Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Shopping for Masks in Koreatown

Hancock Park Resident Anne Kim took us shopping for masks in Koreatown at Donginbi at California Marketplace

Hancock Park resident Anne Kim has been shopping in Koreatown for masks for her friends and family, and shared her findings with the Buzz. Kim, who works in Koreatown as the office manager for her husband, Dr. Michael Kim’s dermatology practice, decided to go shopping for masks once Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the order last week requiring all residents to wear a face covering when visiting the majority of essential businesses.

Kim told us she wanted to find masks that would be comfortable to wear and that meant shopping in person so she could try them on and touch the materials. She said she has no trouble finding masks in Koreatown because Koreans are used to wearing masks.

A display of masks sold at Donginbi at California Market in Koreatown. (photo from Anne Kim)

“From procedural masks that are disposable to reusable cotton ones, there are so many different kinds of masks,” said Kim, who stopped at Donginbi, a Korean Cosmetics store at California Marketplace at Western Avenue and Fifth Street in Koreatown.  “There are masks for men and fancy looking ones with a vent knob attached to it.”

In addition, Kim learned about how to wear the mask and take care of it between wearings.

“Mr. Rafael Na, the store manager at Dong In Bi,  told me that it was important to wear the mask correctly,” said Kim. “Place the bands around the ears. The top of every mask (except for the cotton mask) has a slim metal wire. It should be place on top of the nose and pinched tight. Then the mask should be pulled down to the chin. The cotton mask should be worn with a disposable mask inside it for extra safety against the COVID-19 virus. If not, then he suggested spraying the mask with the sanitizer with every use.”

An array of sanitizers available at Donginbi at California Market in Koreatown. (photo from Anne Kim)

Kim shared her thoughts on the wearability of some masks, noting that’s it’s a good idea to find something comfortable since we may be wearing masks in public for awhile.

“I tried on several different kinds of masks. I found KN95 to be the least comfortable. The rubber band around the ear was tight and irritating. I couldn’t wear the mask for more than a hour without my ear hurting,” said Kim. However, she added that it is a decent solution if you are looking for a disposable paper mask that could be worn several times because it can fit close around the nose.

“I found all others to be comfortable. I am not sure if I would spend the extra money for the KF94 mask (the mask with vent knob) but it is available as an option for those looking for that particular type of mask,” said Kim.

“I have several masks and just alternate using them,” said Kim, who keeps one in her bag and one in her car.  She also said Ethical Drug store, at 254 N. Western Ave. (corner of Beverly), is also advertising that they sell masks and gloves.

For more information on wearing masks and even making your own, check out  A User’s Guide to Face Masks published this week by the New York Times.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. A BIG thank YOU to Anne Kim for the mask information. I think it’s very helpful for her to share this information with everyone.


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