It’s getting hot, and wearing masks in summer isn’t fun…but maybe find some other way to stay cool. 

Though the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency, the pandemic is still not over, and the threat of the virus is still very real for Tokyo’s crowded metropolitan streets. That’s why it’s imperative to continue to protect yourself and others by washing your hands and wearing masks.

But summer is upon us, and though Japan hasn’t emerged from its rainy season into the full summer heat yet, it’s already getting almost too hot to comfortably wear masks. We still have to wear them, though, so what can we do to stay cool and covered?

▼ Masks + summer = hot

Though there are cooling masks out there, they’re currently very hard to find, so our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro Wasai sought to find a way to cool his regular masks instead. Using five of Japan’s most popular summer cooling products, Yuichiro conducted a series of experiments to see which one would be the best method to keep from overheating while wearing a mask.

His conclusion: don’t try any of them!!

He’d love to have been able to say, “Here’s how to make your mask cooler!” But he can’t. The reason why he’s sharing his experience at all is because he’s certain there are people out there who will try anything to remedy the hell of muggy heat that collects inside their masks. And to them he wants to say, “Don’t.”

And here’s why. (Please do not try any of these at home.)

Experiment 1: Using instant cooling deodorant spray on a mask

Typically you’d use over your clothes to cool your sweaty armpits down quickly. Yuichiro tried this because he was attracted to the idea of “instant cooling”, but it turned out to be a terrible idea because of the smell. On your clothes it smells nice and refreshing, but on a mask, right in front of your nose, the smell is unbearably strong.

Yuichiro only sprayed it on the outside of the mask, so he couldn’t even imagine how terrible it would smell if he’d sprayed it on the inside. He can’t stress enough how important it is to use this particular product only as instructed (i.e. not on a mask).

Experiment 2: Using an unscented cold spray on a mask

If the scented deodorant spray was no good, then an unscented cooling spray should do the trick, right? That’s what Yuichiro thought, but it ended up being the same as the deodorant spray. The smell was awful. As it turns out, just because it’s unscented doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a smell.

Perhaps the problem was the ethanol in the spray? Or maybe the menthol? Whatever it was, spraying it directly on a mask means that the smell goes right up through your nose. Yuichiro actually felt sick after breathing it in, so he could not imagine wearing it like a regular mask.

Experiment 3: Wiping his nostrils with cooling facial wipes

To be honest, we’re not exactly sure why Yuichiro thought this was a good idea, but he tried it, so we’re here to report it. Reportedly, his logic was that if a beer dispenser makes beer cold because its pipes are cold, so, too, will the passageways of his nose being cold make the air he breathes out cold, too.

Obviously he underestimated how tiny a part of the respiratory system his nostrils are. The wipes made his nostrils feel nice and cool, but they did basically nothing to cool down the air in his mask.

Experiment 4: Spraying cold spray directly into his nostrils

The beer dispenser theory didn’t work with the wipes, but maybe they just didn’t have enough cooling power? That’s why Yuichiro decided to try spraying cold spray into his nose. Again, why he thought this was a good idea, we’ll never be sure. Needless to say, it only served to burn the skin on his face, so he highly recommends not doing it.

Experiment 5: Attaching a cooling adhesive sheet to his cheeks

After first putting the cooling sheets on his cheeks, Yuichiro was convinced this was going to work. “It feels so nice and cool!” he cried. But sadly, he soon learned that it’s not a long-term solution. According to the instructions, you’re only supposed to use these for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. They maintain their coolness for longer than that, but the longer your have them on your cheeks, the more irritating they become.

Besides, putting cooling sheets on your cheeks every time you wear a mask is not very cost effective, so unfortunately, this wasn’t a win in Yuichiro’s eyes.

Sadly, Yuichiro’s experiments didn’t pan out, so he doesn’t have a concrete solution for the summer heat for you. But here’s another for more sensible idea: why not make your own reusable mask and place a cold pack or something inside the pouch, along with a filter? Give it a try and let us know how it works on social media!

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]