Eyeglasses and face shields are as incompatible as Prince Charles and Diana.
The trifecta of face mask, face shield and social distancing form the “minimum health standards” against COVID-19 required by the government, and I have to wear the shield with glasses every day. Since the pandemic broke, I stopped wearing contact lenses to avoid touching my eyes.
I am one of the few people still in the “old normal” working on-site. My job in the production side of the newspaper requires the use of a publishing program that only works with super stable internet connection—which no one seems to have these days. Besides, the office is a few minutes’ sexy walk from my place.
If you are annoyed with wearing a face shield during grocery runs, imagine wearing it with eyeglasses—it’s like wearing two pairs of glasses. The shield drags the eyeglasses down. It gets steamy and foggy when it’s hot, and gross and damp when it’s rainy. There’s chaotic energy when the shield gets tangled up with the mask, my hair, earphones and earrings. Face shields are uncomfortable, but what can we do?
Months of quarantine led to my collection of face shields that I rotate for daily use and disinfection. Here are 12 full-face shields I have tried, so far, with four pairs of eyeglasses. All were ordered online. I won’t be surprised if we get face shields with wipers soon—there are already luxury ones, which used to be unthinkable.
Tip: Clean with soap and water and wipe dry; watermarks will blur it, and alcohol will strip off the sheen.
(1) First-gen face shield
The OG face shield costs P100 apiece during the lockdown, when a box of masks was sold at P1,000. Stamped “FACE SHIELD,” this garterized gear was the starter Pokémon of all face shields. It clings to the face and eyeglasses, but was the only one available, pre-Heng De.
(2) Plastic headband-type
This actually works with eyeglasses, but not with long hair. The plastic gets crumpled over time, but still the cheapest shield for those who don’t want the eyeglasses type.
(3) Acrylic headband-type
Heavy but clear! My dentist uses the same, and I have to trust someone who deals with the risk of droplets for a living. Messes the hair, and the band digs into the forehead, but heavy-duty and makes me feel ultraprotected.
(4) Heng De face shield
Ah, the face shield equalizer. Heng De is worn by you and me, celebrities, even Fernando Zobel de Ayala, apparently. Heng De is clear but sits on top of the eyeglasses—a small trade-off for its availability and cheap price. The unmistakable blue clips look weird, though.
(5) Yellow helmet-type
It’s cloudy with a chance of welding. I already removed the protective films, front and back, but the one I got was still dull. Would have been promising to use with eyeglasses if not for the grainy Instagram-filter visibility. The yellow helmet doesn’t work with any outfit, unless you’re going for a Bob the Builder look.
(6) Acrylic headband-type with foam
I thought this was the one—light, clear, padded and affordable. But then even the slightest sweating transforms my face into a sauna. The foam traps the heat and fogs up the eyeglasses; it’s also short for a full face, more like a ¾ shield mask.
(7) Sporty PET face shield
It’s sold as “soft acrylic” but it’s really PET—like soda bottles. Obviously a knockoff of the $69 Finnish street-style visor brand which calls their customers “motherf**ckerers,” then asks them to sign up for the Sex Diaries, aka mailing list. The PET shields come in different colors and finishes, like glitter and tortoise. They’re OK with glasses save for the intrusive “wishbone” nose clip.
(8) Tourist auntie shield
It looks like the sun visor commonly seen on Asian tourists. Another “soft acrylic” scam that really is a misnomer for PET. Lopsided and not retractable as it claims. The tight band squeezes the head. Avoid this.
(9) Tourist auntie shield with gold disc
A proper acrylic shield that is retractable and provides sufficient space around the mouth and eyes. The large gold button on the temple gives it a nautical vibe.
(10) Bucket hat shield
Too floppy. Static on the face and sticks on eyeglasses. Must be how sad plastic-covered notebooks see the world.
(11) Mask-shield hybrid
This is a freebie, a fabric mask with an extended clear flap, and let’s just say there’s a reason it’s being given away.
(12) Polycarbonate shield
Sleek, no glare, minimalist and allows for proper airflow. Doesn’t ruin hair, cut into the forehead or slip when face is sweaty. The only downside is that it’s so hollow that it produces an echo when I talk. The highlight of this light polycarbonate shield is the removable nose clip. We have a stylish winner! INQ