Growing out Hair to Donate, Any Tips?

So, right now, my hair's layered with the longest just above my shoulders and the shortest around my eyes (it's got that backwards layered thing going on; short in the back, long in the front). I like it like this, but I was thinking of growing it out so I can donate it. I don't know what made me want to do this, I just do. I will be cutting my hair this or next week before I start to grow it out. Is a year long enough to grow it out (I don't know how fast hair usually grows out)? I was thinking of donating my hair a year after my Confirmation, which is May 19

In my hair, all I put in (if anything) is EVOO and Coconut oil (esp. coconut oil).

I don't shampoo unless I feel I need to (usually once a week) and it's not store bought, its a baking soda and water mixture. I condition daily with whatever condition I buy, right now I'm using Tresemme. Sometimes I deep condition if I feel my hair needs some more life. I mix EVOO, Coconut oil, and an avocado and leave it in my hair for about an hour before rinsing it out.

I've starting straightening my hair more often then I used to (really, probably just once a month) but I'm going to stop this while I grow out my hair. If I do straighten my hair, it'll only be for a special occasion or something like that. I have a heat protectant but I don't remember the name of it. Is coconut oil ok to use as a heat protectant (I think I've heard that but I don't remember)? Anyway, my hair doesn't feel damaged from it.

I go to any regular beauty salon to get my hair cut; you know, where it costs no more than $8-$15, not that crazy $150 (which is probably worth it, but too expensive for me).

Any tips on growing out my hair and keeping it healthy to donate it? How long should I let it grow? Should I deep condition regularly and any other ideas on deep condition ingredients?
When I'm ready to donate it, what do I do? I know this might sounds stupid, but how do I donate it and where? I've heard of Locks of Love (or something like that), but how do I give it to them?
Locks of Love helps disadvantaged children suffering from medical hair loss

Use silicones as heat protectant, they work better than anything else. Coconut oil conducts heat well, it helps cook food which is not really the effect you are looking for! Be sure your hair is super dry when you straighten, preferably washed the day before, and use the lowest heat you can get away with to minimise damage.

Baking soda is alkaline so fairly harsh on the hair and skin.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
Oh my goodness! Who the heck told me coconut oil was ok to use for straightening! xD As for the silicones, is that an ingredient I should look for in heat protectant products?
I always wash my hair the day before straightening. And, at the moment, I don't have the best straightener. It just heats up, doesn't let me chose the setting. Next chance I get, I'm getting a better one though

As for the baking soda, really? Harsh how? I have noticed that it dries out my skin and hair, but that's why I always lotion my skin and condition my hair after using it. I've used it on my face daily for months and to wash my hair every now & then just as long and haven't noticed anything bad except when I have cuts on my face (which is why I don't use it on my face so much anymore).

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