New Zealand women are being encouraged to grow their ponytails then cut them off so the hair can be made into wigs for cancer victims.
Actress Naomi Watts is fronting the Beautiful Lengths campaign, which will be launched today in partnership with the charity Look Good Feel Better.
"I can only imagine that being diagnosed with cancer is terrifying and if we can support women undergoing treatment by cutting and donating our hair to provide them with a real-hair wig, that's a difference I hope many of us will make," Watts said about being involved in the campaign, promoted by haircare brand Pantene.
The campaign is being launched today so women have enough time to grow their locks for National Donate Your Hair Week, which begins on November 12. To make a donation, your hair must be at least 20cm long, less than 5 per cent grey and cannot be coloured or chemically treated.
Look Good Feel Better's general manager, Yvonne Brownlie, said the charity saw first-hand the distressing effects that cancer had on individuals, their friends and their families.
It provides a free service for cancer patients, teaching them techniques to help restore their appearance during chemotherapy and radiotherapy. More than 3000 women are helped by Look Good Feel Better every year at almost 200 workshops in 24 locations.
"Women who undergo cancer treatment just want to feel like themselves and a real-hair wig can make such a huge difference to a woman's self-esteem during this difficult time," Ms Brownlie said.
Pantene ambassador and hairstylist Barney Martin said that while 20cm might seem like a lot to cut off, short sleek styles would be in fashion this summer and he couldn't think of a better reason for women to update their looks.
Beautiful Lengths in the United States has received more than 300,000 ponytails since 2006 to create 24,000 wigs for women with cancer.
* Use a conditioner after every wash.
* Use a spray, leave-in conditioner for extra protection when using heated hair appliances.
* Avoid excessive teasing of hair, as it can uplift cuticles, making them fragile and susceptible to breakage.
* Use rinse-off conditioning treatments once a week, or as often as needed.
* Use a brush on wet hair when you step out of the shower; use a comb with smooth, wide-set teeth working from tip to root.
* Attempt to blow-dry soaking wet hair immediately; towel-wrap your hair for 10-15 minutes first.
* Overbrush hair.
* Wait more than eight weeks to get hair trimmed.