Mask Up, Martin

Mask Up, Martin

Claire Loyd, Features Editor

2020 has definitely been a year for the history books, and as weird as it seems, masks have become a part of everyday life. Who would have thought this time last year we would have to think about wearing masks in public, and choosing which one best fits our outfit? Each day the world seems to get more and more creative with their masks, including using things like leaf lettuce, cut water bottles, and fruit peels as a face covering. 

But which type of mask really is the best? Although this question is very subjective, a few tests like the candle test, a proper fitting test, and a light laser beam test can be done to see if your mask really is effective in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. 

After asking a few students if they tend to lean more towards effective masks or fashionable masks, the results leaned towards fashionable masks. 

“I go for fashion and whether or not [the mask] hurts my ears,” junior Autumn Haney said.  

A few students said they pick masks that are not only cute but also functional. 

“My favorite mask is both effective and pretty cute,” 11th graderSavannah Lavelle said. “It’s light purple, which is my favorite color.” 

Some just go for what’s readily available. 

“Honestly I just use those blue disposable ones.” junior Kate Atkins said.

I decided to take 8 different masks from different price points to test things like comfort, styles, and effectiveness by trying to blow out a flame from a lit candle. 


Blue Surgical mask

Probably the most common mask seen these days is the simple, blue, surgical mask. This mask is relatively cheap and can be found very easily in many stores. At around a dollar apiece, this mask is fairly comfortable but can be a little big behind the ears. It doesn’t leave any face indentations or ear blisters. When put to the “candle test,” I wasn’t able to blow out the flame with the mask on. Although the mask is kinda boring, the shade of blue isn’t awful. For the price point and effectiveness the blue, surgical, mask passes.



This mask got a lot of compliments when I wore it in public. The Kit-Sch mask has so many cute colors and patterns and the cotton fabric is super comfy and washable. This mask costs around $4 per piece and comes in a pack of three. It can be found in Sprouts grocery stores as well as online. When put to the candle test, this mask failed. Although super cute and comfy, when in a pandemic, sometimes you have to forgo cuteness for actual function.


Electric Styles Neck gaiter with filter

This neck gaiter style mask from Electric Styles, for me, wasn’t the most comfortable. This mask was also on the more pricey side for $25 apiece with four additional filters. I think this would work great for someone who has a beard or likes having their neck covered. For me, the mask would not stay up since it didn’t have any ear loops. Although the material is thin and cool, the addition of the filter made this mask pass the candle test. Although this mask isn’t for me, it could work really well on the right person.



This mask is probably one of the most functional masks out of the ones I tested. The style isn’t great, being only white, and an odd shape. This mask is the best for your dollar. A pack of 10 KN95 masks is around $30, making each mask $3. KN95s are easy to find online and in some stores. The unique shape of this mask covers all the way up to your nose and around the lower part of your face. The ear loops are fairly comfortable, yet the ridged border of the mask can sometimes leave indentations on your face. This mask passed the candle test and is a great option.


Hanes T-Shirt Mask

The Hanes T-shirt mask is available in a pack of 5 for around $2 per mask. I found this mask at Walmart but it can also be found online. This mask is a plain white t-shirt material that could easily be customized with tie-dye, colored markers, or even painted on. The ear loops are quite big and loose, but I easily secured them with a small elastic. The metal nose bridge piece and soft material makes it very comfortable. This mask did not pass the candle test, so I would pass on this one.


Boho Neck Gaiter

This mask is a neck gaiter style with tons of different, super cute, bright patterns to pick from. This mask can be found online at Natural Life for around $13 apiece. Similar to the other neck gaiter, it doesn’t stay up due to the lack of ear loops. The material is very soft and thin making it super comfortable, but not very effective. Although this mask is probably one of the cutest, it did not pass the candle test making it not a great choice.



This mask can be found at almost all craft stores or online for around $4 apiece. Although not advertised as a mask, many people have begun to use them as such because of their availability as well as the customizable size. Since the style is similar to a neck gaiter, it can be tied to your desired size and tightness. This mask has no ear loops, so the only way to keep it held up is to tie it fairly tight, which can lead to headaches and face indentations. The bandana mask did not pass the candle test, most likely due to its open bottom and thin material. In a pinch, this is better than nothing, but not one of the best masks on the market. 


Homemade Fabric Mask

This mask is one of the most customizable with limitless fabric options and styles. The one I tried on had elastic ear bands that were pretty comfortable and stayed on very well. The fabric was very soft and machine washable so the mask could stay clean. This mask passed the candle test, so it’s a functional mask as well. The only downfall to this mask is since it was made by hand, the order turn around is a week or two, and the is pricier, selling for $10 each, might be a little higher than a typical store-bought mask. This mask is cute, comfortable, and functional, so it’s a great choice.

My final rating of the masks from best to worst in terms of, comfort, style, and effectiveness is KN95, homemade fabric mask, blue surgical mask, Electric Styles neck gaiter, Kit-Sch, Hanes t-shirt, Boho neck gaiter, and then the bandana.