Where you lucky enough to score lululemon face masks on Tuesday’s upload? I read that they sold through 36,000 within the hour. They sold out, but I thought I’d share my thoughts with you anyways, since they may restock at some point. Also because they are being hotly debated across social media. Why are they being hotly debated you ask? Well, they are a ‘one ply’ mask. YMMV on that issue.
Before I go further I want to state the very obvious. I have no medical training. You should not take any medical recommendations or advice from this blog or consider it expert advice. This is simply my opinion as a consumer and based on my own observations about fit, practical daily use and aesthetics. You should defer to you medical doctors advice on which non-medical face covering is suitable for you. Please follow guidance provided by your local health and government authorities.
lululemon face masks. the glass slipper.
the issue with face masks for some people
Both my oldest daughter and I really struggle with non-medical face masks, each of us for different reasons. My youngest daughter and my husband feel no discomfort wearing masks and it’s no big deal to them. They can just wear any ol mask I buy them. Here in Vancouver, although it’s not mandated that everyone wear masks, it’s required in every public indoor space.
The problem I experience with face masks is that I have annoying nasal issues. I have severely swollen turbinates in my nose, and a deviated septum. I will probably have a nose job sometime in the near future to repair this. Fingers crossed I can do it this year. For some reason, mouth breathing in a mask creates a lot of heat, and sweaty condensation. It’s not fun, and very frustrating. Cue the mouth breather jokes.
My daughter has no problem wearing a mask and is happy to wear one at all times in school. If only they didn’t hurt her ears and conflict with her hearing aids.
The first problem is that her over the ear hearing aids already add pressure and weight on her ears. When an elastic strap is added over the ears on top of her hearing aid tubes, it’s quite painful.
The other issue is that the straps shift her hearing aids in and out as she moves or talks. This creates a terrible screeching feedback sound inside her ears from her hearing aids. It’s a nightmare. Everyone around her also hears the static feedback.
The third problem unfortunately really can’t be helped. Her reliance on non-verbal communication to fill gaps she missed in conversation is seriously impaired by facial coverings. Facial expressions are a huge part of communication, and for some it’s crucial. People get really rude and hostile when you ask them to repeat themselves if they don’t immediately see hearing aids. Sometimes it can be a real safety issue when she’s not receiving crucial information.
I’m going to get right to the punchline and tell you that I love this mask. It’s the best mask I’ve worn in the past 7 months. It’s so bloody comfortable and I just wore it for the entire day, to a Dr.’s appointment, and even kept it on in the car. I went to take a sip of my coffee and realized I was still wearing my mask. Added bonus, you can sing along to Christmas carols in the car and other drivers don’t know you are singing.
It’s not an over the ear design. Instead it has two adjustable straps that rest against the back of your head. There aren’t any pressure points around your ears, but you get a really nice snug fit over your face with evenly distributed pressure. My other mask are all loose over my cheek and nose area so they constantly slip down, or up over my eyes. When I’m talking, my cheeks move a lot which is what shifts the masks so much. This formed mask also creates a really nice gap where your mouth is. The fabric sits well away from your mouth. I think that’s the most comfortable thing for me and what made this mask feel really breathable. The tight fit around my cheeks and nose and the space around my mouth made it feel really airy. It’s more insulated.
The straps are adjustable so the mask sits quite snug against my face. This is actually genius because it means I’m not constantly fussing with the mask and readjusting it. I’m not constantly taking it on and off as I enter and exit locations, or leaving it on surfaces or in jacket pockets.
Removing the mask is better with this strap design. Correctly donning and doffing masks is something the general public is not doing correctly. Ever see someone hold a mask in their hand along with their car keys and wallet? Or wear their mask over their chin? This mask comes off easily by using one hand, and handling it by the strap. It also hangs around your neck when you aren’t wearing it over your mouth which is a great feature.
You can easily pull the mask back up, using one hand and pulling it up by the straps, never touching the mask itself or your face. The fussiest part of this mask is pulling long hair over the top strap. It does work well with long hair, you just need to pull your hair up over that top strap. Once on the strap is hidden and you hair will lay normally. When you are wearing the mask and talking, the mask stays in place without moving with your cheeks.
