Men with facial hair who also love snorkeling face a pesky dilemma. You see, a beard and mustache can get in the way of a tight seal when wearing a dive or snorkel mask. If the mask does not properly fit on your face, then water will slowly seep inside and you will have to surface and drain the water every few minutes. And that’s just something that you cannot abide by, nor is clean shaving your face an option. So what can you do to solve this problem?
In this article we provide a few potential solutions, as well as recommendations for the best snorkel mask for beards and mustaches. The first solution is to use a sealer on your facial hair to create a tighter seal. The second is to shave the top of your mustache so that the mask can fit better on your face. The third is to use one of the recommended snorkel or dive masks that fellow bearded people have successfully used without any seepage.
How to Prevent Water from Entering Your Snorkel Mask
You may have heard of people rubbing vaseline along the skirt of the mask and facial hair to create a tighter seal. They have the right idea, but the petroleum found in vaseline will eat away at the mask skirt. Instead, you should consider using the following:
- Silicone Grease
- Burt’s Bees Lip Balm/Chapstick
- Mustache Sealer
- Wax Hair Products
Now, completely shaving your facial hair is not an option. But we’re going to cheat a little bit and recommend that you shave a small section at the top of your mustache that is approximately an eighth of an inch to half an inch below your nose. This is where the skirt of traditional snorkel masks would contact against your skin and shaving only that area could save all of your leaking problems. Otherwise you will have to use the products recommended above, and even then that may not be enough to provide a tight seal.
Can You Wear a Full Face Snorkel Mask with a Beard?
It gets a bit more complicated if you plan on wearing a full face snorkel mask with a big, bushy beard. We recommend you check out this video to get some great tips:
We really recommend you watch the whole thing, but here is a summary of the main talking points of this video:
- Get a dive hood which can get your beard under control before wearing your mask.
- You will probably have to try out different masks to get the optimal fit, because everybody’s face is shaped differently.
- Shave only the areas of your face that the mask skirt will touch (you don’t have to shave everything off!).
- If you don’t want to shave at all, use wax or chapstick to seal areas where the mask skirt touches your facial hair, but this is not an optimal solution if you have a lot of hair.
Best Snorkel Mask for Beards Review
Now that you know how to prevent water from seeping into your mask, let’s go over some dive masks that numerous bearded divers and snorkelers have successfully used without issue. Keep in mind, even though customers found success with these products, we have to remind you that everybody’s face is shaped differently and what worked for one person may not work for you.
Hollis M1 Frameless Scuba Diving Mask
The Hollis M1 is a great mask in terms of quality and cost. It features a frameless design that is typically more comfortable that framed masks. It also offers a wider field of vision due to less material obstructing your sightlines. The rigid silicone melding and silicone skirt surrounding the lens allow the Hollis M1 to be frameless, reducing its overall size.
The lens is a Saint-Gobain Diamant Crystal Clear lens, which many people believe provides some of the clearest and crisp views possible. The silicone black skirt also improves your view, since it blocks out light from the sides and there will not be light around the side of the lens to distract your eyes.
Included with the Hollis M1 is a travel bag and case. You can place the mask in these two accessories to protect it from scratches, which would ruin your views when snorkeling or diving. Some people found this mask can sometimes have a fogging issue. You can fix this by cleaning it with toothpaste or burning off the coating on the mask with a lighter.
- Excellent value mid-range mask
- Frameless design, less bulky than framed masks
- Wide field of vision
- Comes with a travel bag and case
- Mask can fog up
- Can seal too tightly around your nose pocket area
Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Mask
The Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Mask is a high-end mask by a reputable maker of scuba diving equipment. It is extremely comfortable thanks to its frameless mask features and silicone skirt. The blended silicone skirt is designed to prevent leaks even for bearded folks. Whether you have a mustache, beard, scars or anything on your face, the seal should be skin tight.
The lens on the Venom is reported to transmit up to 96% of light, compared to other masks that are around the 80% range. This makes a big difference in terms of how clearly you can see what you see underwater. Furthermore, the field of view is quite wide, so even your peripheral vision can be used when looking at your surroundings.
Wearing this mask is further simplified by the strap and adjusters, which will give you the ideal fit in mere seconds without needing to fumble around with it for a long time. Like the Holly M1, fogging can sometimes be an issue. You may have to perform some de-fog treatments, but afterwards it will be a near-perfect mask.
- Comfortable thanks to its specialized silicone skirt
- Frameless design is soft and wraps around your whole face
- Has a tight seal, even for people with facial hair
- Allows more light in compared to other masks, increasing what you can see underwater
- May have some fogging issues
- Not available with an anti-reflective coating, but the mask is so clear that this should be a minor issue
ScubaPro Synergy 2 Mask
The ScubaPro Synergy 2 Mask is great for people with beards thanks to its unique two-skirt system. The flexible skirts fit tightly against your face, with the outer skirt providing additional support and rigidity. Combined, they provide superior comfort and resistance to leaking compared to other masks.
People with facial hair often have to wear the masks extremely tightly on their face, causing a red ring to form once they take it off. You will not have this issue with the ScubaPro Synergy 2, thanks to how comfortable it is. When underwater, you will have good visibility and less eye-strain due to its due lens design. If you have a beard or mustache and want a solid mask, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Two-skirt system provides an excellent seal and less discomfort
- Provides excellent visibility
- Dual lens design
- Some customers felt the mask was a bit small around the nose pocket.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it. It is possible to snorkel with a beard on, if you are willing to put in some extra effort. Unfortunately, the methods described in this article are not entirely fool-proof, and may be somewhat cumbersome. Having to shave off the top part of your mustache, for instance, may not be something you’d want to do. You also might not want to wear a dive hood as it can be uncomfortable having to adjust your beard so that it fits without feeling like your beard is going to get torn off. Applying wax or chapstick on the areas where the mask touches your beard may help provide a better seal, but if you have too much hair then it will not be effective either.
However, the beard is something that is sacred to men. Shaving it off makes you feel like you are a prepubescent boy again, and not a man. Without a beard, you feel like a crucial part of you is gone. So it is understandable the lengths we are willing to go through to keep our beards even while snorkeling. When presented with two choices, one or another, the right answer is to always find a way to do both. And with the tips in this guide, you can keep on snorkeling with your face covered in a glorious beard.