Pauline mother’s totobobo mask

Pauline’s 90-year-old mum and her helper wearing the Totobobo mask as they set off for the activity centre which mum attends 5 days a week.

Thanks to Pauline allowing us to share her letter and the photo of her mum.

Dear Francis,
My family and I have found the mask comfortable although it is a bit fiddly to change the filter and adjust the straps. 
Everywhere I go, folks have remarked the mask looks comfortable. However, they flinch when they first hear the price but calm down after comparing this to the cost of wearing surgical masks daily. I will certainly spread the word about your wonderful product and am greatly puzzled why your product is not known to more Singaporeans who have been desperately looking for masks!
Best regards,

Awesome PRO filter from Jorge, Bogota, Colombia

Jorge cycling in Bogota, Colombia

Thanks to Jorge from Bogota, Colombia, for sending us the awesome photos and allowing us to share his comments here.

Jorge purchased a set of Cycling pack including a set of PRO filter and told us he has been using the F94 filters before. He bought the PRO filters as an upgrade to improve the protection.


the F94 filter turn really dark in a couple of weeks.

Jorge sent the photo of used F94 filters
“I am using the normal filters but in 15 days I will try the PRO filter.”

Hello Francis:
6 weeks ago I started using PRO filter.  I noted more air flowed through the mask because I felt the air colder.
Please find attached some photos after changing the PRO filter with new ones.
Also, I changed fabric straps with rubber straps, I felt fabric straps too loose.
It is incredible how the PRO filters got dark on the outside but inside they are clean, that is proof they are making their job.
I did not find any disadvantage on PRO filter.

Bike to Work route of Jorge, Bogota, Colombia


Jorge answers to my questions:

– How long have you been using them to get this black? 
I used PRO filter about 6 weeks

– Where did you use them? 
I used them at Bogotá Colombia

– What kind of activities does it allow you to do when wearing the mask? 
I used to ride a bike.  I ride 11 km from house to work and 11 km from work to the house.

more info:
Pro-Filter, the best filter for outdoor sports
Totobobo online shop

Awesome doTERRA essential oil

This really blows my mind! A tiny drop of pure essential oil can last for so long! My favourite is the “Clearify” which is perfect for purifying urban air pollution.
Thanks to Mary Ang for introducing “doTERRA essential oil” and the suggestion to use Totobobo mask as a personal oil dispenser. Simply Awesome!

Check the small dot of the tinted area is all is needed to provide hours long enjoyment in breathing.

doTERRA essential oil combines with Totobobo mask

More about doTERRA Clearity
doTERRA Clearify contains Litsea and Tangerine, known for its cleansing and purifying properties, as well as the energizing and uplifting aroma of Grapefruit. Clearify also includes Frankincense for its calming and relaxing aroma, and Cardamom to promote feelings of clear breathing. Clearify can be safely diffused at home or at work to cleanse and purify the air.


Testimonial from Bogota, Colombia

The PRO filter has been picking up by cyclists and runners from cities with serious air pollution. Here is a new endorsement by Jorge Alvarado from Bogota, Colombia. Frankly, I was rather shocked to see the photos of the used PRO filters. Here is Jorge’s message he has kindly allowed to be published:

Hello Francis:
6 weeks ago I started using PRO filter.  I noted more air flowed through the mask because I felt the the air colder.
Please find attached some photos after changing the PRO filter with new ones.
Also I changed fabric straps with rubber straps, I felt fabric straps too loose.
It is incredible how the PRO filters got dark on outside but inside they are clean, that is a proof they are making their job.
I did not find any disadvantage on PRO filter.

more about PRO filter:
Buy online:
Special offer

Nomad Travellers test Totobobo Mask

Davide and Oti reminds me of Herves and Goska. Both team were of Nomad Travellers

While in Singapore we were lucky enough to be accepted by Mr Francis Chu to visit Totobobo mask’s headquarters in Singapore and get to test live some samples of his invention. We were able to understand a little bit better the working mechanism of their product, how to properly wear the masks and how they perform compared to some of their direct competitors: Respro mask and 3M N95 disposable mask (1860s).

