We cherish them. We’re warmed by their playful smiles and all the clever ideas swirling around in our kids’ little heads. But what goes on with the hair that grows out of those heads — at times we can do without it! Such as …

Gum! Icky, sticky gum. The sweet stuff that starts off in the mouth but can end up everywhere. Once it entraps itself in hair, gum can seem almost impossible, even painful, to remove. For boys, the solution is simple: a fresh, new haircut! But for girls, it’s not so easy. Our favorite ammunition in this case are oil-based food products. Peanut butter is our favorite, with mayonnaise and veggie oil coming in a close second. These three, plus the warmth of your fingertips (you will have to massage the wad for a while, determining on the size of the culprit), melts the bonds of the gum and makes it easier to slip it from the hair. Follow up with a good shampooing, possibly two. Another bond-breaker is a soak in vinegar. While this method is a little inconvenient and smells unpleasant, it is less messy. And for the bits that just don’t want to let go, freeze them with ice cube until brittle in texture, then remove.

Oil-based foods work well on other hair catastrophes, too, which brings us to scenario number 2, non-water based paint stuck in hair. Here, olive oil is the winner. Rub it into paint-smeared hair for a good 20 minutes, then use a soft tooth brush to remove the paint globs. Olive oil also works magic on silly putty and rubbery, bristly toys that have gotten stuck hair. These frustrating culprits don’t dissolve like paint does under the influence of olive oil, but will detach from hair; use scissors then to break up the plastic mass before gently combing them out. Again, don’t forget the double shampoo afterward, then your child’s tresses will be soft and shiny.

“A detangling brush is great in sync with the conditioner because it is designed specifically to not pull or damage hair strands, lessening the discomfort of the detangling process.”

Tangles and static in our kids’ hair can be a real pain for a lot of us. The four products to keep on hand are a big bottle of cheap conditioner, a detangling brush, satin pillow cases, and unscented dryer sheets. Conditioner is pretty self-explanatory — and make it cheap because we don’t want our wee ones zipping through our good stuff! You will want to warm it a little before applying. A detangling brush is great in sync with the conditioner because it is designed specifically to not pull or damage hair strands, lessening the discomfort of the detangling process. And remember to start at the ends. The Cricket Ultra Smooth detangler, the Michel Mercier Ultimate Detangler, and the Wet Brush score as our top three brush brands. And when the tangles have hit the road, braiding your little princess’s hair and having her sleep on a satin pillow case at night will keep these nightmares from coming back. Oh, and don’t forget to pack those dryer sheets in your purse. A couple of quick swipes across that fuzzy static halo surrounding your little one’s crown make for reliable fix..

And last but not least … lice. The natural way to rid hair of lice without the use of pesticides is to use the smother/dissolve method. This method, while safe, can take a while, so don’t plan anything for the rest of the evening. After shampooing hair, coat the hair and the scalp completely with a mixture of one cup coconut oil and ten drops of 100% pure tea tree oil, then leave the hair under a plastic cap for three to five hours. This will suffocate the lice and their eggs. Then comb small sections of hair with a nit comb to remove all louse debris, before rinsing well with apple cider vinegar. This step dissolves any remaining exoskeletons. After a good refreshing shampoo, blow dry hair completely on high heat. Repeat this step one week later. Also launder all textiles your child may come in contact with to avoid any lice interaction repeats! Happy heads mean happy children, which equals happy love.

Photo: Poster is post World War II care of Wikipedia commons

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