Many people hem and haw at getting into the business of buying and selling, and understandably so. You would need some capital to buy brand new merchandise, and think about overhead expenses like shipping, utilities, packaging, etc. This is why a lot of people turn to selling stuff that are easy to come by, are “gently used”, or - in the case of this example I will write about today, something that comes free, replenishes itself, and is slowly getting some market demand.
I’m talking about hair. Yes, that stuff that grows out of your scalp (and certain body parts, but for the purpose of hygiene, let’s focus on the top stuff). Someone in this forum once mentioned that there seems to be a dark web for everything where people will buy just about any strange thing that isn’t sold in mainstream shops or markets. For the most part, though, selling hair is legit, and as previously mentioned, there is a growing demand for it for a variety of reasons.
Interested? Read on and see if this is something you are willing to do for extra cash.
Who is going to buy it?
For starters, wig makers! The most expensive wigs are made from real human hair since synthetic materials could cause allergic reactions and look unnatural (unless it’s for extreme cosplay wigs, in which case the more unnatural-looking, the better). There are lots of wig makers who buy human hair for their products, which I’ve listed below for your reference.
Even salons could use pieces of healthy hair for hair extensions for their clients. Apparently, even crafters now look for strong and long hair strands to braid for jewelry and other artsy knick-knacks. I guess my bottom line is, there are people who buy hair for whatever reasons they may need them for!
What are the buyers looking for in particular?
Because they are going to be used for various purposes, buyers will also have different requirements for the kind of hair they need. Healthy hair is always in demand. Long hair, in particular, usually fetches a higher price compared to shorter ones. But generally, hair that sells well have the following qualities:
- Untouched hair - not permed, not straightened, not colored, or generally untouched by salon or DIY treatments which can make the strands brittle and the overall texture dull
- Voluminous hair - buyers generally go for healthy hair that’s full because its strands are typically thicker and stronger, and provides better coverage for wigs
- Long hair - longer strands are sought after, especially for hair extensions and other salon applications
- Well-maintained and healthy hair - if you’re particularly careful about your hair regimen, wash it regularly, don’t use too many styling products, and have a healthy diet and habits that result in a healthy head of hair, then buyers will likely go for what you’re selling
- Bright, natural hair color - wig-makers and artisans are always on the lookout for the kind of hair that stands out aesthetically, so redheads, buttercup blondes, shining jet-black tresses, and those with hair that’s bright, shining, and has the kind of color that others can only aspire to have (without the color washing out) are always in good demand
Photograph your hair
Take lots of clear photos and make your hair stand out! As with any “product”, you’re going to have to really “sell” your hair via its most attractive qualities and describe what makes it so unique.
So go ahead and photograph it hanging down, braided, in a ponytail (how you’re going to be cutting it prior to selling - more on this later), in direct sunlight to show off all the sparkling highlights, close-ups of how thick and strong the strands are, and also display how healthy and clean your scalp is (I know that at this point it may seem like you’re doing hair fetishists a favor, but consider them best practices for selling hair anyway).
Build up a good catalogue of your hair by way of an almost professional photoshoot because it’s something you can keep sending out to potential buyers, over and over, as long as your hair grows back in a similar fashion.
Describe it honestly and in full detail
If you’re going to advertise on a selling platform or through a submissions page, be as thorough as you can in describing the condition and history of your hair. The buyer won’t be able to touch or smell it, so a detailed and honest description is a must. Describe your hair care routine, which shampoo or conditioner you use, how regularly you get your hair trimmed, and if it’s ever gone through rigorous stylings such as straightening, perming, or coloring.
Even your eating and sleeping habits are notable because these have a definite effect on the state of your hair (as well as skin and nails). List down multivitamins or any other supplement you take that could also affect your hair’s quality. If you’re constantly exposed to stress and pollutants, it might be good to mention that, as well.
Don’t cut it off yet!
Also - and this is very important - DON’T CUT YOUR HAIR YET IF THE BUYER HASN’T SENT PAYMENT. Everything hinges on whether your potential buyer is legit or a scam artist (or a downright perv - sorry, but it’s been known to happen with merchandise that has to do with human body parts!). If the demands are suspicious and the entire deal seems shady, remember that it’s your hair, and you can do with it or sell it the way or to whoever you want.
Instead, I suggest that you go for those with an online hair valuation calculator (linked below) so you can get a ballpark figure for your locks. If the buyer shows interest, send them your hair portfolio, and maybe some hair samples in a resealable baggy.
“Harvest” it properly
Once you’ve sealed the deal with a buyer for your hair, it’s time to “harvest” it (or cut it, to put it plainly). Your buyer might have specific requirements about how you should send your hair over to them, but generally, tying it in a tight ponytail while making sure no loose strands escape, and rolling up the length of hair gently before putting it in a resealable baggie, then labeling it with your name and other important information, is the way to go.
If you aren’t confident about cutting your own hair, any skilled hairdresser can do it for you.
How much can I make from selling my hair?
Again, it depends on the kind of hair you have and how big the demand for it is. Some will pay by volume or length, others by how rare your natural hair color is, etc. It all boils down to the buyer’s valuation.
Blonde hair is in much demand, and a foot of usable all-natural, straight blonde hair (after the split ends have been cut off) can already fetch around $300. Two-feet long curly red hair can already earn you $1000. But it gets better, even for brunettes and those with dark hair! A young girl in Brazil was in the news a couple of years ago for having 5-foot long hair, which she plans to sell for over $5000!
To help you determine the value of your hair, try using this hair price calculator from HairSellon. It helps compute your estimated selling price by the length in inches, hair thickness, color, and if it’s “virgin” or “non-virgin” (untouched). I tried it and mine was just $87 in value (I knew I should have grown it out!).
Where can I sell my hair?
You can look up local wig companies in your town or city. Chances are they advertise for hair sellers, or if they don’t, they are still likely to become prospective buyers if yours is the kind of hair they can use for their wares.
Hair-styling institutes and schools also use human hair for their students to practice cutting, coloring, and styling on. Look for local ones first so they can inspect the goods (right there on your scalp) before they can give a verdict and you can cut it off to sell to them. Some can also offer to give you free styling or a haircut (maybe even a fee for modeling) so they won’t have to transfer your discarded locks onto a hairstylist’s dummy.
As for online buyers, there are surprisingly A LOT of resources for selling hair! Some are specialized sites expressly for the market of buying and selling hair, while others are typical online selling platforms that have recently allowed hair buying and selling (as I said, due to the growing demand for it). Here’s a partial list below (US and UK sites for now):
Thank goodness hair is a naturally good resource that replenishes itself so you can earn some extra cash. The one main disadvantage I see, however, is that it takes months for hair to grow to a suitable length that will fetch a good amount of money, so it’s not really something you can earn quickly from.
Of course, you can always donate your hair to cancer groups or charities like Locks of Love or Wigs4Kids, and that would be a really awesome gesture. But I understand the need to want to earn some extra income for emergency funds or even to augment the family budget - I’ve been there and I’ve done that. It’s a great thing that there are now sites and resources for buying and selling a natural product like hair and that it’s become a legitimate way to earn on the side.
Would you consider selling your hair for some extra cash? Tell us your thoughts about this unusual but practical way to earn.