protecting face in cold weather (Read 155 times)

    I generally use a balaclava to cover my face during colder weather running.  Helps for the warmth &  protects face from the elements.  otherwise my face will get a "burn"  & then later gets chapped & dried out.  Especially if there is also a bitter wind.   the baclava does hamper breathing so I use one that is fairly thin that at least has some breathability.  it also retains sweat so I wash off my face immediately after, again to reduce the "burn" from the salt.


    what does everyone else use?  if you also use some sort of face covering what do you do if you have long hair?  If you leave your face uncovered do you use some sort of lotion or baby oil?


    reason for the questions is that the wife of a friend of mine recently started running & was asking for ideas.   So hope to get some ideas & especially from the lady runners.  normally around the PNW face protection while running is not much of an issue but we are experiencing unusually cold weather for us

    Latent Runner

      I don't typically like having my face covered, and until the temperature is below say 15°F (20°F or so if it is windy and/or snowing), my favorite balaclava is from the Winter Silks folks.

      Maybe my skin is just oily or something, but I don't ever remember getting a "burn" of any sort unless the temperatures are below zero.

      Fat old man PRs:

      • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
      • 2-mile: 13:49
      • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
      • 5-Mile: 37:24
      • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
      • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
      • Half Marathon: 1:42:13

        Bag balm

          I have only gotten wind burn twice, and it hasn't been bad either time, so I can't really speak to that....but when it's very windy and below ~15F, I use a Buff to cut the wind on my face.  I wear a separate hat and use it as a mask.  I almost never use my balaclava, and have been happy with the Buff down to four degrees (if I'm remembering right).


          And maybe it's mental, but I'm convinced my winter beard helps, too.  That's what I tell my girlfriend, anyway, when it's been weeks since I've shaved.

          "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
          Emil Zatopek

          Baby Got Track

            I put my long hair in a single tight braid, then put on a fleece balaclava, and a smart wool hat over that.  The balaclava is loose enough over my mouth that my breathing is not restricted, and the warm exhalations are funneled upward and keep my face from freezing (although it can make some impressive eyelash icicles).  If I need more warmth than that I add a scarf or neck gaiter.  I am out for two to three hours and have never had any chapped or dried skin.  I do moisturize with Pond's everyday, which helps.


            My hair is all one length, so it is easy to keep it contained.  I put it in a ponytail at the base of my neck, then I braid the pony tail.  I tuck the end into the back of my shirt, which keeps it from working its way around to the front to tickle my face. Smile

            Leah, mother of goats 

              Fleece tube shaped neck gaiter is my favorite. I don't like my lips covered, but do like my chin, cheeks, neck, ears, and head covered. Thus I also wear a knit hat that covers the ears. In the single digits or below, in addition I may also use a neoprene face mask that also covers my nose. I cut the mouth hole open. Have worn that in skiing. An alternative for me is when I wear a hooded coat that has the flaps that snap around the face. If that design fits you well, it can be very effective. They don't all fit well. But overall the fleece neck gaiter is the best for me. I also have the hooded version of that, designed with a thin top that fits under a ski helmet, or under a warm hat that has ear flaps that tie under your chin. The hooded part of the neck gaiter keeps it from ever sliding down and exposing your neck or lower ears. Useful design for teens and single digits.

                Smartwool neck gaiter pulled up over the face. Can still breathe through it. Ends up getting pulled up & down as needed throughout the run. When pulled down, the thing freezes solid with sweat & breath condensation. But when you pull it back up, the heat from your face melts it again. Not as bad as it sounds.



                  Grow a beard especially as you look really hard when icicles form on it, it's worked for me for the last 30 odd years.

                  Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

                    Call me Ray (not Ishmael)

                      Used to use vaseline a lot and that may work for you. I still use it on areas that may get exposed inspite of other protection.


                      Now, I use Seirus QuickDraw most of the time - thicker than a balaclava on top, thinner than a balaclava across the face. I can roll it up when it's warmer, and can take it off and hang it from my waist belt when I don't need it anymore that day. That's useless in the wind though.


                      When windy, I use a neoprene face mask, but experimented with a couple before I found a comfortable one where I could breathe and not feel claustrophobic. Look at the mouth and nose openings and patterns of dots for getting air in. I've also got a windstopper hat and neoprene ear band that I may use in combination.


                      I'll sometimes use the hood of my shell if it's windier out than I expected. Most of my hoods can close around the neck and face area since I select shells based on that. I'm on trails most of the time, and if I've got my hood up, most of the time no one else is on the trail, including animals. I have seen moose huddled together during one windstorm, and they just looked at me as I ran by.


                      If you're just looking for protection for this storm, you might tray a scarf.

                      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                      I run. Therefore I am.

                        bandana, baklava or a bank robber's ski mask

                        You don't need shoes to run anymore than you need a hat to think.


                          Sent Lock makes a mask that is not too thick. It is toasty but it breathes.


                            Not long ago, I found a manual for cold operations in the Navy. Looks like the book was written in the 80s for ships going near the poles. There were several recommended masks. I was intrigued by the masks, so I went ahead and ordered one (it was only $8). I think it would be overkill for 99% of the races, but if you have icicles forming on your face, then it might be a decent choice. But you'll look like Hannibal Lecter :-)

                              thanks for all the incredibly great ideas people !!

                                bandana, baklava or a bank robber's ski mask


                                Be careful with that word! Smile


                                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.