It's the 2020 accessory you never knew you needed.

By Susan Brickell
August 07, 2020
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My 2019 self would never have believed that just a short year later I'd be living in a world in which face masks are recommended by the CDC and mandatory in some states, six-feet of distance needs to be maintained between you and others, and household items like disinfectant wipes are considered valuable possessions. Heck, my February 2020 self wouldn't have believed it.

But here we are, five-ish months into the coronavirus pandemic—and we're adapting and creating new habits. We're washing our hands more than usual, trying hard not to touch our faces, and taking a mask with us whenever we leave home. However, if you're like me, that last one can still prove to be a little tough. Sometimes, I'll walk out of my house, lock the door, and then basically make the Home Alone face as I realize I forgot my mask inside. (Hey, I'm human. Cut me some slack.)

Since face coverings have become a part of our "new normal", it may not come as a surprise that people are finding ways to accessorize them. Lanyards for face masks now exist, and could ensure that you never forget your face covering at home again. Plus, they help keep your mask close at hand, so you're not fumbling in your bag or digging into your pocket for it, risking contamination. Lanyards could really come in handy for outdoorsy folk, since they make your mask more accessible if you find yourself on a busy trail or sidewalk while hiking, biking, or rollerskating.

Croakies for your face mask seem a bit ~out there~, but they might not be total bullocks. "It's a good idea for people who seem to lose their masks when they're out running errands or exercising, and it would definitely be a convenient way for them to keep them on hand at all times," says Nabeel Chaudhary, M.D., a board-certified internal medicine and primary care physician at Manhattan Gastroenterology. But they still won't encourage people to wear masks, as ultimately people who want to protect themselves and others would wear a mask regardless, he adds.

The downside is that lanyards could be irritable in the summer heat. But if that doesn't deter you, Dr. Chaudhary says to opt for something lightweight, so it doesn't pull your mask down, and to avoid anything with a heavier material or heavy metal due to strain on your neck. While they're perfectly safe for adults, he recommends being cautious with small children wearing them, since they could be a choking risk or hazard.

Keep scrolling for the best lanyards for face masks that are super convenient for activities like running, biking, hiking, walking, or running errands.

U/A Face Mask Lanyard

Amazon

These lanyards are 28 inches long and can be easily adjusted for a comfortable fit, thanks to the rubber buckle. Also nice: You get five versatile colorways for the price of one, so you can match your outfit if you feel so inclined. (It's the little things these days.)

To buy: U/A Face Mask Lanyard, $4 for 5 (was $8); amazon.com

AlexKBoutique Face Mask Lanyard

Made of soft cotton and polyester, these mask croakies come in a variety of colorful solids and patterns, including a fun 90s-inspired neon cord. One happy customer touted these as "an excellent idea for keeping the mask safely within your reach when not required in an indoor environment or regulated by the government."

Specialist ID Store Face Mask Lanyard

Amazon

Lightweight and soft against your skin, reviewers love these mask straps as a way to not lose your face covering, with one shopper calling it the "best investment I have made so far." You get two classic black lanyards, so you can use one for sweaty outdoor workouts and one for running errands.

FireflyFeelingBright Face Mask Chain

FireflyFeelingBright

Face masks, but make it fashion. This multipurpose beaded lanyard features silver lobster claws that can connect to your face mask or your glasses (as some reviewers point out), and helps you take your mask off without having to stuff it in your purse or stick it on another surface to risk contagion.

Hidden Hollow Beads Face Mask Holder Chain

Amazon

While Dr. Chaudhary did say to avoid heavy metals when deciding on a lanyard, Amazon customers swear that this fashionable chain is surprisingly lightweight yet sturdy, thanks to the stainless steel construction. The alligator clips also make it easy to use on DIY face coverings like bandanas.

JJCraftsMasks Face Mask Lanyard

JJCraftsMasks

If you don't like the idea of metal clips or hooks rubbing against your skin while wearing a lanyard attached to your face mask, try this grosgrain ribbon strap with sliver ring snap fasteners instead. And you can even throw it in wash on delicate cycle after using it.

SSqkei Face Bandana Lanyard

Amazon

Resembling friendship bracelets from your elementary days, these cord lanyards have an adjustable buckle for a customized fit and come in four cute shades. Opt for a single croakie for $10 or snap up a set of five for $17, so you always have one on hand.