How to upgrade your mask game

Victoria Hunt

Staff Writer

In this pandemic, it has become not only essential to wear a mask, but a legal mandate in California, as well as in many other states. With a foggy future ahead of us, not knowing when a vaccine will come out or when the “mask-ne” (face mask acne) will finally end — why not take this time to have a little fun with our masks? We have an opportunity to express ourselves in a non-traditional way, so let’s do it safely and stylishly. Here are some tips to upgrade your mask game without compromising your safety or the safety of those around you. 

  1. Face Mask Chains:

Photo by Éliou (@Éliou__ on Instagram)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing your mask below your chin risks contamination. Sticking it in your bag? According to Business Insider, bacteria can stay on your face masks up to seven days, meaning the bacteria from your mask could spread to your phone or other personal items directly after being worn. These new, stylish face mask chains are not only chic but eliminate the risk of your mask’s contamination. These chains are often silver, gold or beaded and can hang around your neck when you take your mask off. Find them all over the internet on websites like Etsy, or ask around to see if there is anyone in your community who makes them and offers socially-distanced pick up. These will be all over Instagram this fall on your favorite celebrities’ and artists profiles. 

  1. DIY Tie-Dye Face Masks

Photo by Gluesticks Blog

This one probably comes as no surprise after tie-dye was all over social media this summer. We saw it everywhere from Tik Tok to celebrities like Cindy Crawford sporting it on their Instagram, but what about letting face masks in on the fun? Any CDC-approved face mask in white or any other light color will work (here are some examples). Find a tie-dye kit, like one from Michael’s, or check your nearest art store. Alternatively, the New York Times created a tutorial for using old vegetables to make dye if you would rather not leave your home. To create swirls, starbursts, and patterns, tightly twist up the masks and wrap them up with rubber bands, and squeeze on the color just like you would to tie-dye a T-shirt. By the next day, you’ll have a colorful and bold way to add some color to your outfit. And as an added bonus, you’ll never have to dread running into someone with an identical face mask. 

  1. Hair Clips 

Photo by Olivia Smalley

If you’re an essential worker, you may be wearing a face mask for upwards of eight hours each day. The ear loops rubbing on the sensitive skin behind your ears from wearing your mask this long can be painful and lead to headaches. To alleviate this, simply place the string of mask into your favorite hair clips, and clip them onto the sides of your head. This will keep your ears from developing painful sores after a long shift, and you will get the added benefit of a polished hair look. Try out these cute pearl clips from Etsy, or be extra with these neon ones from ASOS

While you want to look great in your newest (and most necessary) accessory, make sure that your face mask is effective more than anything. According to John Hopkins Medicine, it is important to check that your mask is either medical grade, multi-ply, or densely woven cotton. If you’re unsure if a mask is up to standard, hold your mask up to a light source, and “the fewer tiny holes you can see, the better it will work to filter droplets.” 

These upgrades are sure to make your day-to-day life a little more safe, easy, and chic. 

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