Totobobo, the best mask for artist?

Starting from 2009, pastel artist Paula Ford started to use Totobobo mask, because she developed a breathing problem after painting with soft pastel.
“I could hardly breathe, and my eyes have been running, red and itchy all the time whether I’m painting or not”. She wrote in her blog.

After several unsuccessful attempts with other masks Paula found Totobobo via Google. She was so happy with the performance of Totobobo that she started recommending to her fellow artists. She is now one of Totobobo reseller in the States. Not everyone is good at searching the net, but many do have a similar problem like Paula and can benefit from knowing there is a simple solution like Totobobo.

We did a search on pastel artist and Totobobo mask and was surprised at the number of recommendation within the community: (link, quote)

DAK723 WC Forum Guide Rochester, NY
“Recently, based on a thread started by Paula Ford, I purchased the Totobobo dust mask. I thought I would share my review.

The first thing I noticed was that there seemed to be more air coming through the Totobobo mask than the previous mask that I have been using (3M #8210). In fact, I took the mask off to check and make sure the filters were in place, because there was no noticeable decrease in air flow! (Yes, the filters were in place!) The mask seems lighter, too.

The straps were more comfortable than the 3M #8210 mask, and even better, they are adjustable. You can tighten or loosen them with a little clip that is attached to the strap.

The mask seems to do a fine job – no coughing or clearing my throat after working with the pastels.

One of the nice things about it is that the filters detach and are replaceable, so the mask itself is more environmentally friendly. You only throw the filters away – not the entire mask. The filters will probably last a good long time, I guess I don’t know how long yet! I’ve used it twice and the filters aren’t dirty at all.

One thing that you might need to do, is make some “homemade adjustments” to ensure the mask is tight against the side of your nose – so that the air does not escape through there. Paula contacted Totobobo and was instructed to cut a filter in half and place a piece on either side of the nose. I ended up doing something different – I cut a small groove at the top of the mask for the bridge of my nose (which, apparently, is larger than the average totobobo mask user!). It worked fine, and when I wear the mask, it does not fog up my glasses!

So, that’s my review and I definitely recommend this mask. I know many of you are hesitant about wearing a mask, and believe me, so was I. In fact, I pretty much had to give up pastels for about 20 years, only doing them occasionally and then stopping due to coughing issues. Finally, I decided that using a mask was something I could get used to – and I did. I think it would have been an easier decision if this mask had been available then. It seems very unobtrusive compared to the others.

If you are looking to get one, I highly recommend buying one ”
Adriane Meiss Syracuse, NY

This is the only mask I’ve been able to get used to. I had to cut it to the first mark for it to produce a good seal. Most important of all, is that it doesn’t fog my glasses! Yeah!
It does leave marks on my face, so I’ll have to learn to adjust it correctly.

As soon as I take it off, I’m aware of how much pastel is on and around me by just breathing (it’s scary to think I was breathing all that dust before!), so next time I’ll blow the pastel away with a fan before removing it.

Thank you Paula for sharing this great product with us! (I’m not associated with that company in any way )
chuas2 San Francisco

About the dust; all pastels are going to generate some dust. I use a lot of hard pastels and pastel pencils, which are somewhat less dusty, but still when I’m doing large areas or brushing out errors, I use Paula Ford’s “totobobo” mask. It’s really comfortable and you’ll be able to see in the filters what would have gone into your lungs. Not good!

saramathewson Sunny Southwest
The other thing that I don’t always remember but am working on it is using a mask. I used to always use the paper throw away kind but recently bought a “Totobobo mask” If you search for Paula Ford, she sells them. I don’t sell them or have anything to do with the company but they are nice and inexpensive and you don’t have to keep throwing them away, you just replace the two filters in the mask and they come with extras. You can also cut it to fit your face if it is too big to begin with. It is a nice mask that allows you to wear glasses without them fogging up constantly! And like I said very inexpensive for a more permanent mask.

Like I said I don’t have anything to do with the company, I just own one and like it so thought I would share. I think Paula just sells them because she also likes them and wanted them to be available to other pastelists. I don’t think she really makes any money on them to be honest.
Paula Ford WC Forum Guide Jasper, TN
“I wanted to tell you about my recent struggle with breathing. For the last couple of months I’ve been having a hard breathing after painting. I don’t think I was blowing on my work, but was tapping the excess pastel into the trash every few minutes. Well, it was getting into the air so much, by the end of the night of painting, I could hardly breathe, and my eyes have been running, red and itchy all the time whether I’m painting or not.

So, I came here to WC and did a search for “masks” and decided, after much research and trial and error with other masks that I bought at Lowes or WalMart, that I’d purchase the Totobobo mask.

Let me first I am not associated with the makers of the Totobobo mask. I just feel strongly about what I am about to tell you. This mask may have saved my life.