What’s the best type of non-medical face mask in my opinion? the mask that someone is actually willing to wear consistently, and wear correctly. A mask comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time and that gets forgotten on your face. It’s not the mask constantly needing adjusting, that you have to take on and off repeatedly as you enter and exit locations, or the mask that you wear over your chin when you can get away with it. The mask you wear correctly and consistently is better for everyone than a poorly worn, or poorly constructed three layer mask or one you are wearing simply for the sake of compliance.
This mask is made of thick structured material called ultralu which Is the very same material used in Enlite Bras. It reminds me of thick scuba gear. This is not thin like legging material, it’s quite thick and it holds it’s shape just like a bra does and it moves with you and molds to your face. The inside has bonded fabric overtop of the centre seam which helps create the shape (and a bit of an added layer over your mouth and nose. See how the mask holds its shape in the first photo? It’s holding form the same way a lightly padded wireless bra does.
The thickness also muffles sound quite a bit more than other masks so you may notice you need to speak a little louder in this one.
The mask is single layer ultralu fabric, without a pocket for an additional filter. you can easily place a filter inside though it would just rest against your face. Given the density of this fabric and the very tightly knit ultralu, I don’t think added layers are necessary, but again YMMV. In fact, my three layer masks are extremely flimsy by comparison which you can see below, although they do technically conform to some guidances.
medical face masks and hearing aids
Here Sofia is wearing the mask with the straps lower on her head at the same line her over-the-ear mask usually sits. The straps are against her head, and not touching her ear at all which she finds incredibly comfortable. Normally, the elastic sits over her ear underneath her hearing aid tubes, or overtop of the tubes getting tangled up. Pressure points with hearing aids can be so bad they cause bleeding. Ear molds that don’t sit snugly in place inside the ear or that shift will cause pressure points, friction and bleeding. When Sofia talks and moves her mouth the lululemon mask doesn’t move at all or shift her hearing aids out of her ears like the other ones do.
compared to my other masks…
This is my usual mask. I have the Herschel face mask in several colors and although I do like it because it has a the metal wire that shapes to my nose, and it’s lightweight, it lifts constantly. Aesthetically, I like the way this one looks. It also suits the shape of my face best. I thought I’d found my best fit.
what’s the problem with these ones?
I get a ton of trapped heat inside this mask and get super sweaty. It also really aggravates the rosacea on my cheeks which my Dr. noted on my last visit. A problem I didn’t have with the lululemon mask at all. Some times I need to be sneaky and pull this mask away from my face to get some circulation in there and so my mask stops sticking to me.
I thought that trapped heat problem would go away once summer was over, but it’s the exact same no matter the outside temperature. I can’t wear this or any of my other masks with my sunglasses because they fog up. The Herschel mask also constantly shifts on me so I have to move it back up over my nose, or pull it down and reshape the metal to pinch it tighter to my nose. The second I am out of the door, I rip this thing off of me and stuff it in my pocket until I have to wear it again.
In these photos you can see that although this is a three layer mask, each layer is extremely thin and gauzy. I think it came with a filter, but I lost it right aways.
Because I get so sweaty and uncomfortable in my other mask, I had started wearing these disposable masks again. These single layered surgical masks are a bit more tolerable because it lifts well away from my face and lets air circulate in and out so I’m not quite as sweaty as with my other masks. It’s not at all a fitted mask though and it still quite unpleasant. How many times does one reuse these disposable masks before their efficacy degrades?
This is the other mask I wear which is from Aritzia. It’s two layers, but it’s a cheap, loosely woven linen. It has no metal wire, and no shaping to it so the fit is awful. It also traps heat and makes me really sweaty under it. I keep these in the car though in case my kids forget their preferred masks for school they can just grab one of these.
my other mask is this camo one which I purchased at a drug store. It’s also really thin gauzy material on the second layer, and the outward layer is a polyester fabric. It has the same problem as the linen mask above. no shaping, traps heat and moisture, moves around a lot, is generally uncomfortable. Sometimes it suctions to my face. I actually have another mask from Herschel that I removed the inner pocket fabric from thinking that it would make it more comfortable. I was going to call that one my ‘outside mask’. When I cut that layer of gauze it ruined the mask. All of a sudden, I couldn’t keep the mask from suctioning to my nose constantly.
And that’s it. I have a box of N95 (industrial, not medical) that I have just in case which I got from my dad who kept his industrial supplies when he retired, but they aren’t practical for day to day life use. I hope this post is helpful to you in seeing the features on the lululemon mask that I really appreciate.