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Face Coverings in Winter

Girl wearing face mask in winter conditions

With the change of seasons fast approaching, and Covid cases on the increase in the UK, we thought it would be interesting to explore the options of face coverings.

So, lets start with the benefits. Wearing a face covering when out and about will keep your nose warm, at the same time as protecting you – and it’s not just Covid that face coverings will protect against, it will also slow the spread of coughs and colds too.

That’s great when you are outside, but what about when you enter a warm office? We will , no doubt, soon get into the way of taking our coats and masks off in the cloakroom and replacing the mask with a more indoor-friendly version.

An alternative to the mask in inclement weather, is the snood. This is a one or two ply type of scarf pulled over the head and worn around the neck. When you go in the cold, or need protecting, it is simply pulled up to cover the nose and mouth. It is ideal when walking to work, or walking the dog, and has the additional advantage over a mask of providing protection from the wind and warmth for the neck and ears. As fully washable and reusable, it is an eco-friendly option.

Another challenge faced in cold weather by those wearing glasses is the steaming up of the lenses. The warm air you exhale travels up your face covering and escapes behind your glasses and blurs your vision.

There are a few ways to make this more manageable. Try cleaning your lenses with soapy water and allowing them to air dry. This protects them with a film which may reduce or prevent them from steaming up.

A helpful tip is to put your specs on after your mask. This will reduce the escape of the air you breathe out escaping into your eyes. The fit of the mask over the bridge of the nose is strategic in preventing the air escaping upwards, so ensure it fits snugly. By twisting or tightening the loops over your ears, or attaching them to the arms of your glasses, this will restrict the airflow being released through the top of the mask.

And back to the indoor options (because we’ll actually be using them more).

With heated public transport, offices and homes, we need to provide as comfortable a solution as possible whilst offering maximum protection.

In addition to the vast range we have already introduced, we now have a lightweight comfort mask with a detachable washable lining and air vents. It fastens behind the head with Velcro.

Whilst this is intended for use whilst exercising etc, it is most definitely the most comfortable mask I have ever worn, and could be easily worn all day in the office, or while you’re out doing your Christmas Shopping.

Mask4Life have done the research and have a wide range of eco-friendly washable face coverings, which can be branded with your logo to act as a marketing tool to promote your brand if required.

Above all, it is important that whatever the weather, you safely cover your nose and mouth whilst moving amongst people, but there will be the bonus of a little extra warmth, and the added benefit of protection from other germs and viruses that are prevalent in winter as well as Coronavirus.

KEEP SAFE – KEEP WELL!

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Masks and Face Coverings – the way forward.

teacher and child wearing masks during lessons

This week we have seen many children and students returning to school after 6 months off. Understandably parents are worried about the risks this carries. Many parents that have remained at home to care for their children are now returning to work, anxious as to what the future holds, and whether the virus is going to spike as a result of this.

In the ‘new normal’ what should we be doing to protect ourselves and those we care for?

A face mask is a simple barrier that prevents respiratory droplets from passing into the atmosphere and spreading to others. Masks are mandatory on all forms of public transport. Children over the age of 11 are required to wear them. This alone will take a bit of getting used to. And when at school and moving around between lessons and at break times they will need to be worn. As far as prohibiting the spread of Covid19, the more they are worn, the better. It also makes people more aware of how infectious the disease is and reminds them to be vigilant in hand washing and keep social distancing wherever possible.

So, what can you do as a parent to make this easier and safer for your children?

It is recommended that you have a minimum of 3 masks for each person you are responsible for. This ensures that you have enough masks to have a clean one readily available for each family member. If masks are not washed frequently and kept clean and germ free they will not do their job.

Whilst at school, masks could be unwittingly mixed up, and your child might return home in someone else’s mask, so make sure that your child’s mask is distinguished in a way that they know it is theirs to avoid this. It could be a coloured piece of ribbon, a name label, or whatever you choose to mark it as belonging to them.

And, as a parent returning to work, the sphere of possible infection is widening dramatically. Due diligence is primarily your responsibility, for yourself and those that you are responsible for. If 80% of people wear masks, this can reduce the spread of Covid19 more than a strict lockdown.

So remember the 3 W’s for your household –

1. Wear your mask

2. Wash your hands frequently

3. Watch your distance

But the most important thing you can do to make it easier for those that you are responsible for is ensuring that there is always a clean, distinguishable mask with you and each of your family members wherever you are.

