Who would have ever thought that face coverings would become an addition to our usual assembly of accessories? They might not be the most comfortable things, but they are useful for protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus, and work best when worn by everyone and in the proper manner. I still haven’t quite gotten used to wearing a mask, and usually have to fight the urge to take it off and put it away in the same way that I would fold up an umbrella after walking into the store.
My issues are shared by others. Fabric can get sucked into the mouth and nostrils during strenuous activity, making it difficult to breathe. They can cause sweating and irritated skin from the bacteria-friendly humid environment created by breathing recycled air. Glasses are constantly fogged up, the elastic ear loops chafe, and much more.
As the summer approaches, you may have begun to worry about the challenges that a hot summer could present in this new phase of the pandemic where businesses and other public spaces are open. Unlike the summer of 2020 when most of the world was in lockdown, there will be a lot more opportunities to gather socially, which will necessitate a lot of mask-wearing. I’ve compiled a list of the mask tips and hacks that have served me the best in the last 14 months in hopes that they will help you navigate the rest of our foreseeable masked-up future.
Unlike last summer, when most of us were in lockdown, this year there will be a lot more opportunities to gather socially, which will necessitate a lot of mask-wearing.
Don’t Be Caught Out
Always keep spare masks in spots you’re frequently in, like your purse, backpack, work desk, or car, in preparation for an unanticipated situation—like if you forget to grab one on your way out of the house or if the elastic on the one you’ve been wearing snaps. I like to carry a spare in my purse at all times. And to keep from forgetting to replace whichever one I’ve worn that day, I fetch a new mask and put it in my bag right after I’ve chucked the dirty one in the hamper. Works every time!
Asphyxiation By Mask and Cloudy Lenses
Walking, running, and hiking can be enjoyable activities but are not as pleasant when you’re in danger of suffocation every time you go faster than a stroll. You wind up breathing through your mouth so you don’t pass out, and that turns the already humid environment beneath your mask into an even damper bacteria magnet that could melt your makeup in addition to causing maskne.
There’s also the added frustration of fogged-up lenses for glasses-wearers, which impairs vision and hampers productivity. You shouldn’t have to choose between sight and respiration, and thanks to the wonders of 3D printing technology and mass production, you won’t have to. Search for “3D mask brackets” the next time you’re on Amazon. They typically come in two forms: rigid and soft. The rigid ones are great at keeping masks away from the nose and mouth but can be uncomfortable or leave marks on the skin. The soft ones are more portable as they are foldable and better prevent lenses from fogging up. They can leave marks if worn for an extended period but feel comfortable when worn.
Unburden Your Ears
Chafing ear straps are high on the list of complaints by people who don’t like to wear masks. The constant friction from prolonged mask use along with the moisture that collects in the crevices behind your ears can cause inflammation and blistering. This can not only be a potential source of infection but also make it difficult to wear a mask again as that will only aggravate the already-irritated area.
One solution for this is to opt for masks that tie behind the head instead of ones with elastic or fabric ear loops, or buy a mask extender that pulls the loops and holds them together behind your head.
Keep It In Place
If your mask shifts around a lot or frequently falls off your nose when you talk, you’ve got a fit problem. Wearing a mask is great, but making sure that it covers the lower half of your face properly is part of what makes it effective. Due to the variety of masks being produced by so many companies, the size and fit of masks, especially fabric ones, can vary.
To fix this you could either employ the mask extender option or try loop adjusters that let you regulate the tightness of your mask. There’s also this viral mask hack for surgical masks that reduces gaping and provides a better fit.
@oliviacuidmdHighly requested 60s version of my viral mask hack #fyp #doctorsoftiktok #masktutorial #covid19 #viral #maskhack #learnontiktok♬ original sound – Dr. Olivia
Throw It Back to the ’90s
One surefire way to never lose your mask: Wear it around your neck just like everyone used to do with their glasses in the ’90s. You can get chains and lanyards in all sorts of colors and configurations, whether you want colorful neon chunky links or a delicate pearl and gold chain. Match them to your outfits if you’d like, it’s your prerogative. There’s no reason why you can’t look cute while staying protected.
Do Your Research
All masks are certainly not made equal. Some are more breathable, softer, or are made out of more layers than others. Publications like Vogue regularly update their reviews of face masks to make the search for a comfortable mask easier. A quick Google search will give you any number of results you can use to make an informed purchase. Pay attention to what materials they are made from, as well as how many layers they have. Masks with metal nose strips allow for a better fit as their flexibility can be easily contoured around nose bridges of varying shapes and sizes.
Got any mask tips that have worked particularly well for you? Share in the comments.