A. Do Swim Caps Keep Hair Dry?
As a regular morning swimmer with long hair, it would be amazing if I could keep my hair dry and reduce the amount of maintenance required each morning. As a result, I’ve tried different types of swim caps and techniques. Bathing caps usually do not keep the hair dry. Creating a water seal is very difficult, and a swim cap alone will not keep your hair dry. Swim caps are great for pool hygiene, streamlined swimming, keeping hair out of your face, and protecting your hair from pool chemicals like chlorine.
1. Are swim caps fully waterproof?
It’s a common misconception that swimming caps keep your hair dry while swimming. Just looking at a swim cap makes it look waterproof and snug fitting so you might assume its function is to keep your hair dry. There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof swimming cap. If they advertise that a swim cap is 100% waterproof, be sure to check the fine print as it likely means it will keep your hair dry unless you submerge your head in water.
For example, if you’re taking an aqua aerobics class where your head is always above the water, a swim cap will protect your hair from splashes. However, the second you dip your head, water enters. All of our heads are different shapes and sizes, and we all have different amounts of hair, hairstyles, and hairlines. In order for a swim cap to form a watertight seal and fully protect your head from the water, it must fit your head perfectly. That means zero gaps. Any hair that can get caught in the seal or on the hem of the swim cap will cause a leak. As you can imagine, this is almost impossible to achieve as the tiniest tear will allow water in, so no swim cap is 100% waterproof.
2. How do you keep your hair dry in a swim cap?
To be honest, I still haven’t found a reliable solution to keep my hair 100% dry while swimming. However, there are some helpful hints and tips that can help you achieve a better waterproof seal and prevent your hair from getting completely soaked.
a. Use two swimming caps
You can see competitive swimmers wearing two swimming caps. As a general rule of thumb, competitive swimmers wear two swim caps to reduce drag, giving them a more streamlined head shape and helping to keep goggle straps in place while diving. For recreational swimmers, wearing two swim caps can have the added benefit of creating a tighter waterproof seal and reducing water exposure to your hair. If you are considering using two swim caps to keep your hair dryer dry, consider using a silicone swim cap and a soft latex cap in combination.
b. Using a headband
Since swimming caps alone are not efficient at keeping hair dry, they have developed many products to solve this problem for swimmers. One of the best ideas is to put on a waterproof latex band. Again, this will not keep your hair 100% dry unless you have a perfect fit! It has a similar effect to wearing two swim caps, but since it’s just a latex band that goes around the forehead, it’s not as warm and much more comfortable than wearing two swim caps.
3. What is the best swimming cap to keep hair dry?
I have tested all the main types of swim caps including:
- Silicone swimming caps
- Neoprene caps
- Polyester and Lycra shower caps
- Swimming caps
4. Why do swimmers wear swimming caps?
Swimmers wear swim caps to protect their hair from chlorine, keep hair out of their eyes, make them more visible in outdoor water, and increase speed by reducing drag caused by hair in the water. Wearing swim caps has many significant benefits and we should encourage regular swimmers to wear them. In some countries, e.g. B. Ireland, it is widely accepted that swimming caps are compulsory in all public swimming pools, including hotel pools. If you don’t have a swim cap, you can usually buy a cheap spandex cap at the front desk. This serves to improve swimming pool water hygiene.
Here are some benefits of wearing a swim cap:
As mentioned earlier, it is more hygienic to wear a swimming cap as it prevents hair from contaminating the pool. When you shower or take a shower, you may notice some hair falling out, which is completely natural. Likewise, hair falls out in a swimming pool. By wearing a swim cap, they catch the hair freely and prevent it from floating in the pool. It’s terrible to go swimming only to tangle someone else’s hair in your fingers.
