Not All Face Masks Are Equal

Back to school shopping is much different this year with COVID-19 affecting how and when schools will reopen. The shopping lists are growing longer with parents looking for face shields and/or face masks for their children in addition to the travel size hand sanitizer.

As one Mom shared with us, she’s looking to purchase 7-10 face masks per child so they have one for each day with a spare in their backpack. Now the challenge is finding a mask your child will wear and be comfortable for an eight hour school day, possible longer if they ride a bus. Remember, the CDC recommends the face mask fit snugly and include multiple layers of fabric.

Create A Mask Station

You can buy 3M command hooks and place them in a central location-like the entryway so  the masks are less likely to get lost. We use different hooks for each child, so they don’t get their masks mixed up. Hang a laundry bag nearby so when the kids are home from school they can put the mask in the bag and keep it separate from other school items. Another suggestion: put a small bag or ziploc in their backpack for “used masks” so they don’t fall to the bottom of the bag and disappear. This is also a good location for hand sanitizer.

One of the challenges parents and teachers face this school year, finding a face mask their child wants to wear. Finding a mask your child can wear that won’t distract them from  learning. We’ve tried multiple masks from several companies in order to share our findings with you. Masks are not one size fit all, as faces are different sizes and shapes so are masks.

Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont Face Masks

Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont says “don’t fight it embrace it” when it comes to wearing a face covering. They have over 100 fun and preppy designs perfect for the student or teacher in your life at only $12 each. Oh and if you really want to “show off” get a matching belt or bow tie! We asked a teen and a 10 year old to try these handmade masks and give us their unfiltered feedback. Fourteen year old Avery said, “I don’t hate it.” That’s teen for I like this but won’t use those exact words. And the 10 year old said it was the best fit of any mask he’s tried.

Each mask consists of 3 layers of 100% cotton with a pocket for a filter and a nose clip. Note-Cole is wearing the mask upside down, this will probably happen with younger kids when at school. Mom tip: use a marker and write an up arrow on the inside so kids can check to make sure they are wearing it correctly.

Boy modeling face mask from beau ties
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10 year old Cole Eastman found the Beau Ties mask comfortable enough for the playground. Photo by Jill Eastman

Savilino Face Masks- National Student Discount Program

Savilino’s face masks are handcrafted in Austin, TX by a crew dedicated to helping others. By pivoting from producing aprons and uniforms, Savilino has been able to add employees to produce cloth face masks for children and adults. Their face masks use adjustable around the head elastic, which makes it easy to lower the mask around your neck, making you less likely to misplace your mask. And they recently added masks with adjustable ear loops. The cotton is soft, breathable and washable.

Savilino denim face mask
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Denima face mask from Savilino made in Austin, TX Photo Credit: Craig Nigh

Adult masks are $8.99 and up to $12.99, children’s masks are $10.99. Savilino is offering a back to school discount, through their National Student Discount Program or K-12 Program offer anyone with an edu. email 15% off when they go to their website, reusable for family and friends.

Oura Air Mask Jr.

Boy and girl wearing Oura Air Mask Jr.
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10 year old and 12 year old wearing the purple and black Oura Air Mask Jr.

Oura makes face masks for adults and children. Their masks are made with a medical grade fabric that uses self-sterilizing technology that Oura says “kills germs”. Masks are made in the USA. The Oura Air Mask Jr. comes in a cute antimicrobial travel pouch for storage when not in use.

The masks are comfortable and UPF 50+.

Oura says, “The OURA Mask Jr. has undergone independent testing by a leading third-party laboratory to ensure proper filtration. Tested to filter > 95% of viral particles and bacteria without the N95 filter.”

They are available in multiple solid colors in sizes small, medium and large. The large fit my 10 & 11 year old perfectly. While the kids felt they were comfortable and liked the pouches, they weren’t used to masks that “suck in” when they breathe in.

Sea By Day Masks

Lady wearing Sea by Day face mask
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Jill Eastman modeling the tangerine parrot Sea by Day facemask-Photo courtesy of Jill

Sea By Day offers masks for adults and kids made in the USA. Their masks are four layers: Layer 1 – filter pocket layer, made of cotton, designed to hold a carbon filter.

Layer 2 – made up of cotton for added protection.

Layer 3 – a dense military-grade fiberfill.

Layer 4 – made up of a tightly woven nylon that is water-resistant, bleach resistant (easy to sanitize), and easy to clean.

These were popular with both the kids that tested them and the adults. The consensus: one of the most comfortable masks we tried. My (almost) 12 year old daughter was even excited about them, and the kids mask fit her. Our friend modeled one of the designs and was so impressed, she plans to buy more.

Adult masks are $22 for one, three packs are $60 and kids masks are $15. You can also purchase an Activated Carbon Filter- PM 2.5 4 Pack/1 Month Supply for $15. By the way they also have designs for the guys in your life.

betterdays.today Masks

betterdays today face masks
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12 year old modeling the black 100% organic cotton face mask from betterdays.today

Sometimes you just want to embrace the comfort of your favorite t-shirt. That’s how my 12 year old described the 100% organic face covering made in Los Angeles by betterdays.today. While their super soft and breathable face masks are made for adults, with adjustable ear loops it also felt my tween.

And if you have latex allergies, these masks have latex-free elastic straps that allow you to easily adapt to different sizes. There’s also an integrated metal nose-piece. Note-the mask does not have a filter pocket. One mask is $20 with $5 from each sale donated to art grants for creatives in need via www.artistrelief.org. They are available in black, gray, sage or blue. (4 pack $70)

Arsenal by Blake Hunter

The aero face mask on a male
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Brian shows the fit of a face mask by Blake Hunter.

Blake Hunter is making masks and face shields designed, produced, and shipped just north of Denver, Colorado USA! He has three different mask styles all $15 each (The Sprye, The Brawn, The Aero) all available only in black. The Sprye – An active wear inspired light face mask made from an outer layer of black diamond knit pro polyester fabric and an internal layer of black brushed denim twill 100% cotton fabric.

male wearing Sprye face mask from Arsenal wares
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Brian wearing the Aero face mask from Arsenal by Blake Hunter. Photo by Jill Eastman

Brian is a schoolteacher and tennis coach at a local high school. He returned a week ago and is wearing a mask for over 8 hours a day. We asked him to try the Aero mask and give us some feedback. While he liked the knit and fabric and felt like it might be a good “match” while on the courts, he was concerned about the size. The mask covers so much of his face, there’s not much room for glasses or shades. But the over the head style is good for staying put while playing sports. Masks are one size fit most, but might not be the best fit for anyone with a small face.

Medical Disclaimer: Focus Daily News makes no guarantee any non-medical face mask or face covering protects you against infection or the transmission of viruses or diseases. None of the masks featured should be used in place of medical grade PPE. This article contains personal opinions based on user experiences. None of the opinions are from medical experts. All companies featured in this article sent us samples so that we could offer our opinions. Thank you to the Eastman family for providing helpful feedback.

Teen wearing face mask from beau ties ltd
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