As businesses and communities look to come back to an altered reality, there is no scenario that doesn’t include extensive face mask usage for the foreseeable future.
Face masks have quickly grown to be among the top consumer items right now for a very good reason. They will likely be a part of our regular society and culture as we get back to a new sense of normalcy. So how can you be sure you, your employees, clients, and your community are protected? And how do we navigate this fast-paced, very important product category under these circumstances and confidently make good buying decisions?
We’ve been attending webinars and sampling every possible consumer mask that’s been introduced by our manufacturers over the past 30 days so we can bring you the most current and best options as they become available. We’ll continue to dive deep into this product category amongst others and share what we learn along the way.
Although the main focus of this article is reusable face masks, I want to remind our clients and readers how important it is that the N95 Respirator masks, which are NIOSH certified and FDA approved, are reserved for our medical front line. This mask, as noted by its name, has a 95% filtration rating, meaning it is designed to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles. It is considered PPE and the best medical grade mask available at this time for the protection of the men and women treating COVID-19 patients.
Consumers and businesses are being flooded with numerous offerings. There are DIY options and beautiful hand-crafted styles on sites like Etsy, as well as big and boutique brands working to fill the enormous need. In fact, I bought myself this one about five weeks ago. There’s no shortage of reusable mask options hitting the market right now. But there is a shortage of good quality, fair priced, CDC compliant masks.
The CDC requires that cloth face coverings should –
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric (2 minimum)
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Not all Masks are Created Equal
The team at HGX creative has been tirelessly testing and confirming the effectiveness and usability of multiple mask styles. Branded face masks are new to all of us including most of the manufacturers making them, so we have spent the past few weeks washing, wearing and dissecting a number of styles. In addition to the CDC requirements we included some of our own testing criteria and for now, we’ve settled on our top two picks below that rated BEST on a good, better, best scale. We suspect things will change as product development continues to improve and fashion turns the face mask into a trendy apparel category. We’ll keep you updated!
Triple Layer Face Mask with 3D Contouring
Minimum Quantity: 24 Price Range: $14 - $7 HGX Rating: BEST
3 WORDS: sturdy, snug and comfortable
FIT: choice of elastic ear loops, tie back or over the head elastic
LAYERS: 2 outer 100% lightweight polyester; 1 inner, 100% unbleached cotton
LAUNDERING: warm water, gentle cycle, hang to dry or tumble dry low
FABRIC: poly cotton
SIZING: adult & youth
CUSTOMIZATION: full color, full-bleed, custom design on front side; white elastic fittings, natural colored cotton inside
NOTABLE FEATURES: fits snug but not too tight, easy to breath, 3D contouring allows for a good amount of room between the face and fabric
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA, Haiti, Dominican Republic (determined at time of order based on capacity)
Double Layer Adjustable Face Mask with Filter Pocket
Minimum Quantity: 12 Price Range: $20 - $12 HGX Rating: BEST
3 WORDS: soft, lightweight, comfortable
FIT: adjustable elastic ear loops
LAYERS: two poly-cotton layers + one filter when added to the pocket
BREATHABILITY: very good, best with filter inserted
LAUNDERING: machine wash warm water, gentle cycle, hang to dry
COMFORT: Best, even better when the filter is inserted
FABRIC: poly cotton
FILTER: yes, built-in filter pocket
SIZING: adult & youth
CUSTOMIZATION: full color, full-bleed, custom design on front side; choice of black or white elastic ear loops, white interior
NOTABLE FEATURES: great coverage, snug but not tight, easy to adjust and very comfortable
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: China
EXTRAS: comes with an aluminum adhesive strip on the nose for a tighter seal (replaceable) + 4 PM 2.5 filters
I am scheduling video conferences for anyone interested in seeing the fit and features of each.
If you’d like to set one up with me please email or call 508-405-4506. I’ll show you the difference between those we wouldn’t wear and aren’t offering, and the ones that made our final cut and why.