There’s a new accessory on the block and it’s a tricky one to navigate. The face mask market has explicably boomed and become a part of our everyday lives literally overnight. But with so many options to choose from, how can we navigate the now-crowded marketplace, be responsible in our plight to stop the spread of COVID-19, look stylish(!!)... without being distasteful!
What to look for when buying a face mask
In an ideal world we’d all like to forget we’re even wearing it, but the truth is that discomfort, breathlessness and ‘maskne’ (acne caused by a mask!) are all very real and unpleasant truths. Look out for these key fit-improving features that can help!
- Adjustable ear loops
Some face masks tie behind the head, which can improve fit but can also be fiddly to pop on or off in a hurry. Elastic ear loops are best when they have an adjustable slider, so the perfect tension can be achieved.
- Mouldable nose bridge
The ear loop tension can be looser and comfier if the space around your nose can be minimised. A bendy metal bar across the bridge of your nose can be bent into your unique face shape and minimise airflow around the seams.
- 100% cotton fabric
The fabric used will directly impact how easy it is to breath and how much condensation builds up beneath your mask. A mask made from a natural fibre like cotton will help to wick away moisture, as well as feeling soft against your skin. Though not required by law, the recommendation is that face masks are at least two layers, to prevent the dispersal of viral droplets. Some masks come with a pocket for inserting a filter, which is an optional addition that may give individuals that added piece of mind.
How to make a face mask?
If you’re a dab hand on the sewing machine or fancy and simple project to while away the time (you might otherwise have spent socialising), why not rustle up a face mask yourself. There are simple patterns to follow online and the choice of colours and prints becomes limitless.
An unraveled paperclip can be used inside the top seam as the mouldable nose bridge and elastic and cotton can be salvaged from unwanted garments or purchased online.
Choosing a design…
Once the incredulousness of this life we find ourselves in settles, choosing a face mask is not so different to choosing any other accessory. Cover the practical, safety criteria first, then express your style and personality. If your wardrobe is abundant with pattern, perhaps a block colour mask is a complementary choice. Think about hues that flatter your skintone or bring out the colour of your eyes. On the other end of the spectrum, a print can be fun and up-lifting. In another situation, masks could be perceived as threatening or bleak, so there’s nothing like a heart of a floral print to oust all those negative associations and make it fashion!
How many facemasks do I need?
This really depends on your lifestyle (and dedication to fashion and co-ordination!) 3 facemasks, washed at the end of a day of wear, would see the average person through. In the spirit of making the best of a bad situation, some bloggers and influencers have been matching their masks to their dresses. If this look sparks your creative imagination, you might need more than just the 3!
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Rixo London mask featured in The Independent
Reusable verses disposable face masks…
The standard blue disposable masks remain the preference of some wearers. They are fit for purpose but are not biodegradable and have already become a environmental problem in recent weeks. Washing up on beaches, trapping wildlife and being derived themselves from fossil fuels, the harm cannot be ignored. In an article in Vogue it stated that if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, that would create 66,000 tonnes of plastic waste. The silver lining of this pandemic has been the alleviated pressure on global resources. If we are to make the most of this, reusable masks have to be the more conscious choice!
From left to right:
More masks than jellyfish by...
From the quirky to the ridiculous!
In times of strife human innovation does not cease. We found these novelty options that are sure to turn some heads!
From left to right:
$1.5 million diamond face mask featured in
Iconic brand face masks imagined https://www.10yetis.co.uk/BigBrandFaceMasks
Ingenious knitted face sculptures by Icelandic designer @yrurari
What’s pretty obvious, is that whilst face masks may have burst onto our radar, they are destined to stick around for a very long time to come. What was once considered medical and austere has become part of fashion and culture. After all, what we cannot change we must embrace.