How Your Dirty Hair Is Helping Bring Back the Shower Cap

Rachel Krause
Lambert/Getty Images

Lambert/Getty Images

Shower caps are having a moment, and it’s all your fault. Well, it’s our fault. Daily hair-washing is no longer the norm—we’ve eschewed squeaky-clean scalps in favor of days-old texture and a codependent relationship with dry shampoo.

Not only has the demand for more and better oil-absorbing formulas ballooned (we went from being able to find Psssst! only in drugstores to having hundreds of options staring us down from Sephora shelves), but the want for reliable shower caps has increased, too. The flimsy cellophane versions nabbed from hotel bathrooms will no longer suffice, because there’s nothing worse than getting your roots wet due to slippage when all you really wanted was to preserve that blowout while rinsing off and shaving your legs. Been there.

That’s exactly why new “stylish” shower cap offerings are popping up all over the place. There’s a real gap in the market here, because skipping a few shampoos is no longer a weird, dirty thing—it’s 100 percent acceptable, and frankly, it’s almost stranger now to admit that you do wash your hair every day. (So drying, and so bad for your color!) And if you’re going to wear something on your head while you shower, you might as well make it cute.

SHHHOWERCAP is just one of the handful of newly debuted brands making caps cooler, as well as stronger and more functional. “This shower cap is not the same one that your Aunt Dorothy used. Or your grandma. Or the woman in apartment 4B who always wore bunny slippers,” the site reads. The fabric itself is waterproof, the rubber grip makes it comfortable and secure, and it comes in legitimately cool prints.

SHHHOWERCAP 'The Kent,' $43

SHHHOWERCAP ‘The Kent,’ $43

There’s also “luxury showerwear” proprietor Louvelle, an Australian brand that just launched in the U.S. The caps double as turbans that you can wear in public, and the company touts their efficacy in shielding colored hair from the sun, too. They even come in two different styles, so that you can decide for yourself whether you prefer your shower cap knotted in the front or in a seamless wraparound shape.

It sounds a little bit like a joke, and it is admittedly difficult to justify spending more than, like, 99 cents on a shower cap—that is, before you consider just how important the shower cap has become in our collective hair-care routines. It’s no different than investing in a good brush or high-end heat tools, and if you’re the type of person who’s always struggling to make a blowout last a full five days while also keeping up good general hygiene, a truly functional cap could mean the difference between a perfectly preserved style and a panicked rush to the blow-dry bar on day three. That’s money saved, right there.

Are brands capitalizing on our vanity, laughing all the way to the bank as we shell out $40 on fucking shower caps? Most likely. But before you join them in disbelief, consider the awful crinkling sound the cheap ones create. And the indent that elastic band creates. And how staticky they make your hair look. And how much time you have to spend trying to revive it afterward. That’s what we thought.