I’m so thrilled to see all the transparent faces masks that are starting to come out, especially considering the incredible technology some of them are delivering.
For background, I am one of those WEAR YOUR MASK, PEOPLE! people, passionately and without apology. Living in NYC (and uh, believing in science) will do that to you. But while I never leave home without one, I have written about how I’m a big smiler, and how I realize that when I smile at someone one the street from behind my cloth mask — especially if I’m wearing sunglasses — they just think I’m some weirdo staring at them.
I’ve thought a lot about how far a smile goes at a time of decreased interpersonal contact and how much we’re missing it — though that’s a small complaint relative to some of the other challenges that opaque masks have for other people.
Think about babies in strollers, or even children, who are missing facial cues that help them learn to read emotions. I’ve heard from friends working in hospitals who miss being able to give a friendly smile to a patient, or important instructions to someone who’s hearing impaired I’ve also thought a lot about my own dad, who is hard of hearing, and whom I know relies more on lip-reading when there’s a lot of ambient noise.
But what concerns me above all is what I’ve heard and read from Black friends — especially men, or parents of Black boys — who fear masks will lead to racial profiling and its truly terrifying consequences, and shouldn’t have to weigh the possibility of that horror with the horror of getting or transmitting Covid to others.
So transparent masks? Yes. Please.
Post updated Oct 2020 with new info
Related: The easiest new-sew mask tutorial when you need one in a pinch
LEAF Mask: Sorry guys, you’ll have to shave again.
PLEASE NOTE, we can no longer recommend the LEAF mask from Redcliffe Healthcare. Our research indicates that their claims of FDA approval are not accurate, and that tons of Indiegogo donors are complaining about lack of communication, delays, and a lot of skepticism. They also haven’t updated their social feeds in months or returned message from customers who have called this everything from a scam to a fraud…and more colorful terms.
Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience. We’re disappointed too. Hopefully a more legitimate company will come along and actually deliver on this.
ClearMask: For medical use…and beyond?
For healthcare professionals specifically, the ClearMask (good job on that ™, ClearMask), looks like a solid, affordable option. It could even end up being the new hospital standard. considering the benefits they describe for healthcare professionals — like decreasing anxiety in children, increasing connection during childbirth, and reducing patient anxiety overall. It’s only available for bulk pre-ordering for medical use right now, but I can see it catching on once production is up and running.
HelloMask: Radical new technology that could change everything
One of the coolest options may also be the simplest: A new transparent polymer mask called HelloMask, made in Switzerland from a new material developed for this very purpose. It’s actually been two years in development, to ensure “the right combination of transparency, resistance and porosity.” It’s gong to be mass-produced for general use, and best of all, it’s going to be eco-friendly.
There are some others that seem less viable for non-medical pros like me, but I imagine plenty more will come.
As cool as these all are, I can only beg you: don’t even think of making your own. We all know not to stick a plastic bag over our heads or over our mouths, right? So no DIY Saran Wrap mask tutorials on Pinterest, please.
Note: If you are here to tell me that face masks don’t work in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and that they are a high-level mind control hoax for sheeple zombies perpetrated by Bill Gates, George Soros and the ghost of Area 51 alien autopsy victims, this is not a forum for you. Instead, consider taking some time to research why you do not want Covid nor do you want to transmit it to people you love, read some good medical studies about the effectiveness of masks… then put on a freaking mask instead of pretending you have a medical condition, thanks.
I love every single thing about this post. I didn’t even realize that anyone was this close to producing these much-needed mask options, so I’m so happy to learn of them. But also, your George Soros conspiracy theory warning? You have my heart forever! It’s not political, for crying out loud. It’s called being a human.
LEAF is marketing without substance. This company is currently experiencing financial shortages since igniting their crowdsource funding via Indiegogo on June 24. They promised backers to deliver masks starting on July 16, then delayed it to July 21, and on July 31 sent an outlandish email stating that: (a) Indiegogo has blocked the distribution of their funds due to violations of campaign terms (likely making claims they cannot substantiate) until evidence is shown that the products indeed exist or are being manufactured; (b) Leaf states that they are unable to keep track of who ordered what or when (two “surveys” have gone out thus far asking backers to “confirm” orders. Still a third survey is expected to come this week). This despite the fact that people had funds withdrawn from their accounts noting date/amounts, in expectation of the merchandise. American laws require companies to keep strict financial records: sales tracking is an essential business function. Founders simply note: “please understand, we’re just a group of techies,” as if learning to run a business by the seat of their pants is at all excusable; and, (c) some of the founders have a record of business misgivings in Michigan and the company has yet to make explicit their actual address. This is starting to look a lot like an Elizabeth Holmes scenario.
Thanks for the info, we will update. So disappointing.
Redcliffe is a scam. Please investigate the business background of the founder (Lalit Verma), the fact that Redcliffe presented a falsified SGS filtration report to investors early on, which turned out to belong to a different company, and most of all the fact that the best PPE available on the market today, a NIOSH-approved PAPR ($1,900) would not possibly claim to offer N99+ protection against Covid-19 for the simple fact that transmissibility depends on the level of virulence in the air. No reputable lab would ever certify a basic face mask as providing such protection. Mere FDA registry is not enough.
For info: https://lostleafbackers.wordpress.com/
Thanks so much for this info. The post has been updated after doing some research and hearing similar complaints. That…sucks. To say the least. – Eds
As the daughter of a profoundly deaf woman, who is hearing impaired herself, I must say that this world has been rendered even more hellacious than it already is for millions of deaf people who rely on lipreading to exist in a VERY hearing world. Without this important means of communication, the world is completely inaccessible. So, we need this STAT. So happy to see these developments!
I have a deaf and learning disabled son, who desperately needs to see facial expression and I have been searching for a transparent anti fogging face mask that you can possible wash, disinfect daily. If these masks have filters, how much are the filters and do you need to use a new one daily? How much are the transparent, anti fogging masks? I live in the u.k. Do you need only to buy one mask and it lasts for a long time? Thank you for your answer. When are they available? Jane Papadopoulos
I wouldn’t order the Leaf Mask! I ordered it to allow for face visibility on interpreting jobs and because the filters are supposed to allow more breathability, but the mask does not “cling” to my face (as advertised), plus is way too small to allow for much facial expression.:( I was pretty sure the large would not fit because I have to buy small frames for eyeglasses. As it is, the mask does not cover chin & nose simultaneously: if you make it comfy for your nose, it sits too high up to wear eyeglasses; and if you move it low enough to allow speaking room around your mouth, it pinches your nose so that you cannot breathe!! They really should PROVIDE MEASUREMENTS for width/length!