Social media users have been enthralled by the plight of a woman named Tessica Brown, her decision to use Gorilla Glue instead of hairspray, and a heartbreaking month-long quest to undo a seemingly permanent hairstyle.
It all started when Ms. Brown ran out of her usual hairspray, Got2b Glued. In a pinch, she chose to use another product she had on hand to finish her hair: Gorilla Spray Adhesive, made by Gorilla Glue.
“Bad, bad, bad idea,” she said in a TikTok published last week who warned others against the same mistake.
After more than 15 washes, various treatments and a trip to the emergency room, her hair still hadn’t budged.
“My hair has been like this for about a month now – it’s not by choice,” she says in the video.
Ms Brown’s hair accident intrigued netizens who invested in her predicament and grounded her virtually, leaving messages of encouragement and ideas in the comment sections of her posts.
Her original video has been viewed nearly 16 million times on TikTok and nearly two million times on Instagram, and has been shared widely on other social platforms.
The situation sparked some gnashing of teeth and sympathy for Ms Brown, who has come to be known as Gorilla Glue Girl, as the days go by and various remedies have not helped.
“You have to keep us posted. I’m too invested now. I’m going on a trip with you, ”one user commented under his Instagram post.
Ms. Brown has brought her followers with her through several attempts to “get rid of that ponytail forever,” as she described it on Instagram.
In a second video, Ms Brown demonstrated an attempt to wash it off: she filled her palm with a generous amount of shampoo, smeared it on her head, and rubbed furiously. She wiped off the foam, which didn’t seem to have penetrated the layer of glue and seemed to be on the verge of tears.
She then posted on Instagram that a combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil that she left on her head overnight was an ‘epic failure’.
“That’s the life I’m living right now,” she says in the video. “This is the life I guess I’m going to have to live.”
Ms Brown did not respond to interview requests on Sunday.
Some users have suggested natural remedies, many of which involved apple cider vinegar or various preparations of rubbing alcohol or acetone. A woman who identified herself as a licensed stylist suggested applying glycerin to her hair, letting it sit for about 30 minutes, and then massaging it to loosen the glue.
“We are very sorry to learn of the unfortunate incident Miss Brown experienced using our spray adhesive on her hair,” Gorilla Glue said in a statement Sunday. He called what happened a “unique situation” because the product was not intended for use “in or on the hair” because it is considered permanent.
“We are happy to see in her recent video that Miss Brown has received medical treatment from her local medical facility and wish her the best,” he said.
On Saturday, Ms Brown posted a video from the St. Bernard Parish Hospital in Chalmette, Louisiana, and shared a photo of herself on a hospital bed.
A later video showed another woman, a TikTok user named Juanita Brown, applying acetone and sterile water to Ms Brown’s head. It was not known if the treatment was working.
Skin and hair experts have weighed in on TikTok and other social media platforms with suggestions.
Tierra Milton, the owner of She and Her Hair Studio on Staten Island, said if someone in Ms Brown’s predicament walked into her salon, she would likely recommend that she shave her head.
“I wouldn’t even try to get it back because we are talking about an industrial product that is used for purposes other than hair,” Ms. Milton said. “Women of all walks of life, all walks of life, should seek professional help when it comes to hair care regimens.”
She noted that Gorilla Glue is not sold in beauty stores.
Dr Dustin Portela, a dermatologist, suggested starting with acetone to break down the glue, or using Goo Gone, a product that helps remove bandages and adhesives. Coconut oil, sunflower oil or petroleum jelly heated in hot water might also work, he said, but added that the solutions would need to be tested on a small area first.
“Obviously, Gorilla Glue is designed – and any super glue – not to wash off easily with soap and water,” he says. “They formulate the product with bonds to withstand the most common types of things, so I knew she was going to have an incredibly difficult time.”
Adhesives like Gorilla Glue are not intended for use on the skin, Dr Portela said.
They can be irritating and cause rashes like contact dermatitis. If all else fails, he says, going to a salon to have your head shaved might be the best solution.
“I think there would be a lot of anxiety that anyone would have if they were in this situation,” he said. “Now more than ever, we just need to have compassion on people and try to help them. And she deserves all the help she can get now because it’s a really unfortunate situation.