Wave Cap Vs Durag, What Is The Difference?

Wave Cap Vs Durag

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You may have recently tried a new look such as twists, braids, or a fresh cut, and now you’re wondering what type of head covering would be most appropriate. Two main options are durags and wave caps, but what’s the difference?

While they’re very similar in several ways, read on for the main differences between a wave cap and a durag. We’ve got you covered – literally.

Main Differences – Wave Cap Vs Durag

We’ll go into more detail on each later, but first let’s look at the main differences between a durag and a wave cap.


Wave caps are generally made of tighter material such as nylon and polyester and they fit much tighter around the crown. Durags are made of lighter material such as silk and fit much looser around the scalp in comparison.

Because of this substantial difference, wave caps tend to be more reliable whereas durags are more long-lasting.

Uses (Hairstyles/Versatility)

Wave caps aren’t used for much else aside from producing waves. These caps aren’t the best choice if you change your hair often. Durags on the other hand are much more versatile and can accommodate many hairstyles.

Durags are best suited for softer hairstyles like twists that fall in your face and bangs because they can be adjusted to fit around the forehead.

Hair Length

Wave caps benefit hair that is at most an inch long. Anything longer could be smushed under the pressure. Durags differ from wave caps because they can be used with longer hairstyles. Durags prevent the hair from frizzing and keep strays in place.


Wave caps emerged around the 90s as Black people began finding more creative and innovative ways to style their hair. These new styles required a different way of tying down your hair at night, thus the stocking cap (wave cap) was born/

Durags have a much more rich history. They emerged during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and became a powerful symbol of the Black Power Movement.

Hopefully that helps clear things up, but if you want more details on each, read on below.

What Is A Wave Cap?

What is a Wave Cap?


A wave cap is a head covering used to protect short hairstyles and create a neat wave effect.

Traditional wave caps are made from stocking material similar to women’s pantyhose. They’re usually thin, sheer, and made with a large elastic band lining the circumference.

More recently, wave caps began showing their versatility. Wave caps are now made from tension-free fabrics such as silk and velvet. Some are even olive-oil infused.

Wave Cap Olympics

The best wave caps have adjustable bands and mellow material, but a hefty price tag won’t ensure its effectiveness.

The top 3 wave caps with the best market reviews include:

It’s true not all stocking caps are made equal, but if you’re in the mood to spend lavishly, you can find an excellent one– or at least a pack of 10.

The most expensive wave caps on the market include:

If you require a more budget-friendly option consider these:

The cheapest wave caps are:

Wave Caps for Women

Although wave caps are generally made for and marketed to men, women equally benefit from wearing wave caps. Some companies have wave caps dedicated to women, but most wave caps overall are unisex.

One of the best wave caps for women include:

This cap is roomier in the back for ladies with longer tresses.

Wave Caps for Children

Wave caps for children are meant to fit their smaller heads. The best wave caps for children include:

What Are Wave Caps Used For?

Wave caps are best used for close-cut fades to maintain that natural wave from the brush. To create the waves, you’d simply brush your hair in the direction you’d like it to cascade.

The kind of waves you create will depend on your hair texture and the direction you brush. There are several ways to create the wave effect, some fellas brush forward, while some gals may brush in a 360° motion. How often you brush in this direction will equally affect how well the waves turn out.

Best Pomades For Waves

Waves require more than a good brush and a wave cap. If you want deep lasting waves you’ll need a good pomade. These are the best pomades for waves:

  • Ocean View’s deep wave pomade
  • Softsheen’s Sportin’ Waves
  • Royalty Hair’s natural wave pomade
  • Duke’s greaseless wave pomade

Benefits of Wave Caps

Protection From Sunlight

UV and direct sunlight can be damaging to naturally curly hair. The remedy for this has always been wave caps. People use wave caps in the daytime to protect their hair while running errands or playing sports.

Moisture Sealant

One of the most helpful reasons to consistently wear your wave cap is so your hair doesn’t dry out. You spend a good amount of time sectioning and juicing up your hair with oils and grease; it’d be a shame if it all ended up on your pillow. Wave caps ensure this doesn’t happen.

Hair Growth

Your hair will grow significantly under the consistent care of a wave cap. This is just another benefit of wearing wave caps.

Maintain Style

Your waves remain intact when consistently wrapped under a wave cap. The creases stay nice and fresh like the literal ocean, and your scalp will look healthy and shiny. The two combined make your style look fabulous.


Wave caps are easily accessible and convenient enough to place over your head before bed. Other head wraps require tying down or positioning, making wave caps the effortless alternative.

