As face masks fly off the shelves amid rising fears over the COVID-19 illness, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health have just issued a helpful guide about which types of beards and mustaches will make those masks less effective, and which will be OK.
Bottom line: Most beards, and a few mustaches, prevent the mask from making a complete seal against the skin.
Full beards are out, of course, along with any kinds of stubble.
So too are those “mutton chop” whiskers that were all the rage in the Victorian era, along with the so-called “Imperial” mini-beard — a kind of “soul patch” in the days of the Russian czars — and the Three Musketeers-style “French Fork” beard.
The long, droopy “Fu Manchu” mustache is a no-no as well.
On the positive side, all sorts of mustaches may be ready to make a comeback. The toothbrush mustache has been social death since about 1941, but the CDC says it’s just fine. Ditto the old-fashioned, bushy walrus mustache, the pencil mustache immortalized by Jimmy Buffett, and the dashing one worn by Zorro. And while the Fu Manchu is out, the CDC says you’ll be fine if you turn the long ends upward. That will turn the beard into a “Dali,” named after the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, and it won’t interfere with your mask.
Masks have been selling out since fears about the coronavirus began spiraling over the weekend, and they rank No. 1 among the bestselling household products on Amazon AMZN, +0.35% . Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said Tuesday the center expects coronavirus to spread more widely in the U.S. and that Americans should prepare themselves for a possible pandemic.