Gum can be removed from hair by thoroughly coating the area with creamy-style peanut butter or vegetable oil and leaving it in for several minutes. Massaging the area helps the oil penetrate, and a comb also makes removal easier. After the gum is removed, wash the hair with regular shampoo to remove any oily residue.
The ingredient in peanut butter that helps it to loosen gum is actually the oil. Gum doesn't mix with water. It is hydrophobic, meaning it actually repels water, so ordinary soaps and water-based cleaners do not affect it. Only another hydrophobic material can help break gum's sticky bond. Oils, which naturally repel water, stiffen the gum and make it less sticky, allowing it to be removed from hair.
Any common cooking oil can be used to remove gum from hair, including olive oil, canola oil and vegetable oil. However, applying liquid oil to hair gets messy, while peanut butter is easier to apply and work into the hair. Creamy peanut butter is preferred for this task because of its smooth consistency, unlike crunchy peanut butter, which is harder to massage and requires a comb to remove the small bits of peanuts. This trick works on any type of hair, including eyebrows and beards.