I’ve donated to LoL before, and will be doing it again as soon as I can get an app’t w/ my regular stylist.
My understanding is that yes, they do charge on a sliding scale — it’s right there on their website; they don’t try to hide it. Wigs are VERY expensive, esp. when made of quality human hair, and think about it: would you really want someone whose family can AFFORD to buy them a multi-thousand dollar wig getting one for free instead of a kid whose parents can barely afford rent? Also, yes, they do sell off hair that does not get used in the wigs that are made for them. Some hair is too short, or it is the wrong color (can’t give a kid a white wig, can ya?) so they sell it and use the funds to help offset the costs of producing the wigs that the kids do get.
The thing you may want to consider more between the two programs (LoL vs. Pantene) is that LoL’s is SPECIFICALLY for children (18 and under) whereas Pantene’s wigs are distributed through the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Resarch Foundation and go to women (their homepage says American Cancer Foundation, but their FAQs indicate this other group). Also, LoL helps kids who suffer from alopecia (hair loss), not just cancer. Yeah, it’s not deadly, but don’t you remember being a kid and having people make fun of you for the least little thing? Sucks.
FWIW, I checked both websites, and LoL includes much more info about how the hair is used and where it goes. Pantene is doing a good thing, I’m definitely not knocking them, but they’re corporate, and from what I can tell on their site do not have a lot to do with the actual program. They use their corporate muscle to encourage donations — which IS an awesome thing — but they are rather far removed from the donation process. In other words, LoL collects the hair, sends it out to be made into wigs, and then distributes the wigs themselves. Pantene collects and gives the hair to be made and then someone else determines who gets the hairpieces. I personally just feel much better about donating "as close to the end recipient" as I can.
I think it’s great that someone in corporate America is supporting this cause so I don’t want to discourage anyone from donating through Pantene. But I also think that what LoL does is wonderful too.
Sorry for the lengthy and perhaps overly passionate post, but this is a topic that I hold close to my heart. No matter how you do it, if you’re donating your hair, it really is a great thing. (Plus, you save a lot on shampoo…)