Now that wearing face masks are set to be a normal part of our daily public lives, it’s time to think about which type of face covering works for you. Many are opting for alternatives to traditional fabric masks, including neck gaiters. But are neck gaiters – also called snoods or neck warmers – safe? And what are the best ones to buy? Find the answers to all of your questions and we'll tell you where to shop a variety of neck gaiters, whether sporty, floral, designer or at a bargain for under £10.
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What is a neck gaiter?
A neck gaiter is a tube-shaped fabric scarf that slips over your head and then covers your neck, mouth and nose. Neck gaiters have in the past been most commonly used in winter, for sports, running or riding motorcycles, and are often made of fleece, wool or synthetic materials. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, lightweight neck gaiters have been used as an alternative face covering to a standard face mask.
Tropical print neck gaiter, £15.80, Etsy
Why do people choose to wear a neck gaiter as a face covering?
As more people find themselves having to wear a face mask for the first time, some have found that the standard mask is uncomfortable or they have problems staying cool underneath so prefer a neck gaiter because of breathability. Others may simply like how a neck gaiter looks – and as a result, like silk or muslin scarves, neck gaiters have become a popular option when it comes to face coverings.
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Are neck gaiters effective to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The general rule is that any face covering is better than no covering.
Any fabric which filters nose and mouth droplets that could potentially carry the virus is helpful, although effectiveness at preventing the spread ranges quite widely. For example, wearing a silk bandana provides a minimum of protection, versus a cloth face mask with a filter which is a much more efficient barrier. A gaiter falls somewhere in between.
According to the University of California at Berkeley, fabrics used for neck gaiters or snoods are often thinner than materials used for standard cloth face masks. This means you will have improved breathability but a decreased ability to contain droplets that may spread the virus.
Luxe Bamboo Neck Tube, £18, Bamboo Clothing
It is recommended that if you wear a gaiter, you layer the fabric, or wear a standard protective face mask underneath.
Of course, face masks offering the highest protection are N95 masks, which should be reserved for medical personnel or those who come in direct contact with people who are showing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.
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Shop neck gaiters for £15 and under
A soft snood with ear holes to keep it comfortably in place
Anti-bacterial snood face covering, also in grey, £15, Accessorize
Amazon's #1 bestseller
Multifunctional neck gaiter, available in 17 colours, £3.99 each, Amazon
ARKIM Unisex Bandana Face Mask, £7.99, Amazon
Guffo cooling and breathable neck gaiter, £8.99, Amazon
ASOS DESIGN jersey funnel snood in pink, £10, ASOS
Peter Storm gaiter, £6, Millets
Shop floral neck gaiters
Floral print neck gaiters, set of 4, £11.50, Amazon
Handmade Floral Neck Gaiter, £16, Etsy
Shop sporty neck gaiters
Nike VaporKnit Strike Snood, £26.95, Nike
HH lightweight neck gaiter, £30, Helly Hansen
Shop luxury designer neck gaiters
Acne Studios snood, £140, Acne Studios
Takahishi The Soloist silk snood, £1022, Farfetch
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