Our Favorite Shower Caps

NewApr 2022Save

Whether you’re trying to protect a beautiful blowout, braids, curls, or a bald head, a well-fitting and fully waterproof shower cap can be a game changer for people who can’t or don’t want to disturb their ’do every time they bathe. Sadly, second-rate shower caps litter store shelves. We spent nine months testing 21 different shower caps and recommend a luxury satin-lined cap, a ridiculous but watertight shower crown, an extra-roomy budget option, and a cute and basic traditional cap.

How we picked

  • WatertightA surprising number of shower caps are merely water resistant, not watertight. We prefer caps that keep our hair and scalps bone-dry.
  • ExpandableThe best shower caps easily expand and contract to fit a variety of head and hair sizes and shapes, including children’s.
  • DurableWe looked for shower caps that continued to work and look great after six months or more.
  • ComfortableShower caps should never damage hair, slip off, or feel annoying to wear.

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The research

Who this is for

If you’ve used only flimsy hotel freebies, something you’ve grabbed from the shelf at a big-box store, or (we’ve been there) plastic grocery bags, you might be surprised to find that there are significantly better shower cap options. Some of the many sturdy, reusable shower caps available online fit much better and are extremely effective at keeping heads dry under even the most aggressive shower streams. Plus, they can look kind of cute, too.

I should know: I’m a lifelong shower cap enthusiast, both as a wearer and an aspiring designer, with dozens of prototypes under my belt stemming from my decade-long attempt to help folks feel more empowered when they shower.

Why you should trust us

Throughout my teens and 20s, each year I spent hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars straightening my very thick and naturally curly hair. Water was the enemy of my chosen hairstyle, and I became obsessed with finding a more protective shower cap to the point of trying to invent one myself. Over the course of a decade, I spent quite a bit of time and money developing dozens of prototypes—with my efforts resulting in a few failed patent attempts—before motherhood and a newfound admiration of my natural-born curls took precedence. I may one day return to my obsession, but fortunately, in the interim, others have made tremendous strides in shower cap designs.

Aside from being a lifelong shower cap enthusiast, I’m also Wirecutter’s health, beauty, and grooming expert, and I’ve tested everything from hair dryers to bath bombs to bathroom scales.

An adjustable cap for all: Glow by Daye Satin Lined Shower Cap

Our pick


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Glow by Daye Satin Lined Shower Cap

An adjustable cap for all

Glow by Daye shower caps are roomy, comfy, waterproof, and adjustable to fit almost any head. Plus, the company offers a generous warranty.Buy from Amazon$20 from Glow by Daye

*At the time of publishing, the price was $22.

Best for: Folks who want luxurious, adjustable protection—and don’t mind paying for it.

Why we like it: The Glow by Daye Satin Lined Shower Cap is the only shower cap we tested that packs in every feature on our testing checklist, making it a dependable option for adults and children of all head sizes and types and lengths of hair. It’s much more capacious than other luxury shower caps we considered, with a 14-inch diameter. The cap, constructed from PVC,  has a soft, satin liner that serves as an additional protective barrier for as much or as little hair that needs protecting. Plus, its unique adjustable drawstring enables it to contract to fit smaller heads or to expand large enough to accommodate long dreads or hair rollers—all while remaining tight enough around the perimeter to ward off any water intrusion.The Glow by Daye cap’s satin lining and adjustable cord help to better protect a wide variety of head sizes and hair types. Video: Sarah Kobos

Glow by Daye’s shower cap is more expensive than most reusable shower caps we considered, and it is more than double the price of all our other picks. But its exceptional performance and adjustability are worth the extra cost. Plus, it’s backed by a one-year replacement warranty, which is better than the coverage on any other shower cap we tested.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Due to its drawstring and satin lining, this cap is slightly heavier and more cumbersome than most, but not in a way that feels burdensome. Some testers who weren’t as concerned about keeping the edges of their hair completely dry did not find the additional 20 seconds or so it takes to properly adjust and tuck the drawstring worth the hassle, so more cavalier shower cap wearers may prefer one of our other, nonadjustable—and less expensive—picks.

