icon
icon
article hero

We Compared 5 Hijabi-Friendly Alternatives To Surgical Face Masks - Here’s What We Found Out

AvatarName

Shasha Dania  •  Jun 04, 2020

icon

With countries beginning to relax some of their social distancing lockdowns and measures, more and more of us have begun to resume parts of our daily lives. From going back to the office to being able to visit family, it's important to keep ourselves safe and protected even as we go about this 'new normal'. 😊 Face masks are definitely an everyday essential, and there are now several hijabi-friendly alternatives to the usual surgical face masks. But how safe are some of these alternatives, and will they give you the protection you need? That's what we're here to find out!
1. Hijab-ready surgical masks
If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a box of hijab-friendly masks then you're all set! Nexcare's masks are the most well known of this type, and they're basically surgical masks with loops that go around the head rather than around your ears. Pros:
  • Full protection of a typical surgical mask
  • Convenient and comfortable
Cons:
  • May not be as easy to find online or in stock 😅
Where to find them: E-platforms such as Shopee (Malaysia) and Tokopedia (Indonesia)
 2. Detachable extenders
 For many hijabis, the easiest way to repurpose a typical surgical face mask is to use an extender or headloop. Coming in all kinds of materials from plastic to crochet to velcro, extenders allow the wearer to wear the mask around their head instead of putting the loops over their ears. Pros:
  • Easy to find on e-platforms and many small businesses on Instagram also sell non-plastic versions of these.
  • Small and portable
  • Full protection of the original surgical mask
  • Good not just for hijabis, but people who find it uncomfortable to wear the mask on their ears
Cons:
  • May not be comfortable depending on the material
  • Need to buy masks and extenders separately
Where to find them: E-platforms such as Shopee (Singapore), Shopee (Malaysia), and Tokopedia (Indonesia)
3. Tie-back reusable masks (with filter slot)
Reusable masks have become a popular alternative to surgical face masks, as they are more eco-friendly and typically a bit more stylish too. You can also DIY your own masks which is why some home-based businesses have started making hijab-friendly reusable masks with a slot for filters. If you're using any type of reusable mask, do remember to wash and clean it properly to ensure that it stays hygienic and safe! Pros:
  • Eco-friendly and more sustainable
  • Customisable
  • Tightness of the band can be adjusted
  •  Using a filter ensures you can get similar protection to surgical masks 
Cons:
  • Need at least 2-3 masks as they should be washed after each use
  • Need to purchase filters separately
  • Need to wash them after each use
  • May not be as easy to find online
Where to find them: Instagram accounts like Nur & Sara (Singapore) and Umbra (Indonesia)
4. Tie-back reusable masks (without filter slot)
Some companies have begun to produce reusable masks that don't come with space for a filter and are typically made with breathable fabrics such as cotton. These are usually quite comfortable and can be found in a range of designs. The biggest concern for this type of mask is that it doesn't have the same range of protection as surgical masks or filtered masks do. P.S. If you use these types of masks, we recommend sewing some excess fabric in and creating your own slot for a filter for extra protection. 😊 Pros:
  • Comfortable and breathable (if made with fabric like cotton)
  • Customisable in a wide range of designs
Cons:
  •  Without a filter, they can usually only create a physical barrier against larger water droplets and germs. If you're in an environment where you may face exposure to crowds or germs (e.g. working as a receptionist, or in the f&b or healthcare industry) this may not be enough to keep you safe. 
Where to find them: Innersejuk is one Malaysian company that produces these masks.
5. Shawl-mask combo
A variation of a jilbab, some Muslimah apparel stores have begun selling shawls that come with a fabric flap that can be raised to cover the mouth like a mask. While these are usually quite stylish, in terms of protection they're similar to reusable masks without a filter slot and should be worn with caution. Pros:
  • Stylish and convenient
  • Customisable in a wide range of designs
  • Breathable
Cons:
  • Without a filter, they can usually only create a physical barrier against larger water droplets and germs. If you're in an environment where you may face exposure to crowds or germs (e.g. working as a receptionist, or in the f&b or healthcare industry) this may not be enough to keep you safe.
Where to find them: Online businesses that sell them typically use the #jilbabmasker hashtag on Instagram. While there are many options out there, ultimately the most important thing to remember is that your mask should keep you safe. 😊 If you are not able to get a safe option like Nexcare's hijab-friendly surgical masks, we recommend finding a mask extender or filtered mask to ensure that you can go about your daily tasks with minimal worries!