Whether you’re a craftsman who had a very bad day at work or a child who had a very fun day at school, getting glue stuck in your hair eventually loses its whimsy and becomes a problem. Even before you try to remove it, glue can cause scalp pain and damage hair just as it dries and hardens on your head.
As a result, removing glue from hair is necessary. You may be wondering, however, what the best way to go about removing the glue is.
There are commercial products available, such as bond removers, which are designed for this specific purpose, but those options are both expensive, harsh to the point of being caustic, and typically aimed at individuals who are living in a waking nightmare involving botched hair extensions who are willing to try anything.
Try out these less caustic methods first. They’re cheaper, safer, and much gentler, which is something you’ll likely welcome if you’re currently reading this with a sticky scalp.
If the glue situation is bad, you may want to go into a salon to get professional recommendations and help to remove the glue. If the glue is at the bottom of your hair, you may want to consider just cutting it away if none of these methods work. Think of it as a fun reason to give a new hairstyle a chance.
Don't simply start to rip away the glue, as this can be painful and damage your hair.
1. Shampoo and Conditioner
The safest and easiest way to remove glue from your hair is by using shampoo and conditioner. These are both already in your bathroom, making them an easy and cost-effective first method of glue removal to try.
To do so, take a bath or shower and apply a generous amount of shampoo to your hair. Use more than you usually would, and make sure to really rub it in.
Unlike your usual shower routine where you’re likely quite vigorous and quick with frothing up your shampoo and conditioner, be patient and gentle, especially if you’re an adult trying to shampoo glue off of a child.
If the glue is even slightly solidified, scrubbing too hard can be painful and damage the scalp. Aim for thoroughness, not quickness, when it comes to lathering up.
Let the shampoo sit on the hair for a bit before rinsing it off. This will give the shampoo time to do its job for the day and loosen the glue instead of just cleaning your hair.
After the shampoo has sat for a bit, rinse down the shampoo with water and remove the excess water from your hair. You can now apply conditioner to your hair and leave it on for five minutes. Again, give it time to soak in so that it will do more against the glue.
You should now rinse your hair out with water. When your hair is dry, comb it out, and determine if there is still glue in your hair. If you are still finding glue, repeat the process until all the glue is gone, or try one of the other glue removal methods mentioned below.
2. Conditioner and a Comb
You can easily remove dried glue on your hair by applying a small amount of conditioner on the area that contains the glue and combing it down with a narrow-toothed comb.
Gently comb from the scalp to the hair ends. As you begin to make headway and free some strands, use a clip to separate these combed sections to prevent them from getting re-stuck on any glue that’s still present.
Be patient. If you go too fast, you could rip your hair and make it a quite painful process to get the glue out. With most of the glue removal options, going slow is your best bet to thoroughly remove the glue without hurting yourself in the process.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
You can also soften the glue on your hair with mild rubbing alcohol. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the affected area and allow the alcohol to sink into the glue for five to ten minutes, depending on how thick, dried, and matted it has become.
As the alcohol loosens the glue slightly, gently massage the affected spot with your finger until it is feasible to use a wide-toothed comb to remove the glue. Comb out as much glue as you can, and then switch to a narrow-toothed comb to remove the stubborn pieces.
Alcohol works to break down bonding chemicals found in hair glue, making it a great option to remove glue from extensions.
If you plan on using rubbing alcohol, look for one that is 99% isopropyl alcohol. That may be a little harsh for some people, but should be effective. Look for something with 70% alcohol, do not use straight alcohol.
After you apply the rubbing alcohol to the area, use a fine tooth comb. Slowly use it to get the glue out. Do not apply rubbing alcohol to your whole head at once. Instead, work on one section at a time. The glue should slide right out of your hair when you use the comb.
Instead of pouring the rubbing alcohol right on your head, do what you did with the acetone and instead dunk a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and then apply it to your skin. This will help to loosen it.
