Giving hair, giving hope
Text: Michaela Medvedova
A simple act of getting a haircut can turn into something meaningful in a salon that donates hair for wig-making purposes.
When corona restrictions loosened and hair salons were allowed to open, people could not get rid of their overgrown hair fast enough. But when you pay a visit to Næsby Salonen in Odense, your hair will not just end up on the floor. Instead, you will contribute towards making a wig for people who need it. And when you start talking to the woman cutting your hair, you realise she used to be one of them.
Hanne Aarup Larsen has always dreamt of being a stylist, and she opened her hairdressing salon in 2016. She got diagnosed with breast cancer a month later. Shortly after starting chemotherapy, her hair began to fall out. Instead of prolonging the suffering, she asked her husband to cut it all off. It came with a sense of relief.
Luckily, Hanne got through her treatment. After that, she started making wigs – but she had to stop because it hit too close to home. She was in contact with so many sick people who, knowing she had also been ill, felt like they could tell her their inner thoughts. “I was reminded too much of my sickness. I also took many of their problems home with me,” she remembers. But at the same time, she also worked with hair donations, which she kept up. “It is healthy people who donate their hair, but it is still for a good cause.”
She has five to ten clients a month who wish to donate. When cutting the hair, Hanne ties it in a specific way and collects it. She then sends it to a company that processes hair collected from all over Denmark. The only requirement for the hair is length – it needs to be at least 25 centimetres. “I had a man who donated sixty. He went out with short hair,” laughs Hanne.
“She believes that many people donate their hair for a good cause - and know someone who has been sick.”
She believes that many people donate their hair for a good cause – and know someone who has been sick. Hanne has no plans of putting a halt to these lovely displays of humanity. “It makes me feel like I am making a difference for a lot of people. When you are going to get rid of your hair anyway, this is a beautiful thing to do.”