Beacon Falls salons aid oil spill relief


All those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be hoping the heat wave that swept the Northeast earlier this month makes its way back around and gets thermometers rising high again—at least high enough for people to cut their hair.

In an attempt to contribute to the ongoing relief efforts, Beacon Falls salon owners have joined together to collect cut hair and nylons to be sent to various locations along the Gulf Coast.

A San Francisco non-profit organization called Matter of Trust, makes “booms” out of large amounts of hair and fur stuffed inside of nylons. The booms are then laid on the water’s surface to sop up and absorb the oil that runs through them.

Local business owners are contributing materials for oil boons like the one above being laid by workers in the Gulf of Mexico.

The peculiar technique has been used in several similar situations with vast success. Human hair and animal fur attract and catch grease and oil very well; in fact, according to Matter of Trust, one pound of hair can collect a pint of oil and be reused nearly 100 times.

Matter of Trust’s work was first noticed by Citizens for Tomorrow’s Downtown Chairman Rick Cherhoniak. Cherhoniak, along with his wife Irina, owns Salon Luxera, and the pair was looking for a way to help when they came across the organization.

“The news impacts everyone,” Cherhoniak said. “I’m sure the cleanup will be going on for years and years, but my wife and I were hoping there was something we could do right now, and we came across this website. We took a look at the work they had done previously and we decided it was something we could be a part of.”

Cherhoniak decided to make it a town-wide matter and contacted the other three Beacon Falls salons, Kellie’s Kuts, New You Salon and Soho Salon. He found the other owners were as eager to help as he was.

“Every little bit helps,” Karan Salazar, owner of Soho Salon said. “When we found out we could help, we were very happy. It’s really something that goes a long way and really doesn’t take much effort, and we were glad to do it.”

The businesses are usually competitors but are looking past competition and toward the greater good for the people and wildlife of the Gulf Coast.

“I think it’s awesome,” Kellie Perry, owner of Kellie’s Kuts said. “It’s kind of like the hometown feeling where everyone bands together to help out for this particular cause.”

The hair collection got a jump-start beginning at the same time as the heat wave that passed through the area and sent local citizens flocking to the salons to trim their locks.

“We’ve gotten lucky,” Kim Perez, owner of New You Salon said. “With the heat wave, people have been coming in much more often to keep up with their clipper cuts and keep it short because it’s been so hot.”

The salons, at this point, have all filled or exceeded full garbage cans packed with hair. When Cherhoniak receives word from members of the Matter of Trust organization, he will go around to all the salons and gather and combine the hair to be shipped to a location close to the affected areas.

The salons are asking local citizens to aid in the cause as well. There is an ongoing nylon drive at Natural Beauty,  a nail salon located on North Main Street in Beacon Falls, where people can drop off nylons during business hours.

“Anyone that can help is encouraged to,” said Cherhoniak. “At this point, with things the way they are, it’s just the right thing to do.”

The salon owners are proud to help out with the horrific situation the oil spill has become.

“It means a lot to help out this cause,” Salazar said. “To help stop something that is destroying our wildlife, even if it’s just a little way, a small difference, it’s great to do it.”

“It’s so sad to see what they are going through right now,” Perry added. “Someone asked me to help, and I’m really proud that I can, I think we should all help as much as possible.”