After being asked to look into Styleseal recently by some readers, I headed over to their website to see what the fuss was about. It turns out there are a few things that stand out about these masks coming from Thailand.
Styleseal offers a flexible filter design that allows the wearer to decide exactly what level of protection they need, what they need protection from, and how much breathing resistance they can sacrifice. This alone was an interesting prospect but when coupled with the price, I became very intrigued.
If you are familiar with reusable masks you will know that the standard price (for a cloth mask) is $25-$35. Most well-known brands fall into this category, but some also cost significantly more. Somehow, though, Styleseal comes in well short of this. Their masks are more than half the price and also offer replaceable filters.
After talking with Styleseal I found out that remaining affordable is one of their key goals. Many companies claim that they want to offer affordable air pollution protection but few actively practice providing low-cost protection. Styleseal does.
In this review I want to take an in-depth look at the masks from Styleseal. They come in at a very reasonable price, but does this price bring flaws? I will begin by covering the most important factors of filtration and fit before moving on to other aspects such as price, lifespan and design.
If you read this review and still have some questions please feel free to comment on this post. I will do my best to reply. Further, if you have tried Styleseal yourself let other readers know your experiences. How were the masks? Comments are always welcome. With that being said, let’s get started!
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Information on this blog is for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information herein with other sources. Furthermore, this information is not intended to replace medical advice from professionals. This website assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information, and information is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.
One area in which Style Seal excels is in the wearer’s choice when it comes to filtration. There is a wide range of filters available, covering > 80% filtration all the way to > 99% filtration. On top of this, users also have the choice of using a carbon filter.
This flexibility is made possible by the simple, round-velcro filters that the masks use. On each cheek of the mask (left and right), there is a round hole that has velcro running around the circumference. The filters themselves have the opposite velcro around the edges, allowing them to easily and securely stick to the mask.
There are many different types of filters that fit each Style Seal mask, and users have the choice of which filter they want to use at which time. Below is a complete list of all of the filters available.
In total, there are 8 different filters available. The naming system is also quite easy to follow, with the number being representative of the filtration rating (80S = > 80% filtration). S filters are standard, whereas + variants come with added carbon filtration.
With this amount of choice, you may ask what the point of using a lower filtration media is. There are actually a few reasons! Firstly, the 80S filters will provide lower breathing resistance due to the lower filter media thickness. This means that on days of lower pollution, you can choose to use the 80S filter as it provides a balance between breathing resistance and protection.
The second factor is price. The less-effective filters are much cheaper than the higher-rated filters, and adding a carbon layer also adds to the price. These filters will, of course, also increase breathing resistance. Allowing the user to choose when to use each type of filter is very useful and allows for flexibility that I haven’t seen on many other masks.
The colours of the filters are designed to represent the Air Quality Index. This visual-aid easily allows users to decide which filter should be used at any given time. However, personally (although I haven’t tried all of the filters yet) I believe that using a 90/95 filter most of the time provides a good balance between filtration and breathability.
Style Seal provides a page on their website listing their Nelson Labs test reports. These reports indicate the particle (PFE), viral (VFE) and bacterial (BFE) filtering efficiency of each filter. It’s important to remember that these tests only apply to the filter media and not the mask itself.
These tests are designed to test the filtration of the filter against latex particles (PFE), viral, bacterial particles at different sizes. These tests were each carried out on one filter of each type. Nelson Labs is the industry standard when it comes to filtration testing.
There are PFE (0.1μm) tests for the S filter variants and 0.3μm PFE tests for only the 80+ and 90+. While the 95+ and 99+ do lack PFE results, looking at the 80+ and 90+ results indicates that they should offer high filtration.
Tests carried out at 0.1μm using latex particles (PFE). * tests carried out at 0.3μm.
Interestingly, the results from lab testing show that even the 80S/80+ filters (theoretically the lowest-rated filters) are capable of filtering well above their specified percentages. The biggest difference between the filters is the thickness (80 is the thinnest with 99 being the thickest).
While all of the filters have well over their advertised filtration, the higher tier (such as 95S/99S) filtration media will last for longer and will have more breathing resistance. I contacted Styleseal and was told that the naming system is used to simplify the purchasing process for customers as otherwise the differences between the filters could be overwhelming.
Some of the filters have also undergone VFE (viral filtration efficiency) and BFE (bacterial filtration efficiency) testing. Specifically, the 80S and 90S have taken VFE tests and both achieved just over 98% filtering efficiency (98.1% and 98.2% respectively).
BFE testing has been carried out on the 95s and 99s and both show filtration > 99.99% on bacterial particles at 3.1μm. This is a very high filtration result and shows that these filters are very capable against bacterial particles at that size.
