We're not perfect. And if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of gum in your hair, or your kids' hair, you know this is one accident that can be a real pain. Literally. But with a few tips to get gum out of hair, you can combat any bubbliciousness on your own with minimal candy-alopecia effects.
Separate the affected area to avoid spreading
One of the biggest problems with gum in hair is that any surrounding hair around ground zero can get stuck in it the longer you leave it alone. It's sticky fallout! Your best bet is to strike fast and isolate the area with the gum. Tie any affected strands into a small ponytail and then tie the rest of your hair back and put it up in a clip. And now that you're ready to treat the problem...
Do not use ice
People love to say ice can help get gum out of hair, but this is an old wives' tale that'll have your curls feeling the freezer burn. Ice makes gum hard which makes it more difficult to get out of hair. Theoretically, you could make the gum hard enough to shatter and brush out of your hair...but if you had access to the dry ice or liquid nitrogen you'd need to do so, you probably wouldn't be here. So unless you've got mad science at your disposal, your goal should be to warm up and soften the gum for the easiest removal without hair loss.
Try safe heat
Since ice makes gum harder and heat makes it softer, we want to go with a song of fire and no ice whatsoever. Try applying a little heat with a blow dryer to help loosen the gum up some. Once the gum is warmer, work with care to remove it without spreading it to other sections of your curls. And if you don't own a hairdryer, don't improvise! A heat gun, curling iron, or gas stovetop is no substitution. Make common sense decisions, because we're not making plans to expand the site into 'NaturallyBurned' anytime soon.
Use peanut butter!
One of the strangest sounding tips to get gum out of hair is also one that really works the best. Putting peanut butter in your hair can help get gum out because the oils will loosen up the hair while the teeny-tiny peanut grit breaks down the gum. The key is to use a peanut butter with a higher fat content than a lower fat once since it will work better. Sorry, health-nuts...pun intended.
Apply peanut butter with a toothbrush
While you could apply the peanut butter with your fingers and massage it in, it is more effective to use a toothbrush if you can. The bristles will help break up the hair and gum while also evenly distributing the oils of the peanut butter. To give you a hard surface to brush against, use the back of a spoon as a surface. Once you feel the gum loosening, pinch it closely and pull it out! And HEY. No licking your fingers. You have a job to do.
Use heavier oil
If the peanut butter isn't doing the trick, you can also go for something a little heavier in oil content. Applying cooking oil or olive oil can work most gum out. You want to make sure to completely saturate the area of the hair affected. If it seems loose enough to move, try gently brushing the gum up and out of the strands with a wide tooth comb. If it still isn't soft enough, add more oil to the hair and allow it a few minutes to sink into the gum so it can break down. Just make sure you're not using that time to beat yourself up! If it's your kids' hair though, well we could argue that they already feel bad enough, but you're entitled to a few 'I told you so's'.
- Cover the gum completely with either peanut butter or oil.
- Very gently spread the oil with either your fingers, the wash cloth or a toothbrush.
- Let the oil (or peanut butter) sit in the hair for a few minutes. This allows the oils to work and the gum to loosen from the hair.
- Using the toothbrush or cloth, gently move the gum out of the hair in downward strokes.
- Wash the hair as you normally would and style.
How about it, curlies?
Do you have any chewing gum horror stories? Get that bubble off your chest and share with us!