Scuba Diving Hair 101: Hair Extensions; Long Hair and Facial Hair and how to keep your hair away from your face


What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving?

As I have short hair myself this has never posed a problem for me when I’m scuba diving. But this might be different if you have long hair, you have hair extensions or you’re a man with facial hair. With this in mind what are the best hairstyles for scuba diving? Let’s take a look…

Scuba Diving Hair 101 Hair Extensions; Long Hair and Facial Hair large

What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving and to keep your hair away from your face in 15 seconds…

  1. Men and women should choose a hairstyle like braids, plaits or pony tails to keep hair under control.
  2. Men and women can use long hairbands, swim hats, a neoprene diving hood or a headband buff.
  3. Use a hair glove to cover hair extensions.
  4. Men with facial hair to use silicone grease to avoid a leaking mask.

What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving for women?

What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving for women

If you’re a woman scuba diver, the chances are you’ll have long hair. If your hair is long what should you do with it when you’re scuba diving? This question is important for two reasons:

  • The first reason is about ‘taking control‘ of your long hair when you’re underwater, as it tends to have a life of its own in water. Floating hair can either get in the way of your vision or it could get snagged on something. This could quite easily happen when wreck diving or similar, which can be painful if this results in hair being pulled out. But also, long hair can get caught up in your first stage too.
  • The second reason why long hair can be more of a problem is the salt in sea water. Whilst there are pros and cons to salt water on your hair and on your scalp, the cons include the dehydration of hair.

There are ways to help with the problems associated with dryness of hair from salt water (see below), but let’s first take a look at your options for solving free floating long hair:

How do you keep your hair out of your face when scuba diving – Wear dive-appropriate hairstyles including braids, plaits and ponytails

To limit the free-floatiness (not sure that’s a word, but I think it makes sense) of your long hair, there are a number of hairstyles you can adopt. These include braids, plaits or ponytails. Whatever the hair style, it has to work with wearing a mask and needs to accommodate your mask strap.

Ponytails are the easiest to create, but the end of the hair can still get in the way or get tangled. However, a single or two sided braids or plaits are probably the most practical women’s hairstyle for scuba diving if you have long hair. But braids or plaits take a bit more to create in the first place. Braids or plaits can be done on your own, but you may be better to ask your dive buddy to do it for you.

Then there’s the decision about whether you keep the braid or plait in after the dive. Do you wash your hair with it still in place? This may not be a problematic decision if you’re just diving for the day. But it may become more or a decision if you’re diving over multiple days, like you would on a liveaboard trip or on a resort diving holiday.

Whilst it may be a pain to keep braiding and upbraiding your long hair each day, it will work well to keep your hair way from your face and will work with your mask strap too. But if you don’t like the thought of having to keep tying and untying a braid or a plait on a liveaboard, you may want to consider these other options.

Long hairbands or hair ties

Long hairbands or hair ties
Image courtesy of Etsy – Real Life Mermaid Hair Tie

Long hairbands or hair ties are designed to wrap around your long hair. These make are easier to put in your hair than a braid or a plait. Long hair ties or hairbands can easily be put in and taken off either after each dive or at the end of the day. This makes it easier to wash and re-condition your hair in the evening.

Pros and cons of hair ties or long hairbands for long hair

Using hair ties or long hairbands work well with your dive mask strap. This is a great solution if your diving in the tropics, as a hair tie leaves your head open to stay cool. Plus they are a cheap solution for managing your long hair. Hair ties aren’t such a good idea if you’re diving in cold water though.

Swimming hat

Using a swimming hat for scuba diving to protect your hair

A swimming hat that is mostly used in swimming pools can also be used for scuba diving. It’s fairly easy to push all of your hair into the hat before each dive. The swimming hat will keep your long hair under control whilst you’re underwater.

Pros and cons of a swimming hat for long hair

An easy fix solution to manage your long hair and will work well with your mask and mask strap. Swim hats tend to be cheaper than dive hoods (see below) too. A swimming hat may look out of place if you’re worried about how you look, but if you don’t, go for it. A swim hat won’t keep your hair as warm in cold water as a neoprene dive hood will.

