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This science-based face mask from an MIT-founded brand is the best we’ve found—and the 2.0 version is better than ever

Looking for a mask? Ministry of Supply has a Nelson Labs-certified filtrating mask that puts your cotton bandanna to shame.

This science-based face mask from an MIT-founded brand is the best we’ve found—and the 2.0 version is better than ever
[Photo: courtesy Ministry of Supply]

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with information on Ministry of Supply’s Mask° 2.0, which was released in August 2020.

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As restrictions begin to loosen in the coming weeks, getting “back out there” is going to look a little different. Companies including Uber and JetBlue are requiring masks for all passengers, while cities across the U.S. (like Washington, D.C., L.A., and New York) have mandated wearing them in grocery stores. That’s not to mention city- and state-wide ordinances that mandate that anyone who is inside a public area—for any reason—must wear a mask. Plus, it’s the CDC’s official recommendation.

TL;DR: There is currently no vaccine for Covid-19, so do your part and wear a mask. For the foreseeable future.

And while some masks made by fashion and shoe companies are very stylish, it’s hard to tell what’s actually effective from what’s just aesthetic.

Enter MIT-founded fashion brand Ministry of Supply, which built a mask that nearly broke the internet and sold out everywhere. The Mask was designed with informed choices in material, design, and filtration. It was initially developed for frontline workers, but in light of the CDC recommendations for better face coverings for civilians, MoS also made it available for consumer purchase. And now, MoS has re-launched the sold-out Mask with a few key improvements. Please meet the 3D Print-Knit Mask° 2.0

[Photo: courtesy Ministry of Supply]
3D Print-Knit Mask° 2.0  is (as the name suggests) 3D printed to make for extremely efficient production times (each takes less than nine minutes to weave). Just like the first iteration of the Maskº, the Maskº 2.0 is made of a viscose and PBT polyester blend, it’s machine washable, and the hygroscopic material pulls moisture to the core of the fiber, making it soft, breathable, and dry after even hours of wear. Because it’s 3D printed, MoS was able to quickly iterate new prototypes in hours and test the shape and texture of different fabrics, meaning the resulting mask is a great fit and very comfortable—which is important if you don’t want people constantly touching their face to adjust.

But there are a few key design changes MoS has made that set the Maskº 2.0 apart from the original design.

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Firstly, the Maskº 2.0 features lighter construction that makes it easier to wear all day. In fact, this iteration boasts a 50% reduction in weight from the previous version. Additionally, MoS extended the sizes the Maskº2.0 is available in to guarantee a protective, correct fit for all different shapes and sizes of faces. Lastly, MoS updated the Mask with super-soft ear loops (instead of tie-back straps that were originally used). These design edits were made to create a more comfortable and practical everyday mask  for wearers, and the change were all based on customer feedback MoS received over the past four months.


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[Photo: courtesy Ministry of Supply]
While the Maskº 2.0 can be worn without a filter for consumer use, it comes with a set of tested filters that are Nelson Labs certified, which were developed in counsel with MoS’s healthcare advisers at the MIT spinout MakerHealth. To get nerdy about it, each melt-blown polypropylene filter boasts a higher than 95% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) rate and a 95% Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) measurement at 0.1 microns. Translation: It stops a high percentage of droplets and particles from getting in or out.

And to address the problem of ill-fitting masks, Ministry of Supply separated the production of the mask frame (which determines the fit and comfort of the mask) from the filter. This two-part structure allows the brand to use special production techniques (i.e., 3D-print knitting and die-cutting) to create the mask, and work on the filter technology separately, resulting in a better-fitting and more effective mask.

The Maskº 2.0 comes in two colors (light grey and black). This time around filters are sold separately. The Maskº Filter Kit ($20) comes with 10 filters—which are recommended for only eight hours of use a piece.

(Note: This is a non-medical mask—not an N95 or surgical mask—and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.)

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