Uniqlo's much-hyped Airism face masks may actually suck

"Please refrain from wearing the mask during heavy exercise or hot weather."

The release of Uniqlo's face mask was a hyped event in Japan. People queued up for the masks, which was a strange sight for such an unadorned accessory coming from a brand known for its basics. Now, the face masks will finally make their way stateside — but you should probably think twice before getting excited.

Uniqlo's Airism mask is made using the same material from its moisture-wicking apparel designed to keep its wearer cool and dry. Shedding moisture may not seem like such a good idea when the whole idea is to avoid infected droplets, so Uniqlo made its mask with three layers, including a filter that blocks 99 percent of bacteria. The problem is that all these layers end up being antithetical to staying cool.


The reviews ain't so good — The Japanese outlet SoraNews24 posted not one, but two reviews of the Uniqlo Airism face mask. Because the first review was written by a "harsh critic," another reporter decided to give the mask a fair shake. But despite the second chance, the ax was dropped yet again.

The second reviewer wore the mask inside an air-conditioned office and still found that it stuck to her face. Outside, in 70-degree weather with high humidity, the results were even worse. She reported more sweat beading up on her face than usual and had to shed it from her mouth every few minutes to get fresh air. Upon getting home and looking for washing instructions, she found a notice that reveals Uniqlo knows it won't actually keep you cool: "Please refrain from wearing the mask during heavy exercise or hot weather."


Maybe it won't suck in the winter? — The Airism mask releases in the U.S. on August 24, with many hot days still ahead of us. That makes a three-pack for just $15 too good to be true, but perhaps it'll be less awful when the temperature begins to dip.

But instead of taking the risk, you can just get one of the million other face masks out there which aren't drawing complaints. We've also done the research to find the five that are most effective.