Discover the 5 Most Popular Types of Medical Masks in China

Endorsed by global health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of masks is a proven strategy to safeguard ourselves from airborne diseases, including the flu and various viruses, especially in public spaces.

Recent studies, such as this one from The Lancet, have further emphasized the importance of mask-wearing in the fight against global health crises.

Before we delve into the top 5 types of medical masks popular in China, it’s crucial to shed light on some related social phenomena. For instance, the South China Morning Post recently published an article discussing the cultural significance of mask-wearing in various Asian societies.

Content Overview

Why Asians Are Willing To Wear Face Masks?

1. Cultural Influence: The Role of Confucianism in Asia’s Mask-Wearing Habit

Centuries of Confucian influence have shaped many Asian societies, particularly in China, Japan, Korea, and several Southeast Asian countries. This influence manifests in shared principles and behaviors. For instance, Asians often prefer to maintain a low profile in public spaces, avoiding unnecessary attention. If someone is unwell, they are likely to wear a mask in public to prevent their coughs or sneezes from disturbing others, especially during flu season.

2. Collective Consciousness: A Key Driver of Mask-Wearing in Asia

Asia is home to nearly 60% of the world’s population, fostering a deep-rooted sense of collective consciousness. This is evident in everyday scenarios, such as adhering to mask policies in crowded spaces like elevators. Forgetting to wear a mask can lead to feelings of embarrassment, even if others may not pay much attention. This collective consciousness significantly contributes to the widespread acceptance of mask-wearing in Asia.

3. Protection: The Practical Reasons Behind Asia’s Mask-Wearing Habit

During flu season, masks are commonly worn in crowded places as a protective measure against illness. They help to isolate droplets from infected individuals, offering protection to others. In winter, masks are worn to keep warm and guard against air pollution. In Japan, where approximately 25 million people suffer from hay fever, surgical masks are a common sight during the hay fever season from February to April. Additionally, with the rise of social media and the associated ‘appearance anxiety’, many young people, especially girls, wear masks to maintain their personal image, particularly when they have a facial allergy or choose not to wear makeup.

4. Social Firewall: Using Masks as a Barrier in High-Pressure Societies

Asia’s large population translates into intense competition and high societal pressures, especially in major cities. Many Asians, often exhausted, use masks and earphones as a ‘social firewall’ to avoid unwanted social interactions, particularly in public transportation systems.

5. Fashion Statement: The Evolution of Mask-Wearing in Asia

Mask-wearing in Asia has evolved beyond protection and has become a fashion statement. Since 2020, Korea and Japan, two of Asia’s most fashionable countries, have led the trend of colorful and custom masks. This CCTV report from June 2020 highlights the popularity of fashionable masks in South Korea during a serious virus outbreak. People were not only concerned about protection but also whether the masks matched their style.

Our colleagues Jessy and Sandy visited our clients in South Korea in the summer of 2022. Let’s explore the variety of mask designs and colors available in a small Korean face mask shop.


Why Are Face Masks Becoming a Fashion Statement for Young Asians?

1. Exploring the Variety: An Array of Face Mask Choices for Young Asians

The act of wearing a mask has seamlessly integrated into our daily routines, becoming as habitual as having breakfast. This surge in demand has sparked fierce competition among manufacturers. For instance, in China, the number of registered disposable mask manufacturers has quintupled since 2019.

In an effort to stand out, manufacturers have started to innovate. The market has since been flooded with masks of various colors, ear loop styles, and unique printed designs. These fashionable disposable masks not only serve as a style statement but also offer high filtration, making them suitable for disease control and prevention.

After years of donning the common blue and white masks, these vibrant alternatives have gained immense popularity, particularly among the youth. New designs are introduced almost daily, keeping the trend fresh and exciting.

2. Affordability Factor: How Cost-Effective Face Masks are Winning Over Asian Youth

<Screenshot from, printed and regular masks priced similarly.>

A quick search for face masks on platforms like reveals that fashionable disposable masks are surprisingly affordable. Despite their stylish appearance, they often cost no more than common masks, especially during promotional periods. Typically, these fashionable surgical masks can be purchased for as little as 0.35 RMB per piece or approximately $0.05 USD.

3. The Celebrity Influence: How Celebrities are Driving the Face Mask Trend Among Young Asians

Many Asian celebrities have adopted the trend of wearing fashionable masks, often to maintain a degree of privacy in public. This has significantly influenced their fan base, leading to a widespread fashion trend. For the youth, face masks have evolved into more than just protective gear. Available in a myriad of colors and designs, they have become a fashionable accessory that complements their outfits.

The Top 5 Most Popular Medical Masks in China.

1. Morandi Color Face Masks – Embracing Elegance

Morandi colors, renowned for their soothing appeal, have made a significant impact on the fashion world. As surgical masks transition into fashion accessories, Morandi color masks have emerged as a stylish choice. Their sophisticated hues add a touch of elegance to everyday protection.

2. Rainbow Gradient Face Masks – A Splash of Color

Taking a step beyond the Morandi palette, rainbow gradient masks offer a vibrant twist. These masks blend soft, natural hues in a gentle gradient, creating a downy and elegant aesthetic that’s as eye-catching as it is protective.

3. Face Masks with Colorful Earloops – A Subtle Pop

For those seeking a hint of individuality without standing out too much, face masks with colorful earloops offer the perfect balance. A common white non-woven mask paired with uniquely colored earloops can add a fun twist to any outfit. These masks are also popular for custom branding, providing a cost-efficient way for companies to promote their brand.

4. Black Surgical Masks – The Classic Choice

Black surgical masks, typically made from 3 or 4 layers of non-woven material, offer high-level protection. Often meeting EU En14683 Type 2R or US ASTM Level 3 standards, these masks combine safety with style. Black is universally flattering and versatile, making these masks a sleek accessory that complements any outfit.

5. Surgical Masks with Designs – Fun for the Young

Surgical masks with fun designs have become a hit among children. These masks transform a necessary protective measure into an exciting accessory, making mask-wearing more appealing to the younger demographic. From playful animal prints to beloved cartoon characters, these masks are designed to spark joy and encourage consistent use.

Moreover, these masks aren’t just about aesthetics. They are made with the same high-quality, non-woven materials as their adult counterparts, ensuring that children receive the necessary protection. Some manufacturers also offer adjustable ear loops or softer materials to ensure comfort, making these masks kid-friendly in every sense.

In schools, parks, and other public places, these creatively designed masks have become a common sight. They not only protect the children but also allow them to express their personalities and preferences, making the mask-wearing experience less daunting and more enjoyable.

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