Hopefully, you'll never need to know how to get chewing gum out of your hair, but it's always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Whether you're a passionate popper or have bubble-blowing accident-prone kids, a sticky situation could be just around the corner. A quick gust of wind or an unwanted gift left on the headrest of a chair can lead to gum stuck in your hair.
Scrambling to pull the gum out is probably just going to be it more stuck. Gum in your hair is one of those things, like leaving the restroom with tissue on your shoe or forgetting to remove the tag on a new top—it's bound to happen. This chewy substance is made from resin and rubber and gets sticky fast. The good news is that you probably have something stashed away in the kitchen to get that gum out of your hair.
Cooking oil and chewing gum are both hydrophobic. When combined with water, the two substances stay separate. So when you use cooking oil to get gum out of your hair, the oil and gum stick together and pull away from your luscious locks.
Even the American Academy of Dermatology recommends coconut or vegetable oil for removing gum, particularly in your eyebrows or eyelashes.
Give the gum the cold shoulder with an ice pack. Ice makes the gum stiffer and easier to remove. Plus, it's less messy if you're not thrilled about getting your hands and hair greasy. Freezing the gum is most effective when there's just a small piece. Larger pieces may take multiple attempts and additional remedies.
Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 5 to 15 minutes. However, if you need to get on with your day, you might find it easier to tie your hair up in a cloth with a few ice cubes.
Chemical solvents like vinegar are some of the most effective options for breaking down chewing gum stuck in your hair. The chemicals break down the polymers within the gum to soften it. If the gum is stuck near the end of your hair, you can soak it in a cup of vinegar. If it's further up, use a cloth to douse the area, then wait until it's softened.
Just don't forget to have a quick shampoo—nobody wants to smell like a pickle!
If panicking about having gum stuck in your hair has drained you of energy, whip up a quick PB sandwich. Just be sure to save some for this next trick. Peanut butter is naturally high in oil and fats, making it a good option for removing gum.
Use your finger or an old toothbrush to dab on the spread. It will stick to the gum rather than the hair and make the hair feel less sticky. You can then tease the gum out with a comb and head for a shower.
Note: If you're a crunchy peanut butter fan, it might be worth switching to smooth for this one.
Toothpaste is the ultimate multi-purpose home remedy. Between brightening smiles and drying out zits, it's also a solution for getting chewing gum out of your hair. Since everyone has toothpaste, there'll be smiles all around in no time.
All you have to do is apply the paste generously to the gum and wait for it to harden. Then, use a comb to gently remove the wad.
It's probably not your favorite shampoo option, but mayonnaise contains oils that can remove the stickiness in your hair. Spread the mayo over the gum and wait for the oil to do its magic. Once the gum is gone, head for a shower and pretend it never happened...
What if you're out and about? That Vaseline at the bottom of your bag could be your saving grace. Petroleum jellies are made of wax and mineral oils, making them ideal for loosening the sticky composition of the gum.
Duck into a restroom and coat the hair and gum in Vaseline, or ask a friend to do it for you. Once the oils have set in, you should be able to remove the gum bit by bit.
Whether you're a Coca-Cola connoisseur, a Pepsi fiend, or impartial to branded colas, your favorite drink contains phosphoric acid that can remove gum from your hair. The acid will strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it too dry for the gum to stick to.
Soak the hair in a cup of cola, or dab the hair if it's further up the head. After a few minutes, you should be able to remove the gum. Don't forget to restore your hair's oils with a deep conditioner or hair mask afterward.
If you're not so keen on pantry cupboard remedies, conditioners sometimes do the trick. Conditioner is oily and creamy and can dry out the gum, stiffening it enough for you to remove it. Add a good dollop to your dry hair, wait for the gum to stiffen, then use a comb to slide it out before heading to the shower.
Sometimes things call for drastic measures. If you're really struggling to get gum out of your hair, or these home remedies feel like they're making it worse rather than better, it might be worth speaking to your hairdresser. They'll be able to remove the gum with a few snips or a new hairstyle and get you back to feeling great.