Getting vaccinated and consistently wearing a well-fitted mask provides the best protection against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But when you have a significant amount of facial hair or a beard that you’re not planning to shave anytime soon, finding a mask that fits for protection and comfort is no easy task.
Wearing a too-tight face mask over a beard can causes a dreaded “beard dent.” And while many folks in the bearded community opt for neck gaiters instead, they’re not the most effective face covering to use. Neck gaiters, which at one point earlier in the pandemic were recommended by the CDC, are no longer on the CDC’s list of recommended face coverings in the age of omicron.
Though any mask is better than no mask, some offer higher levels of protection than others. The most important thing to remember when deciding which beard-friendly mask to get is that it needs to fit properly and, to maximize your protection, the fit should eliminate any gaps through which air can flow. This includes N95 or KN95 masks and cloth masks.
But until more N95 and KN95 masks are made in larger sizes — and maybe even specifically for those with facial hair — we did some digging around the web and asked HuffPost readers across Facebook and Twitter for their recommendations on the best masks for beards.
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.
The Under Armour Sportsmask
Multiple Facebook users recommended Under Armour's Sportsmask, which is water-resistant and made with cooling fabric. Its snug fit leaves less space where air can get through, making it ideal for beards.
"I’m wearing the Under Armour mask; [it's] soft and comfortable, covers everything and also has a ledge for my glasses to sit so they don’t fog up." — Jake Hamilton
A five-pack of NIOSH-approved large N95 masks
When in doubt, look to product reviews to see if others have luck with a mask being suitable for beards. This NIOSH-approved N95 mask which comes in a large size fits the bill. Multiple reviews mention it being a good choice for people with beards and facial hair.
“A friend's brother bought them and said they fit great over his beard.” — Janie Campbell, HuffPost senior editor
A Diop face mask made specifically for beards
Available in a variety of African-inspired prints, this mask from Diop includes three layers of 100% cotton and elastic ear straps. The adjustable chin elastic cinches to your beard so it stays in place and keeps it covered. It also has an interior pocket so you can insert your own filter (sold separately
"These are my favorite and it’s a Black-owned business." — Jean David Michel
An extra-large face mask with toggle strap locks
The structure of this mask is beard-friendly: It features a contoured nose shape and a looser bottom to allow room for facial hair. The behind-the-head straps have toggle locks so you can adjust the fit to your comfort.
An Amazon reviewer
wrote, "I bought this for my son. He has a wide face with a beard. He loves it because it doesn’t sit on his ears it goes around the head..."
A reusable face mask with extra room for beards
Great for longer, fuller beards, this multi-design face mask has a built-in nose wire and is made of 100% cotton. It comes in short, medium and long sizes to fit your beard length.
One promising review states, "This is the second one of these masks I have bought, not due to any issues but because of how good it is. I had previously had issues with my beard curling up around the bottom of the mask and looking bad for the rest of the day afterwards, but this mask solves that whilst also looking fantastic."
A 3-pack of extra large face masks
Face masks offered in a larger size for wider faces or facial hair are the way to go. This one doesn't have a nose bridge, but it does
feature a 3D design to fit the curves of your face.
One promising review on Amazon
states, "I've got a sizable beard and I've had a hard time finding masks to fit my big face. These do the job and they are comfortable. I wear them in the gym so I'm not worried about fogging."