Honestly, Australia has been very hashtag blessed during the global pandemic (which thank fuck cause after our summer bushfires we needed a little timeout to recover) but the July second wave is coming in strong thanks to some security guards in Melbourne (who ironically were also cumming in strong) and here we are with some areas introducing compulsory mask wearing this week. With all the fake news out there I wanted to share some non medical mask info so you can all make an informed decision before purchasing so we can all be safe, stop the spread and get back to regularly scheduled programming sooner.
How Masks Work
Non medical masks work in two ways, to prevent the wearer from spreading the virus and to protect the wearer from been exposed to the virus. The more thoughtfully designed the mask, the less the spread of the virus; the mask by design acts as a barrier, you breathe in and the layers of the mask provide a small level of filtration and the mask also acts as a collector for what you breathe out (which is the most important part) so needs to be absorbent enough to collect the moisture expelled in your breath as that is what propels the virus and spreads it without a mask.
The fabrication needs to be absorbent and have a tight enough weave to provide filtration (flashback to year seven textiles and those lessons about warps and wefts). I personally prefer a natural fabric, mainly for the properties they provide the wearer and they are also biodegradable which means that when this is all over and we don’t need masks anymore these can go in your compost bin instead of landfill.
Natural fibres include Cotton, Hemp, Denim, Wool, Silk, Leather, Bamboo and Tencel and their benefits include –
Cotton and Denim* – very absorbent and can control moisture, comfortable to wear and soft against the skin, breathable, hypoallergenic properties and very durable.
Hemp – very absorbent, comfortable to wear and very lightweight, UV and mould resistant, hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial properties.
Wool – very absorbent and can control moisture, comfortable to wear, temperature regulating, hypoallergenic, mold and mildew resistant, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and extremely durable.
Silk – very absorbent and can control moisture, comfortable to wear especially for those with sensitive or acne prone skin and those with beards, temperature regulating, breathable, hypoallergenic and anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Leather – water resistant (so great for external layers as it keeps moisture out and in), comfortable to wear and lightweight, very flexible and will mould to your face, breathable, hypoallergenic properties and extremely durable.
Bamboo – very absorbent and moisture wicking (will pull moisture from the skin), comfortable to wear and extremely soft especially for those with sensitive skin, temperature regulating, breathable, hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial properties and durable.
Tencel – very absorbent, comfortable to wear and extremely soft especially for those with sensitive or acne prone skin, temperature regulating, very breathable, hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial properties and extremely durable when wet and dry.
Polyester** – not absorbent, comfortable to wear and very lightweight, shrink resistant, quick drying and extremely durable.
*denim is usually made from cotton but may be a blend so you will need to check the care label or fabrication online before purchasing.
**not my recommended fabric for masks but I would be stupid to not include it on the list
Avoid any fabric that claims it is anti virus it is all fucking bullshit and preying on peoples pandemic paranoia and fear and you will be paying a premium for nothing (I’m looking at you Lorna Fucking Jane).
Obviously you need to breathe so you don’t want the mask to be overtly tight or overtly loose, you want the goldilocks of masks and the snugly fitting one will be just right. If you are out and about on the reg or are an essential worker that doesn’t have access to medical grade PPE you will also want to find a mask with comfortable straps cause elastic on your ears for eight plus hours a day is unnecessary. Masks made of cotton binding loops or that have ties you can secure behind the ear or ideally the back of the head would be more comfortable for long term daily use.
You do you! There are so many different style masks – ones that are shaped to the face, flat masks, curved with nose bridge wire, the options are endless. As long as the mouth and nostrils are covered the mask will be work so I promote choosing a mask that is very ‘on brand’ for you aka one that reflects your personal style, this way you will actually want to wear it, it will compliment everything that you wear and won’t become a fucking chore. I am of the opinion that Leopard is a neutral so my leopard mask is the MVP of the pandemic.
The key to masks working is washing them after each use and unless you wash clothes daily you might need a few reusable masks on rotation. Follow the care instructions on your mask but detergent is about to be your best friend – it will kill the virus (technically the detergent or soap dissolves the fat membrane aka the lipid bilayer that the virus aka nanoparticle can’t live aka be active without) which is why everyone is repeating the ‘wash your hands’ message twenty four seven.
If you can’t wash between wears – I get it, sometimes I am out and about and take of my mask to have some water so I spray disinfectant on the inside layer of the mask so that the disinfectant will be absorbed into the inner layers of the mask that contains any potential virus before I need to rewear but this is not ideal and not encouraged but life (oh lifeee).
Hopefully this gives you some greater info on masks. I seriously encourage everyone purchasing a mask to support local businesses and locally made products (cause the economy sucks too) and if you have any further questions ask your designer or maker or stockist as it is *literally* their job to know this shit for you and if they don’t move the fuck on and spend your money with people who do.
Also self promotion alert, I know all this shit cause I too am making masks while wedding dresses are currently not in demand, I would love for you to check out my range here but you do you…my stuff isn’t everyones vibe. If you have any further questions feel free to hit me up here or on instagram and I am more than happy to help as much as I can.