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As more Americans get vaccinated, mask mandates are starting to ease up. But they aren’t disappearing anytime soon. Face coverings are still required on public transportation, planes, at airports, and at many businesses, among other public areas. And that means we’re still figuring out how to make face masks more convenient, more comfortable and more effective. One way we’re doing that is by picking up some of the best mask straps.
Mask straps (a.k.a. mask lanyards or mask ties) are a bit like lanyards for glasses: They attach to mask ear straps behind your head and allow you to hang the mask around your neck or, say, on your bag. Not only are these mask accessories convenient (you can quickly take your mask on and off), but they also introduce better hygiene and more comfort.
By hanging your mask around your neck, you’ll avoid putting it on dirty surfaces or in your pocket with unsanitary objects, like your phone or wallet. Some of the best mask straps also reduce stress on the ears, which is something that can be a real nuisance while catching a flight or working in the office.
What Are the Best Mask Straps?
If this is your first time buying a mask strap, here are a few things to look for while shopping.
Strap Type: There are two types of mask straps you’ll come across. We’re calling them lanyards and strap extenders. Mask lanyards are similar to neck straps for glasses: They attach to the straps and let you drop the mask to hang around your neck. These mask lanyards are a simple solution for keeping your mask close at hand and help prevent loss.
Mask strap extenders link the ear straps and sit snugly on the back of your head. These basically upgrade the basic mask straps but also let you wear your mask around your neck. Plus, because strap extenders secure the mask around your head, you can take the mask’s normal straps off your ears for a more comfortable fit.
Comfort: The main concern when buying a mask strap or mask lanyard should be comfort. If you’ve been experiencing ear pain after wearing your mask, go with an option that alleviates ear pressure. If you just want a way to hang your mask without extra straps, go with a droopy lanyard.
Style: There’s no reason for a mask strap to cramp your style. Even though it’s a functional purchase, consider how a strap will look with your wardrobe.
Kid’s Sizes: With the little ones back in school, lost masks are inevitable (as they are with adults). A mask strap is a great way to help kids keep track of their masks, so we’ve included a few options that can be sized for kids.
1. RachelShopCo Face Mask Lanyard
We’re big fans of these mask lanyards from RachelShopCo. They’re handmade using a soft, durable herringbone and come in a handful of stylish muted colors. The lanyards use a snap-button closure that attaches your mask’s straps, and the adult size measures 22 inches long. This lets you drop the mask around your neck when not in use, and means you can reuse the lanyards with disposable masks. Plus, they come in sizes for kids, too.
2. Bone Lanyard Mask Tie
These Bone mask lanyards are one of the most comfortable and adjustable options on the market. Instead of clips, the lanyards attach to your mask’s ear straps with a T-shaped silicone piece. This holds the strap away from your ear and adds some padding, ensuring less ear discomfort while staying masked up for long periods. The Bone ties also have an adjustable cinch at the back which keeps the strap secure – no matter your head size. Plus, the soft silicone material is easy to disinfect or wash in the sink.
3. KidsBrightEyes Face Mask Strap
If you want something streamlined, check out these mask strap extenders from KidsBrightEyes (they have adult and kid’s sizes). They’re a small piece of stretchy fabric that attaches to both mask ear straps, securing the mask against your head, taking pressure off the ears and allowing you to keep the mask around your neck. The strap extenders are fully adjustable for all head sizes, and they come in several colors for any personal style.
4. Madewell Paracord Convertible Face Mask Lanyard
Madewell – the brand behind some of our favorite everyday basics – proves that mask accessories can be stylish with this lanyard. The strap is made of paracord, and this outdoorsy material is nicely contrasted by goldtone lobster clasp closures. It’s an easy way to keep track of your mask, and even doubles as a sunglasses lanyard.
5. LoveLinax Face Mask Chain
These chain mask lanyards from LoveLinax are another stylish means of keeping your mask close at hand. The brand has many chain styles – all of which are cool enough to wear as normal jewelry – ensuring a choice for every personal preference. They are on the long side at 26 inches, so they’ll dangle down a bit when you’re masked up.
6. Pulivia Mask Strap Extender
Another good mask strap extender is this five-pack from Pulivia. They’re a simple strip of soft, flexible plastic with hooks for your mask’s ear straps. Multiple hooks offer ample adjustability, and the interior side of the extenders features an anti-slip texture to stay in place. The plastic material also means you can easily wash and disinfect the strap extenders.
7. MuseMute Face Mask Lanyard
These MuseMute mask lanyards are handmade in Los Angeles using suede leather strips. We think this use of leather makes the MuseMute lanyards some of the most stylish ones you can buy. They use nickel-free lobster clasps at either end to attach to your mask, and come in a few handsome natural colors. The clasps can also be customized with either bronze or gold and optional rubber ends.