Getting vaccinated and consistently wearing a well-fitted mask provides the best protection against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But when you have a significant amount of facial hair or a beard that you’re not planning to shave anytime soon, finding a mask that fits for protection and comfort is no easy task.
Wearing a too-tight face mask over a beard can causes a dreaded “beard dent.” And while many folks in the bearded community opt for neck gaiters instead, they’re not the most effective face covering to use. Neck gaiters, which at one point earlier in the pandemic were recommended by the CDC, are no longer on the CDC’s list of recommended face coverings in the age of omicron.
Though any mask is better than no mask, some offer higher levels of protection than others. The most important thing to remember when deciding which beard-friendly mask to get is that it needs to fit properly and, to maximize your protection, the fit should eliminate any gaps through which air can flow. This includes N95 or KN95 masks and cloth masks.