Do you hate the feeling of sun on your face? Do you wish to remain anonymous while enjoying the ocean? Do you own a rash guard but want to take sun protection to the next level?
If you answered "yes" or nodded at the screen a little to any of these questions, I have the product for you.
Introducing the Facekini, a swim mask that lets you protect your precious face skin, scare small children, and look like a condom with eyes.
Emily bought it for me.
It's been popular in China for a while now. Not only do they prevent the dreaded tanning of the face, but insect bites and jelly fish stings as well. And, according to Business Insider, they have another benefit:
Most "face-kini" women are middle-aged retired Qingdaoese who swim in the city's oceans frequently. Many of the women say that they wear the masks because they are uncomfortable donning bathing suits in public. The masks shield their identity so that they can swim without fear of ridicule.
Funny, because when I wore this thing to the beach, my biggest fear was ridicule.
I am very much about sun protection. I rarely leave the house when the sun is out, don't mess with any SPF under 35, and I am considering buying a long-sleeved swimsuit.
Also maybe a pair of swim pants.
But despite my enthusiasm for avoiding sun exposure, I have to admit I was not super stoked about wearing this thing to the beach, mainly because that meant I would have to go to the beach. I wanted to wear the Facekini at Disney World this last weekend, but some members of my party (all of them) would not permit it.
My sister is visiting, and wanted to go to the beach (even thought the water is 90 degrees and full of kelp), so the timing was perfect. Though I'm sure if she had realized "beach day" meant "taking pictures of Claire in a pink wrestling mask until she gets stung by something and makes us leave" she might have reconsidered.
We packed up our towels and threw on our shades. I took the extra step of painting my lips pink to so they would match my newest swimming accessory.
I didn't put the Facekini on until we arrived; I didn't want some cop to think I had just participated in a particularly flamboyant bank robbery and -- more importantly, I guess -- it obstructed my peripheral vision.
Luckily, I was able to slip it on as soon as we parked without anyone seeing. I felt like this was important in order to maintain an air of mystery.
The effect is what I would call "truly perplexing." Here is a person who obviously cares about sun protection enough to wear a bright pink mask, but still chooses a traditional two piece for her body. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If I had already purchased my long-sleeved swim suit, you could write the whole thing off as "someone who is deathly afraid of sunburns and/or skin cancer," but my ensemble didn't quite read as that.
I will say this: No one messed with me. The only verbal reactions I elicited were from children, who were quickly hushed by their parents. One little boy proclaimed "Look at the pink one!" and then just kept yelling "Here comes the pink one!" whenever I was within 20 feet of him. Other children just ran away or clung nervously to their parents.
I laid out my towel and was preparing for a swim when some teens approached. "Ah, youths!" I thought, "surely they will provide some excellent quotes!"
They stared and talked among themselves in hushed tones, but none were brave enough to inquire as to why I would wear such an unflattering garment to a place where one is so often judged on appearance. You had one job, teens, and that was to make unsolicited remarks about my swimwear. I know you're capable of it! It's practically your hobby!
After that disappointing interaction with today's youth and an even more disappointing swim (which was completely disgusting due to bath-like water conditions), I took a walk to a more crowded area, in front of some condos. I got a lot of pointing and even more stares (and some dirty looks), but no one said anything.
Overall, the experience was varied, with a lot of pros and cons.
Some of the "pros":
- My face did not burn.
- My face was not stung by a jellyfish. (Though my arm was stung/bit by something, pushing me closer and closer to finally buying that swim shirt.)
- I swear my head was more buoyant.
- No one talked to me.
- I was easy to spot in the ocean.
- It itched.
- It squished my nose down.
- My head got pretty warm.
- Children ran from me. (This may be a "pro" for some.)
- I couldn't talk very easily.
- It embarrassed my sister. (Kind of a "pro" to be honest.)
All in all, it was a roller coaster of emotions (one of those kiddie roller coasters that I'm too big for, but still). I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do it again. Let me know if you want to borrow it, we could start a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Facekini" blog or something.
Tweet Claire if you want to borrow the Facekini @clairelizzie