5 Tips to Prevent a Leaky Mask

Does your snorkel mask leak? Are you looking for ways to prevent a leaky mask? On this page we will share with you five tips that will help you get the best seal you can. A leaky mask is certainly annoying but it can also be a safety issue because you are distracted from what is going on around you. So, let’s get to it!

Snorkeler in the water - prevent a leaky mask

Tip #1 – Get a Good Fit to Prevent a Leaky Mask

The first way to prevent a leaky mask is to get a snorkel mask that fits your face correctly. If your mask does not fit well, it can leak from any number of places around the skirt. We wrote an entire page about getting the right fit on the site here. It is best to be at a store where you can try on masks in person to find a good fit. But, there is more to it. To make sure of the fit you need to try the mask in the water. We have tried a number of masks that seemed to fit well when dry, but leaked once in the water.

Tip #2 – Have a Clean Face

The second way to prevent a leaky mask is to make sure that the skin of your face where the mask skirt makes contact is clean of any oils or lotions, including sunscreen. When there is something on your face, the skirt cannot make a good seal against your skin, allowing the water to seep in. Also, the slippery lotion or oil on your face can cause your mask to slide around potentially creating gaps that will allow water in around your eyes, under your nose, or on the sides of your forehead.

We usually only apply sunscreen on the areas of our faces that do not come into contact with the mask skirt. But, if you are going to be out in the sun for a while before getting in the water, you may need to apply sunscreen to your whole face. In these instances, we recommend bringing a towel or wash cloth to clean it off before putting on your mask for snorkeling.

Tip #3 – Shave

For the men out there, you need to shave your upper lip, and any areas of your cheeks that grow facial hair where your mask skirt sits, before every snorkel. Even the smallest amount of stubble will cause leaks in your snorkel mask.

If you want to keep your mustache, you do have some other options to prevent a leaky mask. For one, you could shave off the 1/8 inch of mustache closest to your nose and probably still get a good seal. The most common recommendation is to use vaseline on your mustache to make the seal, but we don’t recommend that because petroleum products will damage the silicone in your mask skirt. Some men have said that a mustache wax can work in the same way, but again make sure it does not contain petroleum.

Another option is to use swim goggles and a nose plug. The only downside to this is you cannot freedive down very far because you have no way to release the pressure in the goggles.

You can read all about these options and more for mustache wearers on the site here.

Snorkeling Sunburns Suck!

Check out the snorkeling rash guards, wetsuits, and reef safe sunscreen we use to protect ourselves and to protect fish and coral from sunscreen chemicals.

Tip #4 – Keep Hair Out

Our fourth tip to prevent a leaky mask is to make sure that none of the hair from your head is under the edge of your mask skirt. It is amazing how much water can leak in around one tiny little hair! It can be useful to keep your hair out of the way with a swim cap, a headband, or a tight fitting hood (either as part of your rash guard, or not). Also, when fitting your mask make sure that the skirt does not reach all the way to your hairline, or you will have constant leaking.

Tip #5 – Smooth Wrinkles

Our fifth and final tip to prevent a leaky mask is that if you have wrinkles on your face, like crow’s feet around your eyes, or smile lines next to your nose and mouth, they can create voids in the seal and allow water into your mask. Most of the time, if your mask is correctly fitted, you can simply smooth the skin out under your mask skirt when putting it on and prevent this type of leak. You might want to bring a small mirror or have a buddy help you with this.

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Other Snorkeling Mask Tips

We have a number more pages on the site with useful information about snorkeling masks on the site. If you are in the market for a snorkel mask check out our buying guide here. Read our tips to prevent mask fogging here. If you wear glasses, you may need a prescription mask; read our tips for these here. If you are interested in a full face snorkel mask, read our recommendations here.

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