Kids seem to have an innate ability to get sticky foods lodged in their hair, making it difficult to remove the mess without sacrificing their locks. Fruit snacks, hard candy and chocolate can all present problems, but bubble gum seems to be the most difficult to remove. Most methods of extricating gum from a child’s hair will also work with other stubborn foods. Don’t immediately reach for the scissors in defeat; there are a number of ways to repair these sticky situations that don’t involve an embarrassing home trim or an expensive trip to the salon. You’re bound to have at least one of these remedies tucked in the back of your pantry, so before you rush out the door, head for the kitchen. If you’re dealing with any length of hair beyond a short boy cut, you will want to separate and secure any loose hair away from the gum or candy before beginning your removal efforts. The last thing you will want to do is make matters worse by getting more hair stuck in the wad of chewed gum.
The trick to making peanut butter gum removal work is to opt for the creamy variety over crunchy brands. This remedy is not limited to peanut butter; any nut butter will work. The oil is what breaks down the gum so the higher the oil content, the better. If you happen to have an all-natural brand, the oil that separates at the top of the jar is your best bet. Use plenty of peanut butter and a toothbrush that you don’t mind sacrificing to work it into the wad of gum. Eventually, the gum will start to breakdown and will be easier to pick out of the hair. Keep adding more peanut butter as needed. Using a fine tooth comb, gently comb through the gum until it’s gone. When the gum is out, a thorough shampooing will help get rid of the residual oils.
If you don’t keep peanut or tree nut products in your pantry, any oil will offer similar results using the same process. Liberal amounts of vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil or even mayonnaise can be effective alternatives, just be sure to shampoo your child’s hair thoroughly when the gum is removed.
A handful of ice cubes can be an effective remedy against sticky foods lodged in your child’s hair, especially soft items like chewing gum or fruit snacks. Using a towel to soak up the melted ice, hold the ice cube against the wad of gum. The gum will begin to freeze, making it possible to break the gum apart. Use a comb to get the last bits of frozen gum out.
While it’s not advised to take the task of cutting stubborn, sticky foods out of your child’s hair into your own hands if you’re not confident in your abilities, a slight trim by a steady hand should be fine. For aesthetic purposes, it’s best to trim out only what can’t be removed with traditional remedies and let a professional do the shaping. Even if a stylist can’t salvage accumulated length, she can ensure that the style itself is an attractive one.
While it may be the most common, gum isn’t always the culprit when it comes to edible items that end up hopelessly tangled into kids’ hair. For hard candy and lollipops, warm, running water will be the safest and most effective solution. Soaking the candy in warm water will help to dissolve the sugar and release it from the tresses. Once the candy itself is removed, shampoo and detangle with warm water to remove any residual sugars. For chocolate and other soft, syrupy foods, a warm washcloth should do the trick if bath time isn’t an option.