I am having trouble using gerund/infinitive forms when functioning as subject of a sentence. For instance, which one of these two sentences is correct?

Eating ice cream on a windy day can be a messy experience if you have long, untamed hair.


To eat ice cream on a windy day can be a messy experience if you have long, untamed hair.

If both sentences are correct, are these two kind of constructions always interchangeable? Would that only be up to one's stylistic choices?
I am looking for some explanations online but I cannot find anything about them being interchangeable. For instance, on this website called Grammar Bites!, it is said that both constructions can function as subjects but nothing else.

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/infinitivephrase.htm http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/gerundphrase.htm

This is my first post so I hope I did not do anything wrong. Thanks!

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    Try this website and then consider asking on English Language Learners if you still have questions. – Arm the good guys in America Oct 30 '17 at 13:06
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    Welcome to ELU, Andy. Two points here: 1. the infinitivals are not phrases, but non-finite clauses and 2. gerund-participial clauses (the ing kind) occur more freely as subjects since they are closer to nouns than infinitivals are. – BillJ Oct 30 '17 at 15:10
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    Many thanks! I have modified the post because I have just realised it was not as clear as I thought. I wanted to ask for the specific instance in which these two forms are the subject of a sentence. I am sorry for any misunderstanding. Thanks Clare, the website you have linked was really helpful. That website states that both instances can be used as subject of a sentence, and at the end of the day it is only a matter of what is more or less common in everyday English, with the gerund form being more common and less abstract of the the infinite form. Thanks again! – Andy Deegee Oct 30 '17 at 15:17
  • Shakespeare demonstrates that infinitives/gerunds are not always interchangeable. 'Being or not being; that is the question' doesn't really work. For me, at least. – Nigel J Oct 30 '17 at 15:26

No, they are not in general interchangeable.

In some contexts, either can be used. But many words require one of the other. For example, "want" takes an infinitive with "to", but does not normally take a gerund phrase (at least in the normal sense: there is a colloquial construction where "X wants Y-ing" means "I think X ought to be Y-ed").

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