A cape is a drape used to cover a customer while he is getting a haircut or other barbershop/salon services.
MaterialsEditThe most common material for capes is nylon. Capes can made of just about any material and are comercially found made of vinyl ("plastic"), polyurethane (a.k.a. PU, a plastic-like coating usually applied to a polyester cloth-like backing), cloth (cotton, cotton/polyester mix). A shop in Amsterdam features custom capes made of leather.
These materials are available in different textures, like seer-sucker nylon, crinkle nylon, embossed vinyl, matte or shiny polyurethane, etc. Nylon capes are available with different finishes which can, for example, give the material a shiny wet look or waterproof/chemicalproof properties.
In the US, capes are typically sold with snap or hook-and-loop ("velcro") closures. Capes can also be found with string-tie closures or just a plain collar. It is common in barbershops to see a special type of clip, such as the popular "Classy Cloth Clip" from William Marvy Co, used to secure the cape around the customer's neck. The clip insures a tight fit so the tiny clippings produced by clipper cuts will stay off the barbershop customer. These clips are typically used in conjunction with plain or snap collar capes.Velcro tends to grab and hold onto hair clippings, even after washing the cape, however it is quick and easy to fasten to a perfect fit. If snaps are spaced too far apart, as common on lower-priced capes such as "Betty Dain" brand, it may be difficult to get a good fit without the use of a clip.
ClassificationsEditNylon haircutting capes are often marketed as "styling cape" or "cutting cloth". Vinyl, polyurethane, and coated nylon capes are often marketed as "all-purpose cape", "chemical cape" or "shampoo cape".
Haircutting capes are usually sold in regular size, about 44" wide and 54" long. Jumbo size is usually around 55" wide and 60" long.
Vinyl Shampoo capes are usually sold in regular size, around 34" wide and 54" long. Larger sizes increase to 45" or wider.
While all these types of cape materials are suitable for haircuts, nylon is the most popular because the hair is easily shaken from the material and the lightweight material doesn't keep the customer too warm. Shampoo capes are popular for home users because they are inexpensive and are also suitable for use while dying hair. These vinyl capes don't beathe and may be uncomfortable to wear if the temperature is high or the customer is already wearing warm clothing. Modern all-purpose capes made of Polyurethane or other type of coated nylon provides similar protection while being more comfortable than vinyl.