7 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Reusable Mask

how to care for a face mask

‘Iso’ (yes, the abbreviation) may have been the word of the year for Aussies in 2020, but the go-to wardrobe necessity? Face masks.

Last year, the thing that we really only saw in hospitals became part of our everyday lives. From the World Health Organisation delivering guidance on face masks, to it becoming a mandatory measure across Victoria and Greater Sydney. We know where to buy reusable masks from, how to make face masks, and how often they should be washed.

This year, it doesn’t look like face masks are going anywhere – word of the year for 2021, anyone? So how do we prolong the lives of our face masks, and keep them clean and comfortable? Here are seven tips to make the most of your mask, with the help of COMO Hotels and Resorts.

Tip #1: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

You know how in The Lion King, where everything the light touches is their kingdom? It’s kinda the same thing with face masks…except that everything the face masks touches, needs to be moisturised. Yep, just the same.

Masks can absorb moisture from the skin, dehydrating it throughout the day. Applying a good moisturiser — preferably one with ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid — will keep your skin hydrated and supple. Don’t forget behind your ears! The ear loops from your face masks can chafe and cause irritation.

Tip #2: Use a strong lip balm

Unsurprisingly, your lips are going to get dry right along with your skin. Find a balm that protects and hydrates the lips but try to avoid anything with colour (we learnt this the hard way).

Coconut oil is a great option as well — apply it after washing your face, before putting on your mask, and before bed.

Tip #3: Wear glasses? Get something snug on your nose bridge

This is something glasses-wearers have had to deal with since the beginning of the mask mandates — a safe mouth and nose, but smogged glasses. Find masks that tie in the back, have adjustable ear loops, or a wired, bendable nose piece.

Tip #4: A little drop of peppermint oil goes a long way

Another unsurprising element of wearing masks is the difficulty in adjusting to breathing with something covering your mouth and nose.

Peppermint can help your nasal passages feel clearer. Get it in a concentrated essential oil blend, and add a drop to the base of your mask five minutes before wearing it. For a gentler alternative, add a drop in the water while you’re washing your mask.

Tip #5: Ziploc your face mask while you’re not using it

This is probably something you’ve started seeing everywhere — or at least we have. Minimise all contact between the front of your mask and the outside world by storing it in a small sealable bag when it’s not in use.

Tip #6: Sanitise your mask on the move

A clean mask is a good mask. If washing your mask is ever inaccessible, use a sprayable hand sanitiser on it — from a distance of 30cm — and wait two to five minutes before wearing it. To avoid that cheap vodka smell some sanitisers have (you know the one), find one with sweet, calming scents. While this doesn’t negate the need to wash your mask after every use, it’s a handy strategy for when you’re out and about.

Tip #7: Doing laundry? Go for fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent

Although it’s most efficient to toss your mask in with the rest of your laundry, some detergents may leave residue on the fabric (resulting in the dreaded maskne). This can be reduced by using a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent that can minimise reactions, and keep your delicate facial skin unblemished.

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