Swimming With Natural Hair, Braids, and Dreadlocks Just Got So Much Easier

Dana Oliver
Beauty Director
Yahoo Beauty

Every year when summer rolls around, I get knots in the pit of my stomach just thinking about how I’m going to swim without getting my natural hair wet.

Traditional swimming caps have never fully covered my big, curly Afro, and taking a dip in a pool or ocean while wearing box braids only makes my head feel extremely heavy and uncomfortable afterward. So I often forgo swimming altogether, and that’s just not fun.

Nomvuyo Treffers knew this struggle all too well. As the mother of two young daughters who enjoyed water sports, she often sat on the sidelines reading a book instead of joining in because she couldn’t find a swimming cap to fit over her long dreadlocks.

In an interview with South Africa’s W24 digital lifestyle magazine, Treffers revealed that she even took the extreme measure of cutting her locs “out of frustration” just so she could swim with her children. But it wasn’t long before she recognized that there was a greater need among fellow South Africans with hair like hers for larger swim caps that actually fit. Thus, Swimma Caps were born.

Swimma Caps creator Nomvuyo Treffers and her daughters. (Photo: Facebook/Swimma Caps)
Swimma Caps creator Nomvuyo Treffers and her daughters. (Photo: Facebook/Swimma Caps)

Made from silicone, Swimma Caps stretch wide enough to cover the hair of men, women, and children sporting natural ’dos, braids, and dreadlocks and still remain snug along the hairline to prevent water from creeping inside. The caps come in an array of colors, including red, yellow, blue, pink, white, and black.

Instagram and Twitter posts tagged “#swimmacaps” show wide-smiled tots and adults wearing these natural-hair-friendly caps while swimming, as well as before-and-after shots that prove they do work.


My baby from another mother! I can’t explain how excited I am that this beautiful girl is wearing a swimma cap. I’ve known her as a baby & she out there being #TeamSwimma with her braids covered and I’m so proud!! Love her to bits ???? Thank you so much @buyiyols for sharing ???????? #swimmacaps #swimming #swim #swimmingpool #swimcaps #swimsuit #braids #princess

A post shared by Swimma_Caps (@swimma_caps) on Apr 15, 2017 at 12:29am PDT


Little Swimma swimmer! ???? @swimma_caps #swimmacaps #swimming #swimmingpool #swim #indoorswimmingpool #siliconeswimcap #daughter #waterproof

A post shared by Swimma_Caps (@swimma_caps) on May 2, 2017 at 3:23am PDT


Love this! Thank you @justellabella! #Repost @justellabella with @repostapp ・・・ Been dying to try out my new @swimma_caps but the weather won’t let me be fabulous ???? also my hair can’t fit in the picture but it does fit in the #swimma cap ???? #swimmacaps #swimcaps

A post shared by Swimma_Caps (@swimma_caps) on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:49am PST


How awesome. This little girl’s hair is all in. Thanks @justellabella for sharing! #swimmacaps #SwimmaTravels #Repost @justellabella with @repostapp ・・・ @swimma_caps means my niece can finally fit all of her hair in to a swim cap without pain and stress…#aboutdamntime

A post shared by Swimma_Caps (@swimma_caps) on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:01pm PST


Aside from creating a product for people of color that allows them to swim without worrying about their natural hair, Treffers has undoubtedly helped many individuals to overcome fear, ignite self-confidence, and banish the myth that “black people don’t swim.”

As Treffers told True Africa, “There is no such thing as one size fits all. There is a dire need to feel represented.”

Swimma Caps are available for purchase at swimma.co.za.

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