Uniqlo’s Airism Mask Is The Best $15 I’ve Spent This Year

This time a year ago, I was probably typing at my desk in the office, maybe taking a break to enjoy a chai latte from the cafe across the street. Later that night, I probably had plans to meet a friend for happy hour at a crowded bar that I got to via a crowded subway train. All pretty crazy to think about now, right?
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, protective face coverings became a must-have item nearly overnight, giving way to fashion brands rallying together to keep up with demand. As much as we love chic, printed ones to express our personal style, there's one factor that is likely second only to droplet prevention when it comes to a good face mask — breathability. Per CDC guidelines, choosing a mask with "two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric" is the move to ensure comfort and ease of respiration.
Activewear brands have led the charge in techy, performance-fabric masks that are meant to facilitate outdoor workouts so you don't feel like you're about to asphyxiate mid-jog. Well, ever since Uniqlo's Airism face masks launched back in August, virtually every other mask has been playing for second. In other words, it's the first mask that I don't mind wearing.
First of all, let's talk about the dry-touch fabric. The triple-layer design of nylon-spandex blend material not only repels moisture, but also helps block UV rays. (It's even got a washing machine-safe filter layer in the middle — not that you would know, it's so flexible and lightweight.) Next, there are the size options, which as any expert will tell you, is key for a mask's efficacy. According to the size chart, the small size is intended for kiddos, but the medium (which I'm wearing in the pic above) is perfect for me. In addition to being comfortable, a proper fit guarantees that there isn't any gaping above or below the mask which can allow for potential droplet spread.
It's clearly a great product, but we haven't even got to the value aspect. $15 is a sweet deal for three really awesome masks. My only gripe is this: I clicked 'add to cart' on the white trio without realizing that makeup transfer would be an issue. While I'm not wearing a full face most days, I have had to do some extra steps to ensure that any foundation or lipstick rubs off; a one-two punch of loose translucent powder followed by setting mist usually does the trick, but if you're all about the daily glam, I'd recommend getting the black colorway just to be safe. That said, I'd still go as far as to say that this has become my most useful buy of 2020 so far — that, and another hot Japanese export: Animal Crossing.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. 

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series