View Full Version : Cold Water Swimming - Facial Hair?

June 27th, 2005, 05:58 AM
Hi all - am doing the Channel next month.

My question is - with the water being COLD will facial hair help keep me warm at all in the water. Will only be in for an hour at a time, as it's the relay.

Am thinking of growing some facial hair (beard), and having had one before I know that once it gets long enough it wont chaff.

Would facial hair help keep you warm in the water or will it not matter too much?


Leonard Jansen
June 27th, 2005, 07:57 AM
I have a goatee and I don't think it helps with the cold, at least not much. In fact, I shave it very close before races because if I don't I find that it channels water into my mouth when I roll to breathe.
Better is some cold water training beforehand and maybe use some vaseline/lanolin mixture on your face (but don't get it on your goggles!)

Good Luck!


Rob Copeland
June 27th, 2005, 09:06 AM
I’ve done all of my cold water swims clean shaven, so I can’t tell you if a beard would provide extra warmth. But I doubt it would. It’s not the same effect as a beard keeping your face warm on cold days. I would assume the beard would provide about as much protection in the water as a full head of hair provides (which is none, without a cap)!

As for chaffing, have you done salt water swims with a beard? Often what doesn’t chaff in the pool will rub raw in the salt water.

Leonard has the best suggestion of all “Better is some cold water training beforehand”. Find some cold water and get used to swimming your hour swim in 58 – 60 degree water. As for his suggestion of applying channel grease to your face… how gross:), but it would make an interesting photo.

June 27th, 2005, 09:55 AM
No advice, no experience on which to base advice--but the Channel! That's awesome! I just want to wish you success with your swim, whether you go bearded or not!

Leonard Jansen
June 27th, 2005, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by grahamcoleman
Am up to abouy 90 mins in the sea (temp is 10 degrees Celcius - about 50 Fahrenheit .Just wonderingwould beard help a bit more

50 Fahrenheit for 90 minutes? Sounds like you don't have too much to worry about already.

Maybe consider earplugs as well.


Rob Copeland
June 27th, 2005, 10:02 AM
If you’re currently doing 90 minutes in 10 degrees Celsius water (50 F), then the channel at 14.5-17C (58-63F) should be a walk in the park!

June 27th, 2005, 10:19 AM
When I was in college, I thought I shoudl grow a beard. I was raised to believe that men with facial hair were a trouble (it isa long story). One cold morning, I went running. As I started to warm up, I began to sweat. After the run as the ice cycles began to melt on my cheeks, the facial hair began to fall out. I have some permenent nerve damage from the sweat freexing on my checks. I couldn't feel the cold becaseu of the beard..