“When the spill happened, we dove right in,” said Christina Lynch, salon manager at Dillard’s Salon and Spa at Colonial Mall.

The salon has sent out two bags of hair since the spill, and Lynch said they’re busy collecting hair for the next shipment.

Two organizations, San-Francisco-based Matter of Trust and the Destin-based Sunshine and Shores Foundation, are making the booms and hair mats, which have proven effective during past oil spills.

A one-pound hair mat can soak up a quart of oil every minute and can be reused 100 times. A boom is a sausage-shaped sack of hair, created by stuffing hair into a discarded nylon stocking.

Just like hair on the head, the hair in the mats and booms collects oil and traps it. The oil clings to the mats and booms instead of being absorbed.

Salons in the Auburn area, such as Dimensions Hair Studio, The Works, Smartstyle Family Hair Salon and Hairmasters–to name just a few–are participating in the nationwide relief effort.

These booms collect oil faster and more efficiently than regular booms, according to Matter of Trust. The foundation’s Web site says that as of June 11 the organization had collected more than 10 miles of hair booms and had enough hair to make another 25 miles of booms.

Lynch said she is proud that people in the salon industry are being appreciated for their role in the cleanup.

“It throws out something positive, as opposed to the stereotypical way stylists are normally viewed,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful that doing something as simple as going to a hair salon could make a difference. It’s nice to see the country coming together like this.”

Laura Graney, owner of Laura’s Uptown Designs on East Samford Avenue, said she received a call about donating hair a few weeks ago from Lee McCullough, an area resident who has been contacting salons and organizing the effort. Graney said she’s only sent off one shipment, but that’s better than nothing.

“I think it’s great and the more we do, the faster we can get the matter taken care of,” Graney said.

McCullough, an Opelika resident, along with her friend Melissa Motley found Matter of Trust’s Web site and took action after reading about how communities around the nation could easily get involved. She has been collecting hair from salons around town and making frequent trips to the Gulf.

“Since we only live four hours from the Gulf, it would be easy to help out,” McCullough said. “All of the salons who have so graciously donated their time and are instrumental in making this happen. Without their involvement, we would not have the ability to use something that is safer for the environment than what BP is using.”

McCullough has collected 400 pounds of hair thus far. She traveled back down to the Gulf this week to help make booms.

Billie Golden, a co-founder of the Sunshine and Shores Foundation with her husband Jeff, said so far they’ve gotten around 30,000 pounds of hair and 50,000 pounds of pantyhose. She said they have made several thousand booms for the beaches.

“We’re getting hair from all over the place,” Golden said. “Semi-trucks bring in hair from places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Canada. I can’t believe people care so much about a place they probably don’t even know where it is.”

With the help of Facebook, Golden said word about the Sunshine foundation spread rapidly in Alabama.

“Once you get started with one group, the word spreads like wildfire,” she said.

Both Sunshine and Shores and Matter of Trust say they now have an abundance of hair and what they need are volunteers to create the mats and booms. The Hampton Inn on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach is offering rooms at a $69 discounted rate for volunteers with the Sunshine and Shore Foundation.

See the original article here.