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Style / December 2020
Julie Bensman, Reebok Editorial

The Best Face Masks for Everyone

Because not all covers are created equal.

We’ve endured this global pandemic for the better part of a year. And with that, we’ve also seen many changes to our daily lives: travel restrictions, no public gatherings, distance learning, the list goes on. And while some of the changes will (hopefully) be short-lived, one thing seems to be sticking around for a while: Face covers (aka face masks).
 
And for good reason. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that simple, spoken phrases generated hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers. But when someone’s mouth was covered by a damp washcloth, nearly all of those droplets were blocked.
 
The strongest evidence for wearing face masks actually comes from real-world examples. In a study looking at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries, the places with cultural norms and government policies favoring face masks had lower death rates. Bottom line? Wearing a face mask helps prevent the spread of germs.
 
When the pandemic first hit, people were grabbing whatever they could to act as face masks: bandanas, old t-shirts and even bra cups. But as the months have rolled on and face masks have established themselves as post-modern wardrobe staples, options have exploded.
 
 

Find Your Fit

The first thing to look for is a mask that fits your face shape. Not only will this ensure the face mask is working properly but it will also look and feel better. “I prefer sleek and face-forming masks with coverage that isn’t too bulky or overwhelmingly busy,” says celebrity fashion stylist and consultant Brendan Cannon. “Make sure your face mask isn’t too tight around the face and features proper protocols for safety and convenience.”
 
Nowadays, there are face masks for men, women and children, with specific sizing geared towards each face size and shape. If you can’t find a face mask that fits, look for ones with adjustable straps so you can customize your mask to fit snugly and securely.
 

For the Athlete 

If you’re working up a sweat, you’re going to need a breathable face mask. This is particularly important at the gym, where face masks are required and sweat is rampant.
 
“If your face mask makes it hard to breathe, then you’re going to want to take it off, which defeats the purpose,” says Cannon. “At the gym, everyone is breathing harder, so breathable face covers are super important. You want to make sure yours doesn’t feel suffocating or absorb too much moisture.”
 
The future of face masks for the gym will be a world of countless options. Whatever your workout goals, expect technical innovations like sensors and VR technology. With 2021 right around the corner, watch this space for the best face masks for workouts and shop accordingly. For now, though, prioritize breathable face masks that can handle sweat and air flow. There are plenty out there.
 

For the Fashion Forward

Think of masks as the new socks: Single-use (before washing), worn every day and an opportunity to infuse a little style into your wardrobe. The best breathable face masks also come in colors and graphics that complement your outfit.
 
“Conveniently, we’re seeing an abundance of monochromatic tones at play,” says Cannon, “which makes it less stressful to match our wardrobe with our face masks. I recommend staple colors like black, gray and soft blue, but then also an additional print or pattern mask to pair with a classic t-shirt and denim.”
 
Because a face mask sits on your, well, face, it conveys to the world how you’re feeling that day. Moody and reserved? Something black will do. If you’re feeling friendly and upbeat, opt for a yellow version or perhaps a floral print. At the gym, many athletes prefer graphic to match their mood. Stocking up on multiple face mask options will keep you covered.
 
And just like your favorite band tee, there are opportunities to rep your favorite artist. Case in point? Cardi B’s signature launch emoji logo. Take things a step further by matching face masks with your kids or shop for face covers that have clear front panels so people can see your smile. The options are endless.
 
 

A Key Face Mask Tip 

Even if you’ve invested in some great breathable face covers, you still need to wash them regularly. Cannon says that after a day wearing his mask, he gets it ready to be washed by removing any additional filters and tossing them in the washer on the hottest setting. “Make sure to use fragrance-free detergent so your skin doesn’t have any unexpected reactions,” he says. “Once the face masks are clean and dry, store them in a cool, dark place separate from other clothing.”
 
Ready to stock up on the best face masks?
Style / December 2020
Julie Bensman, Reebok Editorial
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