What Are The Pros And Cons Of Swim Caps?

Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or a novice, wearing a swim cap offers enormous advantages. Some swimmers may feel uncomfortable wearing swim caps; however, you should wear them for safety reasons and an enhanced swimming experience. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of wearing swim caps. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Swim Caps

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Although there are both pros and cons of swim caps, the pros definitely outweigh the bad. Pros include the ability to swim faster and keeping your hair dry. Cons could be improper fit or feeling too warm.

Why Use a Swim Cap

Swim caps serve many purposes:

Swim Caps Helps You Swim Easier And Faster

The less hair that catches water, the quicker you are able to move.

It’s for the same reason that competitive swimmers wear a cap – it makes the body more hydrodynamic. 

As a swimmer moves through the water, the head is the foremost part to cut through the waves.

Caps compress the hair, head, and ears, making the swimming action more efficient.

Additionally, the tight fit and the smooth surface of the swim cap result in reduced drag.

A swimmer in a swim cap is, therefore, able to move faster with less effort. 

Helps Swimming Technique Of Long-haired Swimmers

When turning your head to take a breath, your hair can become a nuisance. It can interfere with your breathing ability. 

Since wet hair is pretty heavy, it can interfere with a swimmer’s breath, making him or her less efficient because of the added weight.

Wearing a swim cap helps reduce the weight of the swimmer’s hair while keeping it off the mouth and face.

This way, a swimmer makes more efficient strokes. 

Swim Caps Make It Easier To Wear Goggles

Your goggles will most likely stay put when swimming if you wear a cap because there is a sticky and seamless surface to adhere to.

You can even wear the goggles under the cap if they are falling off while swimming. 

Simply, a swim cap keeps your hair off the face when swimming. It reduces drag, allowing the body to be more hydrodynamic.

Also, caps help protect the scalp, hair, and ears from water. They keep the earplugs in and promote the cleanliness of a pool.

In open water, wearing a cap can also make you more visible to rescue crews and other athletes. 

Swim Caps Protect Your Hair

Swim caps form a barrier between your hair and chlorine which can be harsh and damaging for hair. Wearing a swim cap can therefore help protect your hair from split ends and dry hair.

It’s of course also advisable to also use a moisturizing conditioner that’s suitable for swimmers’ hair. A proper hair care routine can help prevent your hair from becoming brittle and frizzy when swimming so much.

Also Read: Proven Benefits Of Using Glycerin Soap For Hair (with Examples!)

Types of Swim Caps

Swim Caps

There are different types of swim caps, each made for a different purpose and from different materials. The most popular ones being made of silicone and latex.

Silicon caps 

Being some of the most durable caps, silicone caps are thick, durable, and long-lasting.

They are made from a thick material and are easier to put on or remove. These caps offer a tight seal on your head, so they keep much of the water away.

A downside with silicon caps, however, is that they tend to slip on and off.

This can be an issue when racing.

Due to their stretchable and soft material, silicone swim caps are noticeably more comfortable to wear. 

Latex caps

Less expensive than silicone-made caps, latex caps are pretty thin and offer an excellent grip on your head.

Nevertheless, the thin material causes these caps to be less durable.

They are also less comfortable compared to silicone caps. Some people are even allergic to latex, meaning latex caps may not suit them. 

Lycra caps

Being the most comfortable swim caps, lycra caps are made of the same material used to make swimsuits.

They are not recommended for racing because they tend to slip off.

Additionally, lycra swim caps don’t offer protection from chlorine or reduce any drag.

Often, these caps are recommended for water-based aerobics or other activities where your head isn’t fully submerged. 

Also Read: Is Sea Moss Good For Hair? (7 Amazing Benefits)

Neoprene caps 

Made of the same material you find with wetsuits, neoprene caps are used for warmth when swimming in open water. They feature a chin strap to help cover the ears.

Neoprene swim caps are used for racing in open water competitions within colder climates.

Something to mention here is that the material is pretty thick and could feel restrictive or tight on your head. The caps are among the most expensive in the market. 

Children’s caps

Made of different materials, children’s caps are slightly smaller in size and come in fun designs and colours. These caps are chiefly used for beginning swimming lessons. 

Who Are Swim Caps For

Although there may be pros and cons of swim caps, they are really for any swimmer, whether a beginner or advanced.

That being said, choosing to wear a cap is up to the preference and decision of the owner. Some swimming facilities like public pools require swimmers to wear caps.

If you have no hair or have short hair, you may opt to wear no cap.

However, being in a swim cap allows less drag and resistance, making your swimming experience more efficient and effortless.

Beginners can benefit from wearing a cap as it helps with breathing. 

Pros and Cons of Swim Caps

man swim cap

Here are some of the pros and cons of swim caps:


1. Wearing swim caps prevents hair from falling and getting into the pool’s filtering system.

The filtering system of a pool works better and lasts longer with less hair in it.

Even if the pool is not yours, it helps when you swim with your swim cap on the head.

It therefore helps prevent maintenance costs. 

2. A cap helps prevent hair from getting in your eyes while swimming or having to stop to fit it again.

These are some of the frustrating things that happen while swimming, especially if you’ve long hair.

3. Some caps keep you dry. Wearing a swim cap, especially one made of waterproof material, can keep water from getting to your hair. Chlorine or even sea salt can damage your hair in the long run. Wearing a swim cap means you won’t have to wash and dry the hair every swimming session. 

