Masks Basics

Guide price: £30 – £120

The comfort, fit and quality of a mask is equally as important for snorkellers as it is for divers. There is no such thing as “its only for snorkelling”. Whether diving or snorkelling you want to be able to gain as much enjoyment as possible from the amazing underwater world. A snorkelling or diving mask is definitely a try before you buy piece of kit. Everyone has a slightly different shaped face and so different designs of mask will feel very different on your face. A mask that doesn’t fit will leak underwater and spoil your diving or snorkelling experience.

At Aquanaut we stock masks from 9 different manufacturers and over 30 different styles, many of which have a range of colours. You are welcome to try everything on, but our team will happily guide you to get the right fit.


To find out if a mask fits you, you don’t need to use the strap, just place it on your face (making sure not to trap either the mask strap or your hair) and breathe in slightly through your nose. When you pull the mask from your face there should be a slight pop as the pressure equalizes. If it does, then the mask fits you (for those of you with facial hair, you will need to use Vaseline or similar to get a good seal).


The skirt of a mask should be made of silicone not PVC. PVC is thicker and less flexible than silicone so it won’t mould to the contours of your face very well and is more likeley to leak. PVC is cheaper than silicone and so most of the cheap masks that you find in tourist shops and snorkeling hire kit will be made of it.


Silicone comes in two types, black and clear. Clear silicone has been chemically bleached in order to make it clear and so it is stiffer than black silicone. If you are having trouble finding a mask that fits, trying a black silicone one may help. Some people find black silicone masks claustrophobic, however some really like the comfort so try one on and see how it feels first.

Prescription lenses

If  you normally wear glasses, you can select a mask where prescription  lenses can be fitted. We stock minus, plus and bifocal lenses for several of the TUSA, Beuchat, Cressi and Atomic range of masks. Most lenses are supplied in half diopter increments.

If your prescription falls  between two lens strengths, it is recommended you select the weaker of the two as the water  itself offers some maginifcation. These lenses replace  the original glass lens in the mask and we can fit the new lenses for you.

Tips before use – fogging

After buying your mask, before you use it, smear toothpaste on the inside of the lenses with your fingers. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off (no bicarbonate of soda or anything fancy – just standard toothpaste).

When a mask is put together in the factory, some of the silicone in the air coats the lenses. Toothpaste removes this layer of silicone and stops the lenses from fogging up as much.

If you are having trouble with any mask fogging up, applying toothpaste will help. Johnson’s Baby Shampoo also works very well for preventing fogging!