Garth loves camping under the stars with his Arb III, scuba diving, snorkeling, and also tanning. His favourite snorkel spots include Alanya (Turkey), Koh Rong (Cambodia), and Maui (Hawaii, USA).
He also loves to visit the cenotes in Mexico and he recommends everyone reads the book, “The Soul of an Octopus”, because, he says “they are sensitive, just like me”.
We’ve talked about snorkel masks a lot on this website, and if you’ve read what we’ve written, then you’ll probably notice a common theme in our selections – many of these masks are “full frontal” masks, like the Tribord Easybreath full face snorkel mask here, a popular model on the market today:
Now, you may suspect (or know from experience) that you may not be able to completely put this snorkel mask on with a huge beard intact and have it work properly. You get leaks, and before you know it, you are inhaling water and rushing back to the surface ASAP.
Indeed, the beard situation on your face could essentially render the entire mask ineffective for use, because if it cannot fit over your whole face, then water would easily seep into the mask, which would make breathing, seeing, and snorkeling virtually impossible – essentially defeating the purpose of the activity altogether. Damn it!
That said, if you’ve taken the time to grow out a beard like this, you are most likely going to be very against shaving it off. We don’t blame you!
But if you do like to snorkel, or are planning to do some snorkeling, it will eventually cross your mind, and that’s fair, because a huge manly beard might hamper your efforts to snorkel. Yes, sadly, it’s true.
Stay with us because we will talk about:
- Can I snorkel with a beard? (Problems and Solutions)
- How to stop snorkel masks from leaking? (5 ways)
- What if my snorkel mask is leaking no matter what?
- What is the best full face snorkel mask for bearded snorkelers?
- Why are full face snorkel masks better than standard snorkel masks?
Ok, let’s dive in!
Can I snorkel with a beard? (Problems and Solutions)
Bearded men don’t want to miss out on all the fun of snorkelling but don’t want to sacrifice their hard-earned beard either. We totally get that!
There are different types of snorkelling masks, those which are called “full face” and those which are not. This generally is at the crux of the having a beard while snorkelling situation.
Full face snorkel masks, for example, cover your entire face, which means they go around your chin.
The advantage of these masks is their great for snorkelling in general, but the disadvantage generally is…beards. If you have one, you can’t really seal them up properly. Watch this video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
As you can see, even when he tightens his mask to keep the water out, it doesn’t necessarily work. His beard is just in the way, making this type of mask somewhat problematic for bearded snorkelers.
But check out this video by Lake Hickory Scuba, which talks about what you can do to get around some of these issues. After the video, we’ll review what he said and how valid we think his advice is.
These are some great tips! Let’s review them:
- Get a hood, because it can contain your beard before you put your mask on
- Make sure you consider the shape of your face before purchasing a mask in the first place, ie. try some different ones on
- Shave a tiny bit of your beard or moustache in areas that will help you fit the mask on better…great idea!
- Add chapstick to your moustache to help it seal better.
As he mentions in the video, the mission is really to contain the beard as much as you can by getting the tightest seal possible, most likely using a hood of some kind.
At the same time, you don’t want to sacrifice much or any of your beard, but after assessing the situation, you may have to, depending on how badly you want to go snorkelling vs. keep your beard.
How to stop snorkel masks from leaking (5 ways)
Like we mentioned in brief earlier, when you’re using a snorkel mask, you need to ensure that there’s a proper watertight seal between your face and the mask.
This seal is the only thing that prevents water from leaking into your mask. If the seal is not doing its job properly, then the snorkel mask is completely useless!
Having a beard will usually get in the way of creating a proper seal. The little hairs from your beard can creep in between the silicon lining and create little holes where the water can seep in.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your snorkel mask just because you have a beard!
We bring you some tips and tricks to help you ensure your snorkel mask seal doesn’t get broken so you can enjoy snorkeling without having to sacrifice your beard:
- Shave the bit under your nose
Don’t worry, we are not telling you to shave all of it. By shaving the area below your nostrils you will expose a bit of bare skin where the mask can easily seal.
- Use a mask with a silicon seal over PVC
Silicon is much more flexible than PVC, even when temperatures change. Silicon will fit better to your face and make a better seal than PVC.
- Give it a trim
Again, we are not telling you to shave all of it. Just give your beard a little trim. By thinning your beard you will allow the mask to seal to your face more easily.
- Use a grease
Using a specially formulated grease can make it a lot easier for you to seal your mask. There are plenty of products you can buy in local shops or online that will do the job. It is worth mentioning that it can be a bit tricky to get the grease of your facial hair afterwards. However, warm water, soap and patience will do the job.
- Don’t make it too tight
Your initial idea will be to tighten your mask. You would think this would make it more difficult for water to enter the mask. However, you’d be wrong. Silicon is designed to be soft and pliable. So, if you tighten your mask too much, you will make the silicon seal to rigid. This will make the mask leak even more.
What you need to do is to loosen the mask. However, keep in mind that a mask that is too lose will also leak. So, don’t rush! Take your time to find the perfect tension for your mask.
Here is the final option…
What if my snorkel mask is leaking no matter what?
You could also try buying a snorkel mask that doesn’t cover your whole face.
Regular masks that come with the tube separate are still quite common. This is probably the quickest, easiest way around the issue that full face snorkel masks present.
That said, full face snorkel masks are generally much better than these two-piece models. Next, we go over the best full face snorkel masks for bearded snorkelers.
What are the best full face snorkel mask for bearded snorkelers?
Check out this chart for the best full face snorkel masks for guys with beards.
Now, lastly, we compare full face masks vs standard masks
Why are full face snorkel masks better than standard snorkel masks?
We bring you the three main reasons of using a full face snorkel mask over a standard snorkel mask:
Most masks come with a curved lens which extends behind your eyes, providing you with a clear 180 degree view. The frame of the mask is behind your vision line, meaning you don’t have a frame that could alter your view.
- Water barrier
Full face snorkel masks seal around your whole face, decreasing the chance of water sipping into the mask. You can even smile underwater, not worrying the water will get into the mask.
- Natural breathing
Full face masks allow you to inhale and exhale through either your nose or mouth. This helps you stay calmer and more relaxed while snorkeling. Also, the absence of a mouth piece makes snorkeling more comfortable and fun.
Beards may look great, but they don’t help when it comes to snorkelling. They can prevent your mask from creating a proper watertight seal, leading to water leaking into the mask. However, by using some of the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can avoid this from happening.
So, if you are an avid snorkeling fan, and find yourself with a rather large amount of facial hair, and are worried about your ability to snorkel, then you can rest peacefully tonight knowing that you don’t need to compromise your beard or your love of snorkeling.
Thanks for reading!