Best Swimming Caps For Long And/or Thick Hair 2018

Swim caps have many benefits for swimmers. They make your head more aerodynamic, so you can speed through the water more swiftly. They keep hair out of your face. In open water, they keep your head warm. Swim caps also keep your hair dryer while keeping hair out of the pool filter.

Swim caps are very useful, but for swimmers with long hair finding a swim cap can be difficult. Many are designed to just stretch over your hair. Depending on how long and thick your hair is, this can end up just smashing your hair onto your head. If a swim cap is too tight, it can cause headaches or it might just pop off your head. On the other side of the spectrum, if your cap is too loose, it can fill with air, making your head bob along, or fill with water, creating drag and pulling the cap off.

Finding a swim cap that is perfect for you is hard enough for people with short hair. There are different materials, sizes and shapes to consider. Some caps have ear pockets, others don’t. If you have long hair, there is an extra factor to consider. There is no way to be certain that the swim cap you are buying will be the perfect swim cap for you. The best you can do is try different caps until you find the one you like. Once you find the cap that fits your head ideally, make a note of what it is, and buy that one from then on.

Once you find your perfect swim cap, you will want to take good care of it so it lasts longer. Swim caps are pretty easy to take care of. You will want to be careful of sharp objects, such as hairpins and long nails. You will also want to keep it away from heated areas, so no throwing it on your dashboard on a warm day! After swimming, you should always rinse it out with fresh water and wipe it down before putting it away.​

Best Swim Caps for Long Hair 2018

1. XL BLACK – Silicone Swim Or Shower Cap - Best Swim Cap for Long Hair 2018

The XL BLACK is the most popular product by Lock Journey. Lock Journey is a Black-owned business that makes products to protect your beloved locks. It is a massive swim cap (12 inches by 11 inches) with enough room for locs, braids, natural hair, and full-bodied styles up to 20 inches long. It is made of silicone, so it is stretchy, but delicate. When you put your hair up, you should avoid hairpins or other pointy objects, because they can poke through the fabric. Also avoid storing it in hot cars and heated areas, as silicone can be temperamental when exposed to lots of heat.

The biggest complaint users have about the XL BLACK swim cap is that it was too big for them. So don’t think that because this is my number one recommendation that it will automatically be perfect for you. This cap is exclusively for people with lots of hair. That does not exclusively refer to length. Hair texture and thickness needs to also be taken into account. For example, my hair is down to my waist, but it’s really thin and fine, so this swim cap would be way too big for me. If you’re not sure that it’s right for you, you can send a picture of your hair to the folks over at Lock Journey, and they’ll tell you which swim cap of theirs you should use, or if you don’t have enough hair, and should look elsewhere.

While no swim cap can guarantee that your hair stays dry, if the XL BLACK fits you properly and is put on right, then it does a pretty good job of keeping your hair dry. Users report having the bulk of the hair dry at the end of a rigorous swim, with a bit of wetness around the edge of the head.

Users also report that it is the only swim cap to properly fit over long locs. Like all caps, you should stack your hair onto the top of your head, and stretch the cap over it. Unlike other caps, you should make sure to squeeze out any extra air that may be surrounding your hair before hopping into the water. If you don’t, those air pockets are sure to fill with water or float along above you, creating drag.

The XL BLACK is obviously black, but there are other colors available if you prefer. It is wise when swimming in open water to wear bright colors. If something bad should happen, it’s easier for rescuers to locate you, and it’s easier for other swimmers, surfers, or boaters to see you with a brightly-colored cap on your head. The black is the most popular, but other colors available are green, purple, blue and red.

The only downside to this cap is that it doesn’t have pockets for the ears.

This swim cap is similar in dimensions to the Lock Journey XL Black. It has ample extra space on the top for a large amount of hair. The shape is like a mushroom, with a smaller space around the opening that billows out into a larger space for the hair. It looks a bit like a chef’s hat when it’s on the head, unless it’s stretched over a mound of hair, in which case you’ll look a bit like a cone head. But that is to be expected if you’re a swimmer with lots of hair, and once you take the cap off, it will be worth it! The design also prevents your head from being squeezed, so you won’t get a headache every time you swim.

The Lahtak cap is not designed to be worn loosely, so make sure you have a lot of hair before buying it. While users with thick locs and braids report that it fit great and kept their hair dry, users with less hair said it was too loose and filled with water. As with the other caps reviewed here, you really have to find the one that is the right size for your head and hair. Just because one cap fits your friend, doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you.

