Why our two layers beat three – the science behind Brilliant Masks
Although it might seem logical that more layers = more protection, it’s not always the case. The design of Brilliant Masks means that our two layers are more effective than typical three-layer ones. Read on to find out why.
Michael Conway, Founder, Brilliant Masks
There’s a lot of discussion going on out there about which kind of non-surgical face covering is best, and in particular, people are debating whether three layers are more effective than two.
It does seem counter-intuitive that a two-layer face covering would be better than a three-layer one. But in fact, the way our face coverings have been designed means that they are more effective than those with three layers.
Why a water repellent outer layer is a problem
The outer layer of three-layer masks usually have a hydrophobic coating, designed to make the surface water-repellent. However, what this means is that any globules of spit or mucus (sorry to be grim) or other droplets which land on the surface of the mask, will stay there. And if they are infectious, and you touch the surface, you could pick up and spread the virus.
According to the science, instead of trying to catch droplets on the surface, it’s better to absorb them and dry them out, which essentially kills the virus So, it’s actually better to have no coating than a hydrophobic coating.
How our anti-viral treatment acts as a double whammy
However, the design team behind Brilliant Masks came up with an alternative that wouldn’t hold onto droplets, and would instead be a more effective virus-killer.
It’s an anti-viral treatment – one of four globally recognised products used to fight viral infections –which is infused into our face coverings. The result is that any virus droplets which are absorbed by our masks are killed off, not left behind for you to touch and spread.
Easier to breathe through and washable at 30⁰
An additional issue with three-layer masks is that they tend to be made of non-woven synthetic material, which can’t be washed, and is less good for the environment. They’re bulkier too, which means they’re harder to breathe through.
Brilliant Masks can be washed at 30⁰, along with your usual load, and reused safely. They are made from 400 thread count Supima cotton, which is much higher grade than most other face covering materials. (This is worth noting, as much of the original advice around three-layer masks was based on homemade masks using low quality cotton.) Despite this, they are less bulky, and so easier to wear for long periods, than two-layer versions.
Our two-layer masks are ‘best in class’ compared to other reusable masks
As you can tell, we’re pretty proud of our two-layer masks, and we’re not the only ones who believe they’re of a high quality. Although there isn’t currently an official standard for face coverings, our masks were included in a testing protocol carried out on behalf of the Cabinet Office – and we were delighted when it was reported that ours outperformed all other reusable masks tested at that time.
And as for our customers, they think our masks are brilliant too. Here’s just one of our many five-star reviews:
Best mask ever!
“Quite the most comfortable mask; no sweaty face, no steamy specs, no sore ears and is genuinely comfortable. Thank you.”
I hope this has helped you understand the reasons behind our two-layer design. If you have any other questions about the science behind our decisions, do get in touch.