Diving neoprene diving hood

Diving neoprene diving hood

A neoprene hood is an ideal solution for you if you’re a scuba diver with long hair. Neoprene is the same material that wetsuits are made from. A dive hood is similar to wearing a swimming hat, but you’ll probably find that a neoprene diving hood will be more expensive than a swimming hat. However, the extra benefit of a neoprene hood is if you’re diving in cold water it will also keep your head warm.

Pros and cons of a neoprene dive hood for long hair

The benefits of a neoprene diving hood are threefold: The hood will keep your long hair covered and in control; it will work well with your mask strap; plus it will keep your head warm on cold water dives. However, they aren’t such a good idea when diving in the tropics, as you may overheat

Headband buff for women

Fastwick head band-jayla-rose
Image courtesy of Running Bear

If you don’t like the idea of having your hair in a swimming hat or dive hood, you could opt for a headband buff. This is a great solution for keeping your hair away from your face and it will work with your mask strap. But your hair will still get caught in things like the Velcro on your mask strap.

Headband buffs like the one in the above image look great and are very fashionable. So if fashion is important to you, then this option might be a good choice.

Pros and cons of wearing a headband buff

A headband buff is very easy to put on. Plus they look great for the fashion conscious divers among you. However, the down side is the fact they don’t keep your long hair under control as well as hair ties, swim hats, and dive hoods. However, these will work well when diving in the tropics, as they don’t cover your whole head.

What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving for men?

What are the best hairstyles for scuba diving for men

You’d think that it would be easy for men and their hairstyles for scuba diving. But if you thought this then you may be wrong. Hair on men is no different to that on women, but the chances are that a man’s hair will be short. But some men have long hair or they have a beard or other facial hair, which can both be a problem when diving. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

If you’re a women scuba dive and you want to read about hair extensions and/or how to avoid hair dehydration, then please jump ahead to this section below. But if your partner is your dive buddy and male, you may want to also read the section on men with long hair too.

Hairstyles for Male scuba divers with long hair

Some of the hair styles that women can adopt for scuba diving are not always appropriate for men. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a man in plaits, but hair braiding yes. If you’re a man with long hair and you want the ideal hairstyle for diving, why not get your hair braided before you go.

But braided hair is not so easy to wash in-between each dive, so this might not be your first choice. That means you may want to use some form of hair covering to keep your long hair in check whilst you’re underwater. Let’s take a look at the options for men, which are similar to those described above for women.

Swimming hat

Swimming hat for men with long hair who scuba dive

Many men swimmers use a swimming hat, especially Olympic swimmers. Whilst these are mostly used in swimming pools, they can also be used for scuba diving too. To push your long hair into a swim hat is fairly easy before each dive. It’s an quick and easy solution that will keep your long hair under control whilst you’re underwater.

Pros and cons of a swimming hat for long hair

An easy fix solution to manage your long hair and will work well with your mask and mask strap. Swim hats tend to be cheaper than dive hoods (see below) too. A swimming hat may look out of place if you’re worried about how you look, but if you don’t, go for it. A swim hat won’t keep your hair as warm in cold water as a neoprene dive hood will.

Diving neoprene diving hood

Neoprene dive hood for men with long hair

A neoprene hood is the best way to keep your long hair in check as a man scuba diving with long hair. But this is only a solution for colder water diving, as you won’t want to wear a neoprene dive hood when you’re diving in the tropics! A dive hood is similar to wearing a swimming hat, but you’ll probably find that a neoprene diving hood will be more expensive.

Pros and cons of a neoprene dive hood for long hair 123

The benefits of a neoprene diving hood are threefold: The hood will keep your long hair covered and in control; it will work well with your mask strap; plus it will keep your head warm on cold water dives. However, they aren’t such a good idea when diving in the tropics, as you may overheat.

