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Gelling Instructions

Synchronized swimmers coat their hair with unflavored Knox gelatin, the same “stuff” used in jell-o. Mixed with hot water, the liquid gelatin is brushed onto their hair. The gel hardens and, in addition to keeping the hair out of their face, helps the swimmers to have a uniformed look. After competition, shampoo and warm water will removed the gel.

Some swimmers gel their hair the night before competition, but make sure the gel is very dry before going to bed. Most swimmers gel the morning of competition.

Supplies:

  • Knox unflavored gelatin, 4 envelopes
  • Plastic bowl to mix gel
  • Paint brush or basting brush
  • Comb/brush
  • Bobbie pins (same color as hair)
  • Hair binders (rubber bands, not wrapped hair bands)
  • Hair net (same color as hair)
  • Hair dryer

Steps:

  1. Tie hair up into high bun on top of head, pinning loose hairs down. Ponytail should come straight off the top of the swimmers ears, and should be about 1/2 way back on your head.
  2. Place hair net over bun and fasten with bobbie pins and hair binders.
  3. Put all 4 enveloped of gelatin in bowl. Pour the smallest amount of boiling water over gelatin, whisk to dissolve. Add just enough water to get the consistency of honey or thick syrup.
  4. Add a little cool water (if necessary) to cool. Let mixture is cool if needed, so you won’t burn swimmer.
  5. Place towel over shoulders to protect suit and catch any dripping gel.
  6. Paint onto hair with brush, cover all hair, especially the bun. Be careful around face and hairline, the dried gel can pull and be itchy. Work quickly, as the gel thickens and gets harder to work with.
  7. Let gel dry (at least to tacky stage) and paint another coat. Blow lightly with hair dryer to set.
  8. Pin headpiece over bun before gel is completely dry. Use lots of pins to secure it into place.

Supplementary Tutorials:

Competition Packing List

SPS Meet Packing List.pdf