Getting paint in your hair is definitely frustrating. Luckily, some solutions for removing paint don’t involve scissors. Whether you’ve spilled acrylic, latex or oil-based paint, the methods to remove each type are similar. You’ll need oil, shampoo and a comb, and in extreme cases, paint thinner or turpentine.
If you’ve spilled oil-based paint on your hair, oil is most effective at removing the paint. Olive oil is a good first choice and will also condition your hair. If olive oil is not available, baby oil or vegetable oil may do the trick.
To remove the paint, rub oil into your hair in the areas affected. This will gradually soften the paint, allowing it to flake off more easily. You might also use a fine-toothed comb to work the paint out of the hair. Once most of it is out, rinse your hair with water and dry it. If paint remains, repeat the process. Follow with a shampoo wash to get rid of the oil.
If the paint is too stubborn, you can try paint thinners or turpentine, though this will dry the hair and potentially strip it of color, and is not particularly good for your hair.
Acrylic paint is water-based, so it is generally easier to remove than oil-based paint. The simplest solution is to use shampoo. On damp hair, leave shampoo in the hair for 10 to 20 minutes until paint is loosened. Then, using a comb, detangle the hair, easing the paint off. Wash and condition your hair as usual.
If the shampoo method doesn’t work, you can use oil, just as in the remedy for oil-based paint.
The shampoo and oil methods can also be used to remove latex paint from hair. You could also try dish soap with very wet hair. Wet your hair thoroughly and coat it with dish soap where there’s paint. Using a fine-toothed comb, work the paint out of the hair. Alternatively, you could also try a gritty toothpaste — the grit can scrape the paint gently off your hair.
Typically, these methods will remove paint from hair without your having to get a haircut. However, if you’ve spilled a lot of paint and none of these methods are successful, you might need to seek help at a salon.