As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, government officials are now encouraging people to keep their faces covered at all times when they’re outside — even if they don’t have access to a face mask.
While hospitals continue to deal with a shortage of face masks, the CDC says many cloth face coverings could still be effective in helping to “slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
The CDC says cloth coverings are most effective when they follow these five guidelines:
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops
Include multiple layers of fabric
Allow for breathing without restriction
Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Keep in mind these face coverings are not surgical masks or the particulate-filtering N-95 respirators (you can find those here). Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and first responders, as recommended by current government mandates.
These masks are also not intended to replace other recommended measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. In other words, continue washing your hands, keeping your distance from others, and refraining from touching your face.
Looking for face coverings for you and your family? Here are the best face masks and face coverings to buy online.
1. Brave New Look Protective Face Mask With PM2.5 Filter
A unisex face mask made from a cozy cotton/spandex blend, we like these protective masks for their five-layer PM2.5 filter (The “PM” refers to “particulate matter” while the 2.5 refers to the 2.5 micron measurement of particles that these filters are designed to capture). The company says activated carbon in the filters protect you from small particles and contaminants in the air.
Reusable and washable, these masks are available in a simple black design or you can choose from a dozen colors and patterns. This set of four comes with four filters — one per mask. Slip the filters into a built-in pouch in the mask and breath normally. We recommend replacing the filter after one week of use (more replacement filters available here)
2. Public Goods KN95 Filter Face Masks
Public Goods’ non-medical KN95 masks filter out 95% of harmful particles thanks to a built-in five-layer filter. The masks are adjustable, with stretchy straps for your ears, and a nose clip to form a tighter seal around your face.
Packs of 10 are priced at $45; Public Goods is limiting purchase quantities to one per order to help supply as many people as needed.
3. Uniqlo AIRism Face Mask
Uniqlo’s face mask features three layers of protection, to block up to 90% of harmful UV rays, in addition to airborne particles. The built-in filter layer is fully washable; no need to replace filters like some of the other options on our list. What we like: Uniqlo offers three sizes (S, M, L) so you can find one that fits you best (the small size may fit older kids as well). Multiple colors are also available at Uniqlo.com.
4. CASETiFY Face Masks
Leave it to a phone accessories brand to help solve a problem that’s keeping us up at night. CASETify, best-known for their pop culture-inspired phone cases, is now offering reusable face masks for the whole family. The masks are made from a breathable 100% cotton material, with a durable band to secure the mask in place. The best part: the masks are fitted with a filter to help prevent the spread of the virus.
CASETiFY has donated 10,000 masks to Direct Relief, and has pledged to continue to donate a surgical mask for every mask sold. Choose from five different colors online.
5. Redbubble Face Masks
If you’re going to be wearing a mask for the foreseeable future, you might as well find something that expresses your style and personality. That’s why we’re stocking up on these masks from Redbubble, a site that supports independent creators and artists by printing their designs on a wide range of apparel and accessories.
These lightweight masks are made from two layers of super-soft brushed polyester, with elastic straps that sit comfortably behind your ears. The masks are fully machine-washable. The cloth masks aren’t designed to be used in a medical environment, but if you need to cover up while walking around the neighborhood or while waiting in line at the grocery store, they’ll serve you well.
Choose from thousands of designs and patterns, from stylish florals and animal prints, to feel-good slogans that remind you to stay positive because this too, shall pass.
What we like: Redbubble has donated 400,000 masks to Heart to Heart International, a global organization working to provide access to health and aid in times of crisis.
6. Lookhuman Face Masks
We like these hand-sewn cloth masks from Lookhuman, which gets you full coverage for your face down to below the chin. The straps tuck easily behind your ear. This boho-print mask is made from a gentle polyester material, with a microfiber back that’s soft against your face. Lookhuman as more than three dozen other prints and patterns available here.
7. JackThreads Face Masks
We also like the wide selection of poly-blend face masks from lifestyle and fashion e-tailer JackThreads. The site has hundreds of designs available for these large, non-medical masks. The masks sit comfortably against the face, with a wide hook that wraps behind both ears.
8. Buck Mason Face Masks
LA-based Buck Mason is known for their cozy basics (think: perfect tees and sweats for working from home), but the brand is stepping up to make a collection of reusable cotton face masks. The reusable masks are treated with an anti-microbial coating that the company says will last up to 30 wash cycles.
Buck Mason is building masks in real time and their next shipment is scheduled for delivery in a few weeks. The company says they’re donating one mask to health professionals for every consumer mask sold. Their goal is to donate up to a million non-medical face masks to communities in California and the rest of the country.
9. Boohoo Masks
Fast fashion site, boohoo.com has a number of face coverings available, including this tie-dye mask. What started as a great accessory for festival season (to protect against dust and debris) has now become an essential accessory no matter where you’re off to. Boohoo has multiple styles available for men and women. See their full collection here.
10. iHeartRaves Seamless Face Mask
As the company name suggests, these printed mouth coverings were designed to keep dust and dirt out of your face at outdoor festivals and raves, but they’ve come in handy these days as great face masks for running. They’re made from a microfiber material that wicks moisture to keep you dry (the company says the mask dries fully in minutes). The seamless design means no loose threads to worry about, or rough edges to scratch your face.
The one-size-fits-all design fits easily over your head and stays put, even while you’re in motion. Choose from more than 20 patterns, from classic to more fashion-forward.
11. Face Mask Bandanas
Cover up quickly with these tube-style bandanas, which slide easily over your face and neck to keep you protected. (You can also use this as a headband for working out or as a scarf for warmth). The bandanas are made from a soft and breathable microfiber, and come with a built-in filter to keep out dust, smoke, allergens and germs.
12. Large Unisex Shawl Scarf
If you already have a scarf at home, officials say you can use it to wrap your face before heading out the door. If you need a new scarf, you can’t go wrong with this large shawl-style scarf, available in a dozen unisex patterns and colors. The scarf measures 23 x 79 inches, letting it wrap easily around your neck, face and nose. It’s made from a synthetic material that’s lightweight for breathability, and soft — not scratchy — against your skin.
13. French Fitness Revolution Headband
Here’s a good hack: take these fitness headbands (designed to keep hair out of your face during yoga, cycling, crossfit, etc.) and use them as mouth coverings too. The stretchy, moisture-wicking material measures just under four inches wide — more than enough material to pull over your mouth and nose. The best part: the headband is fully reusable. Just toss it into the washing machine to keep it clean and sanitized.
14. Disposable Safety Face Shields
These plastic face shields are typically worn by dentists, painters or people working in home improvement, but they’ve become popular items these days as well. The transparent masks have an elastic band that wraps around your head, and a foam headband that presses directly against your forehead. The polymer screen won’t fog up, and it’s been treated with an anti-static coating to not attract dust, dirt or other airborne particles that may block your vision.
What we like: the shield wraps around the sides of your face, offering you even more protection from spray and splatter. This set comes with two shields.
15. Classic Bandana
If all else fails, cover your face with a classic bandana, like this one from Amazon. It measures 20 x 20 inches; fold it in half or by the corners to form a mask or scarf that can be tied behind your head. The traditional paisley design is printed on both sides, and the material is lightweight and machine-washable.
16. “Homemade Face Mask” book
Yes this book was rush-released to take advantage of people’s interest in coronavirus prevention measures, but reviewers say it’s actually pretty helpful when it comes to showing you how to make your own face masks at home. The book breaks down the different types of masks used in the health and professional fields, and then shows you how to make similar masks using everyday items you can still find at the store or online.
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