Written by Tanvi Patel
Best Face Mask for a Lash Artist
Alright lash fam, were you wearing a mask before COVID-19? If you answered no, we need to talk! Like seriously. You need to protect yourself from these two:
- Airborne pathogens (like COVID-19)
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) (Like by-products from your lash glue)
Not all masks will protect you from both and you need to invest in a good mask. Do you not care about your own health?
Here is a small list of masks to help you make an informed decision. I’ve rated them out of 5 stars for a lash artist. Note: these are all great masks to use as a general public but they are not necessarily good for a lash artist.
1. Surgical Masks
When you think mask, this is the mask that comes to mind. These are typically used by dentists and doctors.
Surgical masks are meant to be one-time use only. It can help reduce exposure to fluids in the environment like saliva and nasal secretions. It won’t help with airborne particles because they’re too loose around your nose.
Recommended for a lash artist? ★
No. If it can’t protect you from airborne pathogens or VOCs, what’s the point? These are more ideal for your clients to wear instead; they’re not exposed to long hours of VOCs and assuming you don’t have the coronavirus, these masks should be good to go.
2. N95 Masks Or N99 Masks
It became pretty controversial for the general public ordering and wearing N95 masks when coronavirus was declared as a pandemic. This mask became exclusive for healthcare workers only because the supplies depleted. And why not? These are the heroes coming in contact with infected people every day and it’s important for them to stay protected so they can help us.
N95 masks filter out 95% of airborne particles, while N99 masks filter out 99% and fits tightly around the nose and mouth. These are also disposable, one-time use only.
Recommended for a lash artist? ★★
Ideal for clients however keep them reserved for healthcare providers while we’re in the pandemic state. These will protect you from airborne pathogens but not VOCs.
3. Activated Carbon Masks
Have you seen those masks that look like surgical masks but they’re gray or black? Well a lot of times (not all), these are the activated carbon masks.
Activated carbon can purify water and air by trapping harmful particles. Activated carbon is also found in the PM2.5 filters that can be inserted in a reusable mask. Either way, when you see activated carbon, definitely choose this over a plain surgical mask.
Recommended for lash artists? ★★★
You can definitely wear this during lash application as long as the mask fits tightly around your nose and mouth. This way you’re not exposed to the VOCs or airborne pathogens.
4. Cloth Masks
Non-medical cloth masks have become a popular choice since N95 masks were in short supply. Good thing about these non-medical masks are these are washable and reusable. These come in different colors and patterns so you can totally complement your OOTD. Some also come with an insert to place filters in for added protection. This is ideal for everyday use.
Cloth masks can come with a valve to make breathing easier but the person wearing them will release unfiltered air while breathing out through the valve. This valve will not prevent the virus from spreading so I don’t recommend purchasing a mask with a valve!
Instead opt for breathable material like 100% cotton.
Check out our non-medical masks which are great for daily use.
PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that are the size of 2.5 microns. This size is 30x smaller than a piece of hair. The issue with particles as small as 2.5 microns is that it can penetrate the lungs as well as get into our bloodstream.
So if you’re exposed to particles this size, it can cause shortness of breath, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, coughing, asthma attacks, and potentially death.
Our PM2.5 filters can be inserted in the mask for added protection. These filters are 5 layers with activated carbon layer in the middle. The activated carbon layer traps VOCs therefore reducing your exposure.
Recommended for lash artists? ★★★★
Non-medical cloth masks will protect you from airborne pathogens and VOCs as long as you have the PM2.5 filter attached.
These practically turn you into Darth Vader but it’s the best mask to keep you protected from airborne pathogens and VOCs.
There are two different types: Half Face and Full Face available from 3M.
I personally just purchased the half-face respirator from Amazon and I’m excited to use it once we can re-open! This can provide “at least 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols as well as certain organic vapors”.
I opted for this because I’m super sensitive to the glue. After completing a set, my nose gets stuffy making it hard to breathe and coughing and sneezing starts. Not everyone will suffer from this but I’m just the unlucky few who does. Since I don’t want to give up lashing, I’ve figured out a way to still do it with reducing the effects of fumes.
Note: Whether I use no fume to high fume glue, I’ll still develop symptoms if I’m not wearing a mask so choosing a zero to low fume glue is not the solution that works for me.
Recommended for lash artists? ★★★★★
YES! 100%. This is the best way to protect yourself from airborne pathogens and VOCs.
In conclusion, you should be looking for the following when shopping for a mask to use during the lash application.
- Fits tightly around the nose and mouth
- Activated carbon filter
- PM 2.5 or N95/ N99 indication
Think like a lash artist not a client because you are not only exposed to a potentially COVID-19 infected client but also have to breathe in lash glue fumes.
Stay safe lash fam!