When fashion influencer Yalda Yazarlou had her first proper haircut in almost three years this week, it was to help a great cause, making wigs for children who have lost their own hair.
Yalda, 27, had 20 inches chopped from her locks by Kerry Bateman at The Lounge Hairdressers in Earlsheaton, near Dewsbury, to donate to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment and other conditions.
“My hair has always been incredibly important to me and has been a big part of my identity and I can not bare the thought of a child having to fight against an illness which in turn causes them to lose their hair,” said Yalda.
“Being Middle Eastern and having received great genes from my parents, I've always had long, thick and healthy hair which grows quickly. I thought growing and donating it would be the least I can do to help add a bit of happiness back to the life of a child suffering with hair loss.”
Yalda, who lives in Earlsheaton and has an Instagram handbag boutique called House of Yalda, has so far raised more than £1,600 via her Just Giving page for the charity.
The Little Princess Trust was set up in 2006 in memory of five-year-old Hannah Tarplee who had been diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour and had found the loss of her hair especially traumatic. Her parents struggled to find a wig suitable for her during treatment, and felt the most fitting tribute for their daughter would be to found a charity dedicated to providing wigs for children who had lost their own hair due to cancer treatment and other conditions.
The charity has so far provided more than 12,000 wigs and given grants totalling more than £17 million towards research projects into finding more effective treatments for childhood cancers.
Yalda said: “The minimum you can donate is seven inches, however, the children are requesting 16 inches or more so that’s why I decided to let my hair grow. During lockdown they were encouraging people to ‘let it grow’, that was their hashtag, because they were not accepting hair donations.
“I used to have long blonde highlights in 2018 and in June 2019 I decided to cut it all off and start growing it afresh to eventually donate it to the Little Princess Trust,” she said.
Her last proper haircut was in June 2019 when she had a short bob to chop away her highlights so she could start growing for the charity.
“I had a trim last month to clean up the ends and my hairdresser told me that my hair is in great condition, and that is because I have used little to no heat or styling products, I’ve just let it grow and let it be, and used a lot of supplements and hair masks to maintain the health.
“It’s all my natural hair colour,” she said. “It costs £550 to make a wig, style and fit it free-of-charge for a child who suffers from hair loss.”
Yalda has been going to Kerry’s salon since she was five year old. “She is my local hairdresser and I thought it would be nice to get her involved,” she says.
Wendy Tarplee-Morris, founder of The Little Princess Trust, said: "We were all absolutely delighted to hear of Yalda's incredible support for our charity.
"Our longest wigs are still our most popular and so Yalda's beautiful lengthy locks are greatly appreciated and will help us meet demand.
"We are now reaching more children and young people with hair loss than ever before and so her amazing fundraising will also be a huge help to us. We can't thank her enough."