Yes, that is hair. Mine, mostly, mixed in with reddish and gray hair from a woman who got a haircut just before I did at Evolution Salon in Venice.

Why’s it in a box? I’m planning to ship it off to help clean up the Gulf oil spill! Hair is great at absorbing oil, which is why a San Francisco nonprofit called Matter of Trust has a program to collect cut hair, turning them into mats and “booms” (below; hair stuffed into nylon hose) to help clean up oil spills.

hair booms

And since the Gulf oil spill, Matter of Trust’s been really busy, with many salons and individuals signing up to help with the cleanup. I happened to already need a haircut anyway, so I asked Evolution salon if I could take my shorn locks home post-cut. They said sure — and added some more hair from the salon to the stash!

Once home, I signed up on Excess Access — the program Matter of Trust’s using to solicit and track donations — and got an e-mail a couple days later letting me know where to send my locks. All I had to do was put the hair in a tightly knotted plastic bag, box the bag up, and mail it off!

Matter of Trust’s actually overloaded right now. As of yesterday, the nonprofit is only taking hair donations from people who’ve already signed up and received the mailing addresses. That said, needs change constantly, so feel free to sign up to be notified of new hair requests. Or if you’re too shy to ask the salon for your hair back, do as Charity Tran at ExperienceLA did. She got her cut at Refuge salon in Silverlake, which already has a donation program set up with Matter of Trust.

By the way — I chopped four inches off my hair. That was a week ago. So far, no one has noticed.

Bottom photo courtesy of Matter of Trust

Also on MNN: Matter of Trust puts pet hair to good use

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