Face Mask Top 10 Tips
Here's a quick guide of the things to look for when purchasing a Face Mask – from colours and shapes to the fittings and day-to-day functioning, from the emotional well-being and the cost for the planet, this is everything that you need to know about Face Masks.
Colour is everywhere, we love it, but you can have too much so understanding what colours work for you is vital when choosing your Face Mask. It is important to pick a shade which not only suits you, but intermixes with the colours of your wardrobe too.
For maximum versatility choose a mask in a neutral shade such as navy, charcoal grey or soft white, which all work seamlessly alongside other colours. But, if you are keen to purchase a mask in a more vibrant shade, do consider your natural colouring first.
The closer a colour is to our face, the more impact it has upon our appearance. As Face Masks are positioned directly on your face, it’s really important to get the colour right. The perfect shades to wear harmonise with your eye colour, skin tone and hair colour. Therefore, if you have dark hair and dark eyes then a mask in a strong, deep colour will suit you. Whereas a Face Mask in a light, delicate shade will flatter you if you have blonde hair and pale eyes. If you have a lot of warmth in your colouring, then colours with a yellow undertone will suit you. Whereas colours with a blue undertone are more flattering if you have cool colouring.
Let’s face it, we still want to look and feel like ‘us’, even though 2020 seems to have knocked the world off it’s axis. Wearing a Face Mask will feel very alien to begin with for many people, as we’ve never worn them before. So, it’s little wonder that we want masks that feel like an extension of our outfit rather than an awkward necessity.
The good news is that with such a wide range of Face Masks available on the market, you’ll be sure to find one that compliments your style. If you’re struggling to identify your style, try to describe your wardrobe within 3 words. Is your clothing Dramatic? Classic? Vintage? Street? Niching down on your style will really help you to recognise those masks which will make your outfit (rather than break it).
If you have a dramatic style for example, you might relish the opportunity to ‘rock your mask’ with bold prints or a humorous slogan. But, if you have a classic style personality, you are likely to prefer face masks in colours which coordinate with your outfit.
3 Daily routine
The good news is Face Masks are small and light so there are a lot of options for carrying them with you at all times. Before we get into how and where to carry them, it’s important to make sure that you have the right amount for your needs. This might sound obvious, but you’ll really need 3 face masks if you’re out every day, going to work, commuting and getting lunch etc. This will provide 3 days of continuous cover, and by the end of day 2 you can wash your first 2 masks and keep cycling them forward.
In terms of actually fitting the Face Mask, wash your hands first, either using soap and water or with alcohol gel. As you put the mask on, avoid touching the front panel, use the ear or head loops to get a snug fit around the sides, you don’t want any gaps. The mask should start at the bridge of your nose and come down under your chin. With the mask on, avoid touching your face in general, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth.
When it comes to removing your mask, start at the back and use the ear or head loops to hold the mask. Take the mask outwards away from your face. The mask then needs to be placed in a plastic bag and sealed – sandwich bags are ideal, nice and small with added function of a zip lock. You can use paper bags if you prefer. Then wash your hands again.
The bagged Face Mask should be washed at the end of the day and not reused until it has been laundered. Face Masks can be washed with normal detergent and left to dry, ready for your next use.
How do you fit all of this into your routine?
Thankfully the bagged face mask isn’t going to take up a lot of room, so you can put this in a jacket pocket or bag. It’s unlikely to fit inside your purse or wallet, let’s face it, that’s not where you want it anyway. A jacket, coat or trouser pocket that is readily accessible is good, any kind of bag that you use daily is also a great place to be.
The guidelines state that you should use face coverings inside shops, if you’re out and have several indoor places that you need to go, put your mask on and keep it on until you’ve finished your journey. Whilst you might be tempted to just mask up when approaching the indoor space, every time you touch the mask there is a transmission risk, therefore keep it on until you’re finished.
Washing after every use is central to the effectiveness of your Face Mask. As mentioned in point 3, the chances are you’re going to need more than one mask, depending on your daily activities, and whether you like to have a just in case back-up buried in your bag.
Material face masks should be washable, it’s always worth checking this when you’re buying them. Disposable Face Masks are OK for emergencies, as a back-up, but washable masks will reduce your environmental footprint and are just nicer objects in general, made from natural materials as opposed to plastics, which will be sweaty for you, and go straight to landfill after a single use.
Wash your Face Mask with the rest of your laundry, using the same detergent that you would normally use. Allow them to dry with your other clothes and store them in a paper bag.
