One New York woman is sharing an important lesson: if your kids coat themselves in diaper cream, don’t make any rash decisions.
“My immediate reaction was to put them in the bathtub,” Wendy Pryce, mom of daughters Jamie, 4, and Morgan, 3, told TODAY Parents. “That was my first mistake — getting their hair wet. Zinc oxide is water insoluble."
After three hours of scrubbing and fruitless internet searches, a panicked Pryce turned to a Facebook group for moms in Manhattan.
“Please any mamas have tips for removing DESITIN from Hair?” Pryce wrote. “We’ve tried bath soap and Dawn. Thank you.”
In her post, Pryce included a photo of Jamie and Morgan slathered in white goo.
“I was absolutely convinced we were going to have to shave their heads,” Pryce said.
Then the responses began trickling in on Facebook — in total Pryce received 440. Several people recommended using Goo Gone, a gel spray that removes adhesive. But when Pryce saw the product was going to take two days to arrive, she went with another suggestion: cornstarch and baby oil.
First, Pryce coated Jamie and Morgan’s heads with cornstarch to absorb the grease and stick to the Desitin. Next, she applied a generous amount of baby oil because as Pryce noted, “oil removes oil.” Then, using a fine tooth comb, she brushed and brushed and brushed. Rather than rinse with a clarifying shampoo, Pryce used Dawn dishwashing detergent, which is used to clean birds after oil spills.
Pryce repeated the process for five days until the Desitin was gone. (Johnson & Johnson did not respond to requests for comment. On the company's website it recommends keeping Desitin products out of your baby's reach.)
"Zinc oxide is highly lipophilic, which means that it is in its happy place when in a fatty or oily environment," Dr. Adam Friedman. professor and chair of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told TODAY Parents. "The baby oil is probably what did the trick, though the the Dawn dish soap, being quite basic on the pH scale, probably added to the solubility making it easier to get off."
“There’s no chance they will ever do this again,” Pryce said. “The removal was torturous." (Pro tip: have your child wear swim goggles during the Dawn rinse to prevent eye irritation.)
When Pryce asked Jamie and Morgan what they were thinking, the young sisters explained that they wanted to look like Elsa from “Frozen.”
“They had a plan,” Pryce said with a laugh.
But it will be a while before she's able to let it go.