How to Gel Hair Guide


By Aurore Daumarie

What you will need

Gel 101-1

  1. Unflavored Knox gelatine powder (6 packets per head)
  2.  A cup able to hold hot water or a small container
  3. A Brush and a comb
  4. Elastic band/hair tie (no “scrunchies”!)
  5. Thin hair nets matching hair color as shown in above picture
  6. Bobby pins that also match hair color (they are the flat type)
  7. Hairpins “U” shape
  8. A hair coloring brush to apply the gel
  9.  A crockpot or access to a microwave

 Hair preparation

Gel 101-2

Step 1. Lightly dampen hair all over using wet hands or a water spray bottle.

Step 2. Use a comb to smoothly and firmly pull hair back into a high ponytail, and secure tightly with 2 hair bands. The ponytail should be at the crown of the head. If the bun is to low you won’t see it and if it is too high it will look like a hat. Refer to image below.

Step 3 OR Go to Step 3B for shorter/thinner hair. Twist the ponytail (or braid it depending on coach’s preference) and wrap hair around the ponytail base. Tuck ends of the hair under the bun. Use a lot of “U” shaped hairpins, sliding them into the bun to secure it.

Step 3B. For shorter and thinner hair or simply to make a perfect looking bun, add a donut around the ponytail like an elastic band, smooth hair around it evenly and tuck the ends and extra hair underneath it with some “U” pins. After placing the hair over the donut, wind the end in a circular motion. As you are wrapping it round you’ll find it naturally tucks in under the bun and simply add “U” pins there to keep the ends underneath.

Step 4: Wrap the net around the bun to cover it as many times as possible and use few more “U” hairpins onto the bun to secure the hairnet.

Step 5: Wrap a small towel around the neck and generously apply gel starting from the hairline towards the bun in smooth strokes. Run the comb through to smooth it out and repeat. Don’t be afraid to use a lot and remember to gel the bun as well.  Gel will solidify as it cools.

Step 6: Use bobby pins to secure shorter hair that will come loose while swimming, usually behind the ears, and under the bun right above the neck. Once the gel is dry, pin on the headpiece with bobby pins, making sure it is on the same side of the head than the rest of the team.

Making the gel

  • 6 packets of Knox powder will cover one head. Sprinkle the granules of gelatine in a small container Do not dump the powder in a pile, as the granules in the middle won’t dissolve.
  • Add 1/3 cup of lukewarm water, place lid on, and put in your slow cooker with a small amount of water at the bottom. Within approximately 15 minutes or so, your gel is ready! OR Place container of gel without lid in microwave and heat for 20 – 25 seconds; remove and gently stir. It may be necessary to repeat this process.Stir slowly. Stirring slow is key to avoid unwanted bubbles and foam from developing during the mixing process.
  •  If not entirely dissolved, heat mixture longer, mix slowly again and repeat until fluid. Make certain there are no undissolved granules. The gel should have a jam like texture. Apply on hair within few minutes.

Thank you to Olympium Synchro for above article