Do Swimming Caps Keep Your Hair Dry? (How It Works)


This is a typical problem. You are yearning to go for a swim on a hot summer day so that your body can finally sigh for a moment. But wait. You just got your hair dyed. What to do now?

Swimming caps can keep your hair dry to a large extent. Although there is no one hundred percent effective solution to keep hair dry while swimming, a swim cap can minimize the amount of chlorinated water touching your hair and prevent potential chemical damages.

The effectiveness of swimming caps depends on how you use them. There are certainly some right and wrong ways to wear it which we are going to talk about in this post.

Are Swimming Caps Meant to Keep Your Hair Dry?

There is this misconception among people that they buy premium quality swim caps and expect the water to never touch the hair again. This is dead wrong.

Swimming caps are not intended to keep your hair dry. Although the look of some caps might give you the impression that they must be water-sealed, it is not the case in real life. The job of swimming caps is to reduce the amount of pool water touching your hair.


There isn’t a method just yet that would completely block out water. Keeping the hair dry is not the main concern. What they are actually concerned about is the hair getting damaged from chlorine, pH increaser/decrease, and so.

Are Swimming Caps Bad for Your Hair?

Swimming caps sit tightly against the hair which can become a matter to worry about for some people. Is it weakening the root of your hair? Is it going to destroy the color that you just recently applied?

Although there are certain ups and downs, swimming caps do more good than bad for your hair. For a swimmer who loves his/her hair a lot, a swim cap can make sure that the least amount of water is in contact with your hair.

In addition to that, it can be an experience changer for people with long hair. Typically the hair will float on the water and block your vision. In some cases, even if you tie it up properly, it can go loose. For a recreational swimmer, it might not sound so bad. But for a competitive swimmer, this could result in a decreased performace.

Some people choose tight swim caps for better sealing. I have seen some of my friends going for one size smaller for a tighter fit. Although your cap should be tight, it should not be so tight that you feel an extra burden on your head.


So choose your one wisely. Better go to a shop and try out a few to see which one is tight but comfortable for your head.

Can Swimming Caps Protect Your Hair From Chlorine?

The purpose of a swim cap is to minimize water from touching your hair. Not only from chlorine but a swimming cap will also protect your hair from dozens of other chemicals used in pools. This protection is not 100% effective, but it is certainly better than not using one at all.

That is one of the many benefits of swimming caps. Swimming caps are also quite effective if you have long hair. It will help the hair not jumble with each other and end up being a mess after the session. Also in the winter days, it will help your hair from freezing and breaking apart.

If you care about hygiene, swimming caps prevent hair from falling in the water. It helps the swimming pool authority to keep the pool clean and you are not spreading the dirt you carried in your hair to other fellow swimmers.

How to Keep Your Hair Dry While Swimming

Although you cannot completely rule out the fact that it will get damp regardless of which swimming cap you use, the following steps will make sure your hair is not soaked in water:

  1. Tie your hair high up if you have long hair.
  2. Wear a tight silicone cap, one that covers your ears.
  3. Double down the caps for better protection.
  4. Wear a goggle on top of the cap for tightening the fit.
  5. Don’t get too aggressive that the cap slides off.
  6. Keep your time in the water as low as possible.

Rinsing hair before swimming is highly recommended as it is going to moisturize your hair for a nicer fit with your cap and also at the same time, it will have less capacity to hold chlorinated water even if you are exposed to it.

Having short hair is a plus but if you happen to have long hair, you should tie it up a bun as high as possible. It is better than mid-size hair which you cannot make a bun with and which keeps coming out of your cap.

You can double down the caps for increased protection against water. The one that goes inside can be a thin one like a Latex cap. But for the outer later, silicone caps are recommended. If you have the option, go for something long, long enough that it covers the ears completely.

Don’t make the mistake of wearing goggles under the cap. It will create a gap for the water. Do it the other way around and the strap on these goggles will keep the cap tighter. And lastly, the obvious one, the shorter you are in the water, the lesser your hair will get wet.

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Video Creator: Global Triathlon Network

How to Keep Your Hair Dry Without a Swimming Cap

I hope you are not expecting a miracle. If you are getting yourself into the water, your hair will get wet no matter what. If your main concern is not getting hair wet but avoiding the chlorine effect, the following steps will help:

  1. Soak your hair by taking a shower for 5 minutes.
  2. Apply a conditioner.
  3. Go and swim in the water.
  4. Shampoo your hair as soon as you are out of water.
  5. If shampooing is not possible right away, rinse your hair for a good 5-10 minutes.

The good way to prepare your hair for a pool full of chemicals is to soak your hair properly just before you walk into the water. So once you are in the water, your hair would be too soaked to take any more in.

A conditioner on top of that will add an extra level of protection. Specialized pre-swimming conditioners would be good but not a must. The pool water will have to fight longer to get to the main layer of your hair. It will grant you some extra time in the pool.

Now, this is important. Once you are out of the water, you have to make sure there is no residue in your hair. The best way to do this is by shampooing your hair. If it is possible, shampoo your hair in the pool’s bathroom. When that is not possible, make sure to rinse your hair for 5 minutes with fresh water.

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Video Creator: Sherrese & Nana