‘My hair, it don't move!’: Woman’s nightmare experience after applying Gorilla Glue to her locks

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Tessica Brown went viral after revealing that she had Gorilla Glue stuck in her hair for a month. (Photo: INSTAGRAM)
Tessica Brown went viral after revealing that she had Gorilla Glue stuck in her hair for a month. (Photo: INSTAGRAM)

What’s a girl to do when she runs out of her favourite hair product? In the case of Tessica Brown who lives near New Orleans, Louisiana, it was time to improvise.

Tessica (40) went viral on TikTok recently after revealing she used Gorilla Glue on her hair when she was in a hurry to leave the house and realised she’d run out of her regular hairspray.

Big mistake. Gorilla Glue is an industrial-strength adhesive used on wood, stone, foam, metal, ceramic, glass and other materials. But “other materials” don’t include hair. It was the beginning of a nightmare that would see Tessica travelling to the other side of America for medical treatment.

In the video, the mom-of-five revealed the glue had been stuck in her hair for a month.

“My hair, it don't move. You hear what I'm telling you? It don't move,” says Tessica in the video which has garnered over 30 million views. “I’ve washed my hair 15 times and it don’t move.”

READ MORE | The horror! Mom spends 20 hours removing 150 fuzzy toys from her daughter’s hair

In another video, the panic-stricken woman can be seen lathering shampoo on her head, which failed dismally to remove the substance.

Tessica ended up going to her local emergency room where nurses applied acetone to her hair, a decidedly unpleasant experience.

“It was burning to the point that my heart was beating too fast, so we had to stop,” she says.

The unhappy woman was sent home with sterile water and nail polish remover pads, but they too failed to work.

Then a silver lining appeared.  

READ MORE | The battle against hair loss: what to look out for and how to fix it

Dr Michael Obeng, a plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, offered to remove the adhesive with a special chemical treatment after seeing her conundrum online. The Good Samaritan also offered her the treatment, which usually costs $12 000 (R176 000), free of charge.

“I looked up the compound. The main active ingredient in Gorilla Glue is polyurethane,” the Ghanaian-born doctor told TMZ. “Then we figured out the science, how to break it down.

“We bought chemicals that have components to dissolve the solvent. We used medical-grade adhesive remover that we use in the operating room.”

Tessica, who’d been suffering extreme headaches due to the countless attempts to remove the glue, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her trip to LA. In just a few days she managed to raise $20 525 (R302 000), which was more than enough for a ticket.

During the four-hour-long procedure Dr Obeng sprayed on a mixture of medical-grade adhesive remover, a natural mix of aloe vera and olive oil and a small amount of acetone to break down the glue in her hair.

After he gently pulled her hair apart with medical tweezers and scissors, Tessica was finally able to comb her fingers through her hair again.

“I can scratch it!” Tessica says joyfully. “Now I wish I had waited for my sister to cut my ponytail off.”

Not surprisingly the mom’s scalp was inflamed, and she was given painkillers and steroids to reduce the swelling.

READ MORE | Hair to dye for! We take a look at the most popular dyeing trends and how they differ

Gorilla Glue recently released a statement regarding the incident.

"We are very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident that Miss Brown experienced using our spray adhesive on her hair,” the company tweeted.

“This is a unique situation because this product is not indicated for use in or on hair as it is considered permanent.”

Tessica has since debuted a striking new cropped look on Instagram. She says she never intended her story to go viral.

"I never was going to take this to social media. The reason I did was because I didn't know what else to do," an emotional Tessica told Entertainment Tonight.

“She’s been through a lot, and I hope that you guys will learn from Tessica’s injuries,” Dr Obeng says.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Read your favourite magazine in a convenient PDF form.
Read now