Leather hood with zip eyes and mouth by Spartacus - review by Owl Identified

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Stanky & Claustrophobic

Sadly, this hood did not live up to the standard set in my numerous pre-purchase hood fantasies. I had envisioned sexy, tailored, fragrant leather engaging the senses just enough to cause slight sensory confusion. Instead, I got a stinky, sagging leather sack that more or less pummeled every cone & rod in my eyes and every hair in my nose. With poorly placed eye slots and mouth hole, it was not only smelly and overwhelming, but downright dangerous due to lack of proper breathing holes.
Published:
Pros:
Gives you a funny story to tell your friends
Cons:
Hard to breath in, ill fitting, eye holes strangely situated, smelly, difficult to remove
Rating by reviewer:
3
extremely useful review
After trying a great many products offered by Edenfantasys, I've been on the look-out lately for novel items that might surprise me or at the very least, expose me to something new and different. I've passed by Spartacus' Leather Hood a few times before, but was never certain it would fit into my BDSM play. The idea was certainly attractive, and the sensory deprivation seemed like a killer way to take my partner's submission to a new level of surrender. Still, it was hard to imagine the mask itself actually becoming a part of my bedroom activity...it reminded me too much of crappy nu-metal bands and slasher flicks.

But, after a lot of thought and some persuading my partner, I decided to try this out. The more I tried to put my film and music associations out of my head, the more the hood seemed like a legitimately sexy accessory.

Sadly, things did not pan out as I had hoped.

Let me start out by saying that this hood is actually very well made in terms of the stitching, the material, and all the technical craft/composition areas of judgment. Every seam and edge is closed and reinforced tightly, including around the eye slits and mouth hole. The zippers are sturdy and well attached, and so far haven't gotten sticky or unruly - they stay on track and don't get caught. The back of the hood is laced up in somewhat of a corset style, which allows you to loosen the hood to comfortably slip in, and then tighten it once on to get the desired level of snug. More experienced users can feel free to lace this up to a claustrophobic fit, while newbies can leave it loose or even untied altogether for swift removal if panic sets in. It's a great hood in this way, because it is adjustable to your level of experience and can grow along with you as you get more comfortable with sensory deprivation.

I also appreciated the light weight build of this hood, because I had some concerns that heavy duty leather wouldn't sit comfortably on my face and head. I was also worried it might cause a lot of sweating and uncomfortable warmth for the wearer, but the light weight material does cut back on that issue somewhat. If the heat or sweating becomes problematic, just lace your hood more on the loose side and leave the zippers half-way closed or just leave them open.

Unfortunately, beyond these points, I can't find much to say about the Spartacus Leather Hood. It was a great disappointment for me, especially because when it comes to affordable leather gear, Spartacus has usually come through with decent quality. Straight out of the plastic bag that this came in, I was hit with a powerful mildew scent. It's possible that there is some kind of mold issue in the Edenfantasys warehouse currently, or maybe this hood came in contact with water during shipping, but whew! It was potent, and highly unpleasant for myself as I have very bad allergies. I left this hood out in the direct, August sun for a few days in the hopes that it would dry up any lingering mildew. Please note that leaving leather in the direct sun is NOT recommended as it can bleach out color and causing drying and cracking. However, the finish of the leather on the outside protected it somewhat from cracking and frankly, a good vacation in the sun was my only hope for saving this stinky thing.

Once I got some of the scent out (I also left it in my room with a lot of Nag Champa burning for a few days as well) I tested it out myself, and then had my partner give it a go. Turns out mildew was the least of my worries. The eye holes in this thing are spaced VERY far apart. You'll note in the promotional picture for this item, the model's eyes are very close to the inner corners of the holes, and somewhat obscured by the leather that is meant to cover the bridge of the nose. For myself and my partner, the eye holes were virtually impossible to see out of. The slits are also far smaller than they appear in the promotional photo - which is very problematic for the mouth hole which is set a bit too low on the face anyway.
Experience
The result was a great difficulty breathing, which meant that ultimately both my partner and I on the separate occasions we tested this out, had to struggle out of this hood suddenly when light-headedness began to set in. Sensory deprivation is hot, but passing out due to lack of oxygen...well, that's not so hot for us. The "nose vents" are actually two almost comically small circular cut outs that are hinged with a tiny metal washer. You know the loops on your sneakers that you slip your laces through? Essentially like that, although perhaps even a bit smaller. They are hardly sufficient for breathing through and since they also are set low on the mask, they don't connect with the nostrils and are useless for breathing through.

