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If you put on your glasses with your face mask before leaving the house, there’s a strong chance you’re going to be in for a foggy commute. Whether you’re just taking your dog on a walk on a cold day or carrying your groceries to your front door, when your glasses fog up, it’s not just annoying to the point of making you want to take them off — it can be pretty damn risky if you can’t see where you’re going, not to mention potentially making your vision even worse than it is without your prescription.
But why exactly does this even happen in the first place? “The short answer: condensation,” explains Danielle Richardson, optometrist and West Coast director of clinical care at Zak in Los Angeles. “When warm air hits a cool surface (the lens), condensation forms.” In other words, when you step foot outside in the winter, your breath makes it harder for you to see. The good news: There are a few simple things you can do so the world doesn’t look so fuzzy.
How to Prevent Glasses From Fogging Up When Wearing a Face Mask
If you’re looking for the best face mask to wear with glasses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently still calls for wearing masks that have as close of a fit as possible and include at least two layers of fabric. And if you’re going to wear glasses with your mask, the CDC advises going with an option that “fits closely over your nose or one that has a nose wire to limit fogging.”
It all sounds pretty straightforward, but it can still be a challenge to secure your mask so it doesn’t make your glasses look like you just got out of the shower. Luckily more brands are releasing masks that aim to give you a clearer view when you have your glasses on, and there are specific features to look for when you’re shopping for one. It all really comes down to how it fits on your face.
“The best type of mask to wear is one with a tight seal across the bridge of the nose,” Dr. Richardson says. “This can be accomplished with a metal wire or other structure in the mask and/or adjustable ear loops.”
Look for masks with a flexible seal, that you can bend and shape to fit the contours of your nose. That will help it frame your features better and lie flat against your face, eliminating the air pockets that often lead to fog and condensation when you breathe. You may also want to consider a good KN95 mask or a duckbill-style mask, which sits away from your mouth, to direct your breath forward into the filter, rather than trapping it in the mask or directing your breath upwards, where it can fog up your glasses.
Beyond looking for the right mask features, there are a few things you can do that don’t have much to do with your mask at all, like choosing the right-fitting frames. “The best thing to do is ensure your glasses fit your face properly and are correctly adjusted,” Dr. Richardson notes. “You’ll want to avoid styles where the lenses touch your cheeks and instead opt for styles that allow circulation of air. When the glasses sitting on the cheeks is unavoidable, I recommend patients fit their mask tight around the nose and cheeks and allow the lenses to rest on the mask, instead of the face.”
Meanwhile, aside from better-fitting face masks, companies have released other products with the goal of helping to prevent foggy lenses, including Warby Parker, which sells a bottle of anti-fog lenses spray that you can also use to clean your lenses.
What Are the Best Face Masks to Buy if You Wear Glasses?
With this expert advice in mind, we picked some of the best face masks to wear with your glasses, to hopefully help you avoid a fogged-up walk in the process.
1. Public Goods KN95 Face Mask
If you’re looking for a protective KN95 face mask you can wear with your glasses, consider this one from Public Goods, which you can buy in packs of 10. Public Goods’ mask offers up to 95 percent filtration with a mechanical filter, according to the company, along with five layers of defense per mask. Each one has a nose clip to help make sure there’s not as much extra space between your face and your mask.
Public Goods KN95 Face Mask (10-Pack), $44, available at Public Goods
2. The Tie Bar 5-Pack Cotton Solid Masks
The Tie Bar
The company that sells some of your favorite neckties and dress shirts now designs two-layer cotton masks you can wear with any outfit. And with their built-in wire, that especially includes your glasses. This pack is machine washable, and the masks come in one size.
The Tie Bar Cotton Solid Masks (5-Pack), $30, available at The Tie Bar
3. WWDOLL KN95 Face Mask (25-Pack)
These FDA-approved KN95 masks from the brand WWDOLL aren’t reusable like some of the other options on this list, but they feature a convenient nose clip and five layers to help filter out harmful particles. You can buy them in both 25-packs and 50-packs. They fit tight across the face, and let you wear your glasses over the mask comfortably.
WWDOLL KN95 Face Mask (25-Pack), $49.74, available on Amazon
4. Bonobos Riviera Face Mask
From houndstooth to a red check floral pattern, you won’t have a problem finding a stylish mask at Bonobos. This machine-washable Riviera model can accommodate a filter and has a double layer of cotton with a wire to better fit your mask over your nose. Instead of ear loops, Bonobos upped the comfort and designed the masks’ straps to go around your head and neck, sealing off the gaps that can often lead to condensation and foggy glasses.
Bonobos Riviera Face Mask (3-Pack), $25, available at Bonobos
5. Huckberry Tri-fold Woven Face Mask (2-Pack)
Available in three colors, Huckberry’s own woven masks contain a mix of polyester and cotton and feature elastic ear loops so you’ll get a secure fit every time. You can clean it in the washing machine, and you can modify the nose bridge so it’s more comfortable with your frames.
Huckberry Tri-fold Woven Face Mask (2-Pack), $18, available at Huckberry
6. Bilio Face Mask
Anyone with a glasses prescription should know about Bilio’s mask. When you wear it, the “nose crimp” gives you a tighter fit so you shouldn’t have to remove your glasses just to see what’s in front of you. The durable fabric is a mix of recycled polyester and silver yarn, and the company says it’s supposed to fit even better the more you wear it. Right now, it’s available in both small/medium and large/extra large sizes and in three colors, including sage, onyx and dove.
Biolio Face Mask, $38, available at Huckberry
7. Under Armour Sportsmask
If you’re doing outdoor workouts and wearing your glasses, you’ll want to try one of our top workout face masks, like Under Armour’s Sportsmask, which you can adjust to better fit your nose. Its fabric will help protect your face from the sun’s rays, and you can buy it in five different sizes. The brand even recently designed it into the new ColdGear Mock Long Sleeve Shirt. Under Armour currently has a deal where you can get two for $40, so you’ll always have a clean mask ready to go when you’re ready for your next run.
Under Armour Sportsmask Face Mask, 2 for $40 or $30 each, available at Under Armour
8. Herschel Supply Company Classic Fitted Face Mask
From its sleek line of backpacks to its durable carry-ons and laptop cases, Herschel has a large supply of go-to accessories. And now you can even pick up the company’s face masks that you can fit closer to your nose. Aside from the fitted features, including smart ear loops that you can easily tighten or loosen, we like that the brand makes eight versions of this mask, from a stylish peacoat-engineered stripe design, to camo and more.
Herschel Supply Company Classic Fitted Face Mask, $14.99, available at Herschel
9. Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit
Outdoor Research’s Essential Face Mask has a nose wire and can stand up to the wear and tear of daily use thanks to its polyester fabric, which can also wick away sweat. With the kit, you’ll get your mask, three disposable filter inserts and a carrying pouch, so you don’t have to worry about dropping it on the ground.
Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit, $20, available at REI
10. Cotopaxi Face Mask
Available in packs of three or five and a ton of fun-and-unique color combos, Cotopaxi’s face mask includes a nose wire along with two layers of woven cotton, so you’ll be prepared whether you’re at a campsite, at the store and everywhere else. Cotopaxi says that if you buy one of its masks, the company will donate a mask to the nonprofit Mercy Corps.
Cotopaxi Face Mask, $13 each or $33 for 3-Pack, available at Cotopaxi
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