Care instructions: Manufacturer instructions call for hand-washing (video), but it held up fine when we machine-washed it on cold and air-dried it a couple of times to test its durability.

Options at the time of publication: one color (Purple Rain), one print (Heartbreaker)

Fun and foolproof: NPW Queen of the Shower Cap

Our pick

NPW Queen of The Shower Cap

Fun and foolproof

This festive “shower crown” has an unusually effective (and extremely tight) shape that may look super silly but also prohibits water penetration from any angle.$10* from Amazon

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $8.

Best for: Anyone with a sense of humor, as well as people who don’t need a large-capacity cap.

Why we like it: This relatively tight-fitting crown-shaped shower cap puts the fun in functional. We found that it conforms to the heads of adults, teens, and older elementary-school-age kids alike. With a diameter of 10 inches, it’s the smallest of our picks, and though it can fit a ponytail, a topknot, or other “smooshable” hairstyles, it isn’t roomy enough for a head full of long braids, dreads, or hair rollers. It’s crafted from thick PVC and features a 2-inch-wide smocked elastic band that in our experience was near-impossible for water to penetrate.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This cap’s ultratight fit along the perimeter and its thick, rigid material make it less flexible than our other picks.

Some testers complained of an overwhelming plasticky smell (and so too did some Amazon customers), but we found that the odor dissipated after a couple of uses. During our testing a toddler tore one crown’s top off, which affected it aesthetically but not functionally.

Note that while NPW does make other caps, none feature the smocked elastic band that sets this one apart from the competition.

Care instructions: Although the company doesn’t provide care instructions, as part of our testing we regularly machine-washed this cap on cold and air-dried it.

Options at the time of publication: pink and yellow crown

Roomy and inexpensive: Donna Premium Collection Super Jumbo Shower Cap

Our pick

Donna Premium Collection Super Jumbo Shower Cap

Roomy and inexpensive

The most capacious of our picks, this cap can protect more hair than most.$6 from Amazon

Best for: People with large heads and/or lots of hair.

Why we like it: Everything about the Donna Premium Collection Super Jumbo Shower Cap is oversize except its price. It’s comically large—and an excellent choice for people with larger head circumferences or a great volume of hair to protect.

This cap’s expansive elastic band stays in place and remains tight after months of use. Technically this shower cap’s band could fit children and adults alike; in practice, however, a child may find the size of the cap too overwhelming. It comes in a variety of colors, and though there’s nothing discreet about this shower cap, its immense girth is somewhat muted in the darker color options.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Of the caps we recommend, this one is manufactured with the roughest and least appealing plastic. Some Amazon customers have said that theirs fell apart immediately or after a few months, but our test caps are still in great shape after many more months of use, and one tester personally owned one of these caps, which lasted for seven years before it finally fell apart.

Care instructions: Although this cap doesn’t come with manufacturer instructions, we machine-washed it in cold water to test its durability (always air-drying).

Options at the time of publication: navy, black, pink, purple, white

Traditional style, fun prints: Betty Dain Fashionista Shower Cap

Our pick

Betty Dain Fashionista Shower Cap

Traditional style, fun prints

A sturdier version of the ubiquitous single-use models, this cap keeps hair and scalps totally dry.$7 from Amazon

Best for: Casual shower cap wearers who value simplicity and comfort over high security and above-average capacity.

Why we like it: The casual “grab and go” shower cap wearer who just wants something innocuous and functional may prefer the cute styles from Betty Dain’s Fashionista line of super-comfortable shower caps. Each cap, which fits both children and adults, is 11 inches in diameter, so it’s large enough to comfortably cover most heads, though people with long braids or dreads, or who like to shower in hair rollers, may want to consider our picks from Glow by Daye and Donna.

The Betty Dain Fashionista cap’s band has a similar (albeit much looser) smocking design to that of the NPW Queen of the Shower Cap, which helps it comfortably stay put on one’s head. Unique to this line of shower caps is a double layer of PEVA, which creates additional hurdles for any zealous water droplets trying to ruin a ’do.

