Head Games
Photography by Erica Connors

When Karie Bennett, owner of Atelier Salon and Spa in San Jose, California, sent us this fun image and a question about how to recycle mannequin heads, we invited Ken Angermeier, Pivot Point International's vice president of global marketing and customer support, to provide an expert response:


As our salon approaches our seventh year anniversary, I was doing a "head count," looking at which mannequin heads can be recycled for next year's training classes. Some of them have snap-on hair so we can reuse the head part, but what ideas do you have to minimize doll heads in the landfills?

Karie Bennett

Atelier Salon and Spa

San Jose, California

Dear Karie,

That's a great question! Being socially conscious of how we take care of our planet is the right attitude to have these days. A growing number of environmental research studies show that our collective actions will have positive outcomes in sustaining our health, right down to the very air we breathe. In our line of work, there are a number of interesting ways to conserve or recycle what we use for the benefit of others, our planet and ourselves.

Here are just a few ways to provide great second-hand use to mannequin heads you might normally discard:

  • Donate the heads to your local police department or military base and suggest that they use them for target practice.
  • Use the heads for students to practice makeup application. If your salon doesn't support carry a makeup line, you can always donate them to a local school that has makeup curriculum.
  • Offer the heads to local retail stores for hat and jewelry display.
  • Practice shaving the short-haired head of a mannequin before shaving the head on a real person.
  • Check to see if high schools or special ward schools offer trade programs including cosmetology and donate the heads to these schools.

Pivot Point International is spearheading the green movement in cosmetology by introducing the Snap Cap. The Snap Cap is a revolutionary reusable, recyclable headform invented for perfecting cutting, coloring, texture or finishing techniques. The internationally patented Snap Cap saves space and gives you the highest quality hair without waste of traditional mannequins. Caps are available in a complete range of color levels, lengths and textures. This amazing product allows schools and salons to use the same headforms over and over again without having to worry what to do with their used heads. Click here to learn more.

Another bonus to using Pivot Point's Snap Caps? Its headform is made out of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). ABS is a recyclable material that can be ground down. A portion of the ground material can be reprocessed with fresh or virgin pellets of the same grade to produce new ABS headforms.

Thoughts on recycling hair:

  • Donate cut hair to Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization that creates mats made out of hair clippings to be used to soak up oil spills found in our environment. They are especially interested in receiving hair from salons and schools, and their website provides teachers with a demonstrative video on how to collect and send the hair to this innovative organization. Click here to learn more.
  • If the cut hair is at least 10 inches from tip to tip, and in a ponytail or braid, the hair can be donated to Locks of Love, another nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term hair loss from any diagnosis. Click here to learn more.

Got your own salon or spa management question? We'll work on getting you a great answer! Click here to send a question.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about