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As face coverings go from a novelty to the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's understandable that some frustrations would arise from wearing fabric on part of your face any time you might be around other people. None are aggravating enough to not wear a mask — please, just wear a damn mask — but this accessory we've reluctantly welcomed into our attire has inevitably led to some skin issues. It has also inevitably led to innovations to address skin issues.
A brand called Nufabrx has just launched a mask called Soliscia, the fabric of which is infused with both copper and shea butter. Calling the mask the first of its kind, Nufabrx says that in addition to helping reduce the spread of germs, Soliscia ensures that the skin it's covering stays moisturized.
"As a call action to combat the redness, irritation, and 'maskne' we are now experiencing due to daily [mask] wear, Solscia by Nufabrx aims to revive and rejuvenate dried-out skin," a press release from the brand says. "Soliscia provides superior filtration properties and relief through active ingredients that are embedded directly into fibers."
So, why are those ingredients copper and shea butter? "Shea is known to hydrate the skin," cosmetic chemist and Beautystat founder Ron Robinson tells Allure, also explaining that copper has antibacterial properties. But can we benefit from those properties when they're in a face covering? "This is feasible," Robinson says.
"The textiles we use can significantly impact skin health," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner tells Allure. However, he says, it is unclear how long and to what degree emollient-infused fabrics will help the skin. "Shea butter, for example, is an emollient ingredient used in skin care for its hydrating and skin-softening benefits. Whether it offers the same degree of effectiveness in an infused fabric remains to be seen."
Although Soliscia isn't shipping until September 1, I had the opportunity to try it, and I'm happy to report that, no, it doesn't leave a weird coating of shea butter on your skin — the infused ingredients are undetectable, and there's no immediately apparent way to know if your skin is being moisturized. That said, even if it didn't impart its purported benefits, it's easily one of the nicest face coverings I've tried. It's made of a sturdy yet soft and stretchy material in a neutral yet chic tan-and-white combo. It fits snugly yet very comfortably around the sides without smothering my mouth, and the removable nose clip makes it fit even more perfectly.
I'm not gonna lie — the Soliscia may very well become my go-to face mask. (Apologies to my mother, who makes the most adorable masks out of upcycled fabric.) And that'll especially be true if I start noticing a positive difference in my skin. I'm a bit concerned about how long the ingredients remain infused within the fibers — it's machine-washable, and Zeichner advises washing masks after each day of use (treat them like you would underwear, he says) — but even if it loses its seemingly magical moisturizing powers over time, Soliscia is a keeper.
It's worth noting, Zeichner can't be sure if a preservative system is being used to prevent bacterial contamination of the shea butter over time. That said, "I see little downside to trying the mask, but if you develop a reaction like burning or stinging, I would recommend taking the mask off right away."
You can preorder the Nufabrx Soliscia face mask for $30 on nufabrx.com.
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