Jasmine Birtles, MSN Money contributor
Thu, 03 Nov 2011 16:53:56 GMT | By Jasmine Birtles, contributor, MSN Money

How to make money by selling your hair

Long, lustrous locks can make you some cash on the side if you ever want to cut them.

How to make money by selling your hair (© Image: Getty)

Think you have nothing to sell? Think again. Do you have nice, long, healthy hair? If you ever feel like a crop cut, you could make money from it.

Yes, there are clean and legitimate ways to make money by selling your body. Really. You would be surprised what assets you have that could make you some cash!

For a start, if you have lovely, long locks, you could make some instant cash by selling your hair. Wigs and hair extensions are more popular than ever and European hair is particularly highly sought-after to make them.

The majority of real-hair wigs and hair pieces are made from Asian hair but it has a different quality from most European hair, particularly blonde and red hair. To make the original Asian hair match most European heads, it has to go through several treatment processes. Blonde, curly wigs have usually been through the most processes because they have to strip the hair of its black colour and then make the very straight hair curly.

This is why European hair is popular. It is generally finer and doesn't need so much treating.

Having said that, you're not going to make your fortune selling your hair. The most you can probably make from a good head of hair is £100, and then it needs to be long, thick and healthy.

How do you sell your hair?
Firstly you need to make sure you have the right hair. Most companies will want hair that has absolutely no chemical treatments, so your hair can't be coloured, permed, highlighted or tinted. If you have colour in your hair now you will need to grow it out. There's no point trying to get more colour to cover it because that will just compound the problem.

You'll also need plenty of it - at least six inches. If yours isn't that long then, again, you will need to wait until it has grown enough.

It goes without saying that your hair should be clean, healthy and shiny. Cigarette smoke or traces of drugs taken will linger in your hair long after it's washed so you might even need to adopt a more healthy lifestyle and eat better food with more vitamins and minerals to improve the quality of your crop.

If your hair is an unusual colour then you're in for a treat, as you should be able to get the highest prices. There's nothing you can do about this, of course! It's just a question of what colour you were born with. However, if you are a redhead, you should be smiling now.

Next, get in contact with a wig seller and find out how much your hair type will earn you. This way, you can see whether it's really worth chopping it all off. Frankly it's only going to be worth it if you were thinking of cutting it short anyway. Certainly in Louisa May Alcott's day, selling your hair was a popular way to make some cash (hence the scene in 'Little Women' where Jo sells her hair to bring in money for the family).

However, if you're considering selling your hair because you just need the money, don't. There are better ways to make that kind of cash. It takes so long for hair to grow that chopping it off for a relatively small amount of money is probably not worth it for most people.

Who buys real hair?
There are two main wigmakers in Britain that buy hair - Banbury Postiche and Bloomsbury Wigs. Get in touch with them directly. Tell them how long your hair is, what colour and type it is and your ethnicity. They will let you know how much they would be willing to pay and how to send the hair over.

Wigmakers generally want the hair in one big ponytail, tied in the middle. The hair follicles all go in one direction so anyone buying it will want the hair to be tied together in the direction that it hangs from your head.

Oddly enough there's another site where you can put your hair up for sale and buyers will bid for it! It's called Onlinehairaffair. I've only recently come across it so I haven't heard anything about how reliable it is. I think it's probably a case of 'seller beware'. However, if you've had experience of them, do let me know in the comments below.

Also, get on Gumtree.com where several wigmakers are looking to buy hair and are open to negotiation on the price. Some are even willing to buy children's hair, so you could even get some cash from your kids' hair too, if they want a short style.

How much can you make?
The main hair buyer in the UK, Banbury Postiche (also known as Wigs UK and Purely Wigs) pays £3 per ounce if your hair is 6-12"" long and £5 per ounce if it is more than 12"" long. You can cut it off yourself and send it to them in an envelope if you like.

Bloomsbury Wigs will pay up to £100 for your hair. They'll even cut it off on the spot for you. Don't worry though - you won't have some mad scientist coming at you with clippers. They just cut off your ponytail and trim it so that it looks good.

So, it's not going to pay for you to sun yourself in the Bahamas, but if you were going to cut your long hair short anyway, you might as well make some money while you're at it. It's not hard!

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