May 6, 2010 in City

Hair from Spokane salon to help oil spill cleanup

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Annie Grieve, 40, eyes the exact length to trim Theresa Lystad’s hair at Green Salon and Day Spa in downtown Spokane. The salon gathers hair to donate to Matter of Trust, a nonprofit that stuffs used nylons to create hair mats to soak up oil spills.
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Watch a video about Matter of Trust’s project to gather hair and create containment booms and mats.

Visit www.greensalonand and

A Spokane day spa has found a way to make you not only look good but feel good about the environment, too. Hair trimmings gathered at Green Salon and Day Spa, 227 W. Riverside Ave., will be used to help clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

When it comes to oil, hair and fur are natural soaker-uppers. But most hair salons and pet groomers just throw their clippings away.

Not Green Salon.

Since opening last August, co-owners Heidi Crow, Cheryl Lystad and Annie Grieve have boxed up customers’ fallen locks and sent them to Matter of Trust, a San Francisco nonprofit founded by Lisa Gautier.

Gautier transforms the hair and donated nylons into mats and floating booms to clean and contain some of the thousands of oil spills that occur each year.

Since coming up with the idea in 2000, Gautier has collected thousands of pounds of hair from a network of hair salons and pet groomers throughout the nation.

Green Salon ships – at its own expense – about 35 pounds of clippings every four to six months, said Grieve, “and that’s just with one person cutting hair.”

Grieve, who runs the hairstyling end of the operation, said recycling hair is just part of the salon’s environmental efforts. She uses only Earth-friendly botanical products, such as low ammonia hair color without sulfates, parabens or phthalates.

You can’t get a permanent at the Green Salon, but you can get sustainable.

“We recycle everything,” said Crow, a massage therapist, who uses “locally produced massage oils made with natural ingredients.”

Other Spokane salons are taking steps to protect the environment, Crow said, but she and Grieve don’t know of any others recycling hair.

Other salons wanting to take up the cause can register with Matter of Trust. Green Salon is willing to ship clippings for other salons, as long as they call ahead. Donations of old nylons also are needed.

“It’s so powerful what we as an industry can do to change the world,” Grieve said.

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