The Lahtak Extra Large swimming cap is made of extra durable silicone, and should be able to withstand slightly tougher conditions than other silicone caps. Users have put it on hair kept up with hair pins and left it in hot cars, and it has held up to the challenge.

This cap does not have ear pockets, and you may find that a bit uncomfortable. However, it does fall far enough over the ears that they will be mostly covered, which may make the cap slightly more comfortable on the ears.

The Lahtak Extra Large Swimming Cap comes in four different colors. Plain black is popular, but also the most expensive. You can also purchase yellow, pink, or red. The bright colors make you more visible in open waters as well as pools, which could save your life in a compromising situation.

This cap fits much like other caps. You put your hair on the top of your head, then stretch the cap out with your hands over the top of the hair all the way down to the nape of the neck, forehead, and ears. This particular company recommends to dust it lightly with corn starch or baby powder before putting it on the head. This should allow the cap to slip on and off better. It also should cause the cap to seal better onto the head. Before swimming, make sure to squeeze any extra air out of the cap. The silicone lets the cap slip off easily, without grabbing or pulling at your hair, reducing breakage and pain.

These Ipow Premium Haircare Silicone Swim Caps have lots of extra features built-in especially for long hair. In the back there is a little five-inch bump to give your hair extra room to breathe. The stretchy silicone can reach over a bun or ponytail that is much larger than five inches. It is 10 inches from the front to the back of the bump, and 7.5 inches from the bottom to the top of the cap. This is much larger than the average swim cap, ensuring that there is much more room for hair.

This cap also has a series of little bumps on the inside of the cap. This is intended to keep the hair from slipping, and also to keep the cap from sliding off while swimming. Most people really enjoy the bumps and don’t notice them. They say the cap stays on better because of them. However, a few people may find those little bumps irritating and unbearable for long periods of time. If you’re the type of person who would find that abrasive, then this is not the cap for you.

Another thing with the bumps is that some people think that it causes the cap to stick to the hair more during removal. When the cap sticks to the hair, it pulls at the hair and can be slightly uncomfortable for a few seconds at the end of your swim. It can also cause a bit more breakage and damage to your hair, so beware. Most people still think the bumps are an excellent addition, as they keep the cap securely on the head and hair safely in the cap and away from the harsh pool chemicals.

This cap looks sleek and comes in a set of two. You can choose a set with one blue and one black cap, or you can choose the set with one pink and one red cap. Both sets look great and offer the same fit and quality.

The silicone is stretchy to accommodate a lot of hair, but the cap is simply not as large as the last two caps on this list. This is bad for those of you with long, thick locs or braids. However, if you don’t have enough hair to fill the previous caps, then this might be the cap for you. This would be perfect for people with long, thin hair. It would also work well for medium to long thick or curly hair, as well as an ample amount of natural hair. It should fit over a good amount of hair without squeezing, but it won’t leave too much extra room in the top of the cap.

These caps don’t come with ear pockets, so if those are important to you, you may want to get a different cap.

These Ipow Premium Haircare Silicone Swim Caps come in a pack of two, and are very affordable. A two-pack is much less than most single caps, so you can stock up without breaking the bank!

The Friendly Swede Silicone Long Hair Swim Caps are quite different than the other caps covered in this guide thus far. First and foremost, they are shaped like ordinary swim caps. They don’t have a mushroom top and they don’t have any extra bumps for extra hair. The dimensions are a bit larger than ordinary swim caps for short hair, though. They are 8.66 inches from top to bottom and 8.86 inches from front to back.

Because these caps are much smaller than the other ones in this guide, they’re not meant for long locs or braids. They’re really designed for long, thin hair, short natural hair, or medium to long thick or curly hair. Even users with medium-length locs reported that these caps could never stretch over their hair. This is the cap for users with too much hair for a short hair cap, and not enough hair for a long-hair cap. This is the perfect cap for my hair, and I have waist-length hair that is very thin and straight.

Another unique quality of the Friendly Swede Silicone Long Hair Swim Caps is that they have ear pockets. Ear pockets are not necessary on swim caps, but they do make a wonderful touch. It helps manage the pressure of being underwater. It also helps keep water out of the ears and blocks out a bit of sound. The ear pockets are also much more aerodynamic than our ears are, so they can help make you just a touch faster. The ear pockets are 2.76 inches long by 3.94 inches high. This means your ears will certainly fit comfortably without getting smushed.

