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Like many teachers, Angie Madden spent last summer stocking up on school supplies, including plenty of face masks to help her make it through the school week. The Georgia resident also headed back to the classroom with an interesting accessory that makes wearing a mask all day a bit easier: a face mask bracket.
The handy accessory rests underneath your mask and holds it in place, making it easier to talk without having to constantly adjust it. For teachers who spend their whole day talking, that's a pretty big deal.
Madden introduced her Facebook friends to her new online find in August 2020. Throughout the last year, her video has over 16 million views and has been shared nearly 300,000 times.
Madden put the product to the test when she made her way back to the classroom last August and only had raves about it.
"It has been such a relief to be able to talk and not suck in the mask," the teacher previously told Shop TODAY, adding that the only downside was that she sweated a bit while wearing the bracket.
If you're curious to know exactly which bracket Madden used, she told us she ordered this affordable 10-pack from Amazon.
Madden said she likes to wear the product underneath her mask daily and wash it every night with dish soap and water to keep it nice and clean. The teacher said the silicone material is "very soft and comfortable" and sits right on her chin.
The Georgia teacher thought the face mask bracket would be useful in her classroom, but she was also thinking of her better half when she initially purchased the product.
"One of the other reasons that I bought it is my husband works in a plant and it can get very noisy, so in order for him to talk to people he would pull his mask down. I’m worried for him since he’s diabetic and is in a high-risk group," she explained.
Are face mask brackets safe?
We've heard a lot about the important role that face masks play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially with the highly transmissible delta variant becoming the dominant strain across the U.S., but we also know that wearing them for an extended period of time can feel a bit uncomfortable. Much like ear savers, brackets are a convenient way to make masks a bit more comfortable.
But the question remains: Are face mask brackets safe to use? The medical experts TODAY spoke with all agreed that face brackets shouldn't make your face mask less effective, as long as they're used correctly.
"If the position of the mask around the nose, cheeks and chin is good, then a silicone mask insert should maintain the same level of effectiveness as wearing a mask without one," said Dr. Nate Favini, an internist based in San Francisco.
Much like when you're wearing a face mask by itself, when you add in a bracket, you'll want to make sure that your mask still has a snug fit.
"The only potential safety concern is if it makes the mask fit less snug on your face, leaving more areas open for viral particles or aerosols to get into your nose and mouth area. So, this depends on the particular mask you are using, how the insert fits with that mask, and the dimensions of your face," said Dr. Farshad Fani Marvasti, a physician and director of the public health curriculum at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.
A face mask bracket isn't necessary for everyone, but it's certainly a useful tool for those who find themselves wearing a mask all day long.
"If it allows you to wear your mask more often and be a good example to your family, friends, neighbors and help you practice overall care to keep healthy, that is the goal," said Dr. Rob Darzynkiewicz, an emergency physician located in Truckee, California.
Best face mask brackets of 2021
Whether you're wearing a mask all day or just need a tool to keep your makeup looking sharp while heading into the store for a quick errand, face mask brackets are definitely multitaskers. And at $9 for a pack of five, they're also pretty affordable.
Made of lightweight materials that provide a soft fit, it's no wonder why this foldable design is currently an Etsy bestseller. Along with its side hooks that can be inserted inside most masks, reviewers also love how this "versatile" pick prevents your glasses from fogging up.
Need a face mask bracket for yourself and the kiddos? This option from Amazon comes in both sizes. One customer left the following review: "Great product, I am very claustrophobic and wearing a mask is difficult if it touches my mouth. This mask bracket allowed me to breathe easier with a mask on."
When it comes to masks, one size doesn't always fit all, and mask brackets are the same way. If you want options, this bracket comes in two sizes and shapes and is also available in a 10-pack.
No one will be able to tell that you've got a pretty blue face bracket underneath your mask, but sometimes color can give you a little boost, and that's all that really matters, right?
This handmade Etsy option increases your mask's breathing space by adopting a "humanized structure design", according to the product description. It's also especially great for keeping your lipstick smudge-proof throughout the day.
For more stories like this, check out:
- This face mask accessory trend is taking over Instagram — and experts approve
- 31 colorful face masks kids will actually want to wear
- Experts share tips on how to shop for a breathable face mask you can exercise in