Searching for the perfect face covering can be a frustrating and overwhelming endeavor. There are SO many styles of masks out there, with all different sorts of materials, straps, and patterns imaginable.
Disney is no longer requiring face masks for guests in Disney World in most locations. The only place guests might need to wear masks is in certain areas of first aid centers. Disney does note, however, that “It is recommended Guests who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters and on enclosed transportation.” If you’ll be bringing a mask to Disney World, let’s make sure you get comfortable masks that you’re happy with to take to the parks!
What face-covering material is the most comfortable and/or effective?
The CDC explains that different kinds of masks offer different levels of protection. “Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection.”
But, whichever type of mask you choose, it is most important to have a mask that fits properly — snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin.
The CDC recommends NOT wearing masks that have gaps around the sides of the face or nose, have exhalation valves, vents, or other openings, have only a single-layer of fabric or are made of thin fabric that doesn’t block light. You also should never wear a mask that is wet or dirty.
Look for masks with a soft ear loop material
Whether it’s disposable or not, if you opt for a mask with ear loops, the material of the loops is just as important as the material of the face covering itself!
The traditional elastic material commonly used for ear straps can cause discomfort for some if worn over a prolonged period of time. Those elastic straps can wear on your ears and cause irritation, especially in the heat if you start sweating. We found these masks on Amazon that use softer material for the ear straps!
This pack of three is multi-layered and features a soft ear loop material. They’re $7.99 on Amazon.
These next masks come with a nose bridge wire, offering a closer fit around your nose so those with glasses do not need to worry about fogging up!
These masks also have two layers of fabric, providing more protection for those around you! You can pick up a set of two for $8.99.
If you would rather disposable face masks, there are a ton of options on Amazon that have good reviews about comfort. These masks have 3 layers protection and have wire on the nose for a snug fit.
You can get a pack of 100 (!!) for $8.99.
But don’t skimp on the style!
If you’re looking for something a little cuter and more colorful than basic black, we’ve added a bunch of new Disney-inspired face masks to our Disney Food Blog apparel line! Here’s our beautiful Orange Bird Mask which will help remind you it’s time for a Citrus Swirl anytime!
But if you’re more in the mood for a Pineapple Dole Whip, we’ve got a face mask for that classic Disney World snack as well!
We’ve made sure all of our one-size-fits-all cloth face masks will provide full-coverage for your nose and mouth. Each style has elastic ear straps and costs $14 — some are even customizable! Plus, for every mask you buy from us, we’ll be donating $1 to No Kid Hungry!
Invest in some ear hooks
If the masks you currently use have those traditional elastics, you can purchase a set of ear hooks that take the pressure off of your ears! There are two types of hooks we looked into. The first hook sits on the back of your head and features several “knobs” that the elastics loop around.
These have decent reviews on Amazon and allow the wearer to adjust to three different sizes! You can shop a pack of five for $6.78.
The next set of ear relief is these ear protectors that go around the straps themselves, giving your ears a more “cushioned” fit.
You can get a pack of five on Amazon for $9.99. This is a fairly inexpensive way to make your masks comfier around your ears without having to invest in a new set of masks!
Shop for masks with adjustable ties
Regardless of how comfortable the ear loop material is, if it doesn’t fit, it can still cause irritation and provide for a less-than-stellar experience. Many masks come in one standard size, and even some masks with elastic earloops don’t exactly fit a “one-size-fits-all” model.
If you have a mask that is too small or too large, you may run into some trouble if you cannot adjust the size of your mask! One way to avoid an ear catastrophe altogether is to wear a mask with ties that go around your head. The benefits of masks with ties are that you can adjust the tightness of the ties to your liking, plus it removes all of the discomfort around your ears.
You can pick up this face mask with long ties to fit around your head and neck on Amazon for $14.99.
What types of face coverings should you AVOID?
The CDC had previously said not to use surgical masks or N-95 respirators, but now, they have clarified that people can choose respirators such as N95s and KN95s without worrying about supply shortages for N95s. However, “surgical N95s” are a specific type of respirator that should be reserved for healthcare settings.
Another type of face masks that have been seen in public are those with “breathing valves.” The CDC still recommends NOT wearing these types of masks.
While they may seem appealing due to the increased breathability, research indicates that the valves allow air and particles to be exhaled out, and if the wearer is an asymptomatic carrier, pathogens could easily escape through the valves of the mask. This makes these types of masks less effective at protecting others, which is the primary reason for the face-covering protocols.
Previously, Disney World specifically prohibited the use of neck gaiters, open-chin coverings, triangle bandanas, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material, or holes of any kind. They had indicated that face masks must have 2 layers of breathable material, fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin, and fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
Be sure to check what the rules are or have been updated to ahead of your next trip.
No matter what mask you choose to wear, experts recommend that you wash your mask after every use. So if you are visiting Disney World for a week this summer, be prepared to hand-wash or machine wash your mask every day, or bring enough masks to last the week! You can also just bring disposable masks, so you can throw them away when you’re done using them. It’s also always a good idea to bring more than one with you each day, in case the one you’re using gets wet, lost, breaks, etc.
When it comes to comfort, you may need to try several masks to see what will work best for you! You can also bring different kinds to use throughout your trip in different scenarios. Whichever you choose, just make sure you’re comfortable in the mask so you are able to wear it when and where you want to. And definitely bring more masks than you think you need! Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney World news and updates.
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What face masks have you found to be the most comfortable? Share in the comments!