Frank Paganis of Pagani Hair Color & Design and Anthony Lullo of Anthony Lullo’s Hair Design have come up with a new use for their leftover hair clippings: absorbing oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Through a trade publication, Paganis and Lullo, who are business neighbors near the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard, heard about an organization called Matter of Trust (, which started a “Hair for Oil Spills” program.

Hair absorbs oil and if you put it in old nylons, you can attach it to booms which help stop the spreading slicks, they say.

“Hair clippings are something we create each day,” said Paganis, “so why not put it to good use?”

The two salons accumulated eight or nine garbage bags full of hair (preferably shampooed first) and mailed it on Monday. Larry Gembala, who owns the UPS store in North Riverside consented to ship them at no cost.

According to the Matter of Trust website, “every type of fur and fleece is fine. For hair (straight, curly, all colors, dyed, permed, straightened … all great) only head hair from humans, please! … All salons, groomers, fleece farmers, hairy individuals and pet owners can sign up to recycle hair.”

Paganis said the shipment represents about two weeks’ worth of clippings.

“If there’s a need for more, we’ll send more,” he said.

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