Pantene offers $10,000 to 8 salons that support the LGBTQ+ community

“We believe that everyone, no matter how you identify, should be able to walk into a salon feeling safe and accepted."
“Hair is a personal expression, and there is no norm.”
“Hair is a personal expression, and there is no norm.” Getty Images

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/ Source: TODAY
By Lindsay Lowe

Getting a new haircut can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, especially when your desired hairstyle doesn’t conform to so-called gender norms.

Many people in the LGBTQ+ community struggle to feel listened to and understood at salons, and at times come away with a haircut that doesn’t reflect their true gender identity.

“I’ve heard the story a hundred times of someone walking out of a salon with a more feminine pixie hair cut when asking for shaved on the sides and short on top,” Kristin Rankin, a Toronto-based hairstylist, said on Pantene UK's website. “That is called misgendering and it happens so regularly.”

Rankin founded the Dresscode Project in 2017 with the goal of making salons and barber shops a safer, more inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ+ community. And now, the Dresscode Project has partnered with Pantene in a contest to reward salons that embrace this philosophy.

“We believe that everyone, no matter how you identify, should be able to walk into a salon feeling safe and accepted,” Pantene wrote in an Instagram post. “To support salons looking to embrace being a safer and more inclusive space, we’re giving eight salon owners $10,000 each and additional salons an annual membership to @thedresscodeproject.”

People can nominate their favorite salon by posting a photo of the salon on Instagram, including @pantene and #pantenexdresscode and #contest in the caption, and explaining why the salon deserves to win the contest, which is timed with Pride Month.

"While this Pride month certainly feels different for many, Pantene believes that everyone should be able to comfortably express and feel like their true, most beautiful selves — and the brand is committed to supporting salons and the LGBTQ+ community during this difficult time to continue to enable this," Pantene said in an email to TODAY Style.

The contest will run through June 1, and winners will be announced in late June, according to the official rules on Pantene’s website.

“Hair is a personal expression, and there is no norm,” Rankin said in a video for Pantene. “And that’s in fact what we’re trying to fight against. Allowing someone to wear the hair the way they want to wear it because it’s how they feel is what we’re really trying to accomplish.”