By covering your hair, a swim cap can increase your speed in the water by removing drag. This is important for top swimmers, but also for normal amateur swimmers. The faster we can swim, the more distance we can cover per session. Plus, you may be dying to switch from the lane to the fast lane, and wearing a swim cap can help you get that streamlined buoyancy you’re looking for.
c. Protect hair from chlorine
Chlorine is an essential pool chemical that keeps the water clean and bacteria-free. However, chlorine is not good for your hair as it dries it out and makes it dull and damaged. The chlorine in the water binds to the hair fibers, causing the outer layer of hair to rise and the hair to become more porous. This creates dull, dry hair. If you have bleached hair, you may also have heard that chlorine reacts with your hair to turn it green. That’s not true, but chlorine doesn’t help.
There are many chemicals in the water including copper. Over time the copper binds to the hair and over time it turns green, just like the Statue of Liberty. If you have bleached hair, this “greenish” effect is more noticeable. Wearing a swim cap reduces your exposure to these natural and man-made pool chemicals.
d. Keep hair out of your eyes and improve technique
Wearing your hair in a swim cap while swimming will prevent hair from getting in your eyes. Keeping your hair out of your eyes while swimming is not only more comfortable, it can also improve your swimming technique. A swim cap allows you to move your head freely in the water, and when you turn your head to breathe, your hair won’t get in the way.
e. Sight range
When swimming in water outdoors, it’s important to be visible, so open water swimmers often wear a brightly colored swim cap to ensure they are seen. It’s remarkably difficult to see a human in the water, especially in dark, choppy water. Being visible is important so that other watercraft, such as boats, can see you and are easy to find in an emergency.
Swim caps can often be an overlooked piece of swim gear. While they won’t keep your hair dry, they are essential for hygiene, speed, and an overall streamlined swim. Choosing a swim cap is a very personal thing, and finding a swim cap with the right material, fit, and shape that fits your own head can greatly improve your swimming hours and overall comfort in the pool.
B. Do Swim Caps Keep Hair Dry? (Here’s What To Expect)
Dealing with wet hair can be a hassle, especially if it’s soaked from a swim. If you’ve never worn a swim cap before, you might be under the impression that this swim accessory could be the solution to your hair’s wet problem, but is that really true? Swim caps cannot keep hair completely dry as that is not their intended function. Instead, the purpose of swim caps is to make swimmers more hydrodynamic and tidy up stray hairs. However, swim caps can help keep your hair only partially wet rather than completely soaked. We’ll dive into the underlying reasons swim caps don’t protect your precious hair from pool water in the following paragraphs. Read to the end for more tips on keeping hair moisture to a minimum despite rigorous underwater swimming.
1. Why swim caps can’t keep hair completely dry
Some of you probably came to this article with the conviction that swimming caps are a lifesaver for your hair. I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t for the following reasons.
a. Swim caps are not intended to be full water seals
The purpose of swimming caps, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with how wet your hair is. Instead, swim caps are primarily designed to reduce water resistance so you can move faster underwater. They are also working on removing strands of hair from a swimmer’s face to improve visibility underwater. Swim caps can help mitigate some of the negative effects that pool chemicals can have on hair by acting as a physical barrier, but that wasn’t the primary goal of swim cap manufacturers. Your only concern is your swimming performance, not the aesthetics of your hair.
Also, it could be argued that a fully waterproof swim cap would be more detrimental than beneficial to swimming performance. If ice water couldn’t get on a swimmer’s scalp, that part of the body would be disproportionately warmer than the rest of the body. Adding to the lack of cold water, you would trap any heat lost from your scalp under your swim cap. About 7-10% of body heat is lost through the head, so you would definitely notice that extra trapped heat.
b. Water can penetrate into the smallest cracks and crevices
The sad truth is that due to the inherent properties of water, keeping hair completely dry while swimming is almost impossible. Water has a knack for spotting the smallest entry points, no matter how tight a seal may appear. It would take a marvel of engineering to make a swim cap 100% effective at keeping out water. For one, no two swimmers have the same head dimensions in terms of shape and size. For this reason, a fully waterproof cap would have to fit the swimmer’s head perfectly. Too loose and water will get in. Too tight, the swimming cap will be very uncomfortable to wear.