Cons of Wave Caps

The Material

One reason you might not wear a wave cap is because of the material. Because they’re made from the same stocking material as pantyhose, they can be quite tight on the head. This problem has turned some people off and may turn you off as well.

The Fit

On the adverse side, wave caps tend to get displaced easily. Many find that when they wake up their beloved wave cap has made its way into an abyss of your sheets.

With most head covers, it’s pretty trial-and-error finding the right size. Stylists recommend tying a looser satin scarf around your wave cap to secure it at night.

What Is a Durag?

What Is a Durag?

Durags are made of polyester, silk, satin, and as of recently, velvet. A durag is another type of head covering used to protect shorter hairstyles, leaving a little more room for the scalp to breathe.

It fits close to the skull and has two strings tailing from the end. The tails can be wrapped in front, and around the perimeter of the head as many times as needed to secure the covering on top. And then a nice little skirt is left fanned out in the back.

Durag Olympics

The top-rated durags on the market include:

The most expensive durags on the market include:

  • Saint Chic’s Printed Durags
  • Sleef’s Velvet Durag
  • Auctiva’s Leather Denim Biker Durag

The budget-friendliest durags on the market include:

What are Durags Used For?

Durags give your hair a warm hug of serenity at night while keeping your hairstyle in place. They’re best used for short styles but realistically, anyone with naturally curly hair can benefit from a durag.

Durags are also used to secure other headwraps, such as bonnets and wave caps. Many people will advise you not to use both– a wave cap and a durag– as this can trap unnecessary heat under your cap.

Other Durag Uses

Durags are commonly known to protect curly hair at night, but durags have been mainstreamed for a while now.

Bikers are known to wear durags to secure their hair on rides. Athletes have also been known to use various head coverings similar to durags to increase their performance.

Durags have also been used in fashion pieces as a more laid-back and chill look. Premium designers have even begun implementing durags into their designs.

Hairstyles Best Suited For A Durag

  • 360 waves
  • Two strand twists
  • Starter-Locs
  • Cornrows
  • Knotless plaits
  • Box braids
  • Tribal braids

Benefits of Durags

You may not know this, but your durag is serving many purposes while sitting effortlessly atop your crown. Here are just a few:

Extra Skin Protection

Hot summer nights make you sweat, and when you do the oil from your hair seeps down onto your face and into your skin–thus clogging your pores. Your durag protects your skin by preventing sweat from running.

Stress-Free Detangler

Durags help your hair grow by keeping your hair detangled overnight. Instead of waking up and combing through endless knots, your durag keeps your hair properly sectioned and well. The less tension you put into daily detangling increases growth potential.

Maintain Style

Similar to wave caps, durags also help in keeping your style fresh. Some stylists will immediately cover your style with a durag to increase its longevity.


While wave caps can be a bit compressing against the forehead, durags are very lightweight and adjustable. You choose just how loose or how tight you want it with the handy tails.

Cons of Durags

They’re Hot

The summertime can make sleeping with headwear less than pleasurable. This is always something to consider with any new style.

The rising temperature under your durag can cause an itchy scalp and a lingering odor so take extra precaution if you live in a hotter state.

Easily Displaced

Sometimes even the most refined boy scout knot is no match for the war between bonnet and sheets. With that being said, your durag may become easily lost in your bed if not tied properly. It may take a couple of tries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make waves with a durag?

Durags alone won’t make waves. If you’re beginning waves it’s important to have a good pomade, conditioner, brush, and wave cap.

Do durags help your hair grow?

While they don’t provide any immediate benefits to the scalp, consistent wear over time durags prevent breakage and lock in moisture. This ongoing effect will keep your hair healthy and growing.

Should I wear a durag or a bonnet?

There’s not a whole lot of differences between a durag and bonnet–especially in the material they’re virtually the same, but you may choose a durag over a bonnet if you have shorter hair that could potentially move around a lot under the bonnet.

A bonnet, on the other hand, would be a swell choice if you’re rocking a style such as box braids that fall to your shoulders.

Is it bad to wear a durag all day?

Wearing a durag all day won’t have any immediate consequences, but it’ll eventually make your scalp uncomfortable.

Are durags good for afros?

While natural hair must be protected in all states, durags aren’t suitable for an afro. They’re too compressing and would ruin its shape.

Which Is Better, A Durag Or A Wave Cap? Final Thoughts

Naturally, curly hair is so beautiful whether in its natural state or a protective style. Men and women both benefit from protecting their hair at night, so you must know which head tool to use.

For shorter styles, use wave caps. They’ll keep the style neat and in place. For longer styles, use durags. They keep the style in place, your hair moisturized, and reduce frizz.

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