Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bike Helmets, Swim Caps and Summer Styles, OH MY!

This is a real summer time post!  For those of you who live in warmer climates this may not apply to you as much.  But here in Michigan, my girls really only have 3 months in the year that they spend A LOT of time riding bikes and swimming.  They do these things at other times of the year, but not with enough frequency that it causes me to choose hairstyles to accommodate them.

Bike Helmets

I am a bit of a stickler for wearing bicycle helmets.  We all wear them.  For most of us our hair doesn't usually interfere with our ability to get a good, comfortable fit with our helmet.  If B or Little E have some kind of style that gets in the way we can easily take it out and put it back in later.  Not so for Miss V!  Most of her styles stay in for 3 to 4 weeks so it is important for me to keep that in mind when planning her summer styles.

Certain hairstyles just simply will not fit under a bike helmet.  Mainly things that stick out of the sides of the head like this:

As cute as pigtails in the summer would be, I try to avoid them.  Especially ones with lots of beads and bobbles on them.

V's current "free hair" pigtail puffs will work under a helmet even though they stick out the sides of her head, because the free hair will squish down easily. They will look pretty mashed up afterwards, but that is easy enough to fix.  Also, since I only plan to leave that style in for a week it's not a big deal.

Ponytails with lots of beads and bobbles would also be a bit difficult but slightly easier than those high pigtails.  Even easier -  a ponytail with no hair accessories like this:

Remember the last in between style we had?  V had a bit of trouble getting her helmet on with this one too.  But she can deal with that on styles that are only in for a day or two.  

On the other hand, with her cornrow styles that stay in for 3 to 4 weeks, I really try to give her something that isn't going to frustrate her and drive her crazy!  Because she really likes to ride her bike!

 The BEST hair choices for under bike helmets are styles that go into low pigtails or ponytails or cornrows that just go straight down, like these:

So to wrap it up ---> just think the less bling the better (sorry Steph!) and keep the hair as flat to the head as possible.

Swim Caps

I am also a bit of a stickler for wearing swim caps, but this is a bit more dependent on the situation.  We really don't do all that much swimming.  We don't have a pool or have friends with a pool, we don't live on a lake and we only make it to the beach a few times a year.  If we swam more regularly I might rethink my strategies, but for our purposes this is what works for us!  

If we are swimming in a pool with chlorine I have both girls wear swim caps to avoid the chemicals causing damage to their hair.  I know that some people will load the hair up with conditioner before going in the pool and then rinse, rinse, rinse afterwards, so that is an option.  I have also read that if you get the hair thoroughly wet before hand it won't be able to soak up the chlorinated water.  We have gone in pools without caps on occasion, but most of the time they wear them.

In a lake I like to have them both wear caps because I can't help in-visioning all this yucky seaweed and lake gunk getting trapped in B's locs!  And with V, I normally don't have her get her hair wet at all while her cornrows are in anyway.  Also, a big plus to wearing swim caps at the beach is protection from the sand!  If you have ever had to deal with sand getting in your child's hair you know what I am talking about!  With super curly hair the sand tends to get trapped on the scalp and it is REALLY difficult to get rid of!  As you can see in the picture above, the swim caps are not hindering my girls ability to have fun, so for now, this routine is working out. 

If we are just playing around the yard in the sprinkler or kiddie pool at home I am much more relaxed.  B never wears a cap and I will let V go without one if we are in the last week of her wearing her current style.  

Now the rules for good swim cap styles differ slightly from the bike helmet rules, so that makes things a bit tricky.  

With swim caps it is even MORE important to avoid a lot of hair bling.  This style is a pretty good choice.  I would probably just remove the ballie before putting on the cap.  

The reason being that big clips, barrettes, ballies or excessive beads will cause strain to the cap and might put tears or holes in it.  

This is probably a little too much:

For swim caps, hair that hangs down long is actually a little harder to get tucked up into the cap so ponytails work great.  Most caps have extra room right on the top of the head, so if you can pile all the hair up there it will make it a lot easier to get the cap on!  