Headband buff for men

Headband buff for men with long hair
Image courtesy of Running Bear

Not everyone likes the idea of having their hair scrunched up in a swim hat or a dive hood. If that’s you then you could opt for a headband buff instead. This is a great solution for keeping your hair away from your face and it will work with your mask strap too.

But your hair will still get caught in things like the Velcro on your mask strap. Headband buffs like the one in the above image look great and are very fashionable. So if fashion is important to you, then this option might be a good choice.

Pros and cons of wearing a headband buff

A headband buff is very easy to put on. Plus they look great for the fashion conscious divers among you. However, the down side is the fact they don’t keep your long hair under control as well as hair ties, swim hats, and dive hoods. However, these will work well when diving in the tropics, as they don’t cover your whole head.

Rasta Braids or dreadlocks

Rasta Braids or dreadlocks for long hair when scuba diving

Dreadlocks or Rasta Braids are more common amongst black men, but that’s not to say if you’re white you cant’ also wear dreadlocks. Whilst this does manage long hair to an extent, as it prevents the individual hairs from floating around, the individual dreadlocks can be quite long and get in the way. Having said that the dive guide I dive with in Barbados has dreadlocks and this has always worked for him.

Pros and cons of wearing a dreadlocks or Rasta Braids

Dreadlocks or Rasta Braids are easy to have done and leave. They will prevent your individual hairs from floating around. But if your hair is really long, so will the dreadlocks be long too. These work fine with your mask strap too.

What about facial hair for male scuba divers – can you scuba dive with a moustache or beard

What about facial hair for male scuba divers

Facial hair poses another problem for male scuba divers. Facial hair can cause problems with your dive mask, as the hair can get in the way of the mask creating a good seal around your face. A moustache is more the problem, as the bottom of your mask rests on your face where the moustache or that part of a beard is on your face.

However, using a silicone grease or natural beeswax and applying it to the skirt of the mask where it touches the moustache will reduce any leakage. A guy I I dived with on many dives who had a full beard and moustache always used a bit of Vaseline to avoid a mask leak. He never had a problem. But the worst case scenario if your mask develops a leak from your facial hair is to clear your mask.

For those of you with longer beards and facial hair, you may want to secure your beard with a hair tie.

What to do with your hair to avoid dehydration of your hair

What to do with your hair to avoid dehydration of your hair

Whilst all of the above solutions will help to keep your long hair in check whilst you’re underwater, in all cases your hair will still get wet. Therefore, if you’re diving in the sea, the salt water will get to your hair. As already mentioned, salt water can be good and bad for your hair and scalp, but let’s take a look at what you can do to reduce the damaging affects of salt water.

These solutions to help prevent hair dehydration is the same for men and women scuba divers. The same is true for facial hair and beards.

In order to prevent your hair from drying as a result of exposure to the sea water, consider using natural hair oil or biodegradable and ecologically-friendly leave-in conditioner. It’s important you put this in your hair prior to the dive. This way the coating of the oil or leave-in conditioner will prevent the salt wicking away the moisture from your hair strands.

Some scuba divers use coconut oil, but this will make your hair greasy and it’s not easy to get out. But if you want to protect your hair from the salt water and you don’t mind looking greasy, this is a great option for hair protection, no matter how long your hair is.

Also, for men with long bears try applying an all-natural beard oil to rehydrate skin and beard hair after diving.

What about scuba diving with hair extensions?

What about scuba diving with hair extensions

The problem that women scuba divers have with hair extension is how they get tangled and damaged from the salt water. The following are suggested solutions if you have hair extensions and want to protect them:

  • All of the above solutions used for natural hair will work, except for the headband buff.
  • As an extra precaution, it is also suggested you thoroughly wet your hair with fresh water before you dive. If the hair extensions are already saturated, the salt water is less likely to penetrate your hair.
  • Use a hair glove. Hair gloves are a long sleeve which essentially cover the hair extension. They are held in place with an elastic hair tie.

I hope you enjoyed this article about what are the best hairstyles for scuba diving

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkelling. Please use the comments section below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about what are the best hairstyles for scuba diving), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.

Have fun and be safe!

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