It has been nearly two months since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started recommending that people wear face coverings in public during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and many local governments and private businesses have made them a requirement. And while wearing face masks doesn’t necessarily feel “normal” just yet, their ubiquity has given people the opportunity to be creative and even stylish in their efforts to help slow the virus’s spread. Now, one clever idea is gaining attention for not only giving face masks a little extra flair but also making them more comfortable for those who must wear them for extended periods of time.
South Florida-based hairstylist Olivia Smalley, known on Instagram as @omgartistry, has shared her latest of many easy but ingenious hacks — and this one serves more than one purpose. “Mask Hack. Ears hurt? Grab a clip to hold back mask. And not to mention it looks so cute,” she wrote in the caption of a three-slide post. The first slide shows Smalley pulling the elastic strap of a client’s mask off the back of her ears and securing it to her hair with a pretty, pearl-covered clip. The next video and photo show the same idea, but with the clip secured onto a braid.
It’s such a cute way to add some personality to something that can feel clinical and utilitarian. But for Smalley, now that the reopening of Florida salons has allowed her to return to work, the hack also serves a very functional purpose.
“Since going back into the salon, I’ve been wearing my mask for long periods of mine and noticed how raw the backs of my ears were getting,” she told Allure. “I’ve toyed with different ways to protect my ears, and it hit me to just let the barrette hold it in place for me. I’ll never leave the house without it.”
Smalley also shared a video to her Instagram Stories from a fellow stylist who says that because the barrettes hold the straps farther back, her mask even fits her narrow face better.
Virtually any sturdy barrettes will do, but if you happen to love the look of the ones Smalley used on her client, check out A New Day’s Pearl Cultura Hair Clips, which are just $8 at Target.
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