Face masks have become part of our everyday life. We’ve gotten into the habit of taking them off as soon as we come home and hanging them up on that hook by the doorway, or immediately tossing them in the washing machine, then washing our hands. When we leave the house, they are part of our exit checklist – sunglasses, wallet, keys, face mask – then we’re good to go.
Given how integrated they have become in our routines, it is worth going over some important and handy hacks for getting the most out of them.
Face Mask Health Tips
To ensure your face mask serves its main function of preventing you and others from getting a virus, be sure to wash your hands before and after touching it. When you put it on, only touch the bands or ties, and stretch them back around your ears.
While wearing the mask, make sure it covers your nose, mouth, and your chin. Make sure you can breathe and talk comfortably, but do ensure that your chin is well covered, as that’s where the minuscule virus droplets will fall.
You want the mask to be tight enough that if you sneeze, cough, or move suddenly, it will stay on. If your head is on the smaller side, you can twist the ear loops before hooking them around your ears. You can also fold a surgical mask in half horizontally, then tie the ear loops in knots, close to the mask, as one doctor demonstrated.
For cloth and washable masks, ideally wash them as soon as you get home. Rather than leaving them in the washing machine and waiting until you have a full load, you can drop them in a small container with liquid soap and water. Wait for 15 minutes or more. Go off and do something else, then when you are done, come back and rinse them out. Because they are small, you can hang your face mask up somewhere convenient, like the shower tap or on a washing line, or you can throw it in the dryer if you have one.
To make sure fabric masks, particularly those with nice designs, will do their job, hold them up to a light. If you can see through them, or if you can see light between the fibers, then they won’t work as good filters.
If your mask gets wet, change it as soon as you can, as the water makes it harder to breathe through the mask. On the other hand, if it is really cold and you’re wearing a scarf or something similar over your face, still wear the face mask under it.
Face Mask Comfort Hacks
Some people like nurses, doctors, medical administrators, police, and others will not be able to take their masks off for long periods of time. If you are one of these people, consider either surgical masks or double-layered 100% cotton masks to prevent your face from getting too hot.
On the other hand, if you are taking your mask off to eat or for other reasons, place it down flat on a napkin or clean paper towel, with the exterior facing down and the loops off to the side. In this position, the mask won’t contaminate other surfaces, and you can easily pick it up again by the loops and place it back on your face.
If you’re wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses, make sure your mask fits well around your nose (many come with bendable nose pieces that you can adjust) and consider inserting a facial tissue into your mask to absorb the moisture and prevent your glasses from fogging up. There are also affordable anti-fog sprays that you can use on your glasses. Washing the lenses in soapy water can also minimize the fogging.
A few people have found that face masks cause their skin to break out. To prevent this, wash your face before and after putting the mask on, and try a face moisturizer. You will also want to consider avoiding heavy amounts of makeup such as foundation.
If you are keen to wear makeup, consider focusing more on your eyes, or use smudge-proof makeup, long-wear, matte lipstick, and set with powder.
Other people have found that the bands hurt their ears after long periods of use. There are various ways you can get around this, including putting your hair in a bun and looping the bands around the bun instead, sewing some buttons on to a cap and then looping the bands around the buttons, or using a band connector around the back of your head, which then connects to the ear bands.
You can spice up mask wearing with essential oil. Add a drop of peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender oil, for example, to your mask to give yourself a mood boost. Some oils like eucalyptus can even help you breathe better if you have the winter sniffles.
Face Mask Fun: Innovations and Unique Designs
It can get to the point though where you want to go beyond the basics of mask wearing and turn it into something a bit more interesting.
There are all sorts of fun designs you can try, from skull chins to superhero faces, strange mouths and odd expressions, animals, and giant monster bugs that appear to be clawing at your face.
Alternatively, there are also 3D-printed masks that can be tailored to fit your face exactly, or normal masks with your lower face printed on them so people will recognize you or you can maintain that human touch while you are at work.
Other people have taken to wearing face masks with clear windows so that their expressions can still be seen or people who are hearing-impaired, for example, can read their lips.
Finally, for tech enthusiasts, face masks with integrated Bluetooth are soon available like this product from Bioppe. Speakers run from the trendy-looking mask around your ears and around the back of your head while connecting to your favorite songs on your phone.
Whatever your style and needs, there are now tons of face masks out there to choose from that can make a tough situation just a little bit brighter. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can develop your own medical technology by studying online from Courses AU.