“The Blue Lagoon Does Not Damage Hair,” Spokesperson Says

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

Responding to an inquiry from Vísir, a spokesperson for the Blue Lagoon has stated that a soak in the lagoon has “a positive and beneficial effect” on both skin and hair – contrary to the online discussion; the inquiry follows recent chatter on social media regarding the damaging effects of the Blue Lagoon’s water on hair.

“My hair is ruined”

In a recent video that has garnered more than 20 million views on TikTok, internet personality Kat Wellington told viewers that her hair was “ruined” after an extended soak in the Blue Lagoon:

“Me and my family,” Kat began, “were lying on the slope, […] sleeping with our hair soaking in the water for an extended period of time. Anyway, [I] just wanted to report that my hair is absolutely ruined.”

As noted by Vísir, Wellington is not the only person to have made such a remark on social media; other TikTok users have also posted videos recounting similar experiences. And some have cautioned potential visitors to the Lagoon against putting their hair in the water.

A misinformed discussion

In a response to an inquiry from Vísir, Helga Árnadóttir – manager of the sales, marketing, and product development department of the Blue Lagoon – stated that the discussion was misinformed:

“The Blue Lagoon’s unique ingredients, such as silicon and minerals, actually have a positive and beneficial effect on both skin and hair. The lagoon does not damage hair. Certainly, the texture of the hair changes in the short term if guests do not use the conditioner that is offered to them when they visit the lagoon.”

Helga observed that visitors were informed about the water’s properties upon arrival and were given instructions on how to manage its effects. She added that an “uninformed discussion” was never ideal and emphasised that the Blue Lagoon had remained the same for the past thirty years. Visitors, in general, were content with their stay and appreciate the lagoon’s impact, she maintained.

Helga concluded by saying that the company continually monitors the online discourse and responds to misinformation whenever it deems it necessary.

Little Mersausage Meets Tragic Fate

The Little Mersausage statue that’s stood in Tjörnin pond since late October met a tragic fate on Thursday, Vísir reports. Reykjavíkers woke to find that the artwork—which has divided opinions, to say the least—had been decapitated. It is as yet unclear if The Little Mersausage came to this end during an unusually strong wind, or if vandals are behind the damage.

The sculpture was installed as part of the Cycle Music and Art Festival and raised some eyebrows for its resemblance to a phallus. But while Artist Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir acknowledged the similarity, she said it wasn’t the original point of the work, which, among other things, was meant to celebrate Iceland’s 100-year anniversary as a sovereign nation.

The Mersausage also struck a pose similar to that of the famous sculpture of H.C. Andersen’s Little Mermaid, which is famously perched alongside a Copenhagen waterway, and coincidentally, has been beheaded a number of times herself. Icelandic artist Nína Sæmundsson also sculpted her own bronze version of the Danish sculpture, which has been a resident of Tjörnin pond since 2014.

Bjarni Brynjólfsson, the City of Reykjavík’s public relation officer, had no comment on the damage, as he’d only just seen that The Mersausage was no longer standing in the pond when he was contacted by Vísir.

See pictures of the damage here.

 

Motorcyclists Fined for Off-Roading in National Park

Four French tourists were fined a combined ISK 400,000 [$3,575; €3,092], after driving their 4WD-equipped motorcycles off-road within the Vatnajökull National Park on Friday, RÚV reports.

The incident took place not far from the Herðubreið tuya volcano in the highlands, to the east of the Askja caldera; the motorcycles left deep tire tracks in their wake. After being detained by Vatnajökull National Park rangers, the tourists owned up to their offense. According to an announcement posted about the incident on Facebook by authorities in Northeast Iceland, the tourists were asked to report to the police station in Akureyri two days later, which they did. They were then each fined ISK 100,000 each.

Illegal off-road driving is becoming an increasing problem in Iceland. There were, for instance, ten off-road driving citations issued between early June and mid-July this year, and, most recently, a group of 25 tourists were fined ISK 1.4 million [$13,000;€11,000] for off-road driving by Jökulsá river and in a protected area by Grafalönd on the road to Askja caldera—not far from where the French tourists were detained on Friday.

The increasing frequency of these incidents has lead some to call for the implementation of a new highlands driving permit, while others—such as Stefanía Ragnarsdóttir, a Vatnajökull National Park ranger—says it should be possible to better inform travellers of driving laws and their environmental responsibility. “I mean we are living on an island,” she remarked after the incident with the 25 tourists in late August. “You come here by boat or plane so it should be possible to reach you and this is a lot of responsibility that we need to take on much better. This maybe lies most with car rental companies. They need to really step up.”

Ten Off-Road Driving Incidents Since June

The Environment Agency of Iceland has reported ten incidents of illegal, off-road driving since the beginning of June, RÚV reports. Division Head Ólafur A. Jónsson says there’s a need to better educate the public—and particularly visiting travelers—about areas in the countryside where people are not permitted to drive as many off-roading violations are, he says, inadvertent.

The ten incidents have taken place in the South and the Southern Highlands: two at Dýrhólaey promontory on the south coast, one at the Kerlingarfjöll mountain range in the highlands, and seven in the Fjallabak nature reserve. The damage done to the landscape was significant enough in these incidents to report them to the police.

Although Ólafur says there was not a cumulative increase in these incidents as of the end of last year, his office is, nevertheless, in almost daily contact with the police about similar issues and says that his office is still working on raising public awareness about the fragility of Iceland’s natural landscapes. To this end, the Environment Agency has begun collaborating with Search and Rescue on matters related to land protection and new educational materials distributed to tourists. They are also preparing a database which will chart all of the roads in Iceland that it is permissible for people to drive on. “In most cases, you want to think these were unintentional acts,” he says, “that people didn’t mean to do any damage, had thought it was permitted [to drive off-road] or something like that.”

Intentional or not, Ólafur believes that fines are important in the event of serious damage being done to the landscape. Only a few days ago, French tourists driving two jeeps were fined ISK 200,000 ($1,900/€1,600) each for off-road driving near Kerlingarfjöll mountain range. The travellers called for help when they got their cars stuck in mud near the mountain Loðmundur. The area has been closed to vehicles due to wet conditions. The individuals’ driving damaged vegetation and soil in the area. The two individuals were questioned at the police station in Selfoss, South Iceland, where they paid the fine.

“I think that everyone who comes [into a protected area] needs to pay a fine to the police,” he said. “When you get up to amounts like that, I think it’s really important.”