After months of mandatory mask-wearing, Singaporeans are becoming legit mask connoisseurs. Here at 8days.sg, we've had conversations with friends about the pros and cons of certain types of masks ("This one very chio, but slips off easily"; "That one is so thick you can hardly breathe in it"). And now that there are so many masks on the market, both home-sewn ones and more high-tech masks that can endure more washes or provide more breathability, we now have the luxury of picking and choosing what works for us.
One breed of masks that's garnered interest is sports masks. Several big name sports brands have launched masks suitable for exercising in, and we've just found a local brand, Dermacool, that sells a pretty popular sports mask that is enhanced by nanotechnology, and which is embedded with various minerals including zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which provide antibacterial properties and keep the masks odour-free.
Even if you're no triathlete (unlike the man in the pic above, Dr Joshua Li, a marathoner and triathlete who kindly agreed to let us use these photos of him wearing the Dermacool mask), a sports mask which makes it easier to breathe and is able to wick off moisture quickly, especially with our humidity, is going to make life a little easier even for a couch potato who has zero intention of going for a jog, but often, um, brisk walks to the hawker centre for his char kway teow.
The Dermacool mask uses performance fabric designed for optimal breathability with anti-chafe, anti-odour, high wicking and UV-blocking properties. Think of it like high performance, high-tech sportswear. The fabric dries five times faster than cotton and purports to keep your face feeling dry even as you sweat up a storm.
And at $16.90 ($15.70 for the kids' mask), it's more affordable than the branded masks and some of the stylish ones available from local fashion brands.
We put it to the test on a day out, walking around outdoors, doing light tasks like buying food and groceries. The immediate difference is that the Dermacool mask is super lightweight, way lighter than some cotton masks, even though it does come with three layers of filtration. It really barely feels like it's on your face after a while. It's also very soft, with some breathing space between your mouth and the mask. Even under the hot sun and humidity, we feel like we're getting lots of air.
Of course, the acid test is exercising with it. Dermacool recommends the mask be used for light to moderate intensity cycling and running, gym workouts and brisk walking. We took it on a jog around the neighbourhood. Even with sweat pouring down our face, the mask stayed up. We've used masks that are ill-fitting and not created to hug the face properly, and the result is a mask that slips off your nose every time you move, and definitely won't survive any sort of running. The Dermacool mask, despite not having a wire at the nose area, somehow stays up quite well, as it's designed to lay on the top of your cheeks and follow the contours of your face, which helps it to stay up without it being too tight. We're sure getting the right size would help with a good fit — it's M or L for adults (we wore an M, which fit well) and there are sizes for kids and babies as well.
As for the breathability, jogging in our humidity is torturous enough as it is (for us at least), so jogging with a mask on is, to us, a little mad. But surprisingly, jogging with the Dermacool mask wasn't that bad. As we started panting mid-way into our jog, the fabric moves in and out with our breath, but we find ourselves still getting enough air and not feeling much more short of breath than usual. Just as a comparison, we also tried on the latest government-issued reusable masks during our jog, and the moment we put it on, it felt like we had a wet frog on our face.
We feel this mask would work well for use in gyms, which are more high-risk environments. We're not sure we would wear these to jog outdoors, but if you're on the treadmill or lifting weights, or possibly in an exercise class, this mask would be great. And even if you're not a sports enthusiastic, the mask is good for everyday tasks, thanks to it being so lightweight and breathable.
Other plus points: The ear loop straps are super soft and designed for a fitted feel without the need for size-adjustment accessories, and will fit well as long as you get the correct size. It's also suitable for those with sensitive skin, and is good for up to 100 washes.
Dermacool masks are available at aurigamart.com/collections/dermacool and also on Lazada, Shopee and Qoo100.