Although generally designed for adult faces (usually 4.5-5 inches from one edge of the skirt to the other), modern design and technology means finding a mask that fits smaller faces is easier now than ever before. Yes, it’s fine to rent or borrow a mask. But it really is worth buying one for your specific needs, so we thought we would list some of the considerations and recommendations for the best scuba diving masks for smaller faces.
The best masks should form an airtight and watertight seal; effectively manage your air consumption with each dive; and not leave your face covered with marks, no matter how long you are under water. Comfort is one thing which will determine your overall enjoyment, so although it may take time finding the mask that fits you best, it really is worth it.
Skirts - the mask skirt isn’t just to colour co-ordinate your dive suit! It will impact the amount and quality of vision around you. A clear or transparent skirt allows more light to give you clearer all-round sight (like a panoramic sunroof!) Although the extra light can create reflections and could cause a distraction if you’re not used to it. But, if you suffer with claustrophobia or think you might feel hemmed in, this is one for you.
Conversely, a black skirt is a favourite with technical divers and underwater photographers. The contrast between dark and light clarifies vision and allows you to see further.
The benefit of brighter white, yellow, and pink coloured skirts is that they are easy to spot and will make you more easily identifiable, even in murky waters. These may be good for the newer or less confident divers.
Single or Dual Window - single window masks may give you a wider view and are more travel-friendly (fold into a flat shape), but they don’t always fit well on narrower faces, and may leak. They also hold larger air volume too, so they are harder to clear, and are not compatible with most corrective lenses.
Dual window masks use two pieces of glass, so although less foldable, many of them use teardrop shaped lenses so will give you better quality ‘downward’ vision (helps when reading gauges, getting in and out of the water, and can help reduce claustrophobia). Dual window masks also fit more face shapes, are easier to clear and you could still fit coloured and prescription lenses.
Smaller faces don’t tend to suit masks with three or four pieces of glass, as they use wider frames, and can cause underwater reflection and distort your vision. So, dual window is your best option.
The amount of air your mask holds will affect how easy it is to clear, and how far the mask sits away from your face. Most divers prefer a low volume design as it’s easier to push water back out if you get small leakage.
One thing to note when looking at prices, is that although it is related, the price doesn’t always reflect the quality. There are some great masks on the market, even for smaller faces, at very affordable prices.
Once you have the best fit, and the best design for you, you can focus on your dive itself.
There are many masks available now to suit children and adults with smaller faces, so here’s a few with other benefits:
Cressi offers a wide range of masks specifically suited to children and adults with smaller faces, so it is worth looking through in more detail.
So, there you have it. You now know how to find the best scuba masks for smaller faces. And, in the words of the Small Faces (rock band from the 60’s and 70’s), “it’s all too beautiful” and we don’t want you to miss a thing. So, if you wear lenses or glasses, it’s worth investing in a prescription lens for your mask... just ask us for more info.