Written by Alycia Darilek

As a mother raising children in Xi’an, one of my primary concerns is air quality and the effect that the smog is having on my family’s health.  We are aware of the scary statistics about the negative health effects of long term exposure to unclean air.  Last year, after researching the various options, my husband decided to purchase Vogmasks for our daughters.  The main factors he looked at were the fit (in reading the information available we realized that any gaps around the edges of the mask would render it useless) and the size of particles the mask would filter.  An added bonus for me was seeing that the Vogmask would also filter bacteria and viruses and the range of color options to choose from.
When the masks arrived, I was skeptical…could I actually convince my children to wear them?  But, largely in part to the fact they think the masks are “pretty,” they are usually excited to wear them (they are usually the ones reminding me we need to wear them as we head out the door)!  The masks themselves hook over the ear with a soft elastic strap that ensures a firm but comfortable seal.  There is a metal clip embedded inside the part of the strap that goes over the nose which can be adjusted to make sure that there are no gaps for dirty air to infiltrate.  My children have no problems putting the mask on and taking them off by themselves.
I am equally happy with my own Vogmask.  We all have the slightly more expensive valve/carbon layer edition.  The valve helps moisture to escape, while it doesn’t let all of the moisture out it is a significant improvement on the disposable masks that tend to get wet quickly.   It also filters bad smells which can be a real help in certain parts of the city!  Overall it is much softer and more comfortable than the disposable ones I have used before and is far better looking.
The one drawback is the price, at RMB 180.00 for the standard edition and RMB 225.00 for the valve/carbon layer edition they are not cheap.  However they do have a significantly longer usage life than most of the other masks other there (approx. 200 hours).
A year later I would say I am still really pleased with the masks.  Although pricey, we look at it as an investment in our children’s health and feel the quality justifies the amount paid.
The major plus points to these masks are:
Filters 99.9% of pm2.5 particles
• Long life span – 200+ hours.  Even though they are more expensive in the first place their longer life makes the comparatively cost effective.
• Child Sizes – These are the only decent pm 2.5 masks that we have seen that have child sizes.  Putting large sized masks on children is pointless as most of the air they will breath will have come into the mask via that gaps in the side.
• They look good!
Input the code XIANEASEVOG into the Jinkou website and get a 10% discount until the end of January!
Alycia Darilek has lived in Xi’an for fives years.  Her husband Landon owns Baibei, an agricultural consulting company.  They have two daughters aged four and six.