Mmmkay, so we're all wearing face masks, right? Right?? Like, we're all aware we're still in the middle of a pandemic, and sh*t's not looking great, and Tom Hanks is greatly disappointed in the human race, and aside from washing your hands/practicing social distancing/staying the heck home, wearing a face mask is the very least you can do to help limit the spread of COVID-19 when venturing outside. Which means you also know that wearing your mask all day long can cause some hella uncomfortable rubbing/pulling on the backs of your ears.
And though, yes, there are tie-on masks you can opt for that'll be more comfortable on your ears, not everyone has the means or the ability to make the switch—especially if your work mandates you wear a certain type of mask. So what to do? Get creative with your hair and accessories, like these seven lowkey brilliant people below who devised a bunch of easy hairstyle hacks to take the pressure off of their ears while still keeping their face masks intact. So now you have absolutely no excuse not to wear your mask every single day from here on out. Got that? Good.
This Head Wrap Mask Style
If your ears are absolutely over the friction and rubbing (uh, hi), skip the elastic altogether for a day and try masking with something softer. Here, @modelesque_nic shows off three ways she masks with her head wrap, twisting and knotting a satin wrap (the Culture Hijab Serra Square, to be specific) around her curls and over her ears.
These Accented Mask Hairstyles
This entire video is proof you can still look incredibly cute while wearing a mask (so WEAR IT. NO EXCUSES). With just a few barrettes and bobby pins, @hairbytt shows you exactly how to pin and/or wrap your hair with either twists, a ~fancy~ low pony, a glitzed-out chignon, or two cute double buns.
This Twisted and Clipped Mask Hairstyle
The key to making this style feel like a ~*lewk*~ is a few soft layers pulled out around the face. Just two-strand twist the sides of your hair back, hook a cute barrette through the ears of your mask, then slide and snap the barrette over the twist to keep it in place. Repeat on the other side, and boom—cute hair, happy ears.
This Bandana Mask Hairstyle
You know that bandana you initially used as a face mask before investing in a legit one? Yeah, go get it, pls. Then wrap it around the back of your neck, slip the ends through the ear holes of your mask, and tie the bandana up and around your head or around a ponytail for a genius hairstyle combo that'll keep the friction off the back of your ears.
This Easy Face Mask Hairstyle
These hairstyles really, truly don't have to be difficult—just scoop your hair into a low bun, ponytail, braid, whatever, and then use a bunch of glitzed-up barrettes and pins to keep the mask's elastic pulled back and away from your ears. Don't have fancy accessories? Grab two mini claw clips to hold the loops in place.
This Ponytail Face Mask Hairstyle
Okay, even if we weren't in the middle of a harrowing pandemic, I could see this exact look making it down the NYFW runways. Pearls and ~fashun~ aside, though, you can still take a cue from this ponytail hairstyle by looping your mask under or through the first bubble of the braid to keep it in place—and off your ears.
This Braided Bun Mask Hairstyle
You can make this double-bun hairstyle as fancy or as chill as you want—blast your roots with dry shampoo for lift, curl your face-framing layers to give them a soft wave, etc. Ooooor, just braid, twist, and pin two quick and easy buns, then loop the elastics of your mask around them to keep them from rubbing the backs of your ears.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.