Updated: Aug 21, 2020
With face coverings becoming mandatory in shops from 24th July 2020 and the word “facecovering” being searched once every 9 seconds on popular online shopping site Etsy, are face coverings set to become the latest fashion trend, rather than main reason to prevent the spread of Covid19?
Once face coverings were rarely seen in public, now all retailers large or small are stocking them. You can't pass through a supermarket checkout without coming face to face with a pack of disposable versions for personal use.
Cost and quality varies widely, you can also of course make your own, but before we take a look at some of the most popular designs available, let’s track back to why we need to use face coverings in the first place.
The do we / don’t we need to wear face coverings debate started during lockdown here in the UK with some countries like China, making them mandatory in public from the outset. Other countries like the UK and the USA took a more relaxed approach, stating that the “science” did not support the wearing of face coverings.
So what’s changed and why are we now required to wear face coverings in public?
What’s the evidence?
The evidence around face coverings preventing the spread of infection from one person to another is “marginal but positive”, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). However, there is substantial evidence to show that wearing face masks has an overwhelmingly positive effect on keeping the virus at bay.
A recent study by Cambridge University says even basic masks made at home can help reduce transmission – and could even help to prevent a second wave. The study said if the entire country adopted the use of face masks, the R-rate (reproduction rate) would be kept below one.
An international study published in The Lancet, which analyzed data from 172 studies in 16 countries, found that the risk of catching coronavirus drops to just 3 percent when wearing a face mask or covering.
The University of Edinburgh put seven types of face masks to the test, including surgical masks, respirators, lightweight and heavy-duty face shields, and handmade masks. Aside from those masks with a valve, all the face coverings were found to reduce the distance droplets could travel by at least 90 percent.
So when it comes to buying a face covering, what should we look for?
What should we look for in a face covering?
According to a recent shopper survey, comfort, style and cost are the main factors to take into account when purchasing a face covering. The mask should fit well and be comfortable around the mouth and ears. It should allow the wearer to breathe normally without feeling tight or claustrophobic.
Many face coverings have elasticated straps to help ensure a good fit, others use material containing elastane to enable to mask to stretch tightly over the face whilst still maintaining comfort levels.
Four of the Best
Given we are in the middle of summer here in the UK, it’s no surprise that floral masks are one of the most popular designs at the moment. Hello magazine recently reviewed 12 of the best floral designs, you can read their article here
Designers have unsurprisingly got in on the act, with many being unable to showcase their latest clothing ranges, they’ve turned their talents to designing face coverings instead.
Internationally acclaimed British designers; Julien Macdonald, RIXO, and Liam Hodges have all contributed to a this charity pack which contains 3 reusable face coverings and 2 protective pouches from. Available from Boots and Asos. 100% of profits from the sale of this item will be split between NHS Charities Together, BFC Foundation Fashion Fund and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity. These charity face coverings are made from luxury GOTS certified organic cotton sateen, have two layers of fabric, a nose-strip to create a snug fit around the nose and mouth, adjustable ear straps for comfort, and an anti-fog fit for sunglasses/ glasses. The print is made from non-toxic REACH compliant inks, and the protective pouches are made from organic cotton sateen fabrics. The product can be reused at least 50 times. Hand wash with normal soap/ detergent, or machine wash. Pack of 3 £15.00
If you’re looking for something a little more streamlined then masksuk.com offer their Nanotech range, which are machine washable up to 100 times. The outer layer uses cotton nanotechnology for ultra water resistance, and the inner layers are breathable and made from moisture-wicking cotton muslin cloth.
If you prefer your mask with a little more science, the team at Hydrafacial have come up with the Facelife™ mask. This face covering utilises infused copper CuTec® technology which permanently binds copper directly to the fibre matrix of the nylon threads. The University of Southampton found that Copper can effectively help eliminate bacteria and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, destroying their nucleic acids or reproductive blueprints. Unlike chemical anti-bacterial compounds, copper doesn’t degrade when the mask gets wet - it just keeps right on working wash after wash.
The Facelife™ mask is constructed with a proprietary nylon blend with filaments that resemble silk, the material is moisture-wicking to help keep skin cool. It’s designed for full-face, lay-flat coverage with a flexible nose bridge for a snug, but comfortable fit, reducing fogging on glasses and can be washed up to 60 times without losing its properties.
Only available to purchase only from leading skin clinics £49.99
If money is no object then look no further than this set of 2 face coverings from designer favourite Louis Vuitton, available from the Designer Perfumes . According to their website, these Louis Vuitton monogram face masks make the perfect fashion statement whilst keeping you safe, when in close contact. The mask is cut from original Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas. Available in 2 colours. Perfect for everyday wear. Washable. £250