You could also try to spray a fine mist of the rubbing alcohol around the portions of your hair with glue to make it slightly moist. Let the alcohol sit on your hair for about five minutes before combing through it with a fine-toothed comb.
4. Dishwashing Soap
Dishwashing soap is a particularly helpful option for hair glue removal if you are having trouble with bonding glue from a mishap with hair extensions. If bonding remover products and simple shampoo have already failed you, a thorough soaking with dishwashing soap may finally begin to loosen the hardened glue.
Make sure to use enough to really soak into your scalp. After you apply the dishwashing soap to your scalp, let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out and using a comb to help brush out the bits of glue that have come loose.
After this, take a regular shower. Be gentle with your hair, though, in case there are any bits of glue remaining that you missed when using the dishwashing soap and the comb earlier.
Can I Use Acetone?
If none of these methods work, you may be wondering if you could use acetone as hair glue remover. The answer is yes, you can. Acetone is often used by people trying to remove glue from hair extensions and can be a bit more caustic than the previously mentioned methods of hair glue removal.
If you are using acetone to remove glue from your hair, soak a cotton ball in acetone and then hold it to the affected area. Hold it there for a few minutes to give it time to break the glue up.
Afterward, thoroughly wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. You should gently comb it out after. Like many of these before and the aforementioned methods, acetone is something many people already have in their homes.
Most nail polish removers actually contain acetone and acetone can also be used to remove some stains as well, making it a great thing to have around if for some reason you don't already.
Will Vaseline Work to Remove Glue from Hair?
Vaseline is a safe method to remove hair glue as well, and a cheap one too. It does not have any bad effects on people like some other methods of glue removal will. It is, however, not always as effective as some of the previously mentioned methods of glue removal. Vaseline can also feel stick on your scalp so it may not be too pleasant.
To use Vaseline to remove glue, apply it to the necessary areas. You should let it sit for a while before brushing your hair out gently and slowly with a comb. After you have finished doing this, take a shower, using both shampoo and conditioner.
Be gentle and thorough when you wash your hair to get out any remaining bits of glue, and the vaseline, without hurting yourself in the process.
Can Olive Oil Remove Hair Glue?
Many different types of oil, including olive oil, can be used to remove hair glue. Oils are actually a great starting point in many instances because they are not caustic and are easy on your hair and skin. Despite feeling a little sticky at first, they do not have bad side effects.
You should douse your scalp with the oil. After you have done so, wrap it with a towel or some plastic to leave the oil in and permeating your scalp. After around 20 minutes, you can take off the towel or plastic.
It is now time to thoroughly wash your hair. You should use both soap and shampoo. To be extra sure you have gotten rid of all of the glue, take a comb and gently brush through your hair to make sure all the glue bits have been removed.
You may want to wash your hair a second time to ensure all the glue has been removed.
Can Baby Oil Remove Hair Glue?
Many different types of oil, including baby oil, can be used to remove hair glue. As previously mentioned, oils are a great point to start in your hair glue removal journey because they are easier on your hair and skin than some removal methods and are not caustic, despite feeling a little sticky at first.
To begin this glue removal method, pour a large amount of baby oil onto your scalp. You will need to let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Put a towel or other kind of wrapping device over your head to lock the oil in place. After it has thoroughly soaked in, remove the towel or other wrapping device that you decided to use.
Like with olive oil, it is now time to wash your hair. Wash it well, then use a fine-tooth comb to get all of the glue out of your hair. You may want to wash your hair a second time after you finish using the comb to ensure your hair is clean and looking its best, in addition to being glue free.
Can Avocado Oil Remove Hair Glue?
Avocado oil is one of the many types of oils that can be used as hair glue remover. Like with olive oil and baby oil, avocado oil is a great option to remove glue from your hair because it is easier on your hair and skin than something like rubbing alcohol and will smell better. While it may feel a little sticky and odd at first to pour avocado oil on your head, it's less caustic than other options and very effective.
