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 to create a tighter seal, as well as provide 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
- Can You Wear a Full Face Snorkel Mask with a Beard?
- Best Snorkel Mask for Beards Review
- The Bottom Line
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.
If you’re still wondering if you should snorkel with a beard, then check out this article for additional tips.
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.
ScubaPro Crystal Vu Plus with Purge
Thanks to its purge valve, high durability, and seamless view, the Scubapro Crystal Vu Plus mask is a great mask in general, and even better for snorkelers with facial hair.
To begin, the Crystal Vu Plus has a single lens viewing system, which is preferable to a split compartment or dual lens system, because they rarely fog up and drain water faster. Furthermore, the single lens provides a more precise, unobstructed view underwater.
With its purge valve, the ScubaPro Crystal Vu Plus is easy to clear and rarely fogs up. Should water enter the mask because the mask didn’t seal properly around your beard or mustache, simply exhale air through your nose to clear the water. Yes, literally just breathe out through your nose and the water is vented out. With said, the purge valve can fit a little tight around the nose, which may feel slightly uncomfortable for some people.
Another feature of this mask are the side viewing windows, which provide excellent peripheral vision in the water. Lastly, we wouldn’t be recommending this mask if it didn’t have an excellent seal which should allow it to fit snug and tight on your face, even with facial hair. Additionally, it can be adjusted even further for a tighter fit.
- Purge-valve is incredibly easy to use.
- Adjustable fit.
- Panoramic view thanks to single lens system.
- Excellent silicone seal prevents leaks.
- For some, the purge valve pushes against their nose.
ScubaPro Solo Snorkeling Mask
If you are looking for the most comfortable and best fitting snorkeling mask for mustaches, the ScubaPro Solo might be it. The double sealed silicone skirt conforms to nearly every face, including bearded ones, giving you a leak-free seal.
The ScubaPro Solo features a frameless, single tempered glass lens that is specifically designed to provide the widest field of view. In addition, its hydrodynamic design reduces drag in the water. Because of how close it sits to your face, the ScubaPro Solo has a low volume fit and easy clearing.
Other notable features include a wide-split style, non-slip strap with adjustable buckles, a clear silicone skirt that comes with double-feathered edge sealing that is effective even against facial hair, and a nose-pocket that allows you to pinch your nose to clear.
The reason why we’ve recommended so many ScubaPro products is because they are one of the most established brands in scuba and snorkel gear and their name is synonymous with durability and quality. The ScubaPro Solo is no exception, and at its premium price of around $100 USD at the time of writing, you should only expect the best.
- Single lens design provides a wide field of view.
- Silicone skirt with double-feathered edge sealing means a leak-free seal even on facial hair.
- Strap is easily adjustable and allows for a good seal.
- Nose-pocket allows you to pinch your nose underwater.
- Nose-pocket is small.
Cressi Panoramic 4
The Cressi Pano 4 features a 4-lens design that provides extra light translation and peripheral vision over many other masks. The Pano 4 also has two front lenses, like a set of goggles. They’re attached in the middle by a seam, but in such a way that it is barely noticeable.
Additionally, there are two smaller, side lenses that run parallel to the sides of your head. Personally, we like how it is positioned and its squared-off shape, since it provides the truest perspective on the surroundings. Other models feature curved lenses which tend to give off a fish-eye view.
Additionally, the 4 lenses combined give significantly more peripheral vision than other similar masks, like the Cressi F1 or Kraken Aquatics. We feel it also lets in more light, giving you the sense that it is open and unrestricted. Rather than looking through a window, it feels like you’re actually part of it.
Furthermore, the Pano 4’s silicone skirt provides a comfortable and secure seal, and the frame has a lightweight, low-volume design. With that said, the Pano 4 lenses aren’t fog-free out of the box. You will have to treat the lenses yourself to address any fogging problems. Also, some users didn’t like the split-lens design, though most preferred the split-corner design. Overall, the Pano 4 is a great mask for recreational snorkelers who want a wide panoramic view.
- Great panoramic view thanks to its 4-lens design.
- Lenses are made from durable tempered glass.
- Water-tight seal even for smaller-framed faces.
- Lenses require treatment to address fogging issues.
- Some users did not like the split-lens design.
- The frame is slightly bulky.