These shower caps come in eight designs, all with cute names, from the gorgeous black and gold Starry Nights to Diva, which is covered in high heels and handbags.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: People who don’t like bows may be out of luck with this shower cap, as the decorative bow tacked on to every single design we tested is nonremovable.

We noticed a tiny bit of unraveling of the elastic smocking after four machine washes and a few months of use but nothing that affected the functionality of the cap.

Care instructions: Betty Dain says its shower caps are all machine-washable (always air-dry).

Options at the time of publication: eight patterns

How we picked and tested

You can find thousands of shower caps available for purchase but only a handful of differentiated styles to pick from. The vast majority of shower caps are circular in shape and elasticized; however, we did include a few outliers in our testing pool, as well, such as the towel-style Turbella 2in1. We considered only reusable shower caps and sought models sizable enough to contain a large amount of hair, ruling out all single-use cheapies like the ones found in many hotel bathrooms.

Although a shower cap can technically be constructed from any material, we chose to focus only on caps manufactured with at least one layer of waterproof material—usually plastic or plastic-coated fabric. (Plastics such as PVC and PEVA effectively keep hair dry but are difficult to recycle.)

Our research left us with an initial pool of 21 shower caps, which my family—two adults and two kids—tested over eight months according to the following criteria:

Effectiveness: Some shower caps claim to be impenetrable but in fact allow water to permeate the cap, whether directly through the fabric or via an insecure perimeter.

Fit and comfort: A shower cap should never slip off, damage hair, or feel uncomfortable during use.

Durability: We looked for sturdy shower caps that would continue to look and work great after at least six months of use and machine-washing (always air-drying).

These criteria helped us considerably narrow the testing pool, so I sent the finalist caps to three additional Wirecutter staffers: someone who describes themselves as having a “larger-than-average noggin” and uses a shower cap more often than not, an occasional shower cap wearer with a self-described average-size head, and a shower cap novice (who also considers their head size to be average). They, along with their partners and children, judged each shower cap on effectiveness, comfort, and durability.

The competition

Hairsome’s Shower Cap for Men is a Gatsby-hat-shaped shower cap that is roomy, comfortable, and made with two layers of waterproof fabric. We found that water breached its uniquely brimmed perimeter occasionally, but this cap is still a good choice for people who are more concerned about looking fly in the shower than keeping their hair edges dry.

Quickie Cap shower caps are unusual in that they open from both the top and bottom, allowing wearers to secure their hair within the waterproof fabric using magnets and Velcro. We found that this style of cap did not cause our hair to be less smooshed in comparison with our pick from Glow by Daye, which is less expensive and has a satin lining, but if you’d like a shower cap that can open from the top, it’s a good choice. On Etsy you can find more pattern options for sale, including a child version.

The Shhhower Cap is manufactured with a waterproof fabric and comes in many attractive colors and patterns, but it’s twice the price of our pick from Glow by Daye and not nearly as roomy or comfortable. Plus, we found that the perimeter of our hair was often aquatically compromised after we used this cap.

Louvelle shower caps are cute, but not only do they not have the capacity to fit a lot of hair, but they also aren’t as watertight as our picks.

WhaleLife shower caps are satin-lined and comfortable, but the way the elastic around the perimeter of the cap is sewn frequently allowed water to seep in and wet our testers’ hair.

Although Kitsch shower caps are cute, a lack of elastic around the top half of the cap makes them less secure than our picks.

The Adama shower cap is less spacious and less secure than our picks.

The jumbo, clear SuperCrownz shower caps are prettier than our enormous budget pick from Donna but not as expansive and typically three times the cost.

The Turbella XL (currently unavailable) is difficult to adjust and not as watertight or capacious as our picks.

Neither twist-turban-style shower cap we tested—neither the Cap Wrap nor the Turbella 2in1—is as comfortable, watertight, or expansive as our picks.

This article was edited by Tracy Vence and Kalee Thompson.

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