A lot is going on in our world today. Regardless of how much we’d like things to go back to how they used to be, at the current moment, it’s best to protect yourself from the Coronavirus with a face mask when you step out of your front door. Why not do it with a reusable mask that’s just as comfortable as it is functional?
Over the past three months, my wife and I have been wearing the Oura Air Mask to protect our faces during grocery store runs and now for our weekly baby appointments. Back in March, we both scrambled to look on Amazon, AliExpress, and various other places to find disposable Medical Masks, but they were either sold out or wouldn’t arrive for weeks; we couldn’t wait that long. Luckily we were approached by Ouragami, a US-based company that makes everything from hats to aprons; due to COVID-19, they have begun making reusable masks for people to purchase.
Before I explain why I love It, I have to say that $50 might seem a bit daunting to pay for a single mask. When I agreed to do the review, none of our Facebook friends and family members designed and created cloth masks at home, so we were in a bind. But I have to say, three months later, it’s still the best mask I’ve worn during this COVID-19 pandemic — I just hope our aunt who made us washable masks doesn’t read this.
Per Oura’s site, the Air Mask features:
- Self-sterilizing Technology: Kills bacteria, viruses, and other germs.
- Water Repellent: Deflects sprays and aerosols to help prevent pathogen penetration from sneezes and coughs.
- Moisture Wicking: Decreases humidity and heat around your face during use.
- Breathability: Advanced textiles help the mask remain breathable while maintaining effective filtration.
- Deodorizing: Breaks down odor-causing molecules and bacteria.
- Eco-friendly: The OURA Air Mask is reusable and washable.
- Hypoallergenic: Made with skin-friendly fabrics that do not contain any harsh chemicals. Safe for the skin microbiome.
- NIOSH-approved N95 Filter: Optional N95 filter is available for purchase with the mask for additional filtration.
- Adjustable Nose Clip: Contours around your nose for a comfortable, personalized seal
- Fits Any Face: A mask is only as good as its fit. That’s why we have several sizes so you can find the perfect one to suit your face.
- UV Protective: UPF 50+ protection from UVA and UVB rays.
By now, we all know what the COVID-19 pandemic rules are, and they are pretty clear: Maintain a social distance of six feet, wash your hands and clothes, and wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when you step outside. Since the CDC told us to start wearing masks, one of my pet peeves has been seeing people toss their disposable masks (and gloves) on the ground instead of discarding them in the proper trash bins. The Oura Mask is washable and reusable, so it does not get thrown away after one time use.
I received the Oura Air Mask in Blue, and my wife opted for the Purple color, which looks great on her. Not only do they protect our faces, but they stay in place. This is important because continually readjusting an ill-fitting mask while out and about creates a possible contamination point.
Oura states that a leading third-party laboratory has independently tested their Air Masks to ensure proper filtration. You can even opt to purchase a NIOSH-approved N95 insert that they say will last for 800 hours of use for an additional $8.
When you have the optional N95 filter inserted in the Air Mask, you get four layers of protection before air ever enters your lungs.
- The outer layer is water repellent to resist penetration from sprays, sneezes & coughs
- Tightly woven fabric blocks out pathogens, dust, spores, allergens & more
- Replaceable Honeywell N95 Filter (NIOSH-approved) blocks out ultrafine particles like smoke, ash, & chemical aerosols
- The inside layer uses skin-friendly fabrics for even the most sensitive skin types
Without that optional N95 filter, the three-layer Oura Air Mask filters >95% viral particles and bacteria; with the N95 insert, the mask can filter 98% of viral particles.
Oura also says that their Air Mask can kill germs.
Most face masks can only filter out germs. This allows them to live on your mask for up to 3 days and leave you exposed. The OURA Air Mask isn’t just a filter. It kills germs and pathogens.
We use molecular level infusion to permanently embed antimicrobial compounds like silver oxide and titanium dioxide into every thread of the fabric. These compounds kill bacteria, inactivate viral particles, break down odors, and continuously sterilize the mask. This technology has been validated by EN13795:2011.
The Oura Air Mask covers everything from about an inch beneath the eyes, including my beard. It might seem like a small thing, but it makes me feel more secure, as I feel like “droplets” would otherwise get caught in my beard if someone were to cough in front of me. It feels as though we’re still learning about the Coronavirus daily, and I don’t want to take any risks. When exercising, I can comfortably wear my PowerBeats Pro without their hoop getting caught in the Oura Air Mask’s elastic ear loops. Unlike the medical masks I’ve tried, the Oura Air Mask’s ear loops don’t become an irritant after 20 minutes, which helps during extended wear.
A bonus is the Oura Air Mask’s ability to repel water; it repels sprays/aerosols to prevent pathogen penetration, essential for stopping COVID-19 transmission. This means that when I need to remove the mask in my car in between stops, I can spray the front of the mask with Lysol as a temporary “cleaning” until I can get home to wash the mask with soap and water. The Lysol spray will not get through the mask to the part that touches my face, and because the mask can block up to 94% of odors, the next time I put the mask on my face, I won’t be breathing in that terrible Lysol smell.
At the same time, the mask is very breathable; I’ve had no problem holding a conversation (at a distance!) without feeling like I needed to move the mask down to get out my thoughts.
As all good cloth masks should, the Oura Air Mask has an integrated adjustable metal nose clip. For people like me whose noses are just a little larger, it helps to contour the mask around the top of the nose for a comfortable fit that won’t slide down, needing readjustment repeatedly while being worn. The only concern I had regarding the mask was whether washing it would end, causing it to shrink over time or if washing the mask might end up damaging the clip. But as long as you wash the mask on a gentle cycle or you hand wash it, you should be fine. Oura doesn’t suggest putting it in the dryer, but if you’re in a pinch and don’t want it drip-drying in your bathroom, I’ve done it without any issue.
While it may seem as though the pandemic might be calming down because things are opening up a bit, that is not the case. Wearing a face-covering is still a requirement in many places, and the CDC recommendation is still in effect. So why not protect your face with a comfortable and self-sterilizing mask? They even have them in kid’s sizes, which is good news if you have children (ages 2 through 12). If you’re considering purchasing one, you can pick it up by visiting their site today.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Well made, well-fitting mask with an adjustable nose clip; The Air Mask covers the entire bottom of your face (including beard in my case); Three layers of cloth with the option to add an extra N95 filter layer in the built-in filter pouch; Just easy enough to breathe through that I can comfortably wear on a jog outside; Comfortable enough to wear for hours without feeling the need to adjust or take off; Embedded with antimicrobial compounds to kill bacteria, inactivate viral particles, break down odors, and continuously sterilize the mask
What Needs Improvement: Expensive; At $50 (on sale), an N95 filter should be included