The combination of the mildew scent and the lack of oxygen was nauseating and made for one of the least sexy BDSM experiments I've ever engaged in. Even worse, the corset stitching in the back - while it does make the mask adjustable - makes quick removal nearly impossible. A mask such as this might be better suited if it had an emergency zipper that allowed for swift removal in the event of fainting, panic or some other issue. We all know that things can go wrong during BDSM play and safety should be a priority far before aesthetics. The raw leather lace that extends from the bottom of the mask up to the crown of the head is hard to slacken quickly, and the friction created by the raw leather rubbing against itself makes unlacing a pain. If you do get this mask, I would highly recommend practicing lacing and unlacing it before using to make sure you have your technique down pat.

Besides the breathing and quick removal issues I've listed, the zippers and corset lacing can be an issue for those with a lot of hair or long eyelashes. If you do opt for this hood, take your time lacing up so as not to end up having to cut off chunks of your gorgeous mane to make your escape. Also take care not to pinch eyelids or lips with the zippers, as it's not impossible to do so. Finally, keep in mind that even for my melon-headed partner, it was impossible to get the holes to line up with his face; they are very widely and oddly spaced. You will likely have to keep this loosely laced to allow for proper ventilation, which will defeat to purpose of the hood itself for many. I'm afraid beyond the fine stitching and quality leather, this hood was a total bust for us.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • I'll Miss You EF :(
    I'll Miss You EF :(  
    This sounds awful! But I think I'd love to try it just to say that I've used a leather hood with my boyfriend! Haha! Amazing review!
  • Owl Identified
    Owl Identified  
    I really wanted this to work! It's such an awesome looking mask, and it's a really hot idea but...not being able to breathe...hm. For some it's sexy but when it's involuntary? Notttt so much....
  • Tuesday
    Tuesday  
    Wow. Could this hood be what triggered your hives?
  • Tuesday
    Tuesday  
    Breathing in the mildew I mean.
  • Owl Identified
    Owl Identified  
    I don't think so, because the last time I came in contact with this hood was over a week ago. After my last experiment with it, I stuck it in a giant Ziploc and set it aside, in the hopes that I could find someone that might be able to use it. If nothing else, perhaps one of my friends might use it on Halloween. But because I haven't been near it in probably 8-9 days, I don't think it was what triggered my hives. I'm glad you posted that though, because now it's got me thinking maybe I should toss the mask just in case...
  • JessCee
    JessCee  
    wowzers... I'm really bummed this was so bad... I do appreciate the review and the heads up though!
  • Kimmie1980ca
    Kimmie1980ca  
    Okay, yes this would freak me out!
  • Yaoi Pervette (deleted)
    Yaoi Pervette (deleted)  
    Wow, your whole experience with this mask sounds godawful. The mildew part was bad enough, but not being able to breathe? Yikes!
  • Taylor
    Taylor  
    Eeek sorry this didn't work for you. Thanks for the review though I will definitely steer clear of this one.
  • Serendipity
    Serendipity  
    Too bad it was a poor fit - the mildew smell would have been a huge concern for me and I would have returned it right away - I'm allergic. Thanks for giving it a go and giving an honest review! I usually do like Spartacus products as well.
  • Ivy Wilde
    Ivy Wilde  
    Thanks for the review. BTW, you don't want to store leather in a sealed plastic bag for any length of time. Leather needs to breathe or it goes bad, which may have been what happened with your mask if it was packaged in a sealed plastic bag for a long time. So sorry that you had such a bad experience.
  • Owl Identified
    Owl Identified  
    Thanks Ivy, but I'm afraid it's going to stay in the sealed plastic bag until I throw it out or find someone to take it. Very stinky!
  • Lavender420
    Lavender420  
    thanks so much
  • panthers
    panthers  
    Thanks for the info.
  • Missmarc
    Missmarc  
    Thank you for the review!
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