Grocery stores, airplanes, and even ride-sharing apps are requiring customers to wear face masks as part of the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The cloth coverings are key to preventing asymptomatic carriers from sharing germs—but they also can cause issues like behind-the-ear irritation, ‘maskne’, and a lot of sweat.
The same layers of fabric that stop particles from escaping into the air also trap the heat of your breath. This turns the environment under your mask into an uncomfortable swamp, especially when working out or going outdoors in warmer weather. Luckily, innovative minds won’t settle for this daily discomfort and are quickly turning to alternatives like the Tough Headwear 12-in-1 Cooling Scarf ($15; amazon.com).
The cloth face covering—also called a neck gaiter, headband, and cooling scarf—is made from a super lightweight blend of polyester and spandex. The resulting fabric is sweat-wicking and breathable, so it won’t feel like you’re trapped in a dragon’s lair on hot, sunny days. Of course, this thinner design is less effective at filtering out small particles, like viruses and bacteria, but it’s also a better choice than skipping a mask altogether. (Plus, most cloth face coverings are worn to protect against spreading, rather than catching, the virus.)
As if this best-selling pick couldn’t get any better, it also offers a cooling effect. The UPF 50 fabric is almost 98% effective at blocking the sun’s UV rays, so you’ll stay cool and protected against sunburns. To get a supercharged cooldown, the fabric can be soaked in water and wrung out to remove excess. You can repeat the process as many times as you need to stay cool—and reviewers in Texas and Florida say this feature makes this product a lifesaver on 100-degree days.
cooling-scarf , $15; amazon.com
Reviewers also raved that the simple design could be used in a variety of ways: It serves as a facemask during the pandemic but can be repurposed as a headband in fall or a balaclava for skiing in the winter. Not to mention, it also comes in 9 different colorways to match your wardrobe, though select shades are backordered until early June.
Regardless of your current face mask reserve, there’s no doubt this cooling pick should be on your radar. Its clever design not only solves common complaints with face coverings like overheating and uncomfortable elastic ear bands, but also offers long-term value to your wardrobe. What more could you want from a face covering?
Sign up for our Health Shopping newsletter to get your daily dose of retail therapy with great deals handpicked by our editors—straight to your inbox.