The Blue Lagoon, its products and the whole spa experience: worth it? – twindly beauty blog
I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel to iceland recently. It was a bit of a strange and surreal experience at times (traveling during covid just is, full stop). the first two days we did nothing but walk, eat and slowly skip in the blue lagoon. I googled the lagoon crap beforehand but still not satisfied with some answers. so here is my attempt to give you all the answers i was looking for before we left. and of course I try to answer if the blue lagoon is worth it. (The first part of this post is about the experience, the second part is about the products, and yes, it’s a long post.)
what we did
Entrance fees are three tiers, and our stay at the nearby Silica hotel automatically came with premium tickets (the middle tier). that will get you slippers, towel and bathrobe, three applications of their own brand face masks, a complimentary drink, and a reservation (reservation only!) at the lava restaurant on their premises (and a glass of champagne if you choose eat there ). we also got a 30 minute water massage that came with the hotel deal.
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if you wanted to replicate that exact package, it would cost you €67 (entry) + €105 (massage) per person.
the lonely planet comments that “paris has the eiffel tower, iceland has the blue lagoon”. her experience will reflect that. You can expect him to be crowded, you’ll likely have to stand in line, and you won’t be alone in that romantic photo.
let me also quickly dispel some myths for you.
The water in the lagoon is basically the wastewater from the nearby geothermal plant next door. let me quote wikipedia:
The water is a byproduct of the nearby Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant, where superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to power turbines that generate electricity. After passing through the turbines, the steam and hot water pass through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. then the water is fed into the lagoon.
The baths opened in 1987 after a psoriasis patient noticed that the warm turquoise water seemed to improve the condition of his skin. today, it is a huge complex that includes two hotels and two restaurants, a store and lockers. numerous tour operators include it in their tours.
the blue lagoon experience: is it worth it?
Because we live in strange times, my experience will be slightly different than before and after 2020 (hopefully at least). There are fewer tourists in Iceland at the moment, and there is a limit to the number of people who can enter the lagoon. there was a short line at the entrance, but many counters were manned and everything went smoothly. however, the explanations for first-time visitors are lengthy. (A great account of general information on the Blue Lagoon is here.)
but overall you had plenty of space to yourself. I spent a fun two hours lounging in the hot water while it rained, floating on my back or floating above the ground and feeling the soft silica mud and the occasional algae under my feet.
General advice is not to stay in the water for more than three hours. be sure to hydrate yourself in one of the water sources scattered throughout the area. (I brought a refillable water bottle with me.)
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also, don’t try swimming: hot water and exercise will make you dizzy.
the massage in the water
the water massage was strangely intimate, yet totally professional. those guys and gals don’t do anything else all day, and it shows (a little). while all the other employees were incredibly open, easy going and charming, these guys clearly wanted to get the job done. you are floating on a yoga mat, covered with a (wet) blanket and doused in oil. then someone massages your back, shoulders and arms while dunking you in the water from time to time to warm you up. It was relaxing, I grant you, but €105-relaxing? hmm.
questions you may have
Will everyone see me naked?
A big problem will be the fact that Icelandic pool etiquette requires you to shower a lot and without your bathing suit before getting in the water. that makes sense, since the water is not chlorinated. there are a lot of shower cabins, so don’t worry: I changed (also in a small changing room) and put on my bathing suit, went to the shower area, entered the shower cabin, took off my bathing suit bathroom and showered. extensively.
what about my (color-treated) hair?
everyone and the kitchen sink will tell you to wet your hair while you’re in the shower and then drench it with conditioner (both shower gel and conditioner are supplied in the shower area). do it. mineral-rich water is incredibly drying, and wetting your hair beforehand will ensure that it can’t absorb as much afterwards, with the help of the conditioner on top. shower caps won’t help with that as they don’t shut the water off completely, proper swim caps will. It took my hair about three washes using strong hair masks to get it back to normal.
do I have to remove my piercings?
