Almost every parent of a child with long hair has at least one story to share about the time (or ten) that they had to cut out a foreign object tangled up in tresses. From gum to hair ties to toys, almost anything can quickly turn into a weapon of mane destruction.
However, few tales are as hair-rrowing as this one.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral with over 15K reactions and 44K shares, mom Lisa Tschirlig Hoelzle warns parents about the hair-raising perils of “Bunchems!” a popular “Best Toy of the Year” award recipient.
In case you haven’t heard of them, Bunchems! are “the colorful little balls that stick to each other and build like no other.” And stick to hair, apparently.
They have squishy tentacles that interlock and “magically stick to each other without heat, glue or mess, making clean up a breeze!” (I think Lisa would beg to differ.)
They are targeted to children ages 4 and up.
Lisa begins her post by saying:
Abigail and Noah got done virtual school and went in the basement to play, about 10 minutes later Noah comes running up to tell me that Abigail had something stuck in her hair ….
And by “something” he meant an entire swarm of somethings. Ouch.
I think I had an out of body experience. Apparently, Noah had poured a container of “ Bunchems” on Abigail’s head being a jokester. We have had these for years but rarely play with them.
Annnnd they will likely never be played with again. Like, EVER. Because OMG.
She had about 150 of these things layered and matted in her hair . They made it worse trying to remove them theirselves because they connect together kinda like Velcro
While I have never had something to this extent happen to my own daughter, I am getting flashbacks of the time she got a battery-powered bubble gun blower stuck in her hair. It took me almost an hour to get it untangled.
As for Lisa’s attempt to remove the sticky spheres from her daughter’s hair? It didn’t go nearly as well.
It took me about 3 hours to get out 15.
15 out of 150. In three hours. When the manufacturer, Spin Master, claimed they “magically stick,” they weren’t wrong.
After several hours and several failed attempts to remove the hairy horrors using vegetable oil and conditioner, Lisa and her husband Dan decided to call it a night and regroup in the morning. Abigail slept with her head on her mom so the toys wouldn’t become more entangled.
Not wanting to resort to cutting Abigail’s hair into a short pixie cut, Lisa resumed her rescue mission the next day and brought in reinforcements in the form of mineral oil, a detangling comb, and Kid’s YouTube.
My Moms friend suggested mineral oil and I got a good detangle comb and started my mission. There was also a lot of tears ( mine ) Abigail consoled me and Noah because he felt awful what he did .
After 21 HOURS and a severe case of swollen fingers, Abigail’s locks were finally freed.
Well, most of them. It seems that Abigail did sustain some hair loss in the process. Which isn’t surprising given the extent of the entanglement.
It was such a long day .. I never watched so much kids U tube to entertain her but ater 20 hours total after pulling and working them out of her head and lots of hair loss I got them all out. Followed by an hour or more in the bath tub with conditioner and combing out the knots.
The good news is that Lisa was able to save her daughter’s hair and assures her Facebook readers that “although it’s thinner, it wasn’t as damaged and ruined” as she thought it would be. Praise be.
Apparently, Abigail isn’t the only one to fall victim to the squishy balls.
Several commenters on Lisa’s Facebook post have also fought their own “battles of the Bunchems!”
If you happen to do a quick Google search on Bunchems! the first thing to pop up in suggestions is “bunchems stuck in hair.” There are over 21,000 results.
Spin Masters is obviously aware of this follicular faux-pas and even has a warning label on their products which reads:
CAUTION: Keep away from hair. May become entangled. Keep away from pets.
In addition, the manufacturer has included a handy dandy 48-second video on their website instructing people how to remove the product safely and easily should one (or 150) get caught in hair.
“If Bunchems get caught in your hair please follow these simple steps for removal. You can use any hair conditioner or vegetable oil that you have handy,” the video narrator says. “If they aren’t budging, apply a little more conditioner and continue to comb below the Bunchems before attempting to remove.” I think we’ve all learned that it’s not quite so simple.
Bunchems! has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.com with over 1000 ratings. Only 3% of reviewers give it 1 star with 73% giving it 5 stars.
There are, however, a number of comments warning buyers to stay away. “Horrible children’s toy,” “What a nightmare,” “Devil product,” and “Toy spawned from the darkest depths of Hell,” being among the top critical reviews.
Lisa closes her post with the following words of wisdom to prevent this hairy situation from happening to anyone else:
trash your Bunchems if you have them or if you love them wear a shower cap when playing with a sibling ! Lol.
Sounds like good advice to me. You can read her entire post here.