As mentioned previously, the filters with + in the name also use a carbon layer. Carbon filtering is effective against volatile organic compounds and some other gases. Further, it can help to remove certain odours from being inhaled.
In conclusion, although the naming scheme can be a bit confusing (I see why Styleseal chose to simplify it) all of the filters from Styleseal offer > 95% filtration against tested PFE particles. They also offer great bacterial filtration and decent viral filtration – however, the viral filtration results are lower than some other cloth masks on the market.
While the filtration results alone are good, the flexibility and customer choice that this mask gives when it comes to filters is fantastic. I have not seen such a choice on any mask besides the Gill Mask, and I have never seen this amount of choice on a cloth mask. Being able to choose between filtration and breathing resistance is a nice choice to have.
The design of the mask is very solid and this is one of its greatest strengths. The mask uses a unique dual-filter design with interchangeable filters depending on the situation. Both valved and non-valved variants of the mask cna be purchased.
The exterior of the mask is similar to what you would expect from a reusable cloth mask. The mask sits underneath the chin and uses a wire nose-piece and adjustable ear-straps for fit. The nose-piece is very long and covers about 75% of the top of the mask.
The valve version features a single valve near the bottom of the mask (directly in front of your chin). This valve has quite a unique placement and I have never seen a centrally-placed valve on a cloth mask. Usually valves sit off to one side. While I haven’t been able to test it, I believe the location of the valve on Styleseal may increase its effectiveness.
Where this mask becomes very unique in regards to design is once you flip it over and look inside. You will instantly see the velcro filter holes as well as the single valve at the bottom in the centre of the mask (if you have a valved-variant).
This system makes changing filters on the mask incredibly easy. It also makes the filters easy to fit correctly and the velcro makes the chances of the filters moving during wear quite low. The material around the filter holes is made to prevent air from passing through meaning that any inhaled air has to enter through the filter media.
It’s worth noting that Styleseal gives valve-closing stickers included with all valved masks. These stickers will block the valve and also let you notify other people around you that the valve is ‘off’. This choice is something I have seen many mask manufacturers offering recently as valved masks become banned in many regions.
Another factor worth mentioning is that this mask is sturdy. Although it’s a cloth mask, I have never had an issue with breathing it in. In fact, when breathing in and out the mask barely moves. This is not indicative of a leak in the seal, but rather of how the mask is very sturdy. This mask is of the least-intrusive cloth masks that I have tried when it comes to mask-collapse and breathing difficulties.
For the exterior look Styleseal offers many different designs. As their name implies, Styleseal seeks to create masks that are not only effective, but also fashionable. There are many different designs available and you can find everything from solid-colour designs to camouflaged patterns and art.
An often-overlooked factor of masks is fit. However, fit is perhaps the most important aspect of any mask – an incorrectly fitted mask won’t filter particles and will provide little protection (if any). For this reason, fit is vital.
Styleseal uses a similar cloth mask design to brands such as Cambridge Mask and Vogmask. However, I actually found the mask to fit me better than either of these brands. I have a small face and found the large mask to fit me almost perfectly.
Styleseal masks generally feel tighter fitting than most other cloth masks I have tried. A tight fit generally leads to a better seal and less leakage but it can also be uncomfortable after longer periods of wear. After wearing the mask for a few hours you will begin to notice pain behind your ears. For this reason, I would recommend picking up a headband accessory to relieve some of the pressure.
The masks feature an adjustable ear-band, allowing for you to tighten or loosen the mask to a degree. The bands are quite rigid and don’t stretch much, but the ability to adjust the bands offsets this as a potential issue providing the mask is the correct size.
This mask sits just back underneath my chin (just past my jawbone) and creates a good seal along the bottom. I have not felt any leakage on the bottom of the mask. The mask does tend to slide up my face a bit if I talk normally, so I do have to try and adjust my speaking in order to make smaller movements with my mouth.
The same goes for the top of the mask. The wire nose-piece on Styleseal masks is very long and covers about 75% of the top of the mask. I haven’t encountered many nose-pieces this long and I’m surprised to say that it makes the mask feel very secure with minimal leakage. I do still have a small leak on the ridge of my nose at times, but the mask provides a much better seal for me than most other cloth masks.
Often wire in masks can either be too rigid or too flexible. Both of these can cause issues as the mask can be too hard to adjust (to remove leaks) or too easy to adjust (it can move during normal wear). Styleseal does not seem to have this issue, however, and the wire strikes a good balance. I’m not sure if this will change as the wire gets more used, but I will update this article if it does.
From my experience, the weakest point for leakage is the location between where the straps connect to the mask. Since this edge isn’t fully taught, some air can escape through the small gaps next to my ears. This side could be shortened slightly to make it more taught, therefore making it sit more firmly on the face.