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Are face masks effective?

black-reusable-mask

A face mask is a simple barrier that prevents respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and passing on to someone else.

Although cloth masks are recommended, they must be frequently washed to ensure that they are doing their job. They can be easily purchased or made, and give that extra reassurance that you are doing your bit to reduce the spread of Covid19.

Along with this, please remember that frequent hand washing/sanitising and social distancing also play an important part. Masks help to reduce the risk rather than giving total protection, but anything we can do to minimise the spread is beneficial. Face coverings are expected to play a key role in the relaxing of lockdown measures over the next few months and will become a common sighting in the future, as people become more wary of the spread of disease.

Any mask that covers the nose and mouth will be of benefit but the comfort of your mask is paramount so that you continue to wear it consistently and keep sheltered and safe when out and about, particularly when you are in high-risk areas.

The more people that wear masks, the safer our environment is. It is easy to see the benefits of a face mask when people around you cough or sneeze, but droplets are transmitted also when we talk. A mask prevents larger droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets which are more easily airborne. We don’t know who is infected, but we can reduce the chances of becoming infected by wearing a mask, and encouraging those around us to as well. Remember not to touch your eyes, as the virus can be transmitted through membranes in your eyes…

Epidemiological data indicates that wearing masks has led to a slowdown in growth rate, and consequently lower death rates.

80% of people wearing masks could reduce Covid19 spread more than a strict lockdown.

Remember the 3W’s

  • Wear your mask.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • And watch your distance. 

The most important one is the mask, as human-to-human droplets spread the disease, and nobody knows who is going to be the next victim.

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Case Study – Holland & Barrett

Zero Risk Retail Solution for 850 stores within 10 days!

Holland & Barrett were looking for a way to offer masks for their clients but most of the mask solutions they came across were not packed in retail friendly packaging and the face coverings were uncomfortable. In order to be a success they needed a well presented product with a barcode and a way of marketing it within store.

After discussing this with our in house designers we put together several options including a bespoke printed dump bin in the Holland & Barrett corporate colors, a counter top sales box which folded into a display and a simple bagged version compatible with a Euro hook. Holland & Barrett decided that the dump bin was the best solution to attract attention and market the goods in store.

We then put together a proposal which included masks for each store along with the branded dump bin. Our solution also offered stock free of charge on a sale or return contract which enabled Holland & Barrett to retail the product with zero risk. This was very attractive for them and enabled them to take advantage of this revenue stream without a heavy investment in stock.

In order to make the project a success our in house design team designed a full packaging solution which included a barcode and the necessary information to add the face coverings to the retail systems for easy operating. We also offered Holland & Barrett the option of packaging in singles of units of five, they opted for singles to make a low value purchase.

From point of sign off Mask4Life turned around the dump bins and bespoke repackaging exercise very quickly enabling the fully bespoke retail solution to be in store within 10 working days of receiving the signed agreement. This has enabled Holland & Barrett to be one of the most well prepared and professionally presented retailers currently offering reusable face coverings. This product will enable immediate profitable revenue for Holland & Barrett with very healthy margins due to the fact that it is a very high quality product presented very well for the retail space.

If you would like to get a professionally presented and packaged retail solution in your stores or on your website within two weeks then get in touch with our Retail Solutions team today.

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Like it or love it, it’s mandatory.

Compulsory wearing of masks whilst shopping is the next challenge that we have to take on. As of July, customers and staff will have to wear masks in supermarkets, shopping malls and retail parks. Whether we like it or not, we are all thrown into this if we want to go shopping. And we do want to. After weeks and months of not being able to browse the rails, people are beginning to enjoy a bit of retail therapy once more.

The early excitement however, has been somewhat dampened by the recent announcement that face masks are to be compulsory. Some people find face masks humiliating and uncomfortable, others just find them a nuisance. And there are so many options available, but none of them are particularly glamorous!

The home-made versions are an individual statement made to your own design and style. They are unique – you can even make one to match each outfit if you wish. And the majority of them can be washed and reused too.

But the manufactured ones come with many added properties to ensure you are properly protected.

For those wanting maximum comfort and protection, the double-layer premium masks are a good choice. They have a comfortable cotton layer next to the skin which prevents irritation. The outer layer is made from polyester, with an anti-bacterial coating (that filters out 99.9% of bacteria), anti-odour properties. They’re also UV resistant and filter out toxic air particles and smog.

