The phrase “beauty is pain” is an interesting one. It speaks to the inherent acknowledgement that in order to meet certain societal standards there is a level of suffering we must endure to become beautiful.
Now, while this may usually be bandied about in order to insert some levity into some seriously painful situations (bikini wax anyone?), as one TikToker recently discovered, the sentiment can also hit you when you least expect it. In this case, when her attempt to find a substitute for her regular hairspray went horribly wrong.
Tessica Brown went through an excruciatingly humbling experience when she realised she’d run out of her tried and true Got 2b Glued Blasting Freezing Spray and instead opted to use Gorilla Glue Spray (which FYI is literal glue she found laying around the house) to do the job instead.
The result of this experiment? Brown’s hair and edges may look laid, but upon closer inspection it’s clear that her bonnet has formed an impenetrable helmet of hair on her head:
“My hair has been like this for about a month now… it’s not by choice,” Brown explained to her followers.
“I used Gorilla Glue Spray. Bad, bad idea. Y’all look, my hair don’t move. IT. DON’T. MOVE. I’ve washed my hair 15 times and it don’t move. Stiff where?”
Now, whilst this situation initially drew attention from Internet trolls who clowned the TikToker for her mistake, as the beauty case has continued to develop, it has become clear that the horrific accident has had painful repercussions for Brown.
Recently, Brown released a YouTube clip showing her sister pouring acetone on the stiff bonnet in an attempt to break down the Gorilla Glue, which had since become increasingly uncomfortable over time, creating a scalp-tightening effect that was gradually getting worse:
"Imma try for it not to burn so much, so that's why we got the water soaking,” her sister explained. Brown winces as her sister tells her she’s about to wipe the acetone over her strands, intermittently applying a cold water compress to the area in an attempt to soothe the burning sensation.
“I’m gonna try to get it off the top first,” her sister said to the camera, “but I’m getting to her scalp where her part is… that might burn just letting you know.”
But just a few moments after she applied the chemical to her scalp, it becomes clear by the contorted expressions on Brown’s face she is in a considerable amount of pain, burying her face into a towel and shaking uncontrollably. The clip ends with Brown signaling to her sister that she needs her to stop, lunging for the coldwater compress, as she aggressively pats her head while her sister tries to cool down her scalp by fanning her with her hands.
Phew. We don’t know about you but that was hard viewing. Let this be a lesson to all of us that meeting beauty standards is never a good enough reason to compromise your health. ALWAYS read the label of any product that you intend for personal use on the body to ensure it is safe to use in that way - and that means staying away from the industrial strength stuff kids.
Update: After flying to L.A, renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Obeng successfully performed a 2-3 day procedure, estimating to a value of $12k worth of plastic surgery completely free of charge. Using a concoction of chemicals and naturally derived substances, Dr Obeng dissolved the remaining glue in Brown’s hair. While Brown may be sporting a close cropped ‘do now, once her scalp has healed (doctors have estimated a six week recovery time) she will be able to rock extensions and wigs again.
It appears Brown's story has inspired copycats, with one young woman recently taking to social media to share she 'accidentally' got gorilla glue stuck in her hair. Though wary internet trolls were quick to point out she'd set up a go-fund me immediately after, and suspicions have since arisen that this may in fact be a hoax case.
Further update: It’s now been about four months since Brown’s Gorilla Glue accident and subsequent medical scalp treatment. Thankfully, her strands have grown back healthy and she is now sporting a pretty adorable pixie cut. So it’s not all bad news for Tessica Brown. In fact, the TikToker has managed to capitalise on the traumatic event by starting her own haircare line called ‘TB Forever Hair’. She announced the release via her Instagram, saying, “I’m so excited to share with y’all my amazing hair product I’ve been working on for months that helped my hair grow and keeps my scalp healthy, “Forever Hair”. Ya all know how I love my hair products and I cannot wait for you to try them.”
The brand’s range is being kept small currently, with hair smoothing and growth stimulating products available to purchase (Forever Hold Hair Spritz and Growth Stimulating Oil), as well as a variety of apparel items that feature Brown’s iconic visage. We’re unsure if we can look forward to Brown shipping the US-based brand all the way to Australia just yet, but fingers crossed we can get our hands on some Gorilla Glue Girl merch in the not-too-distant future.
Before you reach for the Gorilla Glue, here are 7 glorious hairsprays that won't give you stiff, sticky strands.
Main image credit: @im_d_ollady
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.