Silly Putty is a silicone-based polymer and in order to remove it, you need to treat it with something that can remove or dissolve silicone or oil.
For many surfaces, such as clothes, carpeting, or furniture, the manufacturer recommends WD-40 to easily remove the Silly Putty. However, for removing Silly Putty from hair, a food-based substance is a better choice, especially for children. If WD-40 is used on the hair, it will leave a residual odor that will be difficult to get out. Also, it is probably not healthy to expose children (or adults) to a significant dose of WD-40, as it irritates the skin and lungs.
Remedies from the bathroom
If your little one has accidentally gotten Silly Putty in his or her hair, the manufacturer (Binney & Smith) recommends using baby oil or a generous amount of hair conditioner, along with warm water. Massage the product you have chosen into the area of the hair where the putty is, then gently comb it through.
After the Silly Putty has been removed, wash the hair thoroughly with shampoo. A product with a more pleasant scent, which will work as well as baby oil, is Avon’s Skin-So-Soft bath oil. Cold cream or petroleum jelly are two more good choices from the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Remedies from the kitchen
Cooking spray, such as Pam or Mazola, can be conveniently sprayed on the Silly Putty and hair. First, shield your child’s face so they don’t breathe in the cooking spray. Generously spray the area and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Or spray a paper towel with the cooking spray and then rub it into the hair and putty. Use a comb to work the putty out of the hair.
Other food products that will also work are shortening, lard, mayonnaise, peanut butter, or any kind of cooking oil, such as olive oil or vegetable oil. Slather the area and let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Most of it will come off but if necessary, apply a second time and then use a comb to work it through and remove all of it from the hair. Rinsing under running water while combing is another way to facilitate removal.
If there is a lot of Silly Putty, you can use a dry terrycloth towel or cloth rag and wrap it around the hair strands, putty, and lubricant. Then pull down to trap the putty in the towel. Repeat until you’ve removed as much as you can.
Getting the hair back to normal
After the Silly Putty has been removed from the hair, a good shampooing will be necessary. A double application of shampoo will probably be needed, at a minimum. Just keep on shampooing and rinsing until all of the lubricant or oil has been removed from the hair.
If there are any odors that refuse to come out, dissolve some baking soda in water and apply that to the hair. Massage through the hair for a few minutes and then rinse.
Since the repeated shampooing will strip the hair of all its natural oils, make sure to follow with a large amount of moisturizing conditioner.