Arizona Midday | Stylish & Practical Face Masks
The latest “can’t-leave-home-without-it” accessory is the face mask. Virtually overnight, the coronavirus pandemic has launched a new era in fashion where the mask is the star. Yes, pop singer Ariana Grande and her fans were ahead of their time. Now, many brands and fashion houses have jumped into the ring and are creating masks to sell in bundles or to benefit healthcare workers. However, it’s important to recognize that all masks are not created equal when it comes to actually serving the purpose to protect the wearer or others around them, thus helping to flatten the curve. On Arizona Midday, I talk about what to look for in a face mask, plus show a few of my fashionable favorites. And, the must-have jewelry for your mask collection, the mask chain!
What to look for in a face mask
1 | Fabric. Naturally you want to be able to breathe easily with your mask on. This is even more important when you’re wearing the mask for a longer period of time, outside in the heat or while exercising. I’ve found cotton and some sportswear materials to be the easiest to breathe through. Masks made from thicker, higher quality material with a tighter weave are more apt to trap germs and respiratory droplets that are released when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Of course, you need to balance the thickness of the fabric with how breathable the mask is. For example, denim masks are cute, but a bit heavy to breathe through. The washability of the fabric is critical too! Buy a net bag to throw your masks in and wash on hot to kill any germs you’ve come in contact with during the day.
2 | Fit. Make sure your mask covers your nose, mouth and chin, and doesn’t gap on the sides or around your nose. Masks with head straps tend to have a tighter fit on your face and the sides. Gaiter masks provide overall coverage, including your neck. Adjustable ear loops can help with ensuring a closer fit, as well as nose clips. I personally do not care for the masks that tie on around your head. They are difficult to adjust and take on & off. If you’re in love with a style of mask, but are struggling with the fit, consider wearing a disposable surgical mask underneath for extra protection, depending on what you’re going to be doing. For example, if you will be around a group of people indoors, think about what mask will give you the best protection, vs. outdoors you are at less risk for exposure.
3 | Filter. Medical experts say three layers are optimum for providing protection from germs entering your body. Some masks have pouches where you can add a filter or they come with one, which is a great way to add a third layer without affecting your breathing as much. (Life hack: Cut up and use a coffee filter or vacuum filter.) Some brands are selling special PM 2.5 charcoal filters with their masks as well as replacements, which claim to filter out more of the harmful germs that can be breathed in.
What about “fancy” masks?
Strike a pose! I do love silk and sequin masks — they are so pretty and stylish! But, be aware that they are not machine washable. If the instructions say to hand wash, it’s naturally going to be more difficult to kill germs on the surface. My advice? Save the “fancy” masks for Instagram or outdoor events that aren’t crowded where there may be less chance of transmission. Then, after wearing, set the mask aside for at least 3 days before hand washing.
The must-have mask accessory?
The mask chain! These chains are practical and pretty, and can be worn like a necklace. I’m obsessed! They only work with masks that loop over your ears, but make it easy to take your mask off temporarily without having to set it down. They are quickly growing in popularity. Eyeglass chains with clips can also serve as mask chains, or they can be converted to mask chains by adding large necklace hooks on the end.
Want more related stories?
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- Arizona Midday | Work-From-Home Style (coming soon)