Everyone seems to agree that water can also damage both silver and gold jewelry (at least it will tarnish). my position: if it’s expensive, take it out and don’t risk it.
Isn’t it cold outside?
it’s iceland, so yeah, it probably is, even in summer. you can actually enter the pool inside and walk/swim through a gate, or you’ll have to brace yourself and run a few feet (don’t run, it could be slippery) to the outside stairs. i started to worry about the 12°c outside when my hair was completely wet after the massage. people will wear hats and headbands, but honestly all that fuss to keep your head completely above water! not very relaxing.
and the photos?!
yeah sure, if you really want and need to carry something, don’t trust those waterproof phone cases. mine says it’s not suitable for water temperatures above 30°c. there were some nice lifeguards who would take your phone/camera and take some pictures of you.
you will exit through the gift shop…
imagine: you’ve stretched out in wonderfully warm water. you had a mask, some drinks and you are super relaxed. and now you have to leave, and they funnel you through the gift shop on the way out. don’t do it.
blue lagoon skincare: is it worth it?
what about silica?
a great thing is done with silica that turns water a whitish turquoise and is said to have all sorts of benefits:
“A form of blue lagoon silica is a white mud known to strengthen the skin barrier, renew the skin, and deeply cleanse. it is an important element of the treatment offered at the blue lagoon dermatology clinic.”
If you look at what silica is used for in cosmetics and skin care, it’s almost always as a thickener and oil absorber. it’s in a lot of face powders that try to keep it as less shiny as possible. it is often used in (clay) masks targeted for oily skin because of that. the silica mud mask dries out my skin like nothing else and if you have dry or sensitive skin i would say to stay away from it. (here’s a clay mask I like!)
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Seaweed is a fairly well-researched ingredient in skin care. It just so happens that there are hundreds of different types of algae, but manufacturers of skin care products can’t say which type of algae they use.
“The most likely scenario for alge extract is that it works as a moisturizer and emollient and might have some additional antiaging properties.”
I actually really enjoyed using the seaweed mask, but the moisturizing properties in that one most likely subscribe to the different types of oils included. the same with the mineral mask which is mainly composed of aloe vera juice and jojoba oil.
…and body care?
I was provided with shower gel and body lotion, shampoo and conditioner and can only say that they have a rather generic spa scent and are generally pleasant to use, rather mediocre formula. the conditioner is too light for the heavy lifting it is supposed to do, same with the body moisturizer. (this water is seriously drying up, if you didn’t get the implication earlier). i actually liked the mineral intensive moisturizer that the silica hotel provides its guests. It was the only moisturizer that gave me the feeling of really moisturized skin when I stepped out of the lagoon. but oh my god, €50 for what is basically Vaseline?!
the blue lagoon – is it worth it?
no, a visit to the blue lagoon is absolutely not worth it, but i would go back in a heartbeat.
view: this is the eiffel/vegas/disneyland tower in iceland. and all those experiences can be fun. they are also expensive. if you want to spend the money and like a spa experience go for it! but: for a much calmer experience, spend a night at the silica hotel and use their ‘private’ lagoon, which I found to be much more relaxing and not as aggressively professional as the blue lagoon.
(almost) all blue lagoon products smell and feel good, and if that’s what you want, yay. i can’t help but feel like they are outrageously priced for mediocre formulas.
what I mean is that your glowing skin is probably more attributable to the fact that you spent a few hours relaxing, concentrating on your well-being, than to the silica products and algae.
Also, although I really liked the experience, the blue lagoon isn’t even in my top five experiences in iceland. (in no particular order: driving through the thorsmörk valley to the ancient glacial lake of eyjafjallajökull, hiking landmannalaugar, kvernufoss waterfall and walking behind it, dinner at moss restaurant and cinnamon rolls at braud in reykjavik)
Please note that this post is not sponsored in any way. We buy products ourselves, with our own money, and we do not accept exchanging products or money for reviews. we are completely independent and our reviews reflect this.
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