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As we near the six-month mark (yes, already!) following the official announcement that designated the novel coronavirus as a global pandemic, one of the many things that we’ve gotten used to in our daily lives has been the widespread adoption of reusable face masks.
Along with a cell phone, keys, wallet and hand sanitizer, a face mask has been added to the list of must-haves when heading out the front door. Since early March, we’ve come a long way from hoarding disposable N95 masks, and have moved on to more fashionable and comfortable options on the market.
Nearly every major brand has gotten in on the action too since then, along with a whole host of newly-launched businesses whose sole mission is creating practical, stylish, or creative versions of the humble face mask.
As a team of dedicated shoppers and editors, we’ve of course tried our fair share of face masks over the past few months too, so we’ve rounded up a few of our absolute favourites in case you’re still on the hunt.
At about the three-month mark of living with COVID-19, I caved and purchased a set of pretty, yet 100 per cent functional face masks. I figured if I’d be wearing them for the foreseeable future, I may as well get some that I’d actually enjoy wearing. I love how each of these three masks by accessories designer Lele Sadoughi features a different decorative element, and they have adjustable ear straps that are extremely comfortable. - Kate Mendonca, Shopping Editor
SHOP IT: Saks Fifth Avenue, $50
I’ve been a huge fan of Toronto-based This is J for their pyjamas for a while now, and was thrilled when they came out with face masks made from the same comfortable material. Since getting them, they’ve proven even better than expected: comfortable fabric (like a t-shirt material), great patterns and colours, ties instead of loops so they don’t hurt your ears, and a filter pocket for you to insert your own optional filter (I use a folded coffee filter in mine). They are also washer and dryer friendly (I put mine in a lingerie bag so the ties don’t get caught around other things).
I had one friend who tried them and didn’t love them; she works long days in outdoor retail and found when it was hot and she’d sweat, the masks would cling unpleasantly. I’ve used them extensively for going out shopping or on walks (probably maximum 2 hours) and they’ve remained in place, comfortable and breathable the whole time for me. - Tori Floyd, Editorial Support Specialist
SHOP IT: This is J, $38
Like many people, I’ve been relying on a mix of disposable and reusable face masks throughout lockdown. I always keep at least one in my purse and one in my car. Even though I have plenty of floral and brightly patterned masks from local artisans, I wanted to find something a little more versatile that I could match with any outfit or give to my boyfriend when he (inevitably) forgets to bring a mask with him.
Everlane’s 100% Human masks are made with double layer knit cotton and sold in a pack of 5 for only $38. Compared to the $10 a mask I was paying for other fabric face coverings, these were definitely a steal. As an added bonus, Everlane is donating 10% of the proceeds from all mask sales to the ACLU as part of the brand’s #HumanTogether initiative. So far, the company has donated over $600,000 to the non-profit organization, which helps protect human rights and civil liberties including immigration, anti-racism and reproductive rights. - Elizabeth Di Filippo, Lifestyle Editor
SHOP IT: Everlane, $38
I only recently received this lightweight face mask, but it’s quickly become one of my new favourites. Not only do a portion of its proceeds go towards a new charity every month (for August it’s the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention), but it also features a wire insert at the nose which is a lifesaver if you wear glasses regularly like I do. Add in the fact that these are made using Roots’ signature salt and pepper fabric, and they come in two sizes for optimal fit, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a winning face mask. - KM
SHOP IT: Roots, $22
Strategically choosing colours and eye-catching prints to compliment my wardrobe, I’ve curated quite an impressive collection of fashion face coverings for the seasons and outfits to come. While my collection consists of reusable masks from my favourite fashion labels like Fiorucci, Reformation, Palm Angels, Lovers & Friends and more, nothing compares to the versatility and comfort that my Plus Guardian mask offers.
Featuring a decorative and functional valve with a foam filter, it allows for easy breathing and doesn't heat or fog up inside the mask. This mask is unisex and fits a majority of all face structures thanks to its nylon fabric lining that stretches to fit comfortably on your face. It also features adjustable earloops which keep the mask in place, an adjustable aluminium nose clip, and a chin lining to seal the bottom of the face.
I love wearing this mask at the gym because I never have to worry about it falling off or adjusting the fit. — Alyssa Tria, Shopping Editor
SHOP IT: Plus Guardian, $10
Uniqlo’s highly-anticipated AIRism Face Masks have just landed in stores and will be available online soon — and feature the same ultra lightweight, breathable technology found in their line of AIRism clothing. Designed to be easier to breathe in than traditional fabric face coverings, they’re a great option for active days, or if you’ve just found other face masks uncomfortable to wear. — Hilary Hagerman, Managing Editor
SHOP IT: Uniqlo, $15