Just some months ago, face masks were massively introduced in our daily life as a Personal Protective Equipment to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Although they were a serious medical item, it was very interesting to see how fast they started to be used as a way of self expression of the mood and personality of many people.
In the streets it was possible to see surgical masks mixed with Darth Vader, diving and even antigas masks next to unicorn decorated cloth masks or just a thief styled dark scarf tied around the neck.
As long as it is something we wear it is natural that it becomes a way of self expression, however it is important to consider the suitability of the materials and manufacturing. A fashion mask should be safe and useful apart from beauty. And, as an item that you buy you what quality you want to wear and a company that you want to support.
How to choose a safe fashion mask?
With cloth masks it is not possible to reach the filter standards FFP2 or FFP3 of the surgical masks, however several studies support them as a good complement to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets together with keeping social distancing and washing your hands.
In Europe we have the standard UNE0065 that ensures a good filtering capacity and a minimum of 5 washing cycles without losing efficacy.
However sometimes certified masks are not available, what to consider to sew your own one or choose the best one among the availability.
Better masks without seams over the nose and month
Some fashion masks are conic shaped to best fix the face, however, it is important to check the manufacturing, if the seams are not well sealed, there is a chance for the respiratory droplets to pass through.
Cotton mix and no-woven fabrics are efficient filtering materials
The best option could be choose a sanitary mask that have passed the UNE0065 filtering test, in case you need to do your own mask or there is not an standardised one available, those fabrics with the littlest holes are the best options.
Use a filter inside the cloth mask in order to get higher protection
There are certified filters available for face mask that help to contain the spread of respiratory droplets.
Masks with a sequin decoration or other appliques should be double layered
Remember the rule of the seams, every hole is a chance for a droplet to spread the virus.
The effectiveness of highly creative mask should be individually assessed
Toys and other items that were not designed to protect from the spread of an airborne disease, may be useful though. In the case of using a particularly shaped mask, it is important to evaluate how is its real filtering capacity. In case of doubts, it is always possible to combine your superhero mask, for example, with another standardised mask underneath.
How to do a right maintenance of a fashion mask
The best option it is always to follow the fabricant instructions, in general you can consider this suggestions:
Wash it regularly
You should wash it regularly at the maximum possible temperature. There are some cloth masks designed to be able to wash at 60ºC, so the virus may be killed in every washing cycle. However this temperature spoil the fabric. As a general rule check for how many washing cycles and at which maximum temperature your mask is designed to resist without losing effectiveness. In the case of a homemade mask, just observe the material and try not to overuse it.
Only handle by the earloops
Never touch it in the middle over the mouth and nose because you could contaminate it.
Keep it in a paper envelope or a breathable material case
Do not just through inside your bag mixed with your wallet, keys, telephone. Never keep it in a plastic bag because it may create other bacteria.
Which are the best brands for safe and fashion masks?
Many brands are rapidly producing fashion masks to cope with the high increasing demand, however it is still confusing it they are following or not the filtering standards.
When choosing a company for buying a fashion mask do not forget that beauty is as important as safeness, because the main reason why you wear a mask is to protect yourself and the other for the spread of airborne diseases.
On the other hand, a mask is an item that you buy, so you can proceed selecting the same way you select other items that are important for you: choose a company that you want to support and a product that you want to wear.
MaskZ’s mission aims to educate the world about the vital importance of PPE so that people can still feel at ease, sexy and valued.
At MaskZ of Sweden, we believe in the power of choices and we want you to make the best ones you can! Come and join us in our mission!