The Cress Matrix is a compact mask with one of the best size and view ratio we’ve seen so far. It utilizes its size to the fullest, using almost all of its surface area to provide a wide, unobstructed view of your surroundings. Whereas other snorkel masks would take up a lot of space due to the frame or skirt, this patented Cressi design provides exceptional downward visibility.
Furthermore, both lenses curve inwards, allowing them to sit closer to one’s eyes and increases peripheral vision by 30%. When you’re in the water, you will barely even notice the edges of the mask in your field of vision. Since this is Cressi’s patented design, you’ll only find angled lenses like these on Cressi products.
The edges and skirt of the Matrix have been improved to provide a superior seal, besting even the Pano 4. Specifically, it has been designed with a rubber grip and wide seal strip to fit more securely and snugly on your head without compromising on comfort.
Unfortunately, the Cressi Matrix is a bit on the pricier side. Also, users with smaller faces had trouble getting a tight seal, and water can sometimes trickle in. If you have a small face, then this is probably not the product for you.
- Patented Cressi design provides incredible peripheral vision.
- Made from tempered glass and silicone.
- One of the lowest-volume options on the market.
- Has a 2-year warranty.
- Does not seal well on small faces.
Oceanic Shadow Frameless Dive Mask
Oceanic has been around since the 70s and has formed a reputation for making high quality scuba diving and snorkeling masks. The Oceanic Shadow is a low volume frameless mask that can fold almost completely flat. If you want to bring a spare mask, this could easily fit in your BC pocket.
The low volume, frameless design helps keep the mask close to your face and provides excellent peripheral vision and visibility. You could even use it for photography or spear fishing.
Next, the Oceanic Shadow has a skirt that is made from medical-grade silicone, and the lens is made from a tempered optical safety glass. The skirt will conform to many facial sizes and shapes, including ones with facial hair, and provide a tight seal. Having to clear your mask all of the time while diving is annoying, so a mask that provides a tight seal is critical.
Lastly, the Oceanic Shadow has an easy to adjust, comfortable buckle and strap that can make the mask seal even tighter against your face.
- Low profile and allows for excellent peripheral vision and visibility.
- The silicone skirt fits most faces; many reviewers praised how well it kept water from seeping in and not having to clear their masks.
- Comfortable strap.
- Frameless and light-blocking.
- A few users found that the mask strap fell apart after about a dozen dives. However, others have been on many more without this issue, so it seems like it was just faulty straps.
Cressi Big Eyes Evolution
If the name isn’t clear enough, the Cressi Big Eyes Evolution has great visibility. Its teardrop shaped lens lets in an abundance of light and the tempered glass lenses provide great optical clarity. All of this is also possible because the lens sits close to your face, providing an ample lower field of view to look at your equipment or aquatic life.
There’s more to this mask than its visibility. Its skirt has what Cressi calls a “high seal”, which is a medical grade silicone that is flexible, soft, and very importantly, comfortable. As with all of the masks recommended in this review, the seal should fit tight against a wide range of faces, including bearded ones, and keep water out.
Even after numerous dives, the mask will remain comfortable and not leave any red marks against your face. Furthermore, the Cressi Big Eyes Evolution does not need to be tightened so much, other than what is needed to just stay on your face. The buckle system is designed to only pull the skirt back, and not the entire mask, giving you a better fit without putting undue stress on your face.
Overall, the Cressi Big Eyes Evolution is an inexpensive mask that is excellent for beginners and, of course, people with facial hair.
- Excellent visibility with tempered glass lens.
- Low volume, sits close to face and lets you look down.
- High-seal medical grade silicone skirt provides a tight seal.
- Nose pocket is somewhat small, not suitable for big noses.
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 common wisdom says you have to shave your beard in order to snorkel, well, you shouldn’t just agree to it without a fight. And with the tips in this guide, you can (probably) keep on snorkeling or scuba diving with your face covered in a glorious beard.
If water leaks are still a problem even after following this guide, then perhaps you should look into getting a scuba and snorkel mask with purge valve. Purge valves are a one-way valve that forces water out every time you exhale. This may solve the issue of leaks caused by facial hair, since the water will be vented out as you breathe.
Furthermore, you may be interested in snorkeling in colder water, and for that we recommend looking into wearing a rash guard or even a wetsuit for snorkeling to keep you insulated. If you are struggling to stay afloat in the water, consider wearing a flotation belt, life vest or life jacket so that you can conserve energy and stay safe in the water.
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