Arriving at Totobobo mask’s headquarters and getting to know Mr Francis Chu

After wandering around Totobobo’s neighborhood lost in between big commercial blocks, we eventually manage to decipher the coded Singaporean address we were provided, and to access the clean and professional looking headquarter of Totobobo.
We introduced ourself to the creator of Totobobo Mask, Mr Francis Chu (I forgot to ask him where Totobobo’s name is coming from) and we soon felt a good connection with him: ahumble, positive and friendly person.

What is Totobobo mask?

Totobobo mask is a reusable mask made of a non allergic elastomer, that uses replaceable filters and unique technologies. It is sold at the moment for 33 USD.

The frost surface turn transparent when wetThe frost surface turn transparent when wet
The peculiar characteristics of this mask are that it can be modeled using heat to fit perfectly everybody’s face, and the “Watermark Seal Check“, a technology that helps understanding when there are no gaps between mask and skin, by turning the frost internal surface of the material into transparent.

Oti wetting her face to check the fitOti wetting her face to check the fit
When there is a continuous transparent line in the contact interface face-mask, then a perfect fit is obtained.

A gap is visible on the top left next to the nose: tha mask needs to be reshapedA gap is visible on the top left next to the nose: tha mask needs to be reshaped

A continuos line on Oti's maskA continuos line on Oti’s mask
The filters available come in 3 different grades: N96, N94, N92. The number basically indicate the percentage of particles over pm 2.5 that are blocked by the filter.
The most effective filter of the line, the N96, would block at least 96% of the contaminants. While it is more performant, it can make more difficult the breathing operation and it’s more expensive than the others, so that while some customers might prefer the most effective option, others might find more convenient the N92 filters.
Totobobo mask comes in different sizes, and can even be trimmed to fit smaller faces.

Using Totobobo mask

Mr. Francis started our educational visit by showing us how to use his product.
The main operations that can be performed are:
– modifying the shape to perfectly fit the contour of the face;
– correctly wearing and adjusting the mask;
– replacing the filters.
There are plenty of tutorial and videos on their website on how to do that. That’s where I suggest you to go for a more detailed explanation.
Heat is needed to reshape the mask, and it can be provided by an hair dryer or hot water. Thesuggested mixture to obtain the perfect temperature is 3/4 of boiling water and 1/4 of room temperature water.
After warming up the masks for a few seconds by immersing them, the elastomer becomes softer and it can be reshaped until it gets cold (a matter of a few seconds) and “freeze” in the new shape.

Immersing Totobobo mask in warm waterImmersing Totobobo mask in warm water
It is actually easier said than done, and the whole process needs to be repeated several times after verifying the watermark until a perfect fit is found.
The first time it can get frustrating, and it might take as long as one hour of trial and error until a satisfying solution is found, but don’t give up! A perfect fit is ESSENTIAL for the efficiency of the mask!

TIP: You better exaggerate the deformation you want to impress, since after releasing the mask, it will partially go back to the previous shape.
You can also help yourself with tools, like a pen to wrap the mask around for the top tight curve of the nose, or a flat desk to flatten an angle.

Reshaping Totobobo maskReshaping Totobobo mask

It’s possible to adjust the length of the elastic straps, by wrapping them around the plastic holders.
Reposition of the mask should be better done by pulling it in front and placing it back on the face, rather than pushing it to fill the gaps. If repositioning doesn’t work, it means that it needs more reshaping.

Changing the filters is extremely easy, it’s just about releasing two elastic bands, removing the used filter and placing the new one into place.

Changing the filters of Totobobo maskChanging the filters of Totobobo mask

Testing Totobobo mask and its competitors

While at the Headquarter we had the chance to do a lab test analyzing the efficiency of Totobobo’s mask and 2 of its competitors.