However, this issue is small and I have noticed little leakage through any point on the mask. While there are slight leaks near my nose and between the straps, these leaks occur on all cloth masks I have tried and they are generally much more minor than other masks I have experienced.
When it comes to sizing, make sure to read the guide first. The sizing for Styleseal tends to be much smaller than other brands, and if you purchase the size you normally would you may find the mask too small. I have quite a small face, but the large mask fits me perfectly. With brands like Cambridge Mask, I normally opt for small or medium.
Styleseal makes some of the best fitting cloth masks that I have tried. I am impressed with how well the mask fits my face and how well it seals without any adjustment. With adjustment, it becomes almost a perfect fit.
Of course, everyone’s experiences will differ and a mask that fits me well may not fit another person well. Make sure to read other reviews and listen to other opinions before purchasing a mask. If you have purchased a mask from Styleseal, please comment on this post – how does it fit for you?
Cost & Lifespan
When you first purchase a mask from Styleseal you will get the mask as well as two filter pairs (one 80S and one 80+). In the box, you will also get a neck strap (lanyard) and two sets of valve-blocking stickers (included with valved masks). This basic pack costs around $12. With the code SAFEAIR10, this price can be dropped by a further 10%.
The mask should last for a long time, and if you look after it you can easily get over a year out of the shell. Make sure to follow the care instructions and to only wash the mask when necessary.
Only hand wash and don’t throw the mask in the washing machine or dryer. Long hot wash cycles may loosen the glue that holds the velcro rings inside the mask and also make the spunbond layer inside become “fluffy”.
Filter prices vary greatly, but they start at about $4 for 5 pairs of 80S filters. Adding carbon to these filters pushes the price to $4.50 for 5 pairs. From there, the price goes up until you get to the most expensive filters – 5 pairs of 99+ for about $7.
Styleseal recommends that you change filters every 30 hours of wear or every 2 weeks, whichever comes first. On top of this, if the filters become difficult to breathe through, visibly discoloured, damaged or wet then they should be replaced.
Overall, these are some of the lowest mask prices I have seen. Not only are the masks themselves very affordable, but the filters are far cheaper than most competing masks. The simplicity of the filters really shines when it comes to price, as more complex filters for masks like Airinum cost $25 for 3 filter replacements. While these filters last longer, they still come out much more expensive.
I feel like I have praised Styleseal a lot in this article and this is because I really have had a good experience using this mask. To me, Styleseal one of the most flexible cloth masks on the market and it’s very affordable – you will be hard pressed to find a cheaper reusable mask. While the price is far lower than nearly every competing mask, there are no obvious flaws.
There is some leaking, but this is the case with all reusable cloth masks that I have tried. Silicone masks tend to perform better in this respect, but they will also leak unless fitted perfectly. With this being said, in my experience the Styleseal masks that I tried leaked less than other cloth masks. My biggest issue with the mask lies in the point between where the straps connect to the mask – I wish this area was a little bit tighter.
Overall, however, my experiences with Styleseal have been positive. The biggest strengths of the masks are the filter flexibility, very low cost (relative to competing products), and the strength of the mask (it does not collapse when breathing). The addition of a lanyard and the fashionable designs are small bonuses on top of these strengths.
While the Styleseal mask isn’t perfect (no mask is), the price of these masks alone makes them a good choice. They are affordable and I would recommend purchasing one to see if it suits/fits you before making a big purchase. With this low price, they definitely worth trying.
Where Can I Buy Styleseal Masks?
Does Styleseal Have an Official Rating?
Styleseal masks do not hold an official rating (N95, KN95, FFP2 or otherwise). However, the filters have been lab tested by Nelson Labs.
Has Styleseal Been Lab Tested?
Yes. The filters used in Styleseal masks have been lab tested by Nelson Labs. The filters have undergone PFE, VFE and BFE testing.
How Long Can I Use the Mask For?
The mask itself (the shell) can be used indefinitely or until it gets damaged. The filters should be replaced after 30 hours of wear or two weeks, whichever comes first.
How Long Can I Use the Filters For?
The filters should be replaced after 30 hours of wear or two weeks, whichever comes first.
Do I Need a Carbon Filter?
Carbon filters provide additional protection against volatile organic compounds and also are effective against some odours. If this sounds useful for your use, carbon filters may be worth it.
How Does Styleseal Compare to Other Cloth Masks?
Compared to other popular cloth masks such as Vogmask and Cambridge Mask I think that Styleseal compares well. The masks are cheaper, more rigid (preventing them from getting in the way of breathing), and have a more flexible filter system.