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Wave Cap vs Durag: Key Differences For Comfort & Style

young man wearing a durag

Having trouble choosing between a durag or a wave cap?

We’ve got you!

In this article, we will compare and contrast a durag vs a wave cap to help you on your journey. From here you’ll learn about the benefits and disadvantages of both items as well as every aspect that is crucial in choosing between the two.

Keep reading and allow us to help you out.

Main Differences Between Wave Cap Vs Durag

man wearing blue durag cloth over his head

The main differences between wave cap vs durag are:

  • Wave caps are elastic caps that adapt the shape of the scalp, whereas durags are scarf-like fabrics that are tied to the back of the head.
  • Wave caps are made to be used in the daytime, whereas durags are meant for the night.
  • Wave caps are made from three main materials and vary depending on their thickness, elasticity, and transparency, whereas durags are made of almost any compatible fabric.
  • Wave caps are comfortable but fragile, whereas durags are durable but uneasy to the scalp.


So… what is a wave cap?

A wave cap is a piece of clothing item made of a stretchy fabric that covers one’s scalp.
It gained its popularity in the early 1990s when famous rappers used it as a fashion statement.

They were originally made with the same fabric used in women’s stockings which is where it got the name “stocking cap”. But over the years, wave caps evolved and are now made of other types of fabrics.

On the other hand...

A durag or do-rag is a scarf attached to a long piece of hood-like material that is tied on the back of the head and is made of materials like nylon.

These clothing pieces have quite the history, from being used by slaves to absorb their sweat during work to being used by almost anyone to maintain their hairstyle.


Both durags and wave caps are used either to maintain a hairstyle or as a fashion statement. But they differ depending on the time you’ll be using them.

Durags are nowadays mainly used as a headdress that keeps waves and other hairstyles in place as you sleep. They are very intact and would surely hold up while you toss and turn in your bed at night.

Wave caps on the other hand are suitable for daytime use as they are more comfortable and minimal. They can protect your waves from direct sunlight and outdoor elements. 



As mentioned earlier, wave caps were originally made from stocking materials but are now also made of nylon and polyester. Even if they have limited fabric options, these materials vary a lot depending on their thickness, transparency, and stretchability.

On the other hand, durags are made of a wide range of materials such as velvet, spandex, polyester, silk, and cotton. This is because they have been around since the 19th century and people have started experimenting and making their own.

Both of these headwears come in various colors and styles, some of them are even made with jewels and shiny materials!


Durags are much more durable than wave caps because of the materials they’re made of.

Despite the convenience of wave caps, they tear easily with pressure and sometimes loosen up. Durags are made stronger, with regular and proper cleaning they’re proven to last long.


Wave caps win on this round!

Although the fabric they use is prone to breakage, no one can deny the comfort it offers to the user as it perfectly fits onto your head and is incredibly breathable.

Durags are comfortable too, but that is only if you’re already used to wearing them. People who have newly been using durags complain about the headaches and wrinkle lines they get from it. This is because of the minimal space it leaves on your head after being tied.

Benefits And Disadvantages

Aside from them keeping hairstyles intact day and night, wave caps and durags have many more features.


Man wearing purple durag

While wave caps specialize in elasticity, durags are great when it comes to flexibility. They’ll fit any shape and you can adjust it to how tight or loose you want it to be. It also allows you to reposition it wherever you want, even down to your eyebrows!

Another good thing about durags is that they make sure our hair sits still when we sleep.

This does not only help keep our hairstyle intact but prevent our strands from tangling too resulting in a reduction of hair loss.

Our skin also benefits from using the best durag brands. As we go on with our daily lives, our scalp produces and releases oil into our dirty hair and it will slowly drip down to our face to clog our pores. This results in acne and blemishes.

But with durags holding our hair and absorbing both sweat and oil, there’s nothing to worry about. Even in a surprise wave check.

The only tough thing about durags is that their thick fabric makes them uncomfortable during hot weather. This can result in a bad odor and an itchy scalp that require immediate treatment.

Wave Cap

If durags prevent and reduce hair loss, wave caps are best at protecting your hair from direct sunlight and harmful UV rays.

So unlike durags, you can surely wear these during the summer and benefit from them too!

Wave caps also help in locking the moisture of your hair in place.

All you need to do is apply oil or gel before wearing it and your hair will be soft and smooth the next day.

Moisture doesn’t only make your hair look good, it also boosts hair growth and scalp health. This prevents your hair from being damaged by styling materials and chemicals.

The biggest downfall of wave caps is that they aren’t very intact on our heads. Even if they fit perfectly, they tend to move around as you do too. This means that there are huge chances of it coming undone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Wave Cap And Durag?

Let’s have a short recap of the points we discussed earlier. The biggest difference between a durag vs wave cap is its purpose. Durags were meant to keep your hairstyle in place as you sleep at night and prevent hair loss as well as skin issues. Wave caps were made to be used during the daytime as you go on with your day-to-day plans.

They help lock in the products you use on your hair and prevent it from getting damaged by heat and chemicals. Other differences include the fabrics they’re made of, their durability, comfort, and ease of use. Wave caps are very comfortable, but they tend to move around your head and break by tearing or loosening. Durags, on the other hand, tend to be uncomfortable to many, but they stay in place and are very durable.

Wave caps are easy to use, too. You just have to apply hair products depending on your preference and put them on. However, durags need proper tying, regular cleaning, and much more attention.

How Does A Wave Cap Work?

The fabric and perfect fit of wave caps make sure to lock in the gel, pomade, oil, or any hair product into your hair strands. It also prevents any heat from direct sunlight, harmful UV rays, and external elements from being in contact with your hair to avoid any damage.

So whatever hairstyle it is you’re trying to maintain, or even if you’re just using it as a fashion item, as long as you’re wearing and using it right, wave caps can assure you soft and moisturized hair.

This is how you wear a wave cap the right way:

Which One Is Better To Use And Why?

“Better” depends on a lot of factors like when, where, and what you’ll be using them. If you have short hair and you care about your hair’s overall condition, then it is best to opt for wave caps. But if your hair is in longer lengths and you’re working hard on maintaining a specific hairstyle, then durags are a better option.

If you cant choose between the two, you can use them alternately, wave caps in the morning and durags at night. Purchasing both can also help you decide which you like most after giving them a try for a week or two.

You can also use both of them at the same time by putting one of them on top of the other for extra protection!


With two similar yet completely different headwears, it is crucial to know what sets them apart from each other. Small differences can make a huge impact on your hair.

Just remember that it is not up to anyone but yourself to decide which is better for you.

We hope this wave caps vs durags article informed you well, and whichever it is you may choose from the two, we hope it works out for you!

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