Oti testing N95 maskOti testing N95 mask

Davide testing Respro maskDavide testing Respro mask
Totobobo was the winner with a reduction of 200+ times, 3M N95 reduced the pollutants around 30 times, and surprisingly Respro mask only 3 times!
We have written a separate article with the detail of the test and photos of the result: Comparison of 3 anti-pollution mask models.

This test was so educational for us. We understood how important is to find a perfect fit of the mask (Not only Totobobo, but any mask!) and that we were basically wasting time in Indonesia when wearing our simple Surgical masks.

Totobobo’s packaging and enviormental approach

The packaging of Totobobo mask is really minimalistic and completely recyclable.
Fancier, more sellable packaging have been discarded to reduce at minimum the waste created by the product: Mr Francis preferred to stick to his environmental beliefs, rather than selling a few more masks.
The plastic bag of the case is actually a zip-lock bag, that can be easily reused.
Also the filters packaging uses a similar zip-lock bag, and contains a single simple paper presentation with an image to be used as a reference to understand at what moment to replace the filters, e.g. when they reach a 50% gray color (but no later than after 2 weeks).

Totobobo mask packagingTotobobo mask packaging

Totobobo and cyclists

Totobobo mask is s cyclist friendly product, not only because cyclists are one of the major supporters, but also because Mr Francis is a cyclist himself and the only extra bit of paper in the packaging is a nice heart shaped recyclable note addressed to car drivers, asking them to respect cyclists since they are making the air less polluted also for them.
By the way drivers! Some studies shows how pollution inside the car can get even higherthan the one outside, since somehow it gets stuck in the cabin: so car drivers shouldn’t thing that masks are something only for cyclist or pedestrian and that they are immune to the pollution that they are creating!

Cons and possible improvements of Totobobo mask

While the mask works amazingly when perfectly set up, the learning curve to understand how to reshape the mask is quite steep, and we are scared that some people might get frustrated and misuse the mask or just give up.

While wearing the mask in warm and humid tropical climate, there is condensation inside the mask, that can feel annoying at the beginning.

That’s a common problem to several masks, and to solve it Totobobo propose the possibility to trim the mask to the “SuperCool” design covering only the mouth, so that exhalation can be done through the nose with no condensation. This design is particularly suggested for cyclists that wants to inhale more air using the mouth instead of the nose.

As a secondary cons, we realized that the look of the mask is so unique, that many people were staring at us. Some people might feel uncomfortable and stop wearing the mask. A suggestion is to propose a customization pack with a thin personalized cover to put on top of Totobobo mask, or if you feel uncomfortable just wear a cheap standard mask on top of Totobobo’s.
In any case we of course prioritize our health over our look.

As a suggestion for the future we would also like to see a “family pack” with maybe 50 filters at a discounted price, to decrease the operational cost (already quite low compared to other brands at around 2-5$ per month) for people permanently living in polluted places and to also reduce transportation costs-emissions and packaging.

Davide and Oti with Totobobo masks in front of the Petronas towersDavide and Oti with Totobobo masks in front of the Petronas towers

Our final conclusion

We have started using our Totobobo masks, and changed the filters for the first time after 7 days of usage in Malaysia, plagued by the haze coming from Indonesia. So far we are satisfied, it works well and the filters are getting gray as expected!

One week usage in Malaysia: on top Oti's filters, used less constantly, on the bottom Davide's filters ready to be replacedOne week usage in Malaysia: on top Oti’s filters, used less constantly, on the bottom Davide’s filters ready to be replaced

We are so grateful to have met Mr. Francis Chu and directly experience the lab tests on the masks! Now we understand much better what are the important parameters to choose an effective pollution mask, and how to correctly wear it.
At the end of our visit to Totobobo’s headquarters, we were happy to support their productsnot only because they are effective, but also because we believe in Mr Francis mission and we liked a lot his approach of doing business, not putting money and success as the main priority if it’s colliding with higher purposes.

