Face masks are new must-have accessory

Following the UK’s second lockdown, there is no doubt that a mask has become an indispensable accessory to carry at all times. While its purpose is utilitarian, and essential for public health protocols, it can also be a means of self-expression. There is no harm in having some pride in wearing a mask. Masks have drastically changed the way we look. There has been a rise in demand for eye make-up, whilst a decline in lipstick sales. It seems that eyes are replacing mouths in everyday communication!

While there are plenty of places to buy masks online, there are a few local suppliers to support who make or stock both fabric and disposable varieties.

Martin Charles at the Bridal Gallery on West Street makes different sized masks with five layers and a nose wire, beautifully finished with top stitched seams. His masks can be bought at the shop or made to order, including a new range of masks in festive Christmas themed fabric.

Margaret Hunter, aged 75, has made over 800 masks in all sorts of designs and colours, raising over £4000 for Kivuli Trust and Marafiki Trust, which helps children in Kenya. She started making masks for her friends when the virus broke out, but then decided to sell her masks to support the Kivuli Trust in Kenya, which she has visited with the trust founders. “It was an opportunity to raise money for the charity,” said Mrs Hunter, “and it’s just taken off!” Her masks are posted on the Oundle Facebook community pages and can be ordered via email at hello@marafikitrust.org.

Disposable masks can be bought singly or in multi-buy boxes from many shops, including The Pharmacy, Boots and The Co-op. According to Which?, Neqi reusable face masks, and face coverings made by Bags of Ethics Great British designers, are the top two performing face masks. They are available at Boots and Waitrose.

White Vanilla at 1 Market Place stocks fabric face coverings made with organic cotton by Sea Salt Cornwall. These masks are adjustable and shaped to ensure a good fit for the face.

Masks get contaminated easily by coughs and sneezes and should be cleaned regularly in hot soapy water, or in a washing machine.
Masks should never be shared or handled by anyone other than the user.

Jennifer Yang
1 December 2020