Why Brilliant Masks suit everyday use better than FFP2 masks

Why Brilliant Masks suit everyday use better than FFP2 masks

If you’ve heard that European governments might make FFP2 masks compulsory, and wondered whether you should switch to something similar, here’s everything you need to know.

Michael Conway, Founder, Brilliant Masks

In recent weeks, there have been a number of reports about European governments stipulating which masks people should wear. Austria and Bavaria have already made it compulsory to wear a single-use filtering facepiece respirator (usually referred to as an FFP2 mask) on public transport and in shops. And, at the time of writing, Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states were said to be meeting to discuss whether to follow suit.

The reason behind this decision is that there is a huge variance in the quality and effectiveness of the different masks that are available. Astonishingly, there is no agreed standard for face coverings, nor any kind of universally agreed testing protocol. As a result, some people are buying or making poor quality masks which have not been tested, and are essentially not fit for purpose.

Here at Brilliant Masks, we agree that this is a serious issue; it was our determination to create a high-quality, fully-effective face covering that led us to collaborate with the Alder Hey Hospital team in the first place. And we have been lobbying the government to create a full, formal testing protocol, which would set some agreed standards, since the middle of last year.

That said, we also believe that Austria and Bavaria’s reaction is a step too far, and one which creates its own, separate issues. So, whilst we support the desire to eliminate poor quality face coverings, we don’t believe that making FFP2 masks compulsory is the best solution. Here’s why.

What FFP2 masks are (and aren’t) designed for

FFP2 masks are a disposable product, designed for use by adults in industrial environments such as construction. They are made of thick filter material, to protect the wearer from inhaling dangerous materials such as wood or concrete dust. They should only be used once, and tend to be put on for a specific job and then thrown away.

The factors which have fed into their design make them the right choice for these environments – but at the same time, mean they are less suitable for everyday use, because:


  • They are only suitable for clean-shaven adults. If you have a beard, or a smallish face, or are a teenager or a child, they won’t fit you properly, and so won’t do a good job of limiting the spread of the virus. They really need to be professionally fitted before they’re worn, too.

  • They make breathing more difficult. The thickness of the material, whilst important in keeping out industrial dust, means it takes the wearer more lung power to inhale, which is neither comfortable nor practical for everyday use.

  • They are single use only, which isn’t good for the planet. We’ve written about the environmental impact of disposable masks in more detail, but to summarise: given that they have a 450 year lifespan, the fewer that get used, the better.

  • They are an expensive way of masking up. They can’t be washed, like a Brilliant Mask can, and should be thrown away after one use. At around £4 a pop, the cost of using a FFP2 mask every time you go out will quickly add up.

  • They are sometimes in short supply. So, every time someone like you or me wears one, we may be taking one away from someone who really needs it to keep them safe at work.

In contrast, Brilliant Masks are designed with everyday use in mind. They’re washable, reusable, and comfortable to wear. They come in different sizes and patterns to fit and suit the wearer, whatever their age, and are treated with an anti-viral coating which kills the virus.

And of course, Brilliant Masks were designed by doctors at the world renowned Alder Hey Hospital, and have been provided to their patients and visitors as their own solution to stopping the spread.

We firmly believe with the right clinical development, thorough testing and quality craftsmanship a reusable fabric mask remains the right choice for most people in day to day situations.