Many people think that swimming caps are meant to keep your hair dry, but there is not a single style of swimming cap that can accomplish that feat entirely. The real purpose of wearing a swimming cap is to keep your hair out of your face, protect your hair from the brunt of the pool chemicals, and keep some of your body heat in.
Wearing a cap is optional, unless you swim at a facility that requires one, but I would recommend wearing a cap to anyone with hair longer than 1-2 inches. The hassle of pulling your hair out of your face every few feet is just too distracting to the serious swimmer. If you don't like swimming caps, just wait. Once you try to take a breath and inhale your own hair (cue visions of death by seaweed monsters)...you'll be ready to try one.
Types of Swimming Caps:
Swimming caps come in all kinds of colors and fun designs, but the most important difference between swimming caps is the material.
Click here to look at more styles of latex caps...
Click here to look at more styles of silicone caps...
Click here to look at more styles of lycra caps...
Caring for your Swimming Cap:
Latex caps especially deteriorate very quickly if not dried properly or if left in the sun. (I've had caps literally melt after leaving my swim bag in my car). To make your caps last, let them air-dry fully then dust them lightly with some cornstarch or talcum powder before storing them in your swim bag so they don't stick together. If you do have a cap that is stuck together, don't try pulling it apart, as this can rip it. Put it in the water and gently pry the folds apart until the cap is open again and you can put it on.
Caring for the Hair Under the Swimming Cap
Swimming caps greatly minimize your hair's exposure to the harsh pool chemicals, but they don't protect you completely. Here are a few tips to keep your hair healthy:
1. If you can, wet your hair fully before going into the pool. By wetting your hair with fresh water, your hair absorbs the clean water and will not be able to absorb the chemically-treated water as much.
2. Wash and condition your hair immediately after swimming. Washing out the chemicals immediately reduces the drying effect the chlorine can have on your hair and the conditioner replenishes some of the lost oils.
3. Don't wash your hair too much. Chlorine dries out your hair, so washing it too often will only dry it out further.
4. If your hair is really dry, use a specially-formulated chlorine shampoo to keep it healthy.
Specialty Swimming Caps