How to Properly Wear a Face Mask, According to Dr. Olivia Cuid

This is how to get the most protection from your face mask, according to a dentist who went viral on TikTok.

Face masks have become a part of our daily routine to keep ourselves and others safe as we go to the grocery store or out to run errands. But just because we’re wearing them doesn’t mean we’re wearing them properly. Just ask Dr. Olivia Cuid. In a now-viral TikTok video, the dentist reveals how to properly wear a face mask with one simple hack.

Dr. Cuid’s 60-second trick works for surgical masks and cloth ones.

How to Properly Wear a Face Mask

Now, face masks are required in dozens of stores and public spaces, and the CDC has said that surgical and cloth masks are a great option for most people. However, when wearing them, the sides of your face can be left exposed to the outside. This can allow small particles to enter.

For proper protection, here’s what Dr. Cuid recommends:

  1. Start by folding your mask in half lengthwise.
  2. Then, take the earloops and tie a very tight knot on both sides. Make sure it’s as close to the corners of the mask as possible. This is especially helpful for those with smaller faces who have struggled to find a face mask that fits, or kids.
  3. Open up the mask. It will have more of a diamond shape now.
  4. On either side, near the ear loops, you’ll notice small openings. Tuck them in. And that’s it!

Your mask should be securely fitted, without any visible openings. Here’s the full video (watch carefully for a brief cameo by her dog):

@oliviacuidmdHighly requested 60s version of my viral mask hack ##fyp ##doctorsoftiktok ##masktutorial ##covid19 ##viral ##maskhack ##learnontiktok♬ original sound – oliviacuidmd

Dr. Cuid’s video has nearly 4 million views and 2,000 delighted comments, and celebrities like Katie Couric and Kristen Bell have shared it with their followers. Along with helpful dental tricks, Dr. Cuid also posts the occasional hilarious video on her TikTok.

Keep Your Mask Clean, Too

Just like cleaning your cell phone, washing your masks is an important step to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Be sure to wash your hands before removing a face covering and wash the mask, either in the washing machine or by hand, after each use.

If you do have an N95 mask, you can sterilize it with an Instant Pot and some basic household supplies to get multiple uses out of your mask.

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Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.