Quoting Totobobo website:

“However, face mask is not a sustainable solution, reduce consumption is.”

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and we received free sample masks to write this article, but what we wrote represent our honest opinion, including not only pros but also cons.This text first appeared on “Nomad Travellers”. Read more on:

Dr. Hewitson’s advise on air pollution for Taiwanese

Possibly due to air pollution, healthy non-smokers in Taiwan are much more likely to get lung cancer than smokers in the USA.

A recent purchase from Taiwan triggered my curiosity. I ask the customer, Dr. Hewitson, why he choose Totobobo mask. His answer surprised me. I didn’t realise the fact that healthy non-smokers in Taiwan are much more likely to get lung cancer than smokers in the USA!

“As I’m in a research institute here in Taiwan, some of my colleagues have done studies on the effects of air pollution on both the lungs and the brain of mice.
As it stands, people in Taiwan who do not smoke are three times more likely to get lung cancer than smokers in the United States. Many Taiwanese are not aware of this. I am constantly educating my students on the dangers of air pollution and actually I recommend your company to them all the time whether or not they purchase, is another question but I have faith in what you guys are doing.”

By Dr. Justin Hewitson

The study:
Higher than Usual Lung Cancer Incidence in Taiwanese Non-smokers

An ongoing study suggests environmental factors in Taiwan are contributing to a rising number of cases in otherwise healthy non-smokers.

After four doctors at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) had suddenly collapsed on the job during the previous two years – with one of them failing to recover – the hospital in the second half of 2013 ordered all staff physicians 45 years of age and older to take a physical examination.

The comprehensive health checks included low-radiation computerized topography
(CT) scans of the lungs. The results were chilling. Of 300 physicians tested, 12 (4%) were found to have a small lung nodule (less than 1 centimeter), which subsequent testing confirmed as lung carcinoma.

The study on lung cancer in non-smokers is groundbreaking because it highlights the risk that the disease poses to the wider population. For decades, lung cancer has been associated almost exclusively with cigarette smoking. 

In Taiwan, non-smokers may be at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer than in the United States. The ongoing eight-year study has found that non-smokers here are twice as likely to develop the disease than are heavy smokers in the United States and Europe.

Scott and his SuperCool mask in Chiangmai

Scott’s Supercool mask for MTB in Chiangmai high AQI >400

Thanks to Scott sharing his Supercool mask experience for MTB in Chiangmai high AQI >400

Scott wearing his SuperCool mask in Chiang Mai
Scott wearing his SuperCool mask in Chiang Mai

When did you start using the Supercool mask?  

I’m going to say 2-3 years.  I pay attention to the AQI and use the mask when it’s above 100.  

Was the customization process difficult for you?

No, very straight forward.  I initially bought 2 masks just in case I made a mistake, the template is easy and accurate to use.

Have you tried other masks before?

Just the N95 paper masks.  No comparison really both in fit and comfort. Well done.

What are the differences between the previous mask and the Supercool? Pros and cons?

Like the name says it’s very cool.  I do find that I breath almost always, if not entirely, through my mouth when I’m riding hard.  Being able to wash out the mask after a ride is a plus also.  Finally, a new user should allow several rides to adjust to having a mask on, but after initial period it’s hardly noticeable.

Filter turns dark after ONE 30 km ride in Chiang Mai (AQI-424)
Filter turns dark after ONE 30 km ride in Chiang Mai (AQI-424)

Dear Totobobo,

I love your products.  I ride MTBs both in Hong Kong and Chiangmai, TH.  I use the SuperCool modification and it works great.  In HK I began using the PRO filters and now I want to buy some for Chiangmai.  (As well as few normal masks.)
A few pix from Chiangmai.  Note the filters after ONE 30 Km ride while the AQI was > 400 recently !!