These silicone caps stretch a lot more than you would expect them to. They have ridges that run along the top to increase stretch and grip on the hair. The caps remove easily without too much pulling, reducing breakage. They also keep the hair pretty dry.

The Friendly Swede has excellent customer service, and they are a reputable company that stands by their products. If you get a lemon that rips right away they will send you a new one. They are also very available for any questions you may have.

These caps are affordable, as they come in a two pack. The thick material holds up, so a two pack should last for a long time!

5. Shvim Swim Shower Cap For Women Men For Long Hair With Ear Protect Pouch

This is another swim cap for long, thin haired people. The Shvim Swim Shower Cap at first glance looks much like a normal swim cap, but it does have an extra few inches on the top to accommodate extra hair at the top of the head. The base is 7.09 inches from front to back, while the top is 8.27 inches from front to back, so clearly there is a bit more room in the top. The cap is also 8.27 inches from top to bottom.

The Shvim Swim Shower Cap is also great because it has ear pockets. The ear pockets protect ears from pressure changes, and also keep water away from the ears. The ear pockets are 2.76 inches by 3.94 inches, so even the largest ears will fit all the way in the pockets. These ear pockets don’t stick out from the cap as far as the ones from the Friendly Swede do. This can be better or worse, depending on your preference. On the bright side, it reduces curling of edges and keeps water out of the cap better. On the other hand, it can press the ears into the head a little more. Some people find that uncomfortable, especially those who swim with ear plugs.

This cap is made of silicone, so it should stretch to twice its size over your hair. It has knobby grips on the inside and outside to firmly stick the cap in place on top of the head. This shouldn’t be sliding off or slipping around on your head.

The grip does not prevent the cap from sliding off the head easily. Like other silicone caps, it pulls very little on the hair while being removed. Swimming is already very hard on our hair, and the less breakage, the better!

The Shvim Swim Cap has a pretty standard price, but it includes a free set of earplugs and a nose clip, which is a nice touch. As mentioned earlier, some people feel the earplugs are a bit much with the ear pouches, but for those who are sensitive about water in their ears, this is a great bonus. Between the plugs and the ear pouches, nothing is getting into your ears!

The Shvim Swim Cap comes in black or a cobalt blue color. The picture indicates that there is also a pink available, but it is not currently being distributed on Amazon. The cap does a great job of blocking out the elements, protecting your hair from sun and from the chlorine and other chemicals in the pool. The silicone is thick and durable. This cap is in it for the long haul!

Swim Caps Buying Guide

There are a few things you need to consider before buying a swim cap. First of all, everyone will need a different swim cap. We all have different head sizes, so the cap that fits best on your best friend may not even fit on your head. Once you start factoring in hair lengths, textures, and styles, the possibilities are endless. So rather than buy a swim cap because your best friend loves it, you should consider several other factors before buying.

The easiest way to distinguish between different types of swim caps is by their material. The different types of materials and their strengths and weaknesses are listed above. For long-haired swimmers, you will most likely need silicone to stretch comfortably over your hair.

You should also be aware of how large your head is. There are swim caps in many different sizes. Many silicone caps will fit many different head sizes, but if you have an especially large or small head, you should check to make sure that a cap will fit people with your head size. If your cap is too large, it fills with water and creates drag. If it is too small, it will pop off your head or squeeze it uncomfortably, leaving you with a headache.

Another factor in swim caps is the size of the top of the cap. This is what will be most affected by the length of your hair. You should know that just because a cap says that it is for long hair, doesn’t mean that it will fit over your hair. You need the cap to be the perfect size. As I said before, it will pop off or painfully smash your head if it’s too small, or fill with water and create drag if it’s too large. If your hair is thin and fine, a standard long hair cap should be fine. They look much like regular caps, but are extra stretchy on the top.

If you have really long hair (read: waist-length), or if your hair is very thick or full-bodied, you will need to have a cap with extra space in the top to accommodate extra hair. How much space you need depends on your length of hair. When you put your hair onto the top of your head, consider how large the topknot is. You will have to buy a swim cap large enough to fit over that bundle of hair. You will want to buy one that is slightly smaller than your head with the hair on top, as you will want it to stretch over the hair.

