How To Get Sap Out of Hair

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Getting tree sap to stick to your hair is a problem most people will never have to deal with, especially if you don’t know how to get sap out of hair. You don’t exactly need to hug trees to have an accident with sap. All it takes is for you to touch the trunk of a tree casually while you’re on a walk, then touch your hair with the same hand afterwards, and boom: your hair is covered in sap that you can’t remove.

If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, fear not. There are ways to get that annoying sap out of your hair, but it’s going to take a little work.

What is Sap, anyway?

Before you begin the removal process, you may be curious about what exactly the sap is or what it contains. Know your enemy and all that.

The sap of each tree is a little different, but most kinds consist of hormones, minerals, sugars, and nutrients. These sugars are very much what makes it so sticky: the sap from maple trees is literally used to make maple syrup, something else you definitely don’t want to stick to your hair.

How to remove sap

When you first realize that you have sap in your hair, your natural instinct may be to try to wash it with water or pick it up with your hands. This is rarely a good idea. It could end up spreading the sap more around your hair, giving you a larger surface to tackle.

You need to get the sap out before it dries, so gather the ingredients you’re going to use as quickly as possible.

Method 1: Oil

After your hair has already been stuck with sticky tree sap, the last thing you’ll want to do is add a little more oil, another substance known to clutter hair and be difficult to remove.

However, surprisingly, the oil does a great job of removing the sap by softening and loosening it. I recommend using baby oil if you can get your hands on something. If not, any other oil you have in the house will do, including cooking oils, such as vegetable oil. Apply a generous amount directly on the hair, massage it and leave it for at least ten minutes.

Unfortunately, just because the oil can pull out the sap, it doesn’t magically mean it won’t leave your hair oily afterwards. Be sure to wash your strands thoroughly with a strong shampoo when you’re done!

Method 2: Degreasers

Degreasers are chemicals designed to remove grease and other difficult stains. They are usually sold as sprays and clearly labeled as degreasing cleaners, making them slightly different from all-purpose cleaners.

It may sound pretty heavy to apply something designed for kitchen cabinets to your hair, but it’s certainly effective at getting the sap out. In addition, you do not have to use the variety of sprays.

Dish soap is classified as a degreaser, and you’re more likely to have some of these things around the house. It’s a little less effective than other degreasers, but if you’re lucky, it could do the job.

However, standard soap is not a great option. It might be worth using if you don’t have anything else available, just don’t expect it to be so easy to cut through the sap. A suitable degreaser is the best option.

Once you have the degreaser ready, it’s time to start the removal process. Since these substances are so strong, it is better to wear gloves or apply the product to a cloth first. Be careful not to use too much, a few jets/sprays will suffice.

Then, massage it into your hair. Soon you will feel the sap begin to loosen. Leave the product a few minutes (not long) before washing it.

Method 3: Peanut butter

Now, it’s time to move on to the most unusual substances. Although peanut butter is a less obvious choice than a cleanser that removes fat, it does an excellent job of removing the sap as it contains all those lovely oils.

Be sure to choose a soft peanut butter; if you opt for the crunchy one, you could end up settling the nuts in your hair and leave yourself the task of trying to get them out. It can also help to put peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds to make it softer (and therefore more effective).

Following, put on the peanut butter to the area of your hair with sap. Rub it so that the fat can start doing its job by loosening the sap, and then brush it with a comb or fingers. If you come across a group of sap, try dissolving it.

As you can imagine, peanut butter will certainly leave your hair messy and oily, so wash it well afterwards.

Method 4: Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is an oily substance made from eggs and other oils, so it stands to reason that it would be as effective as regular oils at fighting sap. Simply apply the mayonnaise to the region infected by the sap, massage it, and then brush it with your fingers or a comb.

You may have to repeat this process several times to get full effectiveness, but eventually, you should get the job done. Good luck!

Method 5: Baking soda

Baking soda is known as a DIY shampoo ingredient thanks to its cleansing properties. Fortunately for you, this everyday baking item can also help you pull out that annoying sap, or just about anything else that gets stuck in your locks, for that matter.

There are two main application options: you can create a paste by mixing baking soda with water, or you can apply the powder directly to your hair if you feel lazy.

I would recommend the second option, as the thicker consistency makes it easier to apply to the hair. To do this, add one tablespoon of baking soda to a small bowl of water and try to get a paste-like mixture. Then, apply it to your hair.

Leave it a few minutes before you start scrubbing or massaging it. At first, it may seem like baking soda doesn’t make much difference (especially if you apply it directly), but have faith.

After about five minutes, start brushing your hair with a wide-toothed comb (or fingers) to remove lumps. However, baking soda is very abrasive. If your hair is already dry, it may be best to avoid this method, or if you prefer, be sure to use a deep conditioning treatment afterwards.

Method 6: Alcohol

If you’ve already tried the more moderate techniques on this list and sap isn’t moving yet, it might be time to become more militant.

You can use alcohol in the form of alcohol high in alcohol (such as vodka), rubbing alcohol, or alcohol wipes. However, anything that contains alcohol as an ingredient should work technically, so you can search your closets to find something suitable. Even hand sanitizer will do!

Apply a small amount of the alcohol-based substance (about a tablespoon) to a cloth, then gently rub it on the worn part of your hair and brush it through your hair.

Immediately afterward, give your hair a nourishing wash with your most luxurious shampoo and conditioner to minimize hair damage.

Method 7: Acetone-based nail polish remover

Just as acetone-based nail polish remover does a good job of removing difficult substances like nail polish, it can also get rid of just about anything (including super glue). Why? Acetone is an organic solvent that can remove any soluble substance in an organic solvent.

Naturally, the higher the concentration of acetone in the nail polish remover, the more effective it will be at removing the sap.

Place a couple of drops of the nail polisher on a cloth and gently rub the sap from your hair to soften it. Try not to rub too hard. Once this seems to be doing the trick, brush your hair to remove the debris and wash your hair afterwards.

Summary

Tree sap can be difficult to remove from your hair, but it’s far from impossible, there’s no need to swear you’ll never climb a tree or go out into nature again! Just make sure you’re on high alert the next time you touch a tree, rest your head on one, or do what you did last time.

At least, you’ll do it after washing the mayonnaise, vodka, and anything else you’ve used to pull out the sap.

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