What Is a Burkini Swimsuit?

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Nowadays, it’s quite common to see women in minimal coverage swimwear. Bikinis, monokinis, one-piece swimsuits, and other styles of popular swimwear all tend to expose most of the body. With that said, a more recent style of modest swimwear is making its way to the waters; burkini swimsuits. 

What is a burkini swimsuit? I’ll tell you all about this recent style of swimwear that’s making waves across the oceans.

What Is a Burkini Swimsuit?

Even though its name comes from the term ‘bikini’, it couldn’t be further away from the scanty two-piece swimsuit. 

A burkini gets its name from the combination of the words: burqa and bikini. A burkini is a modest swimsuit made from light fabric that covers the entire body and head, leaving only the hands, feet, face, and sometimes neck visible. 

It’s similar to a wetsuit that divers wear, however, a burkini usually isn’t form-fitting and the material is not thick like a wetsuit.

a beautiful woman wearing a burkini

What Does a Burkini Swimsuit Look Like?

There are several different styles of burkini swimsuits, although they all fully cover the arms and legs, as well as the hair. The most common burkini includes a full bodysuit with a tunic that goes over it, as well as a head covering. The bodysuit keeps your body from being exposed in the water, as the water can easily allow the tunic to float up.

Some styles come with a headpiece that covers the head and neck and only exposes the face. This can be a separate piece or an attached hood that fits securely around the face to prevent hair from showing.

While other styles of burkinis come with only a head cap to cover the hair. Sometimes the swimsuit will cover the neck by adding a neck covering, such as an attached turtle neckpiece.

It’s important to note that these burkini headcovers only cover the hair. They will not prevent the hair from getting wet as a swim cap would.

Different styles of burkini swimsuits include:

  • Modest fit: This is the most common style, designed to fit loosely and cover up the body more than other fits. Its main purpose is to hide the silhouette or shape of the body.
  • Slim fit: This style can either fit tightly or come with a tunic that goes straight done and doesn’t flare at the hips giving it a slim look. 
  • Active fit: You can wear this as swimwear, however, it’s intended for sports. It’s made from a thicker material that fits snug around the body and is water-resistant for high endurance sports.

What Is the Purpose of Wearing a Burkini Swimsuit?

Aside from personal preference, most women wear burkinis due to religion, health, and modesty. 

Religious Reasons

In some religions, women dress modestly. A lot of religious women prefer to cover their bodies to feel less objectified. Before the creation of the burkini, religious women would avoid public pools and beaches due to the strict swimsuit policies. 

Burkini swimsuits have given these women religious the freedom to swim comfortably while staying covered up and honoring their religious beliefs.

a woman on a bench wearing a burkini

Health Issues

A lot of women wear less revealing swimwear to avoid tan lines while tanning. Well, some women try to avoid tanning altogether! Burkini swimsuits usually feature SPF materials to prevent skin damage from harmful UV rays that come from the sun.

Women who have sensitive skin or have a history of skin conditions, wear burkinis to protect them from the sun. Because burkinis include neck coverings, this is the best type of swimsuit for women who need the most skin coverage.

Modesty Reasons

Not all women are comfortable wearing regular swimwear. There are women who look for swimsuits that will give them the most coverage possible. 

Since the arrival of burkinis, women have finally been able to modestly cover their bodies completely while swimming. Also, because of all the different designs that burkinis come in, women are able to choose which style best suits them

Are Burkini Swimsuits Acceptable?

Most burkini swimsuits feature the same materials as regular swimwear, which consists of either or all of polyester, spandex, Lycra, and/or nylon fabric. Because of this, burkinis are an acceptable form of swimwear and you can wear them to swim in at beaches, as well as public pools. 

Although burkinis are an acceptable form of swimwear, this does not mean they are often accepted by society. Burkinis have come a long way; they were designed more than a decade ago and some people still don’t approve of them. 

There have been burkini bans in several cities across the globe either due to hygienic issues, or to prevent religious expression. Though some of those bans have been lifted, there are still mixed opinions about whether or not the burkini should be an acceptable swimwear. 

Comparing a Trikini and a Burkini

Features Trikini Burkini
Coverage Covers the breast and bikini region Covers the arms, head, legs and the neck
Fabric Includes three pieces of fabric Includes one piece of fabric
Design Comprises of two pieces to cover breast Has three pieces to cover the body and head
Fabric thickness Thick Thin

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Burkini Comfortable?

Although a burkini offers full-body coverage, it’s comfortable as it’s not form-fitting and doesn’t restrict your movements.

Keeping in mind that most burkinis are made with a spandex and polyester blend and the surface coated with Teflon to reduce the water resistance, there is minimal water friction, improving your overall performance.

Do I Need to Wear a Bra Under a Burkini?

In most cases, burkinis come with a built-in bra, and you don’t need to wear one.

However, if you have sagging breasts and the bra design or paddings of the burkini doesn’t provide your breasts with adequate support, you can consider wearing a bra.

Can Men Wear Burkinis?

Yes, men can wear burkinis as long as they feel comfortable in burkinis. For instance, some crossdressers prefer burkinis as they tend to hide the men’s hairstyles and any added paddings that can be obvious when wearing a bikini.

Some men might also wear burkinis due to health issues such as avoiding skin damage from UV rays.

ULTIMATE BIKINI Guide For ALL BODY TYPES (From A Curvy Girl) | Cupshe


You can easily define the burkini, or also commonly spelled burqini, as modest swimwear. Just like any other type of swimwear, you can wear a burkini in the same manner, for the sole purpose of swimming.