Thanks to the elastic ear loops, these masks can fit any size and any shape. And in contrast to the handmade masks which can be inconsistent and poor quality, these are sewn by a professional team in Vietnam and are made to be used over and over again.

Also available is a more standard version which is similar, but without the elastic. They come in different sizes and are also comfortable to wear. They’re produced using a material which is a mix of Polyester, Cotton and Spandex – meaning they do have some flexibility, even though they’re fixed sizes.

And there is yet another version with a transparent section in the centre to enable lip-reading, particularly beneficial for those who rely on this as their way of communication. This window also removes the element of distrust that comes with wearing a mask. Being able to see someone’s expression when they talk helps to transmit confidence to those you meet. And perhaps best of all, these particular face masks also reveal your smile, allowing you to spread hope and encouragement to those around you!

Designer masks are also around, at a price! Brands such as Under Armour, Boden and G Star Raw have added fashionable options to their collection of clothing and accessories. Rather than seeing this as a barrier for their customers, these brands have eased the pain of wearing these masks by making them more attractive.

Whatever your choice, the most important thing is that they are protecting you in this current pandemic, so don’t forget to keep your masks hygienic by washing them regularly – they can be washed at up to 60 degrees, and retain their effectiveness for multiple washes. It makes it much more simpler when you can get home from your shopping trip, pop it in with your next load, and then it’s ready for another day’s shopping.

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Why the whales came – or came no more.

Let’s begin with the facts – globally, every month, 129 billion face masks are being used – but how many of that staggering number are ending up polluting our environment, endangering our ocean and marine life?

As we all get used to the “new normal”, it has becoming an accepted regulation that face masks are to be worn on public transport etc. So how can we protect the future for the next generations?

The widely used disposable masks are made from plastics, such as polypropylene, which has a lifespan of 450 years, so the lasting consequences are devastating! There is evidence that divers and marine observers are spotting increased volumes of discarded waste floating underwater and strewn along our beautiful shorelines. With reports that there will soon be more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean, there is great concern that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause a fresh surge in ocean pollution. This glut of plastic waste is a rising threat to ocean life, as scientists worry that porpoises, dolphins and other marine animals could mistake the masks for food. Sea birds, turtles, and even whales are at significant risk from the debris.

This isn’t the first time our attention has been drawn to ocean pollution however. The amount of waste we generate in the fashion industry is terrifying, with the boom of eCommerce and fast fashion contributing to the masses. Several brands and companies across the world have made a dedicated effort to move away from throw-away packaging and have found biodegradable and ocean-friendly solutions that work just as well, if not better.

So what is the solution for this new issue? A washable mask, which is more comfortable and easy to wear than the disposable mask, is definitely the way forward. You are not only protecting yourself, but also your environment by choosing an eco-friendly, sustainable option. These masks are guaranteed to be anti- bacterial for up to 30 washes, and even after that, they continue to protect you from the spread of disease. They come in various sizes, shapes and colours, and can indeed become a designer item to match your fashion trend. As sustainably-conscious garment branding experts, we truly believe that sustainability shouldn’t cost you your premium brand image.

If we don’t act responsibly and make sensible decisions we are endangering our marine life. By thinking ahead and choosing a sustainable option, we can protect ourselves during this difficult time and therefore safeguard our planet for future generations.

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Share your smile.

A smile costs nothing and can brighten up someone’s day. Especially during the challenges that each of us are currently facing, in circumstances that we would never have even considered a few months ago.

As retail stores, entertainment facilities and all other non-businesses reopen, we are seeing the rise of a new era. Everything is familiar, yet so different from what we once knew. Excited shoppers are returning to their favourite stores, but their enthusiasm is somewhat dampened by the additional procedures and one-way systems in place.

The ‘Mask Age’ has begun, and for very good reasons. No one wants to lay themselves open to Covid19, but we’re all desperate to enjoy some social life as well. Masks have made commuting, shopping and socialising all possible again but without losing the all important protection against the spread of disease.

It will take some time for us to adjust to this new look. For the majority of us, we have grown up having conversations where it is possible to see the other’s expression – and cheerful smile! And now this is concealed behind a blue paper mask, that’s not only unappealing and uncomfortable but also brings the connotations of hospitals and operating theatres to mind.

