Kosk – South Korea’s Controversial Nose-Only Face Mask

A new type of South Korean face mask that only covers the wearer’s nose has been getting a lot of attention from the western press lately.

Called ‘kosk” –  a combination of ‘ko’, the Korean word for nose, and ‘mask’ – the unusual face mask sold by South Korean company Atman consists of two parts, one of which can be removed to leave the wearer’s mouth exposed. They are apparently designed to provide some level of protection against Covid while eating, but can also be worn in nose-only mode at any time. Kosk is just one of the nose-only face masks available in South Korea these days, and the unusual trend has sparked some controversy in the western world, with many declaring the facial accessories utterly useless.

“No different to the people who wear their masks below their nose,” one Twitter user reacted to the kosk face mask.

“Next level of stupidity,” someone else commented.

However, studies have shown that the nose is the easiest route for the coronavirus to enter the human body, and some health experts believe that nose-only masks are better than not wearing a face mask at all.

“It probably makes a marginal difference,” Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair in Epidemiology within Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation, commented, adding that it was still a “strange idea”.

Even though people on our side of the pond don’t seem to be impressed with the nose-only face mask, the kosk has a 5-star rating from 118 reviews on South Korean shopping platform Coupang, where a pack of 10 masks sells for 9,800 won ($8.20).


A similar mask from Spar Clone Fabric costs 2,000 won ( $1.65 ) for a set of three, which can be reused many times.