Iran: Women Sell Their Hair To Make Ends Meet

Written by
Sedighe Shahrokhi

In his famous short story, “the Gift of the Magi,” O. Henry tells the tale of a wife who sold her hair for $20 to purchase a Christmas gift for her husband. Under the mullahs’ regime, in Iran, women must sell their hair for nearly $30 to merely survive.

Iran’s state media have acknowledged that Iranian women and girls sell their hair to cover their expenses due to the country’s economic crunch.

“Most of my clients sell their hair due to their financial problems. They tell me, ‘Cut as short as you want. But give us more money,’” says an Iranian barber, shedding light on this tragedy, according to the state-run Khorasan daily on December 22, 2021.

Women’s barbershops are filled with the advertisement “We buy your hair.” Sellers also leave their announcements on walls.

“I sold my hair to cover my living expenses. When I saw the advertisement, I decided to sell my hair. I loved my hair, but I had no other choice,” the state-run Tejarat-news quoted Zahra, who sold her 50cm hair for 10 million rials or $33 (at the free market dollar exchange rate.)

“To enroll at a class for my job, I had to sell my hair. My husband did not agree with me, but I needed money, and I had no other choice,” Tejarat-news quoted another woman.

In April 2021, a barber told the state-run Khabar-Online that the price of hair would not exceed 10 million rials. “Women love their hair; they sell it because they need money,” she said.

Selling hair is not limited to young or middle-aged women. Teenage girls and children as young as ten years old also sell their hair.

“A ten-year-old girl sold her hair to purchase a cellphone. A middle-aged woman sold her hair to pay for her husband’s medications, who is now invalid after falling from a building. Another 21-year-old customer sold her hair to pay the installments of her sisters’ dowry. And a teenage girl sold her hair to enroll at high school,” Khorasan daily wrote on December 22.

Iran: Women Sell Their Hair To Make Ends Meet
“Yes, I know what would happen…. I have tried many other ways and reached a deadlock.

A woman who was selling her daughters’ hair told Tejarat-news: “We desperately need another cellphone [to attend online classes]. My three daughters must share one cellphone, and it’s not possible. I sell their hairs for 40 million rials [nearly $40].”


In other countries, selling hair is a luxurious business. In the United States, women sell their hair sometimes up to thousands of dollars. But in Iran, despite the country’s vast natural resources, women must sell their hair to win their bread.

In recent years, as Iran’s economy rapidly falls apart due to the mullahs’ corruption, ineptitude, and mismanagement, businesses such as selling organs or selling hair have been booming. In addition, other phenomena have emerged, such as grave dwellers, renting rooftops, and collecting trash.

In an exclusive report in 2018, the Iranian Resistance revealed some aspects of selling vital organs tragedy in Iran. According to this report, “Kidneys are most in-demand, but a business that started more than a decade ago is no longer limited to the kidney but includes liver, bone marrow, and cornea. The liver is the second most frequently traded organ, and blood plasma is the latest addition to the list.”

Unlike what Iran pundits had tried to imply, the current economic crisis in Iran is not entirely by any measure due to sanctions. The regime has been squandering billions of dollars on its malign ambitions, such as its clandestine nuclear and missile programs and supporting its terrorist proxy groups across the Middle East.
In 2020, a heart-wrenching interview of a 29-year young father who wanted to sell his heart circulated on social media. This father had put an advertisement to sell his heart to ensure his family’s future.

“Yes, I know what would happen…. I have tried many other ways and reached a deadlock. This is the only solution to ensure the future of my children,” the man tells the buyer.  As a price for his heart, he gives ten billion rials, or $367,000, with Iran’s free market’s current dollar exchange rate at that time.


“It is estimated that the cost of the nuclear program should be estimated at between 1.5 to 2 trillion dollars. It seems that the initial assessment by the Budget and Planning Organization’s expert was not far from reality,” Arman daily wrote on December 4.

Khorasan daily on December 22 referred to the booming business of selling hair in Khorasan province, while one of Iran’s largest financial institutions, Astan-e Quds Razavi, is in that province.

Behzad Nabavi, a government minister in several administrations, said in an interview with the state-run Alef news agency on September 21, 2019, “In our country, there are four institutions which control 60 percent of the national wealth. This includes Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive (Setad Ejraie Farman Imam), Khatam-ol-Anbiay Base, Astan-e Quds, and Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled. None of these institutions are in connection with the government and parliament.”

The Iranian regime has the ability and necessary funds to help Iranians and prevent them from selling their body parts. Iranian girls could easily attend their school without selling their hair to purchase stationery if any government other than the mullahs’ regime was in power.

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