Mask Wearing for Dummies

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If you’re not a medical professional or in a field that regularly uses protective gear, you’ve spent the past few weeks getting used to wearing a mask in public. If you are in a field where protective gear is normal, you’ve been getting used to wearing even more protective gear and listening to the rest of us kvetch about having to do the very thing you do without issue on a normal day. (Thank you for that, by the way).

For everyone who is still new to this, here are a few mask life lessons that your fellow novices have learned so that you don’t have to:

1. No plus-ones at this party

A friend recently regaled me with the tale of walking around all day feeling like something was on her face, only to discover that somehow her mask had acquired a pet booger and was using her face as its bed. You and your mask are going to be having an intimate relationship for at least as long as it is on your face. Make sure it isn’t trying to bring any third parties into the mix. If it is reusable, make sure to wash and sanitize it often.

2. The more the merrier

How many times have you arrived at the store and realized too late that your mask was still on the kitchen counter? Just as it goes with umbrellas, you’re going to find yourself without one just when you need it. I will never forget the story from another friend of using his daughter’s tights (that miraculously happened to be in his car) when he went to pick up food because he left his mask at home and couldn’t enter the restaurant without one.  Along with increasing the chances your mask matches your outfit, having more than one just makes good sense. Get a “car” mask, a “work” mask, a “purse” mask, a “gym bag” mask…assess how forgetful you could potentially be and plan ahead.

3. Optimize the air quality inside your mask

One plus of being in a mask around other people is that you don’t have to worry about anyone else smelling your breath (or smelling anyone else’s). The downside is…well, now you have to deal with your breath. Those garlic knots for lunch don’t seem like such a great idea now, huh? A whole lot of people learned just how much they need to improve their oral hygiene during this pandemic. Because brushing your teeth while you’re out and about isn’t feasible, it’s time to make sure you always have mints on deck.

4. Get down to the wire

Until Warby Parker releases glasses with windshield-wiper-like lens blades, preventing mask fog will be a concern for bespectacled mask wearers. Really, if you have glasses, a mask without a sturdy nose wire is utterly useless. Pressing the wire flush to your nose, and resting your glasses on top of the mask, ensures that your breath only assaults your nose and not your eyesight.

5. Embrace “mask style”

It goes without saying that eye makeup is going to take center stage for a while, but aside from altering your makeup routine (or abandoning it altogether, if you’re like me), mask-wearing is going to affect other aspects of your style. I love long, dangly earrings, but they don’t work so well with masks that have ear loops.  As a result, I have had to embrace studs or small hoops to adorn my ears. If you have the type of mask that features elastic that goes around your head, and your hair isn’t short, ponytails and buns are going to become your go-to.

It looks like masks are going to be a part of our lives for a long time, so we might as well make them as seamless as possible. What are some ways you have incorporated to make mask life easier?

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