Take this in, imagine you've just finished installing a traditional sauna like the Calore Barrel Pro or maybe stumbled upon the allure of an authentic Finnish-style retreat online and now with only one question on your mind: what do I wear in a sauna be it a private experience or a public sauna?

We all know that saunas are a great way to unwind, benefiting both your physical and mental health. The dry heat of the sauna is renowned for its potential to enhance well-being by relaxing blood vessels and promoting circulation throughout the body. While basking in the therapeutic heat of a sauna in your birthday suit might seem like the ideal scenario, practicality and comfort often come into play, especially in a public sauna. This underscores the importance of selecting appropriate sauna attire that aligns with cultural norms and prioritizes your well-being.

So, what exactly should you wear in the sauna? In this comprehensive guide, we've got you covered with essential tips, tricks, and etiquette for your sauna session, tailored specifically for beginners. Additionally, we'll highlight what to avoid wearing in a sauna, as certain clothing choices can pose risks or discomfort in high heat environments.

Stay tuned to discover how to dress for a sauna experience that maximizes benefits and ensures your utmost comfort.

women in sauna sweating


What to Wear In The Sauna

In a sauna wear a bathing suit, towel or loose-fitting light clothing made of cotton

  • A cotton towel wrapped around your waist 
  • Wear a bathing suit, gym shorts or bikini made of cotton or natural fibers
  • Light t-shirt or tank top with breathable fabric 


What Can Women Wear in the Sauna?

Differing from most of Scandinavia, most bather in North America will tend to avoid going fully nude in the sauna. For optimal benefits from sauna heat, you should prioritize clothing that permits your skin to breathe and perspire naturally.

  • Opt for a bikini made from cotton
  • A towel wrapped around your body
  • A flowy, loose fitting dress made of breathable fabric
  • A lightweight cotton tshirt or tank top 

Not all swimsuits are ideal for sauna sessions. Swimsuits made of PVC can impede skin breathing and pose risks of melting, releasing harmful fumes. Instead, choose loose-fitting swimsuits crafted from natural fibers to allow for natural sweating. Be cautious not to wear swimsuits with metal buckles or parts, as they can become excessively hot and cause skin burns – definitely not pleasant!

Steer clear of tight-fitting garments like bras, as they can be extremely uncomfortable in the sauna heat. If you prefer more coverage, opt for loose cotton clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, or yoga pants.

Kim Kardashian sauna bikini

What Can Men Wear in The Sauna?

Similarly, men should hold back from being completely nude in the sauna and instead consider wearing at least swimwear along with a cotton towel.

  • Wear a bathing suit, gym shorts made of cotton
  • A cotton towel wrapped around your waist 
  • Light weight cotton t-shirt 

To be hygienic for all of the other bathers you should opt to wrap a towel around your waist.

Men's swimwear should also be loose-fitting to enable the body to effectively cool down in the sauna's dry heat. Natural fibers like cotton are perfect for facilitating natural breathability, preventing sweat from being trapped against the body. While most men's swimwear typically doesn't include metal parts, it's essential to remember that both men and women should remove any metal jewelry before spending extended periods in the sauna.

Understanding the Significance of Choosing Suitable Clothing for use Sauna Session

In sauna bathing, what you wear significantly impacts comfort, hygiene, and safety. Sauna temperatures, typically ranging from 110 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, of course make you sweat which provides thermoregulation. However, wearing restrictive clothing hampers sweat evaporation, increasing the risk of heat-related ailments like exhaustion or cramps. Inappropriate clothing choices, especially synthetic fabrics, can lead to hygiene issues due to moisture retention and bacterial growth. High temperatures and uncomfortable, heavy clothing both lead to a diminished experience and the overall enjoyment of your sauna session.

Should You Cover your Hair in A Sauna?

Ideally, you should cover your hair with a sauna cap, hat (yes, those funny looking hats), or a damp towel before entering the sauna. Dampening the towel with cool or cold water will help to maintain hair moisture for an extended period.

Frequently, we overlook the potential damage dry heat can inflict on our hair while using the sauna, albeit temporarily. The elevated temperatures within the sauna environment can dehydrate hair, resulting in frizzy and unruly locks. Although there are hair products available to mitigate the aftermath, it's prudent to take precautions to safeguard your hair beforehand.

women with hair up in sauna

Can I wear makeup in A Sauna?

No. Do not wear makeup in the sauna. It might be tempting to look your best, especially in a public sauna around strangers, but when you sweat in a sauna your pores open and if you have makeup on it make clog your pores, causing potential acne and blemishes. You need to allow your skin to breathe, so it's best to stay makeup free, and once you're done your time in the sauna, as noted by the American Academy of Dermatology be sure to use a gentle cleanser to wash your face as a sauna will naturally be an exfoliating processwomen bathing suit relaxing in sauna

What to Avoid Wearing in A Sauna

Of course, if you know what you should be wearing for proper sauna etiquette (we can't call be naked in the sauna like the Scandinavians) when using a public sauna, it's important to know what to avoid wearing.

  • Don't wear synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. Keep it to light, try cotton or wool
  • Avoid bathing suits with metal fasteners or zippers as the metal can get VERY hot
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes (it's hot in the sauna after all)


Can I Wear Perfume or Cologne in the Sauna?

No. It's best to avoid strong perfumes or cologne when entering the sauna. If you like the to have a nice scent or aroma, use essential oils instead!

Can I wear jewelry in the sauna?

No. Before heading to a sauna session, reconsider wearing rings, earrings, bracelets, or necklaces. The sauna will of course get hot and end up making your watches, bracelets, necklace and all jewelry quite hot which could burn you. This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many people we've seen wearing their metal bracelets inside the sauna and wondering why it burns (true story, I've been there)!

Can I wear underwear in the sauna

In lieu of having a bathing suit, if your underwear is made of cotton yes, you can. 

The Conclusion: What Do I Wear in The Sauna?

While old-school saunas and hard core enthusiasts, particularly in Scandinavia will typically tell you to go to the sauna naked, many modern health clubs and spas have different rules about what to wear in a sauna. Make sure to wear a bathing suite/biking or a loose fitting comfortable shirt. In public saunas if you're unsure about the dress code at, just make sure ask a staff member before going in (quite the surprise if you show up naked and you need to wear a swimsuit). Or, you can always bring towels along to cover up if needed.

If you want to stay naked and enjoy the benefits of the sauna at your own home, check out Calore's collection of traditional saunas including our Barrel Pro barrel sauna, and infrared sauna. Beats your local gym steam room, I can guarantee that.



HUUM Drop sauna heater with sauna rocks