Knoxed Hair"Knoxing" is used to achieve the waterproof up-do's required when the swimmers perform their routines. Though it may seem the hairstyle simply looks elegant, it is meant to keep a swimmer's hair out of her eyes.
Knox must last through warm-ups, rehearsals, and the performance. With the assistance of those more experienced with the task, parents learned to pin up the bun and mix and apply the layers of warm Knox gelatin, which dries to form a swim cap.





4 Unflavored Gelatin Envelopes (Knox)
Cup or Bowl
Hot Water
Hairbands (Elastics & Clear)
Bobby Pins

Small Towel
Bag/Carrying Case
Bun Form (If Needed)
Towel (Cover Shoulders)
Storage bag
Small Mirror (Optional)
Plastic Fork (Stirring)

knox supplies

Getting Started

  • Make a high, smooth and tight ponytail.
  • Form the bun with either a bun form or by two to three separate braids.
  • Pin and secure.
    Secure the hair net to catch any wisps of hair.
    - Ensure the bun with no room between the bun & head.
    - Twist the hairnet cover 2-3 times to cover.

Making the Gel

  • Empty 2-4 packets in the container.
  • Slowly add hot water.
  • Stir with either a plastic fork or the end of the comb. Try to avoid creating air bubbles.
  • Check the consistency. The gel should run smoothly off the fork or comb, but not in lumps or drips.

    - You can add more hot water to the gel, but NOT more gel to the water. If the consistency is off, then simply start again.
    - If you have lumps stop and start over OR strain the gel to remove the lumps.


  • Move quickly. Be careful, it's HOT.
  • Start by combing  or painting the gel from the front and center of the hairline towards the bun.
  • Repeat on the sides.
  • Paint on the remaining gel this time including the bun.
  • Two coats lasts longer.

Headpiece & Warm-Up

  • Secure the headpiece while the gel is still soft. Be sure to cross the pins, so it doesn't come loose during the performance.
  • Many swimmers wear a swim cap during warm up to ensure the gel lasts through their performance.


  • The easiest way to remove the gel is a hot shower. The gel will melt out with patience. Many facilities do not allow gel removal. Be sure to check before hitting the showers!