I tried the Olympic synchronized swimmers’ gelatin hair trick in everyday life

They use gelatin to keep their hair in tact


While watching the Olympic Games you may have wondered, how do those beautiful synchronized swimmers keep their hair immobile while doing magic underwater, especially with those heavy hair pieces?

The answer is gelatin. Yes, they put gelatin in their hair to make it rock solid so it doesn’t fall out of place when they perform.

That got me thinking, would this trick keep hair in tact during everyday activities even outside of the pool?

For an entire 24 hours I put unflavored gelatin in my hair and went about my normal day. There were trials, there were stares, but the end result was definitely a surprise.

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The preparation

I woke up bright and early one morning at 7:30 a.m. to get this gelatin mask into my hair, before my daily activities began. My materials included: a small pot, all four packets of unflavored gelatin, a spoon, and a dominos cup of water. I put all the ingredients into a pot and stirred until the packets dissolved and a ‘gooey’ consistency formed.

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I threw on a patriotic towel to both feel closer to America and to prevent my clothes from getting ruined. Next I put my hair in a bun and scooped the contents of my pot onto my head. My hair looked as if I poured a can of hairspray on it and small globs of gelatin formed. Needles to say anyone around me felt the need to pick them from my head.

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Hair vs. food in public

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The first activity of my day must always be food. So, my rock hard hair and I made our way to a local café. As I awed at the wide array of muffins, taking in the fumes of the coffee shop, and getting overly excited for the vanilla latté which would be soon in my hand, I could not help but notice customers sneaking glances at me. I could only wonder what kind of scenarios they were coming up with in their minds. But one brave soul did come forward to get the answer everyone else was too shy to ask.

Her name was Susan.

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This women honestly made my morning, but not just because she asked what was in my hair. No, she completely took the time to listen to the entire story of why I was doing this and congratulated me.

Hair vs. the promise land

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Along with this hair-raising adventure, my mom was also in town. And because I was recently accepted to the Kelley School of Business at IU, I naturally had to show my mother and my roommate the building in which I will evolve into an accountant.

We made our trek to the castle of dreams, through the hot sun accompanied by more strange looks, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Everyone must have thought I just finished practice.

Hair vs. band camp in the rain

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Next I was off to band camp. However, halfway through it started pouring. I took this opportunity to completely leave band practice and the music we were playing and start dancing in the rain. Others followed accordingly because I am such a trendsetter. My hair stayed completely intact, which was a plus. The downside was gelatin + heat + rain = my hair looking like someone came in it.

Hair vs. world domination

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After going to Kelley and dancing in the rain, I felt pretty confident with myself and decided this was the moment to mount a war weapon and make everyone my bitch.

Just kidding.

At a different point at band camp, I again left my section (badass, I know) and proceeded to deviously look into the distance as my hair turned icky white.

Hair vs. band performance

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Things took a sweaty and gross turn when the clarinet section and tenor tones performed an under the sea rendition of the political election. There were chair steps, vivid acting, a lot of sweating, and severely good music and humor which resulted in my section getting first place.

My chair steps were at 90 degrees and my hair stayed perfectly glued like a helmet on top of my head.

Hair vs. party

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After a long day of shenanigans and sweaty band camp, it was time to sit back and chill. Actually, it was time to get smashed.

I did not so much enjoy wearing this hairstyle to a party, mostly because it isn’t exactly very appealing to have my hair so stiff. But a drummer did take the time to stop me and in his drunken state make sure I knew “[my] hair looked really nice” and ask if I dyed it. I guess despite the extremely shiny hair and embarrassing tan lines, a girl can still clean up nice.

Hair vs. sleep

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As I awoke the next morning at 8:30am, I became extremely ecstatic by the fact that I could finally wash my hair. But there was this worry in the back of my mind that water would not be successful in removing this concoction, because it is used to keep hair intact underwater.

Hair vs. shower

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The good news is hot water removes sticky gelatin from my hair, which lead me to believe that the Olympic pool must be very frigid in order to keep everything intact.

The other good news is that my hair has never looked better after this treatment. It made it soft, shiny, straight, and kept my hair exactly where I needed it to be.

Truth be told, I may actually repeat this in the future to keep my hair looking great. Except I will not leave the house when I do – the stares I received were truly horrific.