4. Certain caps can also help you toasty, especially if you are swimming during winter or cold months.

You will be able to enjoy a pleasant, warm swimming experience with a neoprene cap, for example. 

Also Read: Can You Use Oil As A Detangler? A Helpful Guide


It can be annoying if your swim cap doesn’t fit right. Ensure you get the right type of cap.

An improperly fitting cap can interfere with your hearing and visibility. It can also slide around on your head, making you uncomfortable or struggling frequently to put it in position. 

A cap may make you get too warm; however, you can fix this problem by choosing the right one which allows breathability. 

Are Swim Caps Necessary

Yes, swimming caps are necessary as they help enhance your swimming experience.

They keep the pool clean because hair is tucked up inside the cap.

They help reduce the maintenance cost of your pool or public pools since there is not much hair floating around, which can interfere with the filtration system.

When you keep hair off your ear, you ensure better listening to instructions.

Essentially, swim caps prove more helpful to swimmers of all levels. 

Why Are They Required in Some Pools?

Different swimming pools have different reasons for wearing swim caps.

In some facilities, they require swimmers to wear swim caps to protect the pool’s filtration system from excess floating hair that is likely to clog the filters.

Clogging is a problem if a pool is heavily used. 

Other pools may have rules that require swimmers to wear caps primarily to protect themselves. 

How to Wear a Swim Cap

It’s paramount you wear your swim cap correctly; otherwise, it may slide or come out while swimming.

If you want to know how you can correctly put on a swim cap, there are several ways to do it:


First, ensure your fingernails are trimmed adequately, so you don’t tear the cap. 

  • To wear the cap, stick the hands inside it and stretch it wide to allow it to go on your head readily. 
  • Place the front part of the swim cap on the forehead, then slide it over the other part of the head. 
  • If there is any remaining hair outside, tuck it inside the cap. 

Another way to wear the cap is to grab it by the outside. 

  • Place the front area of the cap on the forehead. Now stretch it over the head. 
  • Remember to tuck any hair left outside into the cap. 

You may also ask a friend to help put on your cap. 

  • Hold the front area of the swim cap on the forehead as the friend holds the back area to slide it over the head in just one quick, flowing motion.

In the event that the cap is too big for your head or if you want to have a tighter fit, you can hold it inside of itself and ask a friend to help put it on.

It is also helpful if you have your long hair tied back. Use a ponytail, bun, or scrunchie to tie back the hair. 

Also Read: Can Water Softeners Cause Hair Loss (What You Need To Know)

Affordable Swim Caps

Now that you know the pros and cons of wearing swim caps, you might be looking for reasonably priced caps that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

For instance, this Speedo Adult Unisex Swim Cap won’t stretch your budget.

It is designed for swimmers who have long hair. Its easy on-and-off design means that it won’t snag your hair.

Made of latex-free silicone, it lasts long and protects your hair and scalp against chlorine. 

For women swimmers who are fun of polyester material, the Fashy’s Women’s Swim Turban has plastic lining and is made of 100 percent polyester. 

Another affordable swim cap is the Maru Unisex Swim Cap that is made of silicone. It is lightweight and has high strength composition.

And if you seek a swim cap with an innovative 3D shape to help reduce drag and wrinkles, the FINA-approved Aqua Sphere Tri Silicone Swim Cap is an ideal choice. It is affordable and constructed of chlorine-resistant silicone. 

You may also want to consider the ZONE3 Swimming Cap as it offers a perfect fit and comes in different color options. This swim cap is comfortable to wear and is constructed of 100 percent silicone. 

Another choice of swim cap is the Sipular’s Women’s Silicone Swim Cap. This cap is durable and keeps your hair dry.

It is easy to put on and offers full coverage to the hair and ears.

The Sipular’s swim cap is odorless, tear-resistant, non-toxic, and durable. It is constructed of silicone material. 

High-Quality Swim Caps

A swim cap needs to be durable and made to enhance the swimming experience of the swimmer.

There are high-quality swim caps you can find out there, including this Speedo Unisex Aqua V Racing Cap that offers a 5 percent drag reduction compared to the regular latex caps.

It also protects your hair from chlorine. This Speedo swim cap is smooth and lightweight.  

Another quality swim cap is the TOPLUS Swim Cap Women.

It offers adequate room for long hair. The cap is made of stretchable silicone, ensuring it is soft and comfortable.

It is designed for any hairstyle from dreadlocks to braids to extensions to crochet mambo and weaves-on or even afro hair. 

Chemicals in swimming pools make it safe for swimmers; however, they can also play havoc on your hair.

The Zoma’s Original Silicone Swimming Cap offers protection for your hair while you swim.

It is made of silicone and features an ergonomic ear pocket design to prevent water from getting into your ear canal.

The cap can prevent ear conditions like Swimmers Ear. Its form-fitting design helps reduce drag, hence boosting your performance. 

And if you are not impressed with the above choices, probably this Synergy’s Swim Cap may catch your attention.

It provides a snag fit with its neoprene-constructed swim hood. The cap offers excellent insulation and heat retention, making it an ideal choice when swimming in cold weather.

It’s suitable for swimmers, surfers, divers, and triathletes.

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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.