2. Why people mistakenly believe swimming caps keep hair dry
The misconception that swimming caps are waterproof probably stems from their appearance and how tight they are around the head. The look and feel of a swim cap often gives the impression that it is airtight. Humans often underestimate the effectiveness of water in finding vulnerabilities in a seal and in exploiting those vulnerabilities. As previously mentioned, the hydration level of the water is not to be messed with, especially considering how long swimmers keep their heads under water over the course of a workout.
3. If swim caps can’t keep your hair dry, are they worth wearing?
Now that we’ve covered the traits and misconceptions surrounding swim caps, the thought of whether or not they’re worth wearing has probably crossed your mind. Even if you don’t plan to be the world’s fastest swimmer, make it a habit to wear a swim cap when you have long hair. So you don’t have to use as much force to propel yourself through the water. Plus, your pace won’t be constantly interrupted by stray hairs obscuring your view. If these reasons aren’t convincing enough, at least wear a swimming cap as a general courtesy to others around the pool.
4. Ways to reduce hair moisture after swimming
Once you accept the fact that your hair will never be completely dry after a long swim underwater, you can experiment with strategies to keep your hair at least partially dry.
a. Center the hair at the top of the head
One way to reduce hair moisture is to arrange the hair so that it is positioned at the top of the head while still being in the middle. One way to do this is by arranging your hair in a high bun. With this hairstyle, your hair is far from the fringes of your swim cap, where most of the water contact is likely to occur. Once the cap is on, you may need to smooth the bun under the cap so it is flat. Otherwise you should be fit!
Another viable option is to have someone braid your hair and then carefully fold it over your head under your swim cap. This achieves the same basic goal, namely to concentrate the greatest amount of hair away from the edges of the swim cap where water is likely to collect. The main disadvantage of this method is that you will need another person’s help to handle the braid. If there is no one willing to do this for you, you may be out of luck.
b. Use two swimming caps
Another way to reduce hair moisture after swimming is to wear two swimming caps at the same time. The rationale behind this technique is that if a layer of a swim cap is enough to reduce the moisture in your hair, why not layer another on top? While still not 100% waterproof, adding a second physical barrier between the pool water and your hair should make a small difference. This may take some getting used to as folding the swim caps can also double the discomfort. Also, it may take some trial and error to figure out which two swim caps work best in combination.
c. Wear a shower cap under your swim cap
Another way to implement the two-step strategy outlined above is to wear a shower cap and swim cap together, rather than just two swim caps. When this method was first described to me, I was skeptical of its results. But it seems that this method actually gives better results than the two-cap strategy. However, it’s worth noting that it takes some extra effort to fully tuck the shower cap under the swim cap, as the shower cap tends to protrude past the swim cap’s fringes. However, once this issue is fixed, it should be easy to navigate from there.
If you really want to keep your hair as dry as possible during and after your swim, you should use multiple strategies at once. For example, your hair can become even drier if you tie it in a high bun and tuck it under two bathing caps. In short, there is no tried-and-true way to deal with post-swim hair moisture issue. So be creative in your approach!
d. Shave your head
If all else fails, it might be time to shave all your hair off as a last resort. This might not be the answer you want to hear, but many swimmers choose this route when their hair is overly bleached and irreparably damaged by chlorine. Not only that, it can also help you move faster underwater as there is less hair to promote water resistance. Of course, some of you will never consider this an option regardless of the circumstances, but it’s an idea to keep in your back pocket.
5. Final thoughts
When you swim underwater, you expect your hair to be at least partially wet, no matter how many swim caps you wear or what hairstyle you choose. There are ways to reduce the moisture in your hair a bit, but at the end of the day, water finds its way past the swim cap seal. No matter how wet your hair gets, don’t let that stop you from swimming! There’s a lot more to gain from swimming than wet hair.