I was in Seoul last year and I saw people wearing masks regularly as they commuted. It was a foreign concept to me. The air and indeed the subway seemed clean to me. I looked into it and discovered in Asian countries masks do more than just protect others. They are a symbol that the wearer understands there is a health issue and that they are taking steps to protect others. Wholesome considering some of the scenes western society has created when it comes to masks. But my point is that the masks make a statement, so why don’t you make one too. I’ve been testing out a few premium tech masks, including the Closca Mask which I love. But even though I love it, after prolonged testing I can only wear it for a short period without it annoying me. I bought myself a U-Mask and I’ve yet to be annoyed while wearing it. I figured, I better write about it in case there are others out there willing to invest in a mask that you can wear for long periods.
What Is U-Mask?
If you’re an F1 fan you’re probably already familiar with U-Mask. Teams like McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams have all adopted U-Mask as their protective mask of choice. The company is born out of the Italian company U-Earth. They started out life as a biotech company, designing tech to clean air in offices, hospitals and several other industries too. U-Earth air purifiers can have an impact on the local environment akin to that of 276 oak trees, absorbing 71kgs of pollutants daily.
We believe that access to pure air is as much of a human right, as it is to have access to drinkable tap water and healthy food.
Founder and CEO of U-Earth Biotech
The company knew how to clean air so naturally when the world changed this year thanks to COVID-19, they saw an opportunity to produce something which can keep everyone’s air clean.
How Does U-Mask Work?
U-Mask is a two-layer mask.
U-Mask Outer Layer
The outer cover can be reused unlimited times, you got this for life. It should be cleaned regularly and can be washed at 40% with sanitiser and be good to use again and again. You don’t have to wash your U-Mask cover and every time you wear it. Instead, you just wash it when it gets a little dirty or you feel like it needs to be cleaned. The resealable bag packet the mask comes in means you can protect your mask in there.
This is an over-the-ear mask, which initially had me left a little apprehensive as I’ve found some of these uncomfortable. The genuine reason I bought it was because Lando Norris was wearing one every week while racing for McLaren F1. I liked the look, I was influenced and I bought it, forgetting about the ear thing. Yes, it has occurred to me that I could go all-in playing F1 2020 and wear a mask for hours building up to a full race.
But joking aside, my main reason for buying it off seeing an F1 team wearing them was comfort. I knew that F1 teams must be trying to keep their drivers and pit crews in top mental condition. Wearing a mask for a full race weekend is going to impact that. U-Mask supply these masks to several F1 teams and so I have to assume they are top-notch. And they are. After trialling a few different mask styles, I find myself reaching for my U-Mask more than anything. Like, you know your favourite pair of comfortable underpants and the underpants you only wear because you need to do laundry?
My U-Mask is absolutely on the “favourite” end of the spectrum. So much so I’ve ordered myself another one and this is all down to the design of the outer layer.
Inside the mask, you’ll find your filter. This is the second reason I love my mask. Not only is it comfortable enough for prolonged wearing, but this mask protects others, like all face-coverings, while also protecting me. I’ve been in too many shops and seen too many selfish people without masks and thought “why am I protecting that idiot”. Now, I don’t care because I’m protecting myself too.
The U-Mask filter is reusable and self-sanitising with a life span of 150 to 200 hours of use. It doesn’t just block air contaminants on the mask surface either. It destroys them inside the mask thanks to a multi-layered design of the filter. This mask is working overtime to look after you. So much so that U-Mask is certified as a Class 1 Medical Device.
The filter, live the cover, doesn’t need regular cleaning. But from time to time you should wipe it down with disinfectant wipes. You can also buy refills for the mask and it’s important to note that the filters are unique to the mask.
Is U-Mask Worth It?
I was a little on the fence about forking out a fairly sizeable chunk of change for a mask given that masks are such a new thing we need to wear. I feel absolutely vindicated in my decision to buy the U-Mask. Actually, I love my mask so much I’ve just bought a new one and a pack of filters to keep me going.
Earlier I said my reason for picking the mask was the assumption that if it’s good enough for an F1 team, it’s good enough for me. That logic worked out. I’ve had a few scenarios where I’ve just left the mask on for an hour or two in the city instead of taking it off every time I leave a shop. Honestly, you forget you’re even wearing this mask. This is great too because some experts are already advising that on busy streets you should be wearing a mask anyway.
I also do like the fact it offers me some protection and that it’s been designed by bio-scientists who specialise in clean air. It does take the edge off seeing idiots not wearing a mask when they should be knowing I’ve got a layer of protection for me in my mask.
There’s an added feel-good factor too. When you buy a U-Mask you’re also helping to fund U-Earth Air Purifiers to Italian hospitals to fight COVID19.
You should wash your U-Mask when ever it is visibly dirty. The creators state it doesn’t need to be washed after every use.
The filter is tested to be effective for 150-200 hours. It’s hard to keep track of that kind of thing so I’d recommend airing on the side of caution. If your gut says the filter is done, swap it out.
Expensive is subjective word. Disposable masks end up being more expensive if you plough through them. For me, I’m investing in a mask like this because it’s good for the environment but also because some added tech protects me as well as others.