Social media users were intrigued by the plight of a woman named Tessica Brown, her decision to use gorilla glue instead of hairspray, and a harrowing, month-long quest to undo a seemingly permanent hairstyle.
It all started when Ms. Brown ran out of her usual Got2b Glued hairspray. In a pinch, she decided on another product that she had on hand to complete her hair: Gorilla Spray Adhesive, made by Gorilla Glue.
“Bad, bad, bad idea,” she said in a TikTok released last week that warned others not to make the same mistake.
After more than 15 washes, various treatments, and a trip to the emergency room, her hair still hadn’t moved.
“My hair has been this way for about a month – it’s not voluntary,” she said in the video.
Ms. Brown’s hair loss has intrigued internet users who have been invested in their predicament and virtually ingrained it, leaving messages of encouragement and ideas in the comments of their posts.
Her original video was viewed nearly 16 million times on TikTok and nearly two million times on Instagram, and was widely shared on other social platforms.
The situation has caused mutual shocks and sympathies over the days in Ms. Brown, who has come to be known as Gorilla Glue Girl, and various remedies have not helped.
“You have to keep us up to date. I’m too invested now. I’ll be on my way with you, “commented a user on her Instagram post.
Ms. Brown brought her followers through multiple 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, pushed it over her head, and rubbed angrily. She wiped off the foam that didn’t seem to have penetrated the glue layer and seemed close to tears.
She later posted on Instagram that a combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil that she left on her head overnight was an “epic mistake”.
“This is the life I am living right now,” she said in the video. “This is the life I think I have to live.”
Ms. Brown did not respond to interview requests on Sunday.
Some users suggested natural remedies, many with apple cider vinegar or various alcohol or acetone preparations. 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 hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced with our spray adhesive on her hair,” Gorilla Glue said in a statement on Sunday. It has been called a “unique situation” as the product should not be used “in or on hair” as it is considered permanent.
“We are delighted to see Miss Brown received medical treatment from her local medical facility on her latest video, and we wish her all the best,” it said.
On Saturday, Ms. Brown posted a video from St. Bernard Parish Hospital in Chalmette, La. 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 unclear whether the treatment worked.
Skin and hair experts have rated 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 came into her salon, she would likely recommend shaving their head.
“I wouldn’t even try to save it because it’s an industrial product that has other uses besides hair,” Ms. Milton said. “Women across the board, in all walks of life, should seek professional help when it comes to hair care.”
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 warmed in hot water could also work, he said, but added that solutions should be tested on a small area first.
“Obviously, Gorilla Glue is designed – and any superglue – to not be easily washed out with soap and water,” he said. “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.”
Glues like Gorilla Glue are not meant to be used on the skin, said Dr. Portela.
They can be irritating and cause rashes such as contact dermatitis. When all else fails, the best solution might be to go to a salon to have your head shaved.
“I think there would be a lot of fear that everyone would have if they were in this situation,” he said. “Now more than ever, we just have to have compassion for people and try to help them. And she deserves all the help she can get now because it’s a really unfortunate situation. “