By Margaux Salazar
It’s come close to a year since we had started wearing masks that it has truly become part of our everyday lives. Now that there are countless masks in the market, how does one choose? We at Una Ricci have found the best mask in terms of protection, comfort, and sleek design. Sweden’s Airinum has been manufacturing masks since 2015, long before the pandemic had started. It was initially made for anyone who simply wanted to avoid air pollution—hence, will continue to become a necessity even post-Covid-19.
The brand had originated from the co-founder and CEO Alexander Hjertstrom’s search for a means to protect himself and found that wearing an anti-pollution breathing mask was the most effective way. To his surprise, however, most of the masks on the market were very basic and far from perfect in their construction—not something you would want to wear every day. Coming back from Asia, Alexander discussed this problem with his friend Fredrik Kempe. Living in Sweden, clean air was something they both took for granted. Realizing that everyone can’t breathe clean and healthy air, they decided to do something about it, and Airinum was born.
Now available in the Philippines (at unaricci.com), these premium and well-designed Airinum Urban Air Masks are equipped with five-layered filters, giving you high-level protection. The filters are replaceable and should be changed about every 100 hours of usage. Each air filter media layer has different properties to filter particles of different sizes. 1) Outside PP layer: Outside filter wrapping in a durable finish; 2) Active Carbon Layer: Reduces gases and odors; 3) 1st Electro Charged Layer: Filters larger pm10 pollution, pollen, and other allergens; 4) 2nd Electro Charged Layer: Filters smaller pm2.5 pollution, dust, and bacteria; and 5) Inside PP Layer: Inside filter with ultra-smooth and skin-friendly finish. The Airinum mask is KN95 certified (similar to the American N95) and has 98% filtering efficiency against particles down to 0.3μm in size. These masks are designed to last. Every mask skin is washable and reusable to make it stay an everyday lifestyle accessory just as long as any other item in your wardrobe. The mask skin of the Urban Air Mask 2.0 is also treated with Polygiene*, a textile treatment that stops the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Airinum’s Urban Air Mask 2.0 is designed with two exhalation valves acting as a ventilation system, making the air pollution mask comfortable to wear. When exhaling, the two valves allow warm, moist, and carbon dioxide-filled air to be ventilated out of the space between the face and the mask. This would otherwise build up inside the face mask, causing discomfort. When inhaling, the valves are blocked, making sure all inhaled air travels through the mask filter.
The Airinum exhalation valves are specially designed to not spread exhaled air horizontally outwards, like when you are normally exhaling. The valve cap pushes the exhaled air to the sides of the valves. This reduces the spread of exhaled air. This is a similar logic to a surgical mask that doctors or dentists wear, which do not completely seal but direct the airflow away from the patient.
The Exhalation Valve Stoppers are optional to use and can replace the Valve Caps. The Exhalation Valve Stoppers that come with the set should be used when you want to plug the ventilation function of the mask. These have been tested at RISE R&D Center in Sweden with evidence showing that it will block 99% of the exhaled air, diminishing the risk of respiratory droplets escaping into the ambient air. It is beneficial for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis, sneezing, and coughing, especially in public places.
To offer a comfortable fit, Airinum’s Urban Air Mask 2.0 is designed with adjustable ear loops. The skin-friendly and elastic material of the ear loops together with the easily adjustable length allows the user to create a tight sealing, without the need of putting too much pressure on the ears. Because we all have unique facial shapes, a 4 sizing system will not fit everyone perfectly, but with the adjustable functions, the Urban Air Mask 2.0 can be adjusted to a personal fit.
More benefits to using the Airinum Urban Air Mask 2.0: it is lightweight; there is no tugging on the ears nor moist on those who wear eyeglasses; there is ample space for your mouth to move and your voice does not become muffled; it forms on your nose and your chin is fully covered.
Not only does it sit comfortably on your face and offer the highest level of protection, it also celebrated in the style and aesthetics front. The brand has done collaborations with MoMA, Woolrich, Bally, and just recently, Japanese streetwear brand Human Made. It is also the brand of choice of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ophrah, Matt Damon, Marc Jacobs, Conan O’Brien, and Super Junior’s Cho Kyuhyun.
We highly recommend it to everyone looking for a mask upgrade. At PhP4,000 for a set of 1 mask, 2 filters, 2 Valve Caps, 2 Exhalation Valve Stoppers, and a pouch bag—additional filters come in a box of 3 for P1,200 (or P400 a piece) good for 100 hours of usage each—it could seem like the Ferrari of masks, but there’s more value for money. At the end of the day, it gets the job done unlike any other, you stay comfortable, and do it all in style.
Airinum is available online at unaricci.com.
*Polygiene is a fabric treatment which uses low concentrations of silver salt (silver chloride), which has antimicrobial properties.