5 Comfort and fit
The best comfort will come from 2 key areas – the design of the mask and the materials it is made from.
Everyone’s face is different, therefore you need to look at the shape of your face and the shape of the mask. The best designs feature folded pleats that extend the mask up and down your face. This design ensures the mask fits from the bridge of your nose to under your chin. The most comfortable Face Masks are made from natural materials like cotton and silk. These are breathable, allowing air in and out. Be careful to check the material composition of your mask, many products that claim to be cotton or silk often have a high percentage of plastic woven into the natural fibres, this can be as much as 40-50%, which is both bad for you and the environment.
Ear loops, headloops and ties.
This simple face covering can quickly become much more involved. Ear loops are elastic or string loops that you locate around your ears. This type of Face Mask is good for short term use, 5 to 10 minutes is perfect, as the ear loops will pull your ears, deforming them under pressure which can be very uncomfortable. If you wear glasses, the discomfort will be amplified.
Headloops and ties offer longer term comfort, the pressure is spread over your entire head, so no pulling on your ears. The downside of head loops is your hair, the loops will need to go right around your head to hold the mask to your face without gaps. Like everything there are compromises to be made, if your hair’s a priority, go for ear loops and if you want out and out comfort, wearing your face mask for longer periods, then head loops are the way to go.
6 Remember to smile
Smiling, the most wonderful form of facial expression, is partially lost beneath our Face Masks. Thankfully, our eyes are ‘windows to the soul’, with the ability to convey a wide range of emotions. A genuine smile will always meet the eyes, so please continue smiling beneath your mask.
You’ll find that when you wear a mask, people eyes will be naturally drawn towards your own. But if you want your eyes to really stand out, wear a mask which matches the colour of your eyes.
If you wear glasses, you might have noticed that they have an annoying tendency to fog when worn alongside your mask. You can minimise this by putting your mask on first, followed by your glasses. Or, try rubbing the inside of your lenses with a bar of soap, then polish clean with a soft cloth – it works!
7 Face Mask fashion trends
Face Masks were seen all over the catwalk back in February, because the world of fashion is always ahead of the game. Fast forward to July and the influencers of Instagram are busy filling their grids with images of them wearing tie dye and rainbow printed masks. Another popular theme is Face Masks with prints that perfectly match their outfits.
However, it’s important to strike a sensible balance. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with treating a Face Mask as a fashion accessory, so long as we wear ones that comply with guidance on keeping everyone safe. We can all stay safe, stylishly.
8 Mental health and well being.
We are not going to deny, for many people wearing Face Masks will feel strange at first. But this will change quite quickly as we adapt. Every item of clothing we wear subliminally sends us messages and helps us feel good. This process is called enclothed cognition.
It works on two levels, what your clothes say to you and the message that they send to others. Face Masks are quite literally front and centre in this messaging piece, they are the first thing many people will see and a direct reflection of your personal interests and style. Taking the time to co-ordinate them with your own personal fashion, your skin, hair and eye colour is powerful for your own mental health and for the way others will and interact with you.
9 Physical health
Face Masks are all about showing respect for others. They are an everyday occurrence in Japan where 1000’s of people wear them even if they just feel slightly under the weather. It’s about community and minimising the spread of any infection. There’s a simple reason that Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan have avoided the levels of Coronavirus found in Europe - the Face Mask. All these countries have a united acceptance of wearing Face Masks within society, this often happens without any direction from the government or authorities.
Wearing a Face Mask has a significant effect on the distribution of particles in the air, science has clearly shown this, there’s loads of examples online. When faced with spending time within an indoor space, Face Masks are a highly effective barrier to anything that is already in the air.
10 Sustainability and supporting local
Although disposable Face Masks are readily available (and necessary within clinical settings), these are far from a sustainable option. There are many ethical brands out there who are creating masks for the conscious shopper, which can be washed and re-used.
Try and buy locally, there are bound to be small businesses near you who stock masks. They’ll really appreciate your support! Or, if you’re the creative sort, why not try and make your own mask? There is a great selection step-by-step videos available YouTube.
The face of fashion is changing - part of our blog - in this post we explore how Face Masks are redefining fashion, what this means, the guidance, the science and more. This post is regularly updated with all the latest information and government guidelines as well.
Guest Author - Lindsay Edwards
Lindsay has joined us for this blog post, sharing a wealth of fashion and styling experience. She owns REIMAGISE a Personal Stylist business offering services including - Colour Analysis, Style Consultations, Wardrobe Edits and Personal Shopping.