The short answer is: Yes, you can snorkel with a beard. However, every beard is different, and most men combine them with a mustache. This guide explains all the details if you plan to snorkel with any kind of facial hair.
Snorkeling With A Beard And/Or Mustache
Growing a beard and mustache is a very popular fashion these days. According to an article released by Business Insider, 67% of New York City men wear a beard or a mustache.
Therefore, the “snorkeling with a beard question” is a very common one. Even though you can snorkel with a beard and mustache, most likely you’ll experience some kind of water leakage. Especially when you have a full beard or mustache, be prepared for a whole lot of water clearing. Bearded beginners who ask themselves “is snorkeling easy“, or people who are a little scared to snorkel, I’d say please continue reading. This could really be of help for you too.
So, What Can You Do?
1. Shave Your Beard And Mustache
This is the most obvious solution that you probably figured out already. I know, shaving it off isn’t always an option, but for some it’s not a big deal. Especially when it’s only temporary like going on a vacation. You can let it grow back once you’re home.
Now, if you don’t want to shave it off, maybe you can at least trim it a little. The thinner your hair, the better your chances of creating a good seal.
2. Use Snorkel Mustache Wax
Even though you can use a lot of different products, like vaseline for example, there are a few waxes out there specifically made for snorkeling. The “Trident Snorkeling Sealer” for example. A thin, continuous layer on the area that seals your mask will do the trick.
The thinner your beard or mustache, the better this will work. However, depending on your expectations, for a few moments of snorkeling this could be of great help.
3. Shave The Top Of Your Mustache
A small area right below your nose will do, which means you get to keep the majority of your mustache. It’s not necessary to shave it all off towards your upper lip, just a tiny bit that’s barely noticeable.
Snorkel masks are designed to create a seal with your skin. By providing a good fit just below your nose, the silicone of the mask can do it’s job properly.
Tip: Make sure to always go for a mask with a silicone skirt! They seal the best.
4. Consider A Double Sealed Silicone Mask
Most snorkel masks consist of a single (often thin) layer of silicone skirt, which usually provides more than enough closure. However, there are masks that come with a so called “Double Sealed Silicone Skirt”. This means, the layer of silicone is thicker, thus allowing a better seal. For any beard or mustache lover out there, this could just make the difference. The ScubaPro Solo Snorkel Mask (Amazon link) would be a great choice. Unfortunately, it costs around 110 dollars.
5. Consider Swim Goggles And A Nose Clip
True, swim goggles are definitely not ideal for snorkeling. Usually they don’t provide a very wide view, and many people find them uncomfortable. However, they don’t interfere with your beard or mustache.
There are a few swim goggles that come pretty close to a snorkel mask. You can compare it with a snorkel mask that doesn’t cover your nose. The picture below is a good example. It’s the Wide View Swim Mask by Cressi (Amazon link). The skirt is made out of silicone and it provides a maximum view.
If you decide to go for this option, you’re going to need a nose clip. They’re usually inexpensive and often available in “skin colour”. The Speedo Competition Nose Clip (Amazon link) would be a good example and costs around 6 dollars.
6. Try A Full Face Snorkel Mask
Now, for a mustache this is an easy solution to fix your problem. Beards on the other hand will still interfere with their seal. You can try the mustache wax we talked about earlier, and apply it to your beard, but don’t expect this to work very well.
Some people had success with the full face snorkel mask after trimming their beard. It’s best to just try it and see if the same applies to you. Maybe one of your friends owns one, or maybe a local snorkel shop allows you to borrow it for a day. Simply ordering online, and going from there, could be a little risky and may lead to disappointment.
There’s a debate going on, about how a full face snorkel mask may facilitate CO2 build-up. Therefore, do some research before buying one. Or, don’t buy one at all to stay on the safe side. I personally use the WildHorn Outfitters Full Face Snorkel Mask (Amazon link), however, most of the time I stick with a regular snorkel mask.
Tip: Read more about this topic in my full face snorkel masks review.
7. Try A Frameless Mask
People who experience trouble in finding a mask with a good fit, are often advised to try a frameless snorkel mask. The “normal” ones so to speak, and the majority, come with a frame. This frame holds everything together and gives it it’s robust look. However, there are snorkel masks that don’t include this frame. They are more flexible and often even lighter. You could try one in a snorkel shop in order to know for sure that this is what you need. The Cressi F1 (Amazon link) could be an option.
A Few Other Tips
1. Check For Any Hair On Your Cheeks
Sometimes, after trying a couple of the above methods, you may experience water entering your mask from the side. You can focus on your beard or mustache at first, but sometimes it’s good to also trim or shave your cheeks. Especially if you have a good amount of facial hair. I’m just saying, as every tip counts right?
2. Don’t Make The Strap Too Tight
You may think that extreme tightening of the strap around your head will be of help. Trust me, it’s not. In fact, it could make your problem even worse. Sure, it’s always good to try whatever works best for you, but in my opinion, try to stick with a comfortable tightness.
3. Position Of The Strap
In case you experience water entering your mask from the bottom, you could try to reposition the strap around your head. Positioning it in an upward direction could facilitate a better seal in the beard area. Again, you can try this and see if it works for you individually.
4. Avoid Extreme Facial Movements
Whenever you talk or laugh, there is movement in your face. Once your mask fits you just fine, try to keep it in that position. Movements can change the position of your mask with possible leakage as a result. Strong currents could have the same impact. So, different locations with different waters can influence leakage as well.
5. Take Breaks
Maybe you found a way to enjoy snorkeling with your beard or mustache, even though an acceptable amount of water finds it’s way into your mask. Depending on the duration, who knows it’s not a big issue. If you need to release water every 5 minutes for example, and you usually go snorkeling for 15 minutes, that’s only 2 breaks. Who knows you can live with that. And hey, you get to keep your beard!
There are several ways to enjoy snorkeling with a beard or mustache. If you don’t want to shave it off, I would suggest a double sealed silicone mask. In case that’s too expensive, make sure to get a regular mask with a “normal” silicone seal. Try the mustache wax in case of leakage. Next step would be to shave the top of your mustache, right below your nose, to make sure the mask seals with your skin. I wouldn’t advise a full face mask as long as there’s a good amount of facial hair.
Snorkeling these days is possible under a variety of circumstances. Don’t give up too quickly. Did you know that it’s possible to snorkel when you wear glasses? Believe it or not but there is a way to do so. Even snorkeling with dentures shouldn’t be a problem. Even though beards can be tricky, there has to be a way for your to enjoy the marine life!