This would be a perfect style.  

*Notice that this is the same type of style that was a pretty good choice for bike helmets, making it probably the BEST choice for working well with BOTH*

Another style that I have found out WILL NOT WORK with our swim caps are yarn braids!

This is just too much hair to fit inside the cap!  I believe the caps we own are youth size and my girls already have slightly large heads, so add all that yarn and hair and it's just not gonna work!  You might be able to get the cap on, but as soon as she jumps in the water it will pop off!

Putting swim caps on girls with locs is pretty simple.  You really don't need to do anything special, but putting the hair up in a ponytail will make it easier. 

 I am adding a video to this post to show HOW to put on a swim cap so you can see what I mean.

Do you prefer to use swim caps, or go without?



  1. This is the first summer that I have let my little gal skip the swim cap. We are in the water ALOT and she hates the cap, its hot and she can't hear, and no one else wears one so it makes her feel differant. She has a natural style this summer so I just make sure her hair is wet before she swims and then we rinse and condition far so good.

    LOve your site you do such and incredible job with your girls hair!

  2. Go without, for sure!! But I'm talking about my preference for myself when I was a child and now that I'm an adult.Growing up I always had to wear a swim cap. We live on an island where it's summer all year round (which means salt water and sand year round), so I can appreciate my mother's insistance that I wear a cap. My hair was very long, natural and in great condition, to my mother's credit. BUT I couldn't stand wearing the swim cap. All my friends with coiled or tightly-curly hair wore swim caps while all of my friends with loose curls or long flowing hair didn't. They just jumped on in, care free while the rest of us had these nauseating, head squeezing menaces pulled over our tresses. For some reason it just always frustrated me. Our local swim club now requires caps in the pool, but thankfully they allow the cloth caps that are breathable and snug, but not tight ... and obviously not waterproof. So that's the type I will choose when my girls start swimming lessons or if for some reason I really need to keep the sand out of their hair. But I'm always at the beach and pool with my sons and I don't wear a swim cap, and I'm definitely leaning toward no swim cap for my girls ... but let's see if I change my tune when my daughters come home. :-)

  3. We go without the cap cuz I'm so afraid that she'll get too hot. We live in the deep south where the water in the pools is tepid, to say the least! So with your body in the warm water and your head out, exposed to the hot sun....well, I worry more about her health than her hair at this point.
    I make sure her hair is well conditioned that day, wet it before getting in (take a shower at the pool) and then do a "cream rinse" that night.
    a little off topic, but how many of your remember when hair conditioners were "cream rinses"? I dilute some conditioner (about a tablespoon) in a cup of warm water and pour it over her hair, followed by rinsing. So far so goo!

  4. I'd like to use swim caps but I can't imagine trying to get it on my 20 month old... because she's so young, we really don't have styles that last for weeks at a time, at best her styles will last five days. So it's easy for me to match up swim days with hair days. I've sprayed her hair with conditioner prior to getting in the pool, and I've gone without. I haven't noticed a difference really... I do make sure we rinse her hair out!

  5. Do you use the latex caps or the silicone ?

  6. Do you use silicone or latex caps ?

  7. @MRK hi this is Steph....I can tell from the photos that Katie uses the latex kind. The silicone ones are probably less sticky though. We go cap-free here in the G house. G has locs but swims a ton. She LOVES to swing her locs around when they are wet now that they are so long!

  8. This is way off topic, but I am DESPERATE! My five hear old son LOOOVES his afro! :) He will NOT let me cut it more than a trim, but I am at a loss as to what to do for summer! I try cornrows, but we are lucky if I can get them to last 5 days. How can I get his cornrows to stay nice (not "frizzy") longer, or are there other hairstyles anyone can recommend? PLEASE HELP! :) Thank you all for your time :).

  9. @MommyBrec -I'm not sure if I can help ya on this one, sometimes fuzziness is all a matter of hair texture. But it might help as his hair gets longer. The longer the hair, the fewer ends you have trying to poke out along the cornrows. Also, does he wear any kind of cap to sleep in? That might help??


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