Skip to Content

Long Hair When Snorkeling [ Avoiding Hair-Related Issues ]

Snorkeling is a fun pastime, but long hair can get tangled up in your equipment and make it difficult to see. Without proper precautions, your long hair can also turn brittle due to salt water and sun damage. So what do you do with long hair when snorkeling?

You can have long hair while snorkeling. You will need to tie your hair back, and some styles are better than others. Accessories such as scuba headbands can help tame long hair in the water. Using a leave-in conditioner and other tricks will protect your locks from saltwater damage, too.

You don’t need to cut your hair short to enjoy water sports such as snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving. But your hair and scalp will benefit by paying attention to details such as the mask strap, your hairstyle, and rinsing your hair with fresh water before dipping it into the sea.

Hairstyles for Snorkeling

Tying your hair back for snorkeling is the best way to keep your hair out of your face. Various styles have their pros and cons, however.


The ponytail is the most effortless and well-known hairstyle. It works best to place the ponytail high up on your head. A high ponytail is the best way to keep it from interfering with the position of your mask strap.

If your hair is too short to be piled on top, the second-best place is the nape. You might have to adjust your mask straps to accommodate a low ponytail, however.


  • A basic ponytail is quick and easy.


  • The ends of the hair are still loose and can get tangled.

French braid

A basic French braid is a popular, practical, and elegant choice.


  • Pretty
  • Keeps hair flat against the head
  • Won’t tangle while snorkeling


  • People with layered or shaggy hairstyles might find that pieces of hair easily escape.
  • You might find it snarls as you take it out after your snorkel.
  • Takes longer than a ponytail.


Pigtails come in various styles, from two ponytails, and two basic braids, to two French braids. The quickest is the two ponytails, the most time-consuming being double French braids.

However, the double French braids will secure your hair the best. This style is also easier for people with mid-length hair or who have a shag cut, as you don’t need to get all the pieces to the back of your head.


  • Cute.
  • Keeps your hair out of your face.
  • This style will not catch as much as it will with a braid in the back for some masks.
  • Some people find this style is easier to take out after snorkel trips.


  • They take longer than making one.
  • The double ponytail can still leave hair on your face.
  • Some people find it distracting when the ends brush cheeks or shoulders.


The fishtail is a pretty way to keep your hair out of your face.


  • Very pretty.
  • The fishtail will not tangle with your mask as easily as a ponytail.
  •  It is also a flat shape against the head, which will make it easier to position your mask.


  • The fishtail takes time, even longer than a French braid.
  • The wispy strands are more likely than a French braid to come loose while you snorkel.
  • It can also be challenging to take it out post snorkel.

Modified Triple Ponytail

Not everyone has the time or the ability to braid their hair, but they still want their locks more secure than a basic ponytail. Consider modifying a triple ponytail.

Start with the three bands on your head, like a French braid, then just keep wrapping bonds down the loose end in even segments. This can be done as a single or in pigtails.

If the hairbands against your head interfere with your mask strap, just make a basic ponytail, preferably high up, then secure the bands down the tail.


  • Easy
  • Keeps hair from becoming tangled while snorkeling.


  • Requires many hair bands.
  • Some might find it interferes with positioning their mask.

Snorkeling Hair Accessories

There are many accessories that people with long hair can use while snorkeling. These can be used alone or in combination with a tied-up hairstyle.


A swimming headband or one specifically made for diving can help keep your hair back while snorkeling, especially those wispy pieces that love to escape.

However, depending on brand and face shape, some users struggle to keep them in place while wet.

Slap strap

A slap strap is made of neoprene and makes it easy to position your mask. It helps keep hair from being pulled or tangled by your mask straps, too.


A hood will keep your hair completely out of your way while snorkeling and prevent tangling with your mask. However, these are more common in scuba diving. For a snorkel on a hot day in tropical waters, this could be uncomfortable.

How Do you Protect your Hair when Snorkeling?

Saltwater is rumored to have many healing properties, but your hair doesn’t agree. Repeated dips in the sea can leave hair dry and brittle. But there are ways to minimize potential damage.

Rinse your hair before and after you snorkel

Getting your hair wet before getting wet may sound redundant, but hair is absorbent. If you rinse it with fresh water before you go in, the cuticles will absorb less salt.

After you get out of the ocean, rinse your hair again to get any salt out. This will not only help with preventing damage but also make it easier to take out your hairstyle.

If there are no sinks or showers at your favorite snorkel spot, bring some tap water along in 2-liter bottles.

Moisturize your hair

A marine-friendly leave-in conditioner will help prevent tangles, prevent salt from attaching itself to your wet hair, and provides UV protection.

Ran out of hair conditioner? Raid your kitchen. Coconut oil is a great backup. It moisturizes and will help keep salt from attaching to your hair. It does not provide the same quality of UV protection as a leave-in conditioner, however.

Try to at least use a detangler before taking out any hairstyle post snorkel. This is when hair can snarl and become damaged.

Wash your hair with swimmer’s shampoo

When you have time to wash your hair after your snorkel, consider using a swimmer’s shampoo. No, the ocean isn’t full of chlorine, but they have sodium in common. A swimmer’s shampoo will help remove any salt that’s lingering in your locks.


Enjoying snorkeling shouldn’t come at the expense of your long hair. Spending a little extra time before and after your snorkel will help keep your locks healthy and out of your face.

If you are looking for snorkeling gear we have a huge list of lists to help you find just the right snorkeling gear to get you up and moving, check it out here!

It doesn’t have to be a chore: have fun playing with different hairstyles and products. Most of all, enjoy the fish.