If you have bought a mask recently, and it was not custom made to your measurements, chances are your will have to make some slight adjustments to make it fit perfectly and comfortably.
We have been making masks since mid-March. We designed, redesigned, adjusted, fitted and tested a lot of masks before launching them on the market. At first we chose the size that fit the most faces that we had our testers try and fit. Since then, we have added a small size in the contoured style and continue to roll out other sizes as we get feedback from our testers. We’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way to help you fit a mask that you have bought. Although we are referencing our own masks, in general, these tips will apply to most masks.
FEATURES OF A WELL FITTING MASK
It should be snug around the perimeter, meaning no gaps around the edges. Now, cloth masks are not N95 masks, so the fit will never be as tight, but your mask should fit snugly without large gaps on the sides, and it should be comfortable (as much as a mask can be comfortable), so that you can wear it and talk and turn your head, etc. without the mask shifting on you or you needing to adjust it constantly.
When I wear my masks, I can breath, there are no gaps, I can talk without the mask sliding down my nose and I don’t need to touch or fuss with it once I’ve put it on properly. This is what you’re aiming for.
WHERE TO MAKE YOUR ADJUSTMENTS
Whenever I am out and about running errands, I see A LOT of ill fitting masks. I find myself tempted to want to fix the fit for everyone! It’s not always the mask itself that’s the problem, sometimes, it’s the way people are wearing them. Other times, it’s just a few minor adjustments that would make their mask fit SO MUCH BETTER.
So, let’s take a look at where you can make some adjustments for a perfect fit.
This is probably the most common adjustment that needs to be made. Your MASK is not too big (in most cases), your EAR LOOPS are too big.
The ear loops need to fit a wide range of faces & ears, so they need to be made bigger to accommodate the most people possible. It’s easier to make the ear loop smaller than it is to make it bigger.
ADJUSTING EAR LOOPS
EAR LOOPS ARE TOO BIG:
There are a few ways that you can adjust ear loops that are too big on our masks:
- Tacking the slack by hand
- Use tie-bar adjusters
- Ear toggles are pretty self explanatory. You can probably buy them somewhere near where you live or you can buy them online on our store here.
- Tack in place. Yes, this will require a needle and thread or a sewing machine. You can pinch out the excess in your ear loop (Try pinching it out in different places on the ear loop to see where YOU need the adjustment to make your mask fit snugly and comfortably for YOUR face). Once you have pinched out the excess in the right place you can tack using a stab stitch (if sewing by hand) to keep it in place or zigzag on a sewing machine.
- Our masks come equipped with built in adjusters attached to the ear loops. We put these on our masks for the very reason that the ear loops will not fit everyone and, even if your ear loops do fit properly, you have the option of tying your mask behind your head. This is a very secure way of wearing your mask. The "adjuster bars" also serve the function of relieving the ear loop pressure off of your ears. If you don’t want to use them, you can cut them off! It is convenient to leave them on, because that way, you always have the option. If you want to pretty them up, you can replace them with ribbon. You will lose some of the elastic properties by using a woven type product, such as ribbon, but it will still work. We have also seen a plastic piece available in stores and on the internet that serves the same function, to pull the ear loops back behind your head.
EAR LOOPS ARE TOO SMALL:
You can adjust too small ear loops in the following way:
- Use tie back adjuster bars instead of ear loops, as mentioned above
- Add a piece of elastic or ribbon to the ear loops to make them big enough.
To make the loops bigger you will need to cut the elastic (this will not work if you have round elastic or very small elastic), and figure out how much extra elastic you will need. Cut your extra elastic at least 1” bigger than you need so you can overlap it to the existing ear loop on your mask. You will then need to tack by hand or zigzag the “extension piece” in place.
Now that the mask fits, there are things you can do to make it fit more snugly:
- Add a nose wire on the outside (like they do on the N-95 masks) or insert it inside the filter pocket, between the two layers.
- You can use double sided medical grade skin tape, instead of the nose wire, if you can find some. The medical grade tape is usually used on the bridge of your nose/around the eye area under your mask. Personally, I do not use it and I would think that repeated, regular use of this would irritate your skin, especially around the delicate eye area, but you can research this and see if it's an option for you.
- If you wear glasses, you have a built in nose wire. You need to make sure that the mask comes up high enough on the bridge of your nose to be able to put your glasses OVER the mask (see photo at the beginning of the blog post).
Voila! Your mask is magically fitting better and it will be more comfortable wear.
There are also other things to consider that make your mask more comfortable, such as fitting features built-in to the mask design and which design is better for your needs. For more information on that topic, visit our blog post here.
Having issues with your mask fit? If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send us an email, we'd love to hear from you! Send us a picture along with your fitting concern and we'll try to help you out. You can also contact us via any of our social media platforms.