A sauna hat is a type of hat worn in a sauna to protect your head from intense heat. It keeps the head cool and allows you to remain in the sauna longer. Longer sessions mean increased sweating, greater health benefits, and deeper heat penetration into the body.
Yes, they might look a little bit silly but sauna hats really do have a purpose. They are used to shield the head and prevent it from over-heating. This allows you to remain inside the sauna for longer.
Why Wear a Sauna Hat?
When you’re inside a sauna, your head is the part of the body that begins to heat up fastest. If your head begins to overheat you will begin to feel unwell. It can cause feelings of nausea and dizziness.
So, why wear a hat in a sauna? Because it will protect your head, prevent it from overheating and allow you to stay in the sauna for longer. If you have experienced nausea and dizziness in the sauna before – a sauna hat might just be for you!
Another benefit of a sauna hat is that it protects the hair. This is of particular interest to people with long or delicate hair. The intense heat of a sauna can dry-out and damage hair. Wearing a sauna hat will add a layer of protection to your crowning glory.
How Does a Sauna Hat Work?
A sauna hat works by providing a protective insulating layer between your head and the heat of a sauna. It creates a physical barrier that slows down the heating process and keeps your head cool.
Most sauna hats are made from a material called felt. Felt is a natural insulator, made from wool, that works by trapping small pockets of air. This slows down the transfer of heat from the sauna to your head.
Think of it like wearing a winter coat on a cold January morning. The sauna hat works in a similar way. But instead of keeping cold air out like a coat, it is keeping hot air out in a sauna. They work equally well in infrared saunas and traditional saunas.
Some people like to soak them in water before entering the sauna for better cooling. See below –
Soaking In Water
A sauna hat can be soaked in water to increase its cooling effect. As the water evaporates from the hat it creates a cooling action on the head. This is known as evaporative cooling.
It is the same process the body uses during sweating to cool itself down and maintain body temperature. Soaking sauna hats in water is a popular custom in many parts of Finland to prolong the sauna session.
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But It Looks A Bit Funny
Yes, they do look a bit funny and may not be to everyone’s taste. But it is definitely a case of function over style. Sauna hats are designed to block out heat and protect the head – not as a fashion accessory. And they do a great job.
Fashion tip – don’t wear one when you are popping out for a coffee or calling over to a friend’s house. You will get some funny looks. Keep it for use in the sauna. Unless you’re going to a fancy dress party. Then it takes on a whole new lease of life outside your infrared sauna.
Keeping It Clean!
Let’s face it, your sauna hat is going to be put through its paces. From the very first day you wear it, it is going to be soaking up large amounts of sweat. So, you need to make sure you keep the thing clean.
Cleaning is easy. While each hat is different and you should check individual washing requirements – here are some general rules of thumb. As felt is made from wool the best approach is to hand wash.
Give it a quick rinse out in the sink with lukewarm water. You can use some hand soap or gentle detergent. Then rinse out the suds and wring to remove most of the moisture.
When done, make sure you shape it back into its original shape before drying. Wool is a delicate material and can lose shape if not treated properly. Always handle with care.
Secret Storage Compartment
One of the great things about a sauna hat is the unusual cone shape it has at the top. This makes it ideal for hiding small items. No one needs to know what’s under there. You can pop in your locker key, aromatic oils, or even a small beer. It’s like a secret sauna pocket.
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Do Sauna Hats Increase Sweating?
Sauna hats protect the head and prevent it from overheating allowing you to stay in the sauna for longer. And when you spend a longer period of time in a sauna you will sweat more. So, yes – you will increase your overall level of sweating by wearing a sauna hat.
The sauna hat will protect your head and make you feel more comfortable. This will reduce the level of sweat coming from your head, but because you will spend a longer period inside the sauna your overall sweat levels will increase.
Which Is Better – Wool or Felt?
The best type of sauna hat is a felt hat. Felt is made from wool that is pressed and rolled. The fibers compress and mat together to create a smooth surface and durable material.
Felt is an excellent insulator and provides amazing protection from the stifling heat of a sauna. A woolen hat is a good option. Wool is a natural fiber that comes from the fleece of an animal. But felt is your best option as it provides a better level of protection.
What Is a Traditional Finnish Sauna Hat?
A traditional Finnish sauna hat is made from wool or felt. It sits comfortably on the top of the head and helps keep it cool. The head tends to heat up more quickly than the rest of the body.
A traditional Finnish sauna hat will help you stay in the sauna for longer. If the head becomes too hot, too quickly you can begin to feel light-headed and unwell. Traditional sauna hats have also been popular in Russia and throughout the Baltic region for many years where they’re known as banya hats.
Will a Sauna Hat Keep Your Hair Dry?
The heat inside a traditional or infrared sauna is dry. Therefore there will be no moisture to wet your hair. Steam rooms on the other hand are high humidity environments.
If using a sauna hat in a steam room it will help protect your hair from the moisture of the steam but will not protect it from sweat.
Whether you are in a dry sauna, infrared sauna, or steam room – you are going to sweat from your head.
This sweat will inevitably come into contact with your hair. However, if you wear a sauna hat – you will generate less head sweat and therefore less sweat will wet your hair.
What Is the Best Sauna Hat?
The best sauna hats are made from 100% natural wool felt. They should fit your head comfortably and provide excellent protection for sauna heat.
The best sauna hats will allow you to get the best out of your sauna session. You will enjoy longer sessions, increased sweating across the body, and increased health and relaxation benefits.
What Is a Viking Sauna Hat?
A Viking sauna hat is a sauna hat that has two big horns on either side. It is a novelty feature for a bit of fun. The shape of the hat looks like a helmet a Viking would wear into battle. But you can wear it into a sauna – and feel fearsome!
How to Make a Sauna Hat
If you’re feeling a bit creative and know your way around a sewing machine – you can make your own sauna hat. You’re going to need a sewing machine, some woolen felt material, a steady hand, and nerves of steel.
There are some great tutorial videos available online that take you through the process. So, if you fancy a personalized home-made sauna hat why not give it a go.