Sunday Self-care, Episode 8: A Mask That Doesn’t Wear Me

I’m neither a proponent nor detractor of wearing face masks in principle: I’m not convinced one way or the other whether they have any effect on [not] spreading the virus. As long as they are required, I’ll keep wearing them. But when they were just coming into our lives 18 months ago, after the first shock subsided, and in addition to ramping up disposable masks production everyone started manufacturing all types of face coverings, for the longest time I refused to look at those masks as an accessory. For some reason, for me mentally it was important to keep their usage as strictly functional not succumbing to the “new normal.” So, I had a couple of black cloth masks that I washed in-between going to a grocery store once every two weeks. And since we weren’t going anywhere else, and for evening walks in our suburban neighborhood masks weren’t necessary, it was enough.

When the first talks about returning to work started, our company sent each of us a couple of very nice reusable masks (a double layer, knit cotton + knit something else) that we were supposed to use while working from the office. We didn’t go back to the office, but with more places opening up, it was convenient to have those extra masks to rotate between washes.

And that’s when I noticed that wearing those masks for longer than a couple of minutes was leaving marks on my face (and those were far from being beauty ones). I wasn’t too surprised since by that time I’ve already noticed a similar effect produced by my cotton pillow cases. So, it seemed to me that the logical solution to this problem would be the same – to get a silk mask.

Inspired by my success with silk pillow cases, I bought one mask from each of the two rivaling brands – Slip (leopard) and Blissy (tie-dye). Remembering my own advice on the color choice, I stayed away from solids.

Silk Face Masks Slip and Blissy

Both masks have 2 layers of silk, adjustable ear loops and a nose bridge.

A face mask from Blissy is much less expensive: now on the brand’s site it’s on sale for $14.95, and you can get either additional 20% off using the coupon they offer on the site, or if you’ve never bought anything from the site before, use my link and enter your email in the box on the bottom right, the one that says “get your reward”, to get a $20 off coupon).

A face covering from Slip is more expensive: its on sale on the brand’s site for $29.95 (!), and if you haven’t subscribed to their site yet, you can do it and get a 15% off coupon for the first purchase (if you’re not getting that offer, launch the site in the private browser window). Slip’s face cover has an additional 100% cotton internal lining, and it comes with spare 2 sets of silicone stoppers for ear loops and 10 spare nose wires.

When I tried them, both were very pleasant to the touch on skin. But as I started wearing them, I discovered that I couldn’t use the one from Blissy at all: it creates the weirdest “aerodynamic,” and my ears feel plugged. I’m not discounting the mask altogether because my vSO doesn’t have a similar reaction to the one I got for him, but for me it’s a total fail.

Slip’s face covering feels much better and doesn’t cause any ear discomfort. It drapes nicely and leaves enough breathing space. So, out of the two, I decided to keep using the Slip’s one, and it proved to be relatively comfortable on my recent 6-hours flight to Hawaii.

Slk Face Mask Slip

The funny thing is: even silk masks leave marks on my face. Now I’m thinking: maybe I should try a woven mask? Recently, I gave one as a gift to my vSO. I’m sure he won’t mind lending it to me in the name of a scientific experiment. OK, maybe not so much scientific…

Face Mask with Cats

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

Images: my own

9 thoughts on “Sunday Self-care, Episode 8: A Mask That Doesn’t Wear Me

  1. I want the cat one! I do have one with cats by Laurel Burch.

    I have a whole tote bag full of cloth masks which I really ought to sort through and weed out the ones I will probably never wear again. That said, I have been and continue to be on the lookout for disposable masks. I use them for my commute, with the main reason being that I do wear very light make-up and as much as I blot my face before putting on the mask, some makeup still transfer to the mask and I prefer for that to happen to the disposable one.

    Whenever I go back to traveling and if masks are still required, I will probably wear disposable masks.

    Overall, while masks are supposed to protect others from you and you from others, nothing is ever foolproof and the best thing is to try to avoid risky situations.

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    • I tried 3M disposable masks hoping that they will be better, but they smell awful.

      The cat one I bought from Nordstrom, but they don’t have it online. I saw masks done from the fabric with that pattern, but they were either more expensive than I was willing to pay or a wrong cut.

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  2. Hey Undina,
    Jin’s work only allows them to use the surgical masks, and only once. He brings them home and I wash them. Then we wear them around the few places we go and on dog walks. I also bought some cloth, home made ones from a buy it local type website and some from Korea that are made of foam. All these hang in the laundry where they dry and used ones get thrown in a little bucket to be washed.
    My maximum wear time of a mask is only an hour or so but Jin wears them for 12 hours at work with a few short food breaks. After the initial discomfort and claustrophobia he now wears them as normal, no worries.
    Whether or not they really are useful I like that it’s a small thing I can do that makes me feel like part of the solution. It’s gratifying in a purely selfish way.
    Portia xx

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    • Even when in summer we had a short period of the reopening when masks weren’t required, I didn’t stop wearing them – just because I wasn’t persuaded they weren’t useful. So, now when they are required again, I’m even more inclined to wear them. Until I read somewhere I trust that it isn’t the case.

      Working a full day while wearing a mask is a small act of bravery. Send my love to Jin, please.

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  3. I haven’t gotten into the mindset of treating the mask as an accessory either. Luckily my previous workplace had sent everybody one – it’s cloth and has a very loose ear loop, which I’ve found determines the comfort of a mask for me, so I’ve been using that most of the time. My current workplace requires everyone to change into one of their disposable masks upon arrival, and those are uncomfortable after a while. We’ll see how it goes once most of my coworkers and I get back to the office starting in a few weeks…
    The cat mask is really cute!

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  4. I have three silk masks and they look very slinky and soft but are awful to wear, because they gather moisture the minute you breathe. And don’t even think of talking in them! So sadly I have come to accept they are not fit for purpose. The blue paper ones are the most practical, though I don’t care for the look of them. I find fabric ones a bit suffocating to be honest, especially in summer. I guess I don’t like masks!

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