Thanks, Scott (Strava)

More Totobobo SuperCool mask testimonials

Buy Totobobo mask and PRO filters

Air pollution in Singapore

Air pollution does not normally associate with the Garden City Singapore. However, you may be surprised that the air is not that clean either.

Source : TheSmartLocal

You may be thinking, what air pollution? Skies are bright and the vision is clear, where is the pollution? Well, the truth is, it’s invisible and that’s why it’s a killer. Unlike the pollutions caused by haze, the ones we face daily contains pm2.5 particles, which are too small for our naked eyes to see. PM2.5 mainly comes from traffic smog and industrial burnings in our tiny land, you don’t see them, but they’re there. If you belong to one of the sensitive groups (asthma, lung or heart condition, elderly) it’s important to protect yourself from PM2.5 as they are able to enter deep into our body through the respiratory system, which can trigger an asthma attack or a cardiovascular episode.

An unexpected, healthy group of local user are road cyclists. They wear a mask to cut down the traffic smog along the busy road behind buses. That makes sense if your bike-to-work commuting involves long distance on roads.

Finally for emergency, remember this?

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The 2013 haze crisis that we hit us suddenly and it lasted for 1-2 weeks before it started to get better. We weren’t expecting nor prepared for it, parents rush to pharmacies to get masks from their families and themselves. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep a mask at home so that in the case of an emergency, you’ll be prepared for it. You can also keep it for future uses such as traveling to air polluted countries like India, China, Thailand, etc.

Thailand, Bangkok, “From Crisis to Solution”

It was the end of the Lunar New Year and it didn’t spare our neighboring country, Thailand, from the air pollution. The authorities were concerned as well as the citizens and the tourists who were traveling there. During this critical period of time, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation decided to invite us over to give a seminar and a demonstration of Totobobo Mask in Bangkok.

We decided to name the event, “Air Pollution: From Crisis to Solution.”

Photos before the event:

Francis Chu, the inventor of Totobobo Mask.
Receiving the interview from the media crew arranged by art4d and the Thai Health Foundation

Photos from the seminar “Air Pollution: from Crisis to Solution”.

Demonstration of Totobobo mask in Bangkok:

After the speech, we proceeded to explain how the TSI Portacount Pro fit-tester works and asked for volunteers who wish to participate. We are thankful for the volunteers (Mr. Apiphu and May) who came forward and help us demonstrate how Totobobo mask can be ReShaped to fit, and validate the result with the Portacount Pro.
First Mr. Apiphu wanted to test his own cloth mask. We use the Portacount Pro and obtain a Fit Factor of ~3, which is similar to surgical mask. Then we tested the Totobobo mask he brought with him, The Fit Factor was initially 12 before ReShape and improved to 200+ after ReShape, that demonstrate how important the ReShape function for improving the protection is. Finally we change the F96 filter on Mr. Apiphu’s Totobobo mask with a pair of cotton pad. The Fit Factor dropped to 2.5 immediately! That shows the significance of choosing the right filter for the job.

To finish the day off, we had 2 really cute kids who came up to try out with us too!

All in all, we would like to thank the Thai Health Promotion Foundation for inviting us over to share our story with and demonstrate Totobobo mask features to our users in Bangkok! We would also like to thank the media co-ordinator art4d for planning out the event in such a short period of time!

Presentation file (pdf):
Reviews from our users :

Totobobo Mask for children :

Totobobo Mask Singapore:
Buy Totobobo mask in Thailand:

Air Pollution- from Crisis to Solution (Bangkok)

If you are in Bangkok this weekend, come visit us at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (BACC).
We will be sharing the story of Totobobo mask (Air pollution: From Crisis to Solution).
We will also take the opportunity to demonstrate the Reshaping and fit-testing, using the TSI Portacount PRO 8038 fit-tester.
The event is sponsored by Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Following this link to get your free ticket: