Face masks are now a part of our everyday existence, and it doesn't look to be changing soon. Most of us are familiar with the usual styles – face masks with filters, contoured masks with nose wires for glasses wearers and stylish masks for fashion fans to name but a few. But what about face shields? They seem like a possible alternative for people who find wearing traditional cloth masks uncomfortable, but are they a good idea? Here’s what you need to know…
Do the new face masks rules include visors and face shields?
In England, the official government guidance states that: "A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles."
A face covering is defined by the government as "something which safely covers the nose and mouth". They add: "You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face."
WATCH: Celebrities wearing face masks
RELATED: The ULTIMATE face mask guide - the rules, styles and everything you need to know
Why does my hairdresser wear a face shield?
In England, people who work in "close contact services" like hairdressers, spas, beauty salons, tattoo and photoshoot studios have been told to also wear a face shield. According to the government website: "This should take the form of a clear visor that covers the face and provides a barrier between the wearer and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face."
This is because in close contact service situations it's hard to maintain social distancing, as employees need to work in close proximity to their clients.
Will a face shield stop me from getting coronavirus?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline health care workers have been using face shields in addition to surgical face masks as an extra barrier of protection. However, the Centre for Disease Control and Protection does not recommend them for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face covering.
If you do use a shield, according to the CDC, it's important to ensure whatever plastic barrier you use “should wrap around the sides of the wearer's face and extend below the chin”.
RELATED: Where to get a last-minute face mask with next day delivery
Since they cover your whole face from head to chin, it's true that a face shield makes it very hard for you to touch your face and accidentally transfer pathogens that way.
Where can I buy a face shield?
You can buy face shields online in a variety of sizes – including hood style ones for children that offer full 360 protection. Keep scrolling for the best options - and you'll find kids' face visors at the end of the article.
Fogging and moisture-proof, this face shield is certified to be used in the medical and sanitary field
Polaroid STAYSAFE2 face shield, £26.34 ($35), Bloomingdale's
This best-selling face shield comes with a hat that you can unzip from the visor
Face shield hat, £21.22 ($30.04), Etsy
Add your name, logo or favourite colour to this visor
Personalised face shield, £11.07 ($15), Etsy
This budget option has a pop of colour
Reusable protective face shield with pink headband, £2.49 ($3.68), Etsy
This mask has stylish detailing, so you can look good and feel protected
Bluestone Sunshields hard lens clear face shield, £37.63 ($50), Bloomingdale's
This simple face shield has everything you need to keep safe
Safety face shield, £1.99 ($2.94), Etsy
This cap is super versatile as the face shield is removable
Baseball cap with removable face shield, £9.22 ($12.25), Bloomingdale's
Face visors for children
Kids face visor, £34.98 ($49.50), Etsy
Kids flip up face shield, £5.31 ($7.19), Etsy
5 pack face shields for kids (designs available: princess, mermaid and shark), £9.96 ($13.49), Etsy
RELATED: The best face mask deals and family packs that will help you save money
HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.