Many people make the mistake of buying a huge swim cap because they know it’ll fit over their hair without squeezing. This is problematic because all that extra space needs to be filled with something, and water will rush in. So you will want to buy a cap that fits tightly, but not too tightly. If there is a little bit of extra air surrounding the hair area, you can squeeze out the air before hopping into the water. But if there is too much space, there is nothing you can do.

Another feature of swim caps that many people find important is the space where the ears go. Many swim caps simply fall on top of the ears with no special consideration for the ears. This can press uncomfortably on the ears, or cause people to fold the sides up off the ears, which can affect the fit and how much hair gets wet. Many people find this very uncomfortable. So there are many swim cap styles that extend all the way over the ears, with little pockets with extra space for the ears. This is considered to be far more comfortable, and can make the difference between a good swim cap and a great one.​

The Different Types Of Swim Caps


Silicone caps are very popular today, especially for people with long hair. They are much more durable than other swim caps. This can be extra awesome for people with long hair, as weaker caps will tear due to hairpins. Most silicone caps can withstand hairpins. They also tend to be more cost effective, as silicone is cheaper to produce than other materials. They are also nicer for long-haired people because they don’t tend to grab the hair while putting it on and taking it off. Some other materials stick to the hair, causing painful pulling and breakage. Silicone is very stretchy, so it can expand over buns or braids. Most caps for long hair will be made of silicone.

One common complaint with silicone is that it does very little to keep your head warm. In heated pools that is not a problem, but if you swim in the ocean, you may find putting a second cap of rubber or latex on top of your silicone cap will keep you warmer.


Rubber is what swim caps were originally made from. Rubber is still used today, but it is not as popular. It is a very hearty, durable material. It is not ideal for people with long hair because it is not very stretchy. Rubber caps remain popular because rubber may be the most durable of all swim cap materials. If you manage to find a rubber cap that fits you, it will last forever. Rubber caps are also desirable for ocean swimmers, as rubber is especially insulating.

It is notable that rubber is a type of latex. If you have a latex allergy, you cannot swim with a rubber cap, either.


Neoprene is synthetic rubber designed for cold water sports. There is little to say about it in regard to long-haired swimmers. However, just know that the only time you need a neoprene swim cap is when you need a wetsuit. They are incredibly effective at keeping your head warm in cold waters. For everyday swimming in a pool, there is really no advantage to a neoprene swim cap. They are more expensive and don’t do a very good job of stretching over long hair.


Lycra is the material swimsuits are made of. Making a swim cap of the same material makes it more comfortable and durable. It stretches to fit over long hair, and is the most durable kind of swim cap available. Water flows through the material easily, so they do nothing to keep the hair dry. They also do nothing to seal the heat in. The biggest complaint against Lycra swim caps is that they slip off easily and frequently, as they just don’t have the same sort of grip. It can be really annoying to swim laps with them falling off all the time, so many people wear them over silicone or rubber caps.

The Different Brands Of Swim Caps

Most swim cap brands carry some sort of long-hair option. It typically has a bit of extra room on the top and a little bit more stretch to fit over a bun or ponytail. While these might work for many of us, it is typically not enough for some African-Americans with full-bodied styles, long dreadlocks (locs), or braids. One company in particular stands out as going above and beyond to keep Black hair safe in the pool.

Lock Journey

Lock Journey is a multi-cultural salon in North Carolina that specializes in braids, weaves, and natural hair care. In addition to salon services, they also manufacture several products for hair care, especially African American hair. They have a line of extra-large swim caps for locs, braids, and other full-bodied styles. While most people will find these swim caps to be much too large, these are really the only swim caps that can accommodate waist-length full-bodied styles. The best part is that Lock Journey is a Black-owned small business, dedicated to the care and beauty of American-American hair, so you know your money will be going to a great business.

Best Swim Caps Wrap Up

Basically, the best swim cap for long hair is subjective. The amount of hair you have greatly affects which swim cap you should use. However, there are some basic similarities between long-hair swim caps. Most swim caps for long-haired swimmers will be made of silicone. It is stretchy and durable, and can sometimes withstand hair pins and barrettes, depending on the thickness.

Long-haired swimmers should also look at how much larger the top of the cap is than the opening. You want to have the cap stretch comfortably over your hair without leaving too much extra room where water could seep in. If there is some extra space around your hair, squeeze the air out to vacuum-seal the cap onto your head and keep the water out! You know your hair the best, and you know how much room you need based on your own length, texture, and thickness.​

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