First, the mask is made out of a rubbery material, so it sticks naturally to your skin. It is a bit tricky to learn how to put it on, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. At first, there was a slight gap near the nose area and I could feel the air coming in around my nose, so I wrote to the makers of this mask and they responded very quickly and told me what to do and it worked perfectly! Since I found the perfect position on my face for my mask, I no longer have any problems with breathing…at all…period. My nose has cleared up, my eyes are no longer irritated, I don’t cough or sneeze at all any more. And, it’s comfortable! I hardly know I’m wearing it!

I feel it has given me the freedom to continue using my pastels. Oh my gosh, I could NOT imagine not painting with pastels. My heart would just die!

So, I’m hear to tell you, if you EVER have any breathing problems due to pastel dust, please buy this mask. It will make all the difference in the world and it may just save your life.

Take care of yourself and love yourself enough to prevent any future problems. There is only one of you and you are the only one that can keep yourself healthy.

Love & Hugs,
Brenda Boylen
You may notice in these small productions that I wear some sort of mask on my face. Protecting my lungs from the airborne pastel dust is serious business. I’ve tried heavy ventilators and they don’t fit my small featured face. I’ve tried 3M, and a few other disposable face masks, but it seemed like they were not protecting me enough. For my own health I searched high and low for a small, comfortable, and highly effective filter and found another pastel artist, Paula Ford using a Totobobo. Artist’s are always at risk by their mediums, especially soft pastel dust! I wanted to bring this up because recently my favorite online blogger friend Loriann underwent lung surgery and so I wanted her to see that she too, can continue working in pastel! I still have to gently wipe up any remaining dust with a damp rag to keep from getting airborne. I’m not sponsored by Totbobo, but I certainly do encourage pastel artists to check them out for their own health.

London cyclist Claire tested Totobobo mask with shocking results

Thanks to the introduction of Andreas from London Cyclist Blog, I got in touch with Claire , she was looking for a better pollution mask to cycle in London. Claire want to use Totobobo mask to help her to cut out the air pollution during her daily 12 mile commuting. After using it for a more than a month, she was happy with the performance of Totobobo and can really recommend it.

Here is Claire’s detail report:

At the beginning of April I was suffering with a sore throat that was worse in the morning and evening – a trip to see my GP confirmed that it was a reaction to London pollution that I was sucking in during my 12 mile commute twice a day.

I had previously and sporadically used a Respro mask which is the only anti-pollution mask that I’ve found in the UK – but I used it sporadically because it has several big drawbacks for me:

My experience of using Respro mask

1. The mask itself is pretty big on a girl’s face and can chafe my skin. It’s like wearing a muzzle and covers most of my face, plus the velcro is very strong and keeps getting caught in my hair.

2. Even using the ‘sports’ filter makes it exceptionally difficult to breathe in sufficient amounts of air when going at speed, leaving me heaving like a fish out of water.

3. The amount of condensation produced inside the mask is incredible – after a couple of miles at a decent pace, my nose felt as though it was submerged, and when breathing hard, condensation was projected out of the mask – when going fast it occasionally splattered all over my shades!

So, in desperation I emailed the London Cyclist blog and asked Andreas if anyone had any ideas about alternatives – then he put me in touch with Totobobo.

Totobobo sent me 2 different masks, the Classic and the SuperCool – both made of very lightweight soft rubber with 2 small round white filters that sit on either side of the face. The masks come with instructions on how to cut the rubber to suit your face – initially I was a little concerned about cutting too much of my Classic away, but eventually after much cautious trimming I fashioned a mask that covered my mouth and nose and felt comfortable.

Riding home with it on was interesting – people in London are generally used to seeing cyclists wearing Respro masks and resembling Darth Vader, but here I was looking as though I had forgotten to take off my surgical mask. I got loads of odd looks and questions about how good it was.

The answer is that I highly recommend Totobobo (apart from the name, which is impossible to make anyone understand whilst actually wearing it!). When I got home I checked the filters and was amazed to see that even in 30 minutes the pristine white had turned to sludgy grey – I am quite horrified by this amount of pollution in London – I only wear each pair of filters for 2 or 3 days, by which time they are nearly black. With the Respro mask, until you’ve worn it for a couple of months you just don’t see any change of colour and probably don’t replace the filter when you should.

There is a little condensation produced by both the Classic and SuperCool, but the SuperCool doesn’t cover your nose, so there’s even less with that one. The thin straps fit behind your ears and afford a surprisingly secure fit and there’s a alternative strap that fits both masks but is a little more complicated than just fitting around your ears.

There are also different filters – a matrix filter and 2 different grades of particulate filter – 94% and 96% – both are easy to breathe through and the 96% gives a slightly higher grade protection from particulates.

So, in summary, buy a Totobobo and breathe easy – I’ve discovered just how horrifying London pollution is, and I value my lungs. Since I have been using my Totobobo my sore throat has disappeared – that makes me happy!

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