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

Sunday Self-care, Episode 1: The First Year into Quarantine: Embracing Silk

Time Traveler: What year is this?
Me: 2020
Time Traveler: Oh, the first year of quarantine…
Me: … The … WHAT?

 

For a while, I tried to come up with a title for this first post of the (hopefully) new series to be a variation on the phrase “sleepy bliss” or “blissful sleep” constructed from the names of the two rival brands of silk goods. But I gave up having realized that “Blissy Slip” or “Slippy Bliss” would be probably even less transparent for my English-speaking readers than my last year’s exercise with “lilac” and “luck.” So, instead, I decided to play on the joke/meme that resonated with me when I saw it the first time last year and many times since.

* * *

With everything that was happening in the last 12 months, I’m a lucky one: my work kept me so busy all that time that I barely noticed most of the negative sides of the situation we all are more or less in. I did miss my Hawaii vacation and some gatherings with friends, and for a while it was scary… to watch dwindling supplies of TP and, joking aside, just getting out to get groceries for the next couple of weeks. But in general, I didn’t get the anxiety many others experienced. On the other hand, I didn’t get the “free time” that many people weren’t sure how to occupy while staying at home.

But as time goes by, and probably mostly because of a couple of big time-measuring life milestones that have occurred within these last 12 months, more and more I started thinking about getting that free time to take care of myself. This series is the result of my attempts to follow through with these thoughts.

* * *

For some time I was noticing that in the morning my face would have some creases from the contact with a pillow. While telling myself that, probably, it attested to how soundly I slept without turning or changing my position, I didn’t appreciate what I saw in the mirror, especially since I started having video meetings in the morning – often before those signs of agi healthy sleeping would disappear from my cheeks.

I don’t remember how the idea of a silk pillowcase came into my orbit, but once it formed, I, in my usual manner, being skeptical about most miracle cures and hacks, spent probably months reading reviews and trying to figure out whether to buy myself one and, if yes, which one. I could have easily kept doing it until now, but one day a friend of mine decided to show me her new favorite pillow (I was in the process of looking for a replacement pillow). I didn’t like the pillow at all (it was one of those new creations stuffed with shredded foam-like material), but I noticed that it had a silk pillowcase. When I asked my friend about it, she, completely casually, mentioned that she switched to those a while ago and now wouldn’t even consider sleeping on anything else. That did it for me.

I still wasn’t sure which brand to go with: if you try looking for any comparison reviews, you’d end up with very similar affiliated-links-ridden articles equally praising both “luxury” and “budget” buys (all claiming that though they will get a commission from you shopping through those, opinions, surely, are their “editors’”).

When in doubt, I tend to pay rather more than less (which is not necessarily a winning strategy but it has its merits). So, I went for the “luxury” side, but out of the two more expensive brands, Blissy and Slip, I’ve chosen Blissy because it was offering a better deal.

Rusty and Blissy Silk Pillowcase

If you happen to come across ads for silk pillowcases recently, you are probably familiar with all the claims they make (some of those ads are just outrageous, but I won’t dignify them even with negative publicity). Regardless of whether you have tried them yourself, you might be curious what I think about those claims.

After sleeping on silk pillowcases for three months, I can tell that I didn’t notice any changes with my hair, I do not have enough evidence yet to say that it feels cooler (I’ll see how it performs in summer), and I can’t say that it had any effect on acne outbreaks I still have from time to time. But I’m not going back to my old(er) cotton pillowcases, though, I have to clarify that those were of a very high quality, which might explain my hair not being overly impressed by the change. Then why?

Because not a single morning after switching to Blissy silk pillowcases had I seen any signs of my pillow on my cheeks.

Rusty and Blissy Silk Pillowcase

If you are considering this experiment, read multiple “infomercials” to understand in principle the difference between a “silk pillowcase” and a “silk pillowcase” and choose what you feel comfortable with quality-, price- and reviews-wise. If the description doesn’t mention something, assume that whatever that something is, it is not present in the particular item.

I have several suggestions in addition to those that you’ll read everywhere:

  • Resist buying golden, pink, plum, etc. colors: “marbled” or “tie-dye” colors will hide spots in-between washes better than solid colors (and there will be spots – from your skincare, tears, etc.). Mine are white and silver, and I regret my choice.
  • Disregard the “hand wash” instructions: put it into a mesh bag and wash it in a washing machine in cold water on a gentle cycle. Notice: I’m not saying that you could do it; I mean that you should: the manual washing itself is fine, but short of just hanging a pillowcase straight after rinsing and letting it drip, there is no way to remove any water from it without causing wrinkles that are much harder to iron out. And a washing machine’s centrifuge does it with much less wrinkled results.
  • Speaking of ironing, the way you see all those smooth and shiny silk pillowcases in the ads, you will never see them on your bed (unless you steam a new pillowcase from the box to remove folds and put it on your pillow “as is” without washing first, which I wouldn’t recommend): the picture on the left is a pillowcase freshly laundered and ironed while still damp – and I love ironing and do it very attentively. But whatever the result of the ironing was, the next morning (or a couple of days later) your pillowcase will look like the picture on the right. Which doesn’t seem to matter in how it affects your skin, but it doesn’t look pretty.
  • Since you will probably iron those pillowcases at least in the beginning, to make it easier, take them out of the washer, turn inside out and iron on the setting that feels right to you: on my Rowenta iron I would have been ironing on the recommended “Silk” or “the lowest” setting ’til the cows come home.
  • If you decide to buy anything from Slip, don’t spend time looking for coupons for the brand’s site: I don’t remember seeing any in a long-long time. Your best bet would be to get 15% off for your first purchase by subscribing on their site or wait for a general beauty sale at Nordstrom, Sephora or other similar stores that carry Slip brand.
  • If you decide to buy anything from Blissy, if you don’t have an account with them yet, use this link to subscribe and get a coupon for $20 off your purchase (if you use it, I’ll also get a $20 off coupon). But if you were to buy anything this week, don’t use that coupon because they have the best sale I’ve seen so far – 35% off with the coupon BLISSYMOM35. The Nordstromrack site also carries Blissy pillowcases, but always check which of the two has a better price (including S&H, since both have a minimum for free shipping).

Rusty and Blissy Silk PillowcaseEvery time I look at the picture above, I start yawning. I should probably go and check how my Blissy is doing…

 

Disclosure: Just to be clear, this post is not sponsored or compensated in any way by any of the mentioned brands or stores.

Images: my own