You may have heard stories of people cutting holes in their face masks because they have a hard time breathing. With stronger recommendations for the wearing of face masks, it is more important than ever to have a protective face mask that you can wear throughout the day and be comfortable in.
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a comfortable face mask.
What is a Breathable Fabric?
A material is called a breathable fabric because it is lightweight enough to allow water vapor through the material. It is an important quality for sports clothing that is made for running or outdoor exercises so that sweat that evaporates off the skin passes through the material rather than soaking into the fabric. For a face mask, this means your breath passes through the fabric rather than around the edges of the mask. By breathing through the mask, coronavirus particles are caught in the material. When breath goes around the mask, coronavirus particles escape and the mask loses its filtering capability.
Read our article on the best filters for face masks here which discusses what household items can be used for the filtration and breathability.
As the weather becomes more humid, having a breathable face mask for the summer becomes even more important to prevent the inside of the mask from becoming too hot. If the mask is uncomfortable, it will be harder to tolerate for most of the day and you will touch your face more often to adjust it.
How to Measure Breathability for a Washable Face Mask
The World Health Organization (WHO) did a study where they tested several materials for their breathability and filtration capability. They measured breathability through the difference of pressure across the mask per square centimeter, but you don’t need an air compressor to test your face mask. If your mask is comfortable, flexible, and you can breath through it, then it is good.
But just because a mask is breathable doesn’t mean it is an effective filter. It still needs to be thick enough to block aerosol particles like coronavirus. The government of Canada recommends that a non-medical face mask be made out of two layers of fabric, and no light should be able to shine through the mask.
The Best Breathable Fabrics for Comfortable Face Masks
Many luxury fabrics are light, soft, and breathable, such as 100% premium cotton. Cotton is a common lightweight material that is known for being soft and comfortable to wear. 100% premium cotton is often used in summer bedsheets for this reason as it insulates sweat and keeps you cool during the night. This makes cotton an ideal fabric for face masks.
Silk is another great material for breathability because of how thin its threads are. Also, unlike with cotton, silk doesn’t absorb sweat or odors. This makes the face mask comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
At Nathon Kong, breathable and stylish face masks are sewn with premium materials (mulberry silk and 100% premium cotton) in Quebec by seamstresses working safely from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artists of Les Impatients created the artworks on the front of the masks. Les Impatients is a non profit organization which supports Montreal artists suffering from mental health issues through therapeutic art programs. 10% of all proceeds are donated to Les Impatients so that they can continue to support local artists.
Read our article where we discuss the materials in Nathon Kong silk face masks here to learn more about the benefits of mulberry silk and premium cotton in face masks.