Hairy situation unfolding

Published 6:01 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Staff Writer

Inspired by a San Francisco-based nonprofit, stylists at a Washington hair salon are collecting hair clippings, which they hope will be used to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’re trying to help out as much as we can,” said Samantha Myers, a stylist at Just My Cut salon in Washington and who is coordinating the collection of hair clippings at the salon.
In June, she plans to send the salon’s first shipment of hair to an address supplied by Matter of Trust, the San Francisco charity leading the hair collection effort.
Hair stylists at the salon estimate they collect about one pound of hair a day.
Just My Cut is one of 90,000 donors nationwide, including several Beaufort County salons, that have joined the effort, according to information supplied by Matter of Trust.
Capelli Salon has been collecting hair to send to the Gulf of Mexico for cleanup efforts for several days, and E Dell’s Beauty Shoppe has bought a new trash can in which to store hair it collects, according to stylists at the salons.
Whether the hair clippings will be used in the cleanup effort is up for debate.
Matter of Trust was founded in 1998 by Lisa Gautier and her husband, Patrice Olivier Gautier, an executive at Apple.
On its Web site, the charity indicates that it has “many temporary donated warehouses of various sizes strategically place along the Gulf Coast” to receive the donated hair. The organization’s printed material says it can create mats that can soak up oil by stuffing the hair clippings into nylon hose and combine those mats into a boom that can soak up oil.
A posting dated May 19 said, “BP has contacted us and want to use the boom! They will be sending out a press release presently.”
A spokesman for BP told the Washington Daily News on Thursday that the company has no plans to use the hair that is being collected by the organization.
BP crews at the site of the oil spill are using plastic, absorbent booms to soak up the oil, according to Mark Salt, a BP spokesman.
“It’s the best product,” he said. “There’s no need to consider alternative products.”
Asked whether BP might need such hair “booms” in the future, Salt said he didn’t want to speculate on that possibility.
A voice-mail message on a telephone number listed for the press contact for Matter of Trust said the voice-mail box was full and referred questions about the organization to an e-mail address. An e-mail sent to the organization was not returned as of Wednesday afternoon.
Community Editor Greg Katski contributed to this article.