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Which Face Mask Should I Buy? A UK Guide to Face Masks

• Written by Katie


As of Friday 24th July 2020, face coverings are compulsory in enclosed public spaces in England. This includes shops, banks, takeaways, and shopping centres. Those who refuse to wear a mask when entering these spaces could face a fine of up to £100. While lots of people welcome this new rule, others face confusion. With so many different kinds of face masks available, which one should you choose?

Today, we'll take you through the different varieties of face mask available. We'll discuss the pros and cons of each, the benefits of mask wearing, and even tell you how to make your own face covering.

Why Do We Need Face Masks?

As lockdown eases and businesses reopen their doors, we need to be very careful to keep the infection rate low. One way to support this is by wearing face masks or coverings.

When we cough and sneeze - even just when we talk and breathe - we produce tiny droplets of moisture. These droplets can transmit the coronavirus from one person to another. Worryingly, you can still spread the virus even if you aren't showing symptoms.

Face masks combat this kind of transmission by blocking those droplets. Primarily, wearing a mask protects the people around you, although there are some benefits to the wearer's protection too. Therefore, the more people wearing masks the lower the rate of transmission will be. However, it is important not to let your mask draw you into a false sense of security. It is still crucially important to wash hands thoroughly and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Types of Face Masks

So, the question remains: which kind of face mask should you choose? Next, we're going to look at the most popular types of face masks and coverings, so you can decide for yourself.

Medical Masks

These are the kind of clinical grade face masks that NHS staff and frontline workers need. They are disposable, intended for single-use. Medical grade masks are still in relatively short supply, so avoid buying them for general everyday use.

Reusable Cloth Masks

A cloth face mask has lots of benefits. They are generally comfier than disposable paper masks. They are designed to be washed and reused, saving you money in the long run and helping the planet. What's more, they are available in plenty of pleasing colours and designs. Many fashion retailers have started selling fabric face masks, but why not turn to Etsy and support a small, independent business?

Reusable cloth face masks are available from around £3 per mask. However, some designer brands are offering luxury masks for more than £60 a pop!

If you're going to be out and about fairly often, it's probably worth buying a multipack of standard masks. This is because each mask will need to be thoroughly washed and dried between uses.

Homemade Face Coverings

You don't need to be handy with a sewing machine to make your own face mask. In fact, you can construct a no-sew mask with things you probably already have lying around at home: an old shirt and a couple of elastic bands, for example. You can also fashion a makeshift face covering out of a scarf, headscarf, or snood for instance.

See this page on the BBC website for tips on how to make your own reusable face masks.

We'll also give you instructions for making a basic face mask below.


How To Make Your Own Face Masks

  • Take two elastic bands and a suitable piece of fabric (tightly woven, around 50 cm square). This could be a bandana, scarf, or an old shirt that you have cut up.
  • Lay the fabric flat and fold it in half.
  • Take the top edge of your folded fabric and fold that edge down to the centre.
  • Take the bottom edge of your folded fabric and fold that edge up to the centre.
  • Thread your folded fabric through two elastic bands. Have the bands sitting around 12 cm apart. If you don't have any to hand, try using hair elastics, ribbons, or string tied in a loop.
  • Fold each side of the fabric in to the centre and pull the elastic bands out taught.
  • Loop the elastics over your ears and position the fabric over your nose and mouth.

Keeping You Safe At Home

Recently, safety has been at the forefront of everyone's minds. Face masks can help to keep you and other safe out in public, but what about your safety at home? If you are at all concerned about living safely and independently at home, a Lifeline alarm could be the perfect solution.

To find out more, read our quick guide to pendant alarms or give us a call on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, fill in this Contact Us form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can place your order online, or over the phone on the number above.

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