To begin, pour a large amount of avocado oil on your head. Do not be shy about this. You may want to stand in the shower while you do this step in case anything drips off of you. Once you have lathered up, wrap your head so the oil stays on it for 15 to 20 minutes.
After around 15 to 20 minutes, unwrap your head. It is now time to give it a thorough washing. Use both shampoo and conditioner. You may also find it necessary to use a comb in order to brush out the remaining bits of glue.
After you have done this, you may want to wash your hair a second time both to look for any remaining glue bits and to get it nice and clean again.
Nobody wants glue in their hair but if you find yourself in that situation, any of these methods will help you get rid of the problem.
Remove Glue From Hair FAQ
How do you get dried super glue out of your hair?
Super glue is designed to create a firm bond and it dries very hard. When you get superglue somewhere it's not supposed to be, like your hair, these features of the glue are no longer attractive.
Soak a cotton ball, or several, with acetone. This is a main ingredient in some nail polish removers, so if you have an acetone-heavy polish remover you can use this instead.
Place the wet cotton balls on the glue. Hold it there for about four minutes.
Gently comb through your affected hair, first with your fingers and then with a comb to remove the dried super glue.
How do you remove bonding glue from hair extensions?
Bonding glue that's designed to be glued to hair can be very difficult to remove from hair. You want to remove all the glue from your hair and extensions after every use.
Get a piece of cloth that you can destroy and a straightening iron for hair. Let it heat up and then cover the section of hair that has glue on with the clothing, folding the piece of cloth around the hair.
Close the hair straightener around the cloth and hold it there for about three minutes. The glue will start to melt and it will seep into the cloth.
Remove the cloth, which will have glue on it, and use a second clean cloth to wipe away the glue remaining on the hair. You can use a little rubbing alcohol to remove any stubborn glue that doesn't want to come off.
How long does it take to get glue out of hair?
Removing glue from hair is not a quick process. Depending on how much hair is affected and how difficult the glue is to remove, you should be able to get the glue out of your hair in about an hour or less.
How do you remove wig glue from natural hair?
There are several household products that can remove wig glue from your natural hair. Any type of cooking oil can be applied directly to the glue to soften it.
Wipe the oil and glue away with a clean, damp cloth. Stubborn glue can be further removed with vinegar.
What shampoo gets rid of glue in hair?
Shampoos that are specifically designed to remove glue from hair are available. However, any clarifying shampoo will work just as well as glue-removing shampoos.
Hannah Madans Welk is a writer at the Los Angeles Business Journal where she covers real estate. Prior to joining the Business Journal, Welk was an Associate Editor of doityourself.com, where she still contributes as a freelance writer, in addition to reporting for other publications. Welk has also held roles as a business writer at the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. In 2014, Welk graduated from the University of Southern California magna cum laude, with university and departmental honors. She received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Print and Digital Journalism and East Asian Languages and Cultures, and worked as deputy editor at the university news site Neon Tommy.
KC Morgan has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. Over the last decade, KC has published thousands of articles and blog posts that have been read by millions.
KC has written how-to articles, guides, and tutorials on different DIY ideas and home improvement projects. KC doesn&rsquo;t just write about DIY projects, she does them in her spare time too. KC shares her DIY passion by creating original articles, so others can pursue their own home improvement goals and ideas too.
KC&rsquo;s articles have appeared in Popular Mechanics, and have been featured on DIY guru Bob Vila&rsquo;s website. KC has written in-depth DIY articles for Sears.com and Overstock.com, as well as dozens of other websites. KC combines research and hands-on practice to provide useful tips and techniques for all sorts of DIY projects so that anyone can find ways to improve their own home and get the living space they want. KC works on her home every single day to learn new cleaning hacks, find DIY new projects, and discover new techniques to share with readers.
When she&rsquo;s not writing or DIYing, KC enjoys watching college basketball, playing with her cats, and experimenting with new cupcake recipes.