The ideal fix would be a mask that has a transparent section which reveals your smile, and spreads your happiness. It would also make it possible for deaf people to lip-read when you speak, reassure young children that you are a friendly human being (and not an alien) and also gives trust to those you are communicating with.

The challenge however, is that it just isn’t worth the manufacturing complexity for a mask that is only going to be used once and then thrown away.

The perfect solution is a reusable face mask, which maintains its’ anti-bacterial coating for several washes. A mask with a window with which you can keep clean and hygienic by regularly popping it in the washing machine.

It’s a vast step forward from the disposable masks, which are costly and uncomfortable – and, most importantly, unsustainable. The resources used to produce these are being depleted, and then there is the growing problem of disposing of them safely, without creating vast amounts of extra waste. Lots of consumers try to save costs by wearing them numerous times and they then become a germ hazard. Especially when they fall out of pockets, bags and are left lying on the floor, waiting for a daring person to pick them up and throw them away.

disposable mask example

Those with the transparent insert can be wiped or sprayed with anti-bacterial spray or washing up liquid as often as you wish, so don’t necessarily need to go in the washing machine so often. And when you do need to wash them, there’s no filters to remove, no hand washing or dry cleaning required, simply pop it in with your other clothes on a gentle wash.

There are different sizes, so that you can find a mask that is comfortable for your face. Just remember to have a clean, washable mask with you at all times, ready to put on and keep you safe, so that you can enjoy some of the social activities that we have been missing over the last few months. And when you get home, pop them in the washing machine and collect some clean ones for next time.

But, remember that any mask you wear, and then touch with your hand, could potentially be contaminated. It’s all about being careful and responsible at all times!

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Face Masks – What does the future look like?

Fashionable Mask

Face masks aren’t a new invention. In several countries in East Asia, they have become a cultural norm in recent years. The SARS outbreak in 2003 emphasised the importance of wearing a mask in public and is one way in which we can reduce the spread of disease and illness. It’s also a popular form of protection against pollutant air in the densely-populated cities of China, Hong Kong and Japan.

The horrific pandemic, which has swept across the globe in recent months, has highlighted how quickly illnesses can spread. Combined with other practices, such as frequent hand washing with soap and water, several countries have acknowledged that we can flatten the curve and improve our hygienic behaviour through wearing these face masks.

And it’s becoming likely that beyond this crisis, the new norm will include wearing masks in public. The designers of the Western world are beginning to recognise these as a fashionable accessory. A reusable, washable mask could be as complementary to our outfits as a neck scarf or a pair of socks. And, if our instincts are right, we really need to look at how we can make these fashionable. After all, it’s going to be one of the first things that we will notice in an outfit. It stands out somewhat.

We saw the first creative masks hit the catwalks in Paris earlier this year. French designer Marine Serre included veils and face masks in her collections. And now, other fashion designers and apparel brands have begun to explore what the future holds for the face mask.

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A sustainable solution.

Good day to you!

Mask4Life is a new brand that has been born… Why??

We’ve highlighted the need for a sustainable response to the recent increase in demand for face masks.

I have never been to my local supermarket before and felt it odd that I was the only unmasked shopper! It has been advised that masks are a good safeguard from the spread of disease:

  • Prevents inhaling smog and dangerous particles
  • Prevents touching your face and contracting disease

Our masks are all reusable and washable which means that there is no longer a need to throw it away. We have simply taken the concept that we have all had to adapt to over the past few years with carrier bags in the supermarkets and applied this to the face mask. This is reducing the need to ship and dispose of used paper masks which often have multiple parts including elastic and metal which mean that they have to go into landfill. If the global population all start using disposable masks at an average of 10 per week then that would mean that there is an extra 70,000 tonnes of waste going into landfill each week!

Continuing our drive for sustainability

As you may already know, Weavabel is renowned for providing sustainable packaging and labeling solutions to the fashion industry. By using our global supply network and applying our knowledge of sustainable materials we have been able to come up with an eco-friendly alternative to enable the public to protect themselves while also safeguarding the environment too.

Protecting NHS resources

By providing the general public with the re-usable mask option we are enabling the certified N95 disposable masks to be used by the professional health care staff on the frontline. This means that they’re able to continue the fight against Covid-19 without the burden on supply of the approved medical PPE.

Here at Mask4Life we are joining the fight against Corona Virus and would ask that you spread the word so that together we can get back to a bright future where socializing and enjoying friendships can continue in peace.

Thank you for reading!

The Mask4Life Team