A Guide to Avoiding Hair-Related Issues When Scuba Diving

Don’t you just hate it when your hair gets tangled around your cylinder? Or is your impressive moustache/beard making your mask leak, but you don’t want to shave it off. Or perhaps, your hair doesn’t agree with your diving lifestyle, and days out in the sun and salty environment is leaving you with dry and damaged hair.

Well, in today's article I am here to give you some advice for your hair-related issues while scuba diving, or even when snorkelling or freediving!

Over the last decade of diving, I have had a constant battle with hair-related issues, and anyone that has been diving with me will know the many hairstyles I have tried!

So, let’s just say I have picked a few things up on my way, and now I am here to share my top tips whether it be facial hair-related issues (thanks to my guy mates for helping me out with this one!), or surfacing more like a medusa than a mermaid…

To keep those healthy luscious locks under control and to prevent facial hair from getting in your way while scuba diving, I will cover the following points:

  • Facial hair & mask leaks

  • Pre-dive hair care tips

  • Scuba diving friendly hairstyles

  • Scuba diving hair accessories

  • Post-dive hair care tips


Facial Hair & Mask Leaks

So, you have facial hair and have dived into the ocean, only to find out your moustache and beard are causing your mask to start leaking.

If you only dive a handful of times a year, then the easiest option would be for you to shave it off, and let it grow back after your diving holiday has finished.

But, what happens if you are taking part in ‘Movember’, or you feel more confident with facial hair, well, don't worry, your hairy relationship doesn’t have to end yet.

If you can’t bear the thought of sacrificing your facial hair, then I have good news for you, you can:

  • Shave just a tiny area under your nose where your mask will sit.

  • Buy a high-quality scuba mask that has soft silicone.

  • Try a full-face mask.

  • Apply a reef-safe balm or beeswax-based wax to your facial hair to create a barrier. Try to avoid petroleum-based products, as they break down the silicone seal of scuba masks.


Pre-Dive Hair Care Tips

To prevent your hair from looking damaged and dried out after scuba diving, I have you covered!

  • Rinse your hair with fresh water before going scuba diving. Freshwater saturates your hair, preventing saltwater from being absorbed into your cuticles.

  • Leave some biodegradable conditioner in your hair during the dive. Adding conditioner creates a barrier against saltwater, plus it makes detangling your locks after the dive much easier! My personal favourite is a marine-friendly leave-in conditioner by Stream2Sea.


Scuba Diving Friendly Hairstyles

I personally know that long hair and scuba diving do not gel well...

I am still waiting for the day to transform into a mermaid and never worry again about a bad hair day, but until then, here are some options to keep your hair out of your face and prevent it from getting tangled up in your dive equipment.

  • An iconic bun: The easiest hairstyle is to take all your hair, grab a hairband, and tie it on top of your head. If you have some awesome bangs or a full-fringe, then you can also use a headband to keep your hair off your face.

  • French braid(s)/plait(s): My go-to style (since cutting my hair short), is to weave my hair into one or two plaits. This hairstyle not only is one of the best ways you can keep your hair-related issue under control, but they also look great!

  • A side ponytail: If you have long hair, then a side ponytail is probably the way forward. Tying your hair low to one side will prevent it from getting tangled around the first stage, and trust me, that is something you really want to avoid!

Ponytails are personally not my first choice as it is super easy for them to loosen and lose your hairband, especially if you are diving in currents, but often, they are the only option for divers with short or short-to-medium length hair.

To do your bit and help the oceans, I recommend investing in some biodegradable hairbands. Terra Ties are 100% organic and biodegradable, eco-friendly, and plastic-free, and they are made from only natural materials and dyes.


Scuba Diving Hair Accessories

The best way to prevent your hair-related issues is to invest in an accessory like a hood, headband, mask strap cover, or a bandana.


Diving Headbands & Bandanas:

Headbands are an easy way to keep your hair off your face, particularly if you have a fringe, or want to hide those grey roots in your photos!

If you are one to get paranoid about that tiny piece of hair getting trapped into your mask, causing your scuba mask to flood, then get yourself a headband.

Plus, many diving headbands also offer UV protection, so you won’t have to worry about getting a red forehead, which I have been guilty of many times before investing in a good headband!

  • Nudi Wear: Made from recycled plastic, these headbands come in four awesome designs (mandarinfish, whale shark, tiger shark, and lionfish) with the option to buy a matching mask strap. They may be a small company, but they are still dedicated to the ocean, donating 10% of their profits to ocean conservation.

  • Waterlust: The Waterlust headbands (and scrunchies!) are made from pre-consumer waste. So, if you already have a Waterlust outfit, then you can get a matching headband or scrunchie, and you never know, it could have come from your batch of leggings.

  • Girls that Scuba: The face and neck buff by Girls that Scuba will keep your hair in one place, while still looking stylish. Also, if you love ‘matchy-matchy’ things (guilty!), these women have you sorted with their dive hair sets!


Diving Hoods:

A well-fitted dive hood is a fantastic option. Not only do they protect your hair from full exposure to saltwater and breakage, but they also keep your head nice and warm.

Here are the best dive hoods for 2022:

  • Neo Sport Multi-Density Wetsuit Hood

  • Mares 5mm Flexa with Bib Dive Hood

  • IST Proline HDN0250 5mm Super Stretch Neoprene Dive Hood with Zip Back


Mask Strap Covers:

I never dive without my mask strap cover, and once you try one once, you will never forget to pack it on your next dive trip!

Check out these guys for some cool designs and affordable prices!


Post-Dive Hair Care Tips

I know that is a lot to take in, but bear with me now, as all those accessories and pre-dive tips are great, but to fully avoid hair-related issues when scuba diving, there are a few things you should do after the dive too.

  1. Rinse your hair with fresh water and apply conditioner. If you have plaited your hair, work your way upwards, massaging the conditioner in to detangle your hair.

  2. If you can, let your hair air dry.

  3. Use a hair detangler brush and start from the bottom.

  4. Apply a hair-repair mask if you are diving frequently.

Everyone’s hair is different, but with this article, I know you will find a solution to your hair-related issues when scuba diving, because let’s admit it, ‘dive hair, we do care!’


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Written by Darby Bonner

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