What is a Shampoo Cape?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Many people who have experienced a salon haircut and shampoo have come into contact with a shampoo cape. Typically a vinyl web of material, a shampoo cape is a rectangularly-shaped garment that is used to prevent a person's neck from contact with water during a shampoo. The cape is held in place with a detachable strap.

Shampoo.
Shampoo.

This piece of beauty salon equipment is also known as a hair cut cape, hair salon cape, hair washing cape, or hairdresser's cape. Though most salons feature vinyl shampoo capes, the devices can be made from other pliable materials as well. These can include nylon, satin, chiffon, and other washable materials. All salon capes are designed to be waterproof.

A shampoo cape protects the salon customer's clothing.
A shampoo cape protects the salon customer's clothing.

Some salon capes are held in place with a Velcro strap. Others are secured by other means, such as a snap. The strap is usually detachable and adjustable for larger or smaller necks. The sides of the shampoo cape, which run parallel to one another, are generally semi-rigid and elongate to offer optimal protection against wetness. This form is usually provided by the placement of foam rubber inserts.

A standard salon cape is usually 22 inches (56 centimeters) in length, and 18 inches (46 centimeters) in width between the semi-rigid sides. An optimal cape allows for the most flexibility while shampooing a person's hair. The adjustable straps help to accommodate this need.

During a professionally-administered shampoo, a person reclines in a chair that rests against a hair-washing sink. Due to the various sizes, abilities, and physical conditions of many patrons, it is often difficult for a hairdresser to apply water and perform a shampoo without wetting a client's clothing. The placement of a shampoo cape allows the client to bend according to their own ability without getting his or her neck wet.

The shampoo cape was invented not only to provide a person seeking a shampoo with comfort, but also to assist hair stylists with washing hair. It can be difficult to manipulate hair-washing equipment around various people. Shampoo capes allow the stylist to comfortably apply water and wash the client's hair without causing undo stress to his or her body. Both the hairdresser and customer can experience the shampoo without discomfort.

Shampoo capes are available in a wide variety of colors, lengths, and styles. Though a standard cape is black, nearly any other color desired is usually available. Patterns, such as penguins, flowers, and other novelty themes, are available as well. These are often used for children who are uncomfortable receiving a professional shampoo.

Prices for shampoo capes vary, but are generally inexpensive. Shampoo capes are usually machine washable and tear resistant. Many can be ironed, though washing in cold water without bleach is usually recommended.

A shampoo cape is worn in a salon to prevent an individual from getting wet.
A shampoo cape is worn in a salon to prevent an individual from getting wet.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

Rundocuri

@spotiche5- If you can't find shampoo capes in small sizes that fit the kids in your family, you can always improvise and use rain parkas. Simply cut the hoods off, and you basically have a customized shampoo cape for the little ones.

Ocelot60

@spotiche5- You should be able to find a wide variety of styles and sizes of shampoo capes at a beauty supply store. This type of store keeps them in stock for professional stylists, but the amateur can also purchase them as well.

Spotiche5

I have several young kids in my family, and their clothes always get soaked with we wash their hair. Where can I find shampoo capes to use for the kids when it's time to wash their hair?

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