In a mere matter of months, the public wearing of face masks has become standard operating procedure for millions of Americans. Numerous brands that were previously focused on making dresses, jeans, baby clothes and other everyday textiles have launched into action, adding cloth face masks to their production to offer customers a way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when they have to leave home.
And while a face mask you buy from a retailer like Amazon isn’t necessarily comparable to the medical grade N95 masks that nurses, doctors and other frontline medical personnel need, the CDC stresses that “cloth face coverings [can] 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 face masks everyday Americans are wearing today are akin to the Victory Gardens planted during WWII. The one mask I wear to the grocery store or post office isn’t going to end this pandemic, but millions of people wearing millions of masks will have a major impact on COVID-19 spread, and the masks you and your family members wear may well have a major effect on how this novel coronavirus impacts you on a personal level.
With the pandemic not likely to end any time soon, you might as well invest in a few washable masks that are built to last and even look decent, in their own new normal way. Below, see a number of face masks you can pre-order or buy online right now.
Everlane The 100% Human Face Mask
This double layer knit fabric option from clothing brand Everlane is easy to wear and even easier to tack on to your next order. The pack of five is good to share with others or for rotating between wear. For optimal fit, the brand suggests washing before your first use and after every wear, plus washing your hands before putting it on and taking it off.
Food52 Adjustable Cloth Masks
These 100% cotton masks from Food52 are sustainably made using upcycled deadstock fabric. They have wire at the nose bridge to keep it secure and adjustable ear elastics for a more comfortable fit. There’s also a built-in pocket for adding a filter for extra protection. Plus, 10% of the retail price will go to their charity partner No Kid Hungry, which is feeding children in need during the pandemic.
Nordstrom Adult Pleated Face Masks
Another great basic option, these pleated masks from Nordstrom provide good nose-to-chin coverage and comfortably flex with movement, and the ear loops can be tightened with the adjustable sliding straps for a secure fit. Plus, for every package of masks purchased, Nordstrom will donate a mask to help protect kids and families in our communities.
Rag & Bone Stealth Mask
Made from upcycled Rag & Bone clothing and manufactured in the United States, this black and white gingham mask from the popular fashion brand is lined with 100% cotton and fits securely over the nose and mouth.
Frank and Oak Reusable Masks
Another attractive option, this set of organic cotton masks from Frank and Oak are reversible and adjustable at the chin and ear with elastic and a toggle. They have a tunnel at the nose bridge to add a twist tie for extra security, plus an interior pouch for adding a filter. Just adjust the straps for a tight fit and you’re all set.
Levi’s Reusable Printed Face Mask
These bandana print masks from Levi’s are extra comfortable and reversible, too. They have elastic ear loops and come in a set of three in either small or large for a better fit. And with the production of these masks, Levi’s is donating $75,000 to Doctors Without Borders to support the medical work they do around the world.
Parachute Face Masks
Each of the cloth masks you get in a five-pack of masks from Parachute has broad, easy-to-tie straps that spread pressure out across your head and neck instead of cutting uncomfortably into your skin. The fabric of the masks themselves is made from the same material the bath linen and bedding company is known for, so you count on softness and comfort.
Hedley & Bennett Wake Up & Fight Mask
The Wake Up & Fight masks come in several different attractive solid colors such as dark blue chambray and light gray oxford. They’re also designed to be one-size-fits-most and to be fitted with an optional filter if you want added protection against illness. A flexible metal nose bridge helps ensure a good fit.
Under Armour Sportmask
Exercising wearing a face mask is no fun at all, but if you have to do it, this mask can make your