In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, UAE law requires everyone to wear a face mask for the foreseeable future. And businesses have responded to that demand quickly and robustly, producing a range of options if the N95 or blue surgical variety don’t quite suit.
Polaroid STAY SAFE
If you want to go all in on your protection, Polaroid’s Face Shield has a fashionable option. As part of its STAY SAFE Collection, they have introduced a sleek, PPE-certified, transparent wraparound shield. Made from polycarbonate, it is adjustable for adults and children aged 10 and up and suitable for professional use. If you can get your hands on one – they are a hot property right now – the shield will set you apart from anyone else wearing one, with a simple black forehead strap and colorful Polaroid branding.
Dh165; sold at local optical stores including Yateem
Skills3’s Masks for a Cause
If you want to feel good about your mask, this is a good place to start. Skills3 Creative Services, is a company that enhances and improves the lives of marginalized people and their communities through sewing. They launched Masks 4 a Cause at the start of the pandemic when they dispatched sewing machines and fabric to seven seamstresses in Dubai who had been furloughed from their jobs, training them via Zoom. To date they have made 4,000 masks, kept the women in work, and, after connecting with volunteers in the animal welfare community, raised enough money to fund the trap, neuter and release of 150 cats. Skills3 recently expanded this program to Abu Dhabi, enlisting seven Syrian refugee women to make masks and providing each one with a sewing machine in their home. They’re also hosting Zoom mask-making workshops at the Philippines Overseas Labour Office, to help reduce the burden on their welfare budget.
The UAE company Mask Mee was created to provide wearers with the best protection possible, as well as being comfortable and stylish at the same time. The masks have a double layer and are fitted to the face shape; fully washable, you can dry them in the sun or a home dryer. There are 29 designs for women and five for men, fully customizable and available in two sizes. They also don’t use elastic over the ears, which can be painful with prolonged use. The company contributes a percentage of their sales toward masks for those in the community who need them.
Kind by Design
These fashion masks – the UAE company points out they are not medical grade – come in a variety of whimsical patterns. Triple-layered natural fabrics make the masks breathable and Kind By Design enlists local businesses to produce them, shoring up the UAE economy. The masks come in three sizes for men, women and children, with a 25 percent discount if you purchase four or more.
Levi’s has officially launched face masks inspired by their iconic bandana and in a range of colors. They’re comfortable, reusable and reversible.
Dh19; In Levi’s stores across the UAE
Smiling cats, lazy dogs, bright mudras, candy, polka dots and plaid – these are some of the creative designs coming at you from the Dubai-based startup MaskIt. The cool thing about these masks is that they merge fashion and safety: certified by the US FDA and the European CE (Conformité Européenne)safety mark, they are sold with three replaceable filters that can be used for up to 350 washes.
Dh30; Via Instagram
Fine Guard Sports Mask
This UAE company produces masks designed for athletes (they just held a virtual global pole vaulting competition that drew 2.5 million viewers) using LIVINGUARD technology, which they promise kills 99.99 percent of viruses on contact, including coronavirus. With purchase you get two masks, each reusable for up to a year and washable up to 50 times with hand soap and water. The masks are made from breathable cotton and lycra and come with velcro fasteners so they are fully adjustable.
This UAE company offers reusable, washable and anti-viral face masks powered by HeiQ Viroblock, a Swiss technology that provides 99.9 percent protection by neutralizing viruses on contact within 30 minutes. In August the company tripled its production capacity to 1.8 million masks per month to expand through the GCC and into Saudi Arabia.
Dh99 (Dh89 for children); ViroMasks.com
Faro Masks is based in the UAE, started by siblings Milind, Aakash and Juhi Parmar, who are aged between 16 and 21. They set out to offer highly breathable masks that can be designed and customized via Instagram. The siblings are donating 50 percent of their sales from the Lebanon-themed Solidarity collection towards Red Crescent restoration efforts for Beirut.
Dh50; via Instagram
One Good Thing
Here’s a mask that’s created from fabric remnants and with every purchase of four, one is donated to a person in the community who needs it. They are not medical grade but each comes with an opening where a standard surgical mask can be inserted. Made from soft cotton, each four-pack comes with designs suitable for men and women, including these chic camo prints.
Dh95 for a four-pack; One Good Thing
Banish Covid-19 and filter out pollution with the Naroo brand mask from South Korea. These fitness-focused masks have been designed to enable optimal breathing during intense sporting activities, and are popular among elite athletes. The F-Series, NAROO’s most popular range, has a micro-filter fibre that blocks 99 percent of particles including viral droplets, pollution, fine dust and even pollen. It’s re-usable and washable up to 100 times, with copper fibres woven into the fabric that kill harmful pathogens and bacteria.
Dh95 to Dh370; ae.naroomask.com
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.