the hair to the “buyer” who promptly disappeared, never to be seen again.
Always get your payment in advance. If you are worried about not getting paid sell your hair through Ebay or a similar auction site where you have some options to guarantee you receive your money.
Using An Attorney Or Agent To Handle The Transaction
Depending on a wide variety of factors some hair has sold in the thousands of dollars. If you believe your hair is worth a large sum of money you may wish to hire an attorney before you begin your selling process to draw up a sales contract and advise you on setting up a escrowal account for the safe transfer of funds for the sale.
7. Where To Sell Your Hair
There are many ways to sell your hair which include:
- Visit hair salons or hairdressers in your area and ask if you can post an advertisement about selling your hair.
- Ask your own hairdresser if they know anyone that might be interested in selling your hair.
- Post a blind ad in a local GreenSheet or similar newspaper.
- Post ads on free boards at local stores.
- Research national companies that sell wigs or hair extensions and contact them directly.
- Post a For Sale on The Internet
- The Long Hair Forums
On The Web
There are places on the web that are designed to help bring together buyers and sellers. One very good place to sell your hair is HairWorks.com where you pay a $20 fee.
You can also place an advertisement on CraigsList or Ebay or other bidding websites. There are also websites where you can post your hair for sale at no cost to you such as on various hair forums such as the HairTalk Buy/Sell.
You can search for other sites on the web where to sell your hair on Goggle or other search engines.
One other option is to search websites for people listing that they are interested in buying hair and moving towards a possible sale from that direction rather than posting your hair for sale first.
Putting Together A Hair Package Or Prospective – Market, Market, Market
Selling your hair is much like selling a house, exotic sports car or other property. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to have multiple bidders willing to meet your desired price. It will also make it easier to conclude a “clean” deal with no seller complications.
Consider putting together a Hair Selling Package which includes a CD or DVD showing your hair at all angles. If producing a CD or DVD is not possible, have some high quality photos taken to include in your Hair Marketing Package.
You may want to save a little bit of your hair when you have your normal trims in case a prospective buyer wants to check out the color or texture. There is no need to have a lot of hair available but a little can go a long way when or if a sample is requested by the buyer.
Include a very detailed hair description and hair history. When possible you may even want to include references to your long hair expert who can vouch for your precision care over the growth cycle.
Do Your Research Before You Sell
Do as much research as possible before finalizing the deal to make sure you are selling your hair to a reputable dealer.
Be prepared for the fact that a private hair buyer may be using the hair in a manner that might not meet your approval. Therefore, you may wish to specify that your hair only be purchased by wig makers or other professional business concerns.
If you do not use an attorney you may ask for buyer references such as a letter of credit from a legitimate bank or other ways to determine if the buyer is safe. If the buyer commonly buys hair you may ask for a few references of previous sellers the buyer has worked with.
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Making Contact With Prospective Buyers
When listing your hair for sale or when corresponding with prospective buyers always provide a generic contact email such as Hotmail, Google or Yahoo so that after your sale is concluded you can delete the email.
Be careful of providing your home address or phone number. If possible use a PO box and a phone that will not lead directly to you. Your ongoing personal safety should always be considered.
Make sure you include “Serious Buyers Only” to avoid receiving emails from people not serious about spending money for your hair.
Even with the Serious Buyers Only request you still may receive emails from “prospective” buyers who have no intention of buying your hair. They may be contacting you for a variety of reasons which may or may not be innocent.
Whatever you do, never meet with a prospective buyer alone. Also, never allow them to come to your private home.
When Hair Is Sold
Whether you have your hair cut before you begin to market it or afterwards, it is very important to have your hair cut off by a professional hairdresser. The hair will need to be securely wrapped or “bundled” at the roots to prevent hair from fraying or separating.
Some people prefer hair to be braided while others prefer hair be left in a loose ponytail.
Ask the buyer how they would like the hair prepared and whether they prefer for you to wash it before cutting it or
Always Listen To Your Gut
Always take your time and don’t rush into anything. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Afterall, it took you many years to grow your hair, don’t sell it in haste and repent in leisure.