When Tessica Brown, a 40-year-old Louisiana teacher, ran out of Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray — a common holding spray used to hold hair into place or lay lace front wigs — she used an alternative to achieve a slicked-down ponytail style.
But, as she shared in a Feb. 3 TikTok, the product she chose, Gorilla Glue adhesive spray, was a “bad, bad, bad idea” and her tale of the ensuing struggle has gone viral around the world.
“Y’all look, my hair, it don’t move,” Tessica said as she ran her hand across her hair, which she claims has been stuck in place for a month. “You hear what I’m tellin’ you? It don’t move. I’ve washed my hair 15 times and it don’t move. “
Tessica’s initial video has gone massively viral, viewed over 22 million times on TikTok and countless more times on other platforms. The story has taken on a life of its own, with multiple trending conversations on Twitter, reactions from major celebrities and a GoFundMe.
So what do you need to know about Tessica Brown and Gorilla Glue? We break it all down.
First off: What is Gorilla Glue?
Gorilla Glue is an adhesive brand famous for its polyurethane formula that is described as “heavy-duty” and “industrial strength.” According to Gorilla Glue, its spray, which Brown used, “forms a clear, permanent bond that is moisture resistant and can be used on projects both indoors and out.”
To remove Gorilla Glue from skin, the company’s FAQ section states: “While still wet, Gorilla Spray Adhesive can be removed by wiping adhesive with a dry cloth, and then washing the area with soap and water. Once cured, rinse well with water.”
Responding to Tessica on Twitter, the company reiterated the advice, writing, “We are sorry to learn about your experience! We do not recommend using our products in hair as they are considered permanent. You can try soaking the affected area in warm, soapy water or applying rubbing alcohol to the area.”
However, for Tessica, this advice has been unsuccessful. In one video, she even aggressively rubs Pantene shampoo on her scalp to show that it did nothing to lift the adhesive. She became visibly upset as she wiped off the suds with a towel.
Efforts to remove have been ineffective
Tessica reached her tipping point over the weekend and visited an emergency room for help solving her Gorilla Glue problem. In an interview on the Kiss 92.5 FM show Roz & Mocha, Tessica described her experience saying healthcare workers attempted to use nail polish remover and saline water.
“It started to burn, she took the saline water and tried to cool it off. It burned so bad that my heart started beating too fast. She told me it looked like she could do it but it’s going to take at least 20 hours. I asked them can I go home? At least I’ll be home and be comfortable instead of laying in a hospital bed trying to get it all out,” she said.
After leaving, Tessica shared on TikTok that her sister attempted to use acetone wipes and saline water on her hair, but the experience left her in pain.
According to Gorilla Glue’s website, the adhesive is 100 percent waterproof and experts say that adding moisture to the glue will encourage a curing process, which will make the compounds form a stronger bond, making the hair even harder and the glue much more difficult to remove.
Gorilla Glue’s official response
On Monday, Gorilla Glue released an official statement regarding Tessica’s “unfortunate incident,” writing that they’re glad to see Tessica is receiving medical treatment and wish her the best.
“I’m glad mfs actually supporting her thru this. When I watched the video the second time it was hard to laugh cause I could tell shorty genuinely didn’t know she had put one of the worlds most powerful adhesives in her shit. I hope she recovers well,” Chance the Rapper wrote.
The View co-host Sunny Hostin also made a point that while many have made jokes at Tessica’s expense, the topic around the politics of Black women and hair is a much bigger issue.
So many are being dismissive of #gorillagluegirl. Given the history of how black women are targeted and still battle the pervasive belief that our natural hair is unprofessional, unkempt, or in some way “a statement” pls show her some grace and understanding. https://t.co/t6k8JHYKfv
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) February 6, 2021
Kenyette Tisha Brown agrees, posting on Facebook that the “situation is deeper than mistakenly using a product.”
“The situation with the young lady who mistakenly use Gorilla Glue industrial strength glue spray isn't about comedy,” Tisha Brown wrote. “It about the manifestation of Black women consistently being told that our hair is ugly and we need to go through extreme measures in order to make it presentable. What's really sad is she's probably going to lose all of her hair and it's never going to grow back.”
Then there’s the plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Obeng, who is offering his services for free. TMZ says that he’ll pay for Tessica’s flight to his Los Angeles, Calif. office and then perform a $12,500USD procedure.
There has been some backlash
Tessica has been called “opportunistic” because of these latest moves, which include signing on Mama June’s talent agent Gina Rodriguez as her manager and getting verified on Instagram.
“I’m just over the talk shows and the hate groups because they don’t know me. And there are some people out there saying oh well she did this for clout,” Tessica told TMZ of the backlash on Tuesday, also saying that she’s experienced headaches and tingling.
“I did this to get help. ... I never thought it was going to get this far.”
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