by ALLYSON PAYER, Who What Wear
It’s hard to say when the day will come that we’re all used to wearing face masks, but based on my experience, we’re not there yet. They can be very awkward and uncomfortable, but they’re also essential when going out in public, so I’m here to give some advice. We’re in it for the long haul, after all. With just a couple months of mask-wearing under my belt, I’m no expert, but I’ve had my share of trial and error, as I’m sure we all have. I’ve also read just about every article about masks that I come across, so I think I’ve gathered enough information at this point to be able to share some dos and don’ts.
Aside from the obvious mask-wearing rules, like making sure your mask covers from below your chin to above your nose and avoiding touching your face to adjust your mask, there are quite a few other mistakes that are easy to make while wearing one, so let’s discuss. Keep scrolling for the eight face-mask mistakes I made, and shop some of my favorite protective face masks while you’re at it.
I have a denim face mask, which is very stylish and protective since it’s quite thick, but I quickly realized that it’s far too thick to wear in the summer. It’s a fine balance because you want something that’s thick enough to be effective, but if it’s suffocating you, you’ll be tempted to take it off. Take my advice and look for masks that are made of breathable materials that you can handle wearing for long periods of time in the summer, like cotton poplin or double layers of knit.
As someone with a face that’s on the smaller side, I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding masks that don’t gap and fall down my face. I’ve tried folding them and knotting the ear straps, but the results usually aren’t great. For that reason, I’ve been shopping for ones that either tie at the neck, list their measurements, or have adjustable ear straps.
It’s inevitable that your mask is going to get makeup on it (if you wear makeup), but it’s really a recipe for disaster if you’re wearing a light-colored mask with pretty much any shade of lipstick. My advice is to wear a lip stain to minimize that, or choose a dark-colored face mask that day.
I realize this is contradictory since I just recommended a mask that ties if your face is on the smaller side, but on days when I know I’m going to be taking it on and off repeatedly (e.g., when I’m driving around running errands), I opt for one that I can just slip behind my ears. Trust me—it’ll make your life much easier.
Similar to my tip about not wearing a mask that ties when you’re taking it on and off a lot, another thing to think about is storage when you’re not wearing it. The last thing you want to do it toss it onto a table or in your handbag with your keys and such, and you certainly don’t want to accidentally drop it anywhere, so I advise carrying a plastic bag or envelope to store it in, or even better, opt for one of these chic sunglass chains. (I also love these mask chains from Donni.)
This obviously isn’t a life-or-death mistake, but since it covers half of your face, your mask is the first thing people will notice about you when wearing one, so you might as well embrace having a new accessory and opt for one that you actually look forward to wearing (as much as possible, that is) and that complements your wardrobe.
Even if you’re not leaving the house every day anymore, you’re probably going to need more than a few masks unless you like doing laundry every few days. You shouldn’t wear a dirty mask for obvious reasons, so stock up on enough to get you through a week, at least.
As you’ve probably realized by now, masks trap moisture (aka, humidity and sweat) on your skin, which isn’t doing it any favors. There’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid that, but opting for lightweight, non-dewy makeup can definitely help. Plus, having an acne-banishing face mask (the other kind) on hand is a good idea.