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There are many types and styles of face masks available and you can even make your own from a T-shirt, sock or bandana, but how do you know if they’re any good?

Facial coverings are now mandatory in shops and supermarkets, banks, takeaways and on public transport, however there are a number of people who are exempt from the new rule, which came into force on Friday (July 24).

Anyone who does not fall into one of the exempt categories who fails to adhere to the new rules can face a £100 fine, which will be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

According to  GOV.UK:”A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth.

“You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.”

But with so many retailers selling them, and numerous tips and tricks on how to make them from home, how do you know what works and what doesn’t?

Writing in The Conversation, Simon Kolstoe, senior lecturer in evidence-based healthcare at the University of Portsmouth, says one of the most efficient tests to test how effective your face covering is, is the candle test.

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It’s incredibly simple and takes only a second to complete.

Simon suggests lighting a candle and, being careful not to burn yourself, try and blow out the flame through your mask.

Supposedly, if you can blow out the candle or move the flame, too much air is able to escape from your mask.

Simon said: “Initially, the distance coupled with the strength of exhalation could be investigated, but then face coverings made from different materials and critically with different numbers of layers could be tried.

“The design of face-covering that made it hardest to divert the candle flame will probably provide the best barrier for projecting the virus forward and through the face covering.”

Try it out for yourself – but make sure you’re not too close to the candle.

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