Measuring up masks: The best facial protection available


Phones, purses, jewelry — and now surgical masks. The pandemic has taken many things from us, but one thing that it gave us was a new accessory everyone carries and wears all the time, visible for the world to see.
For more than a year, people have been accustomed to wearing masks not only to protect themselves from COVID-19, but also for fashion and different day-to-day necessities. However, as more people get vaccinated, it is still essential that masks are worn for the safety of those who have not been vaccinated.
Seeing as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the public will still be wearing masks on some occasions for the next few months, what kind of mask should you wear for different outings, and which masks should you not be wearing during this pandemic?
Masks that are breathable are essential but they still need layers of filtration. A mask that is see-through or a mask that can rip or break easily is not recommended especially when one is reliant on that mask for the day or on an outing.

KN-95: When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if your mask is covered with bright colors and glitter if the mask doesn’t actually work. The KN-95 mask is a very popular disposable mask, and can be used for any event or outing. It’s not exactly a fashion statement but they are reliable because of their cloth-like material and their laminated edges that make for a sturdy, reliable face covering. These masks usually come in black or white and are worn by those who choose to just wear a mask instead of a fashionable accessory. You can buy these in bulk and keep spares around.

Surgical masks: You haven’t been seeing off-duty surgeons around the city. Surgical masks have been quite popular during the current pandemic. Their lightweight and basic material has made them a national favorite.
“Given that they are uniformly made and consistently used in a hospital setting,” senior Andrada Nicolae said, “I feel confident that they are protective, which is sometimes less clear with cloth masks made by different brands.”
Andrada also said that they are easy to fit around her nose and stay securely on her face.
Since the CDC recommended in February that two masks are more effective, some people wear a surgical mask as a base layer for their other face coverings, usually because people would appreciate wearing a more stylish mask over the more basic model.

Under Armour Sportsmask: Under Armour masks are thick yet breathable and are very well ventilated. These $30 masks are becoming increasingly popular among athletes as the sports seasons continue. Senior Danny Han wears an Under Armour mask every day to his practice. He said he is able to breathe in it very well during physical activity.
“They also dry very quickly and don’t stay wet like other masks,” Danny said. “The best part, though, is there is space in between the mask and my mouth, so I’m never breathing it in.”

3M Daily Face Mask: To prevent throwing away face masks every day, the 3M Daily mask comes highly recommended and is worn throughout the Lab community. It comes with an extra layer of protection across the face horizontally as well as vertically.
“The 3M daily style of mask works for me because it gives me a little space to breathe without a compromise for safety,” senior Graham Waterstraat said. “Other masks have caused more irritation for me, especially the chin and nose.”
This mask is super high on the comfort scale, and as a reusable mask you don’t have to keep throwing them away. This mask keeps your face covered and comfortable at about $14 for a three-pack.

Athleta Mask: The Athleta face mask is a $15 mask that is not only fashionable, but is also double layered for extra protection.
“The Athletica face mask’s nose wire makes the mask fit really well, and its double layers make it feel a lot safer,” senior Emelia Piane said. “Not to mention the wide variety of fun colors.”
Breathable fabric is a must when it comes to daily mask use, so an Athletica mask is a perfect choice for a fun mask that comes in various sizes and colors for any occasion.