There’s an International Hair-Freezing Contest and the Photos Are Amazing

woman with frozen hair pigtails
Takhini Hot Pools

If you’re looking for a hair-raising good time during the winter, you might consider a trip to Takhini Hot Pools/Hot Springs in Canada’s Yukon territory.

The natural mineral waters hot spot holds an annual International Hair Freezing Contest each winter. Patrons of the hot springs sign in on site to prove they were there and then style their hair in unusual ways. The below-freezing conditions make the wet hair freeze in place. Then they snap a photo and submit their frozen hair portraits to the contest.

How exactly does hair freeze like that?

“What happens is you’re sitting in [roughly 110-degree Fahrenheit water] and there’s all this steam coming up [and mingling] with the outside cold air that’s opposing the hot water,” Andrew Umbrich, the co-owner of Takhini Hot Pools, told Smithsonian magazine. “All of this steam gathers on your hair and the air freezes it, but [not all of it]. You’re just creating a little frost shell, and once you take the photo you dip your head back underwater and it’s instantly fine again.”

No need to worry about your frozen hair snapping off accidentally!

Umbrich said February is usually the best time to get perfect icicle hair, but the contest is open anytime during winter when conditions are right, ideally below -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the hair-freezing competition has been going on since 2011, it picked up in popularity around 2015. Winners of the contest’s “best male,” “best female,” “best group” and “most creative” categories get $750 and a Takhini membership.

People come from around the world to participate in the contest at the hot springs, which are near Whitehorse, Yukon. The hair contest is also timed with an annual winter festival in the area.

Hot spring fans aren’t the only ones to showcase their frozen ‘dos. Check out these Wisconsin cold-weather surfers and their Poseidon-esque hair.

Curiosity, Travel

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Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras. Visit Scripps News to see more of Anna's work.

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