As life does its best to return to some semblance of normalcy, many of us are still struggling with the intrusive nature of the least normal part of our new day-to-day: masks. On one hand, they cause breakouts, smudge our makeup, and can be uncomfortable to wear. But on the other hand, they preserve human life. So… kind of not up for debate.
Still, just because masks are necessary doesn’t mean it’s necessary for them to be a pain. Over the past few weeks, a simple hack has gained traction for its ability to make any mask so much more wearable. Simple plastic tools dubbed “mask brackets” are 3D frame-like structures made of food-safe silicone that can be slipped between your lower face and mask to create more breathing room and keep the material of your mask off your skin.
Buzz about the tool is coming from a variety of sources: A schoolteacher’s Facebook video about mask brackets went viral, capturing over 300,000 views and 32,000 likes, while a three-pack of the brackets quickly racked up thousands of near-perfect ratings on Amazon.
In fact, that very Amazon listing is in the top position for Safety Face Shields (although the categorization is off-base, the rank speaks volumes about the brackets’ popularity), and reviewers frequently describe it as a “must-have” and a “game changer.”
“This product makes wearing a mask SO much more comfortable,” wrote one buyer in the most upvoted review. “The heat index in Georgia has been over 100 the past few days, and wearing this in my mask to go run errands today made it 100 percent more comfortable. My face doesn’t feel like a sauna, and the fabric wasn’t sticking to my face after five minutes.”
Shop now: 3-pack for $13 (Originally $16); amazon.com
“I am a teacher and have to wear a mask all day,” wrote another five-star reviewer. “I struggle with wearing a mask because I have asthma, and I feel like I can’t breathe with the material touching my nose and lips. I ordered one package, received them this morning and immediately ordered another package. It is very soft and pliable.”
The brackets, it’s important to note, have raised some concerns about their impact on the efficacy of masks, although there’s simply not enough information presently available to make a conclusion either way. “The issue with mask brackets is we need data to understand what they do to the fit and function,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, MD, adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins tells InStyle. “A mask that no longer fits will not serve its purpose.” With that in mind, it’s crucial to ensure that your mask still fully covers your face’s respiratory features with no gaping on the sides or top — for some people, this may mean opting for a slightly oversized mask with a snugger shape.
If mask brackets sound like something that could make your life easier — if even just to wear on the now-and-then occasion when you’re wearing makeup or reversing a maskne breakout — the good news is that they are refreshingly affordable. The top-rated option on Amazon comes in a pack of three and costs just $13 (on sale from $16), which shakes out to just over $4 apiece.
Shop the mask brackets people are turning to to make wearing a mask that much more comfortable for just $4 each.
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