Nearly a month after an explosion on the drilling rig Deep Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico, oil is continuing to spill into the gulf at an alarming rate. Containment booms are being set in place to control the spread of the oil slick and other methods are being pursued by BP and people across the country.

Even thousands of miles away businesses and people in the Rio Rancho area are finding ways to help clean up the oil slick in the gulf, including Liz Gingerich, a hair stylist at Divinity Salon and Spa.

“I was talking about (the oil spill) with a client … and I said ‘somebody should do something about it,’ … .and my client looked at me and said, ‘you should do something about it,’ and I said, ‘you know you’re right, I should.’ I’ve been watching the news about the oil spill and I remembered the Alaskan oil spill in 1989 … feeling so sad seeing all of those little, oil-covered animals up there,” Gingerich said about her memories of the Exxon Valdez spill when she was a child. Looking back on that, she wanted to do her share to help.

Having previous knowledge that hair has been used to clean up oil spills in the past; she decided to do some research online and came across a California-based nonprofit organization that was collecting hair to help with the clean up.

“I looked up (how to) donate hair for oil spills and Matter of Trust came up,” said Gingerich. “All you have to do is sign up on their website and then they send you an address where you send the hair.” Quickly gaining national recognition, Matter of Trust is receiving donations from people coast to coast.

Around the same time, in a salon chair at Attractions Hair Salon, salon owner Jan Ricar, hair stylist Linda Hawrey, and a client, Judy Durzo, were in the midst of planning a similar donation.

“We decided that we would (try to) get everyone in Rio Rancho, all the salons, to donate their hair — we would gladly come to pick it up or they can drop it off,” explained Hawrey. “This way we could have a nice, big community donation instead of a (small one).”

A few clippings from each salon in the city now can grow to be a big help in the long-run.

“Even if the other salons put a donation bucket in the front (of their salon), that would be a great way to do it,” added Ricar. “We’re just trying to get the ball rolling … and figure out how to get (the hair) to the coast. And once they use some it they’re going to throw that away and then start again — they’re going to need a lot of it.”

But all that loose hair floating in the Gulf of Mexico may prove a bit hairy, right? That’s why the organization also is collecting nylon stockings — black, nude, hot pink and even those with runs in them — to create ‘hair booms.’ Much like the larger containment booms BP is using to the contain the spill, these ‘hair booms’ are created using nylon stockings filled with the hair or fur donations collected by Matter of Trust. Each boom, which looks like a giant sausage, is then wrapped in mesh and dispersed to different areas of the gulf that require containment or clean up. According to the website,, hair will naturally absorb oil and has been used to help clean up oil spills and clean oil-covered animals.

“I thought this idea of making the booms to collect oil, using fur and hair and natural fibers, was a very, very cool idea,” said Durzo, a board member for Albuquerque nonprofit, Cause for Paws, and Wildlife Rescue of NM. “…And we figured we all had fur and hair.”

Animals produce hair at a much faster rate than humans, and using it as a renewable resource sounded perfect for Crystal McClernon, president of Enchantment Pet Resort & Spa.

“One of the things that we’re always looking at is, ‘what do we have to put in the trash?’ It was kind of a no brainer,” said McClernon. “Here was something that can be used that we’re just going to throw away, there’s no reason to do that.”

With animals coming in and out of the doors of the resort every day, McClernon has been sending boxes to Matter of Trust for nearly two weeks. Depending on the size of the animals groomed, the resort has been able to send five boxes full of animal hair. But that doesn’t mean you have to bring your dog or cat in to be shaved to contribute to the cause.

Full story here.