Who knew getting your haircut could lead to a beauty industry-wide assistance in the Gulf Coast oil spill cleanup? Alabama hairstylist, Phillip McCrory, did. McCrory discovered how hair could help soak up oil and aid in disaster relief after he noticed the fur on Alaskan otters was completely soaked with oil due to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. “Phillip is from one of our salons in the south and he called me about the idea of using hair to absorb small oil spills,” says John Paul DeJoria, CEO and Co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems. “Paul Mitchell then became involved with an organization called Matter of Trust that was doing just that by using hair clippings to create boom for oil spill cleanup. On behalf of the professional salon industry, our Paul Mitchell network of salons and Paul Mitchell Schools will continue to send hair clippings, funds and support to help with the Gulf oil spill and the other numerous oil spills that occur each year.” California-based, Matter of Trust has been collecting hair clippings, sorting them and shipping the fibers to factories to make batches of hairmats and creating booms from loose hair stuffed into nylon stockings, which are then doubled up and tied together to surround and soak up oil.
Paul Mitchell and Vanguard College of Cosmetology, a Paul Mitchell Partner School, have teamed up and created a nationwide distribution center for salons to ship their hair donations. “Vanguard College has been a Paul Mitchell Partner School for the past five years and as soon as we heard about the oil spill cleanup, we began our relief efforts with the help of our salon community,” says Darbie Gremillion, VP of Creative Hair Acquisition Corp, parent company to Vanguard College of Cosmetology, a Paul Mitchell Partner School. Jes Latin, Vanguard College graduate and Service Desk Coordinator, has a true passion for the environment and recently designated her home to be a distribution site for salons, in addition to Vanguard Salon Systems, a single-line Paul Mitchell distributorship. “Last Friday, we coordinated ten of our cosmetology students and within two and a half hours, we produced 187 hair booms with both human and alpaca hair,” continues Gremillion. Gremillion says their efforts are becoming grass roots as Vanguard College sits on Lake Pontchartrain and fears that the winds will change direction and blow the oil into the lake are growing. “We want to line the lake shore and coast lines in hopes to thwart a local disaster. We are receiving hair donations daily, but, desperately need nylons.” Nylon donations can be sent directly to Vanguard Salon Systems at 56721 Dwyer Street, Sildell, LA 70458.
Salons such as Michael Angelo Hair Studio in Tampa, FL, Mania’s Hairstyling of New Jersey, Bijou in Upstate New York, Headstrong Salon in Yardley, PA, Secrets of Hair Design and Day Spa in Butler, PA and Salon Daniel, near Washington DC, are also sweeping up hair and shipping it to Matter of Trust in hopes of being an vital element in the relief efforts. “Participating in any type of volunteer effort or cause to work towards a greater good, big or small, is an integral part of our mission at the salon and spa,” says Missi Koebler, owner, Secrets of Hair Design. “Like a lot of salons, we are a small business and realize that the community is our business. Reaching out locally and nationally and putting forth our best effort in giving back, is why we opted to collect our clippings to aid in the oil spill clean-up.”
Closer to home, Adventure Cuts in San Diego, a boutique children’s salon, is donating hair to Matter of Trust and Urban Roots Salon in Downey, CA hosted on Sunday, May 30 a Cut-A-Thon that elevated the community’s awareness.
Online retailers are also doing their part in donating to aid the cleanup. StormSister Spatique Beauty Shop will send $5 from each jar of Galen Labs Shea Cream to help to Greater New Orleans Foundation. The Shea Cream works to sooth and heal dry skin without clogging pores and has also been known to work well against stretch marks, dermatitis and sunburn. Enhanced with additional healing elements known to calm and support beautiful skin, Shea Cream is a luscious blend of fatty acids and vitamins to replenish your skin and cinnamic acid to act as a natural sunblock.
“Corporations can and should change the world for the better,” says DeJoria. “We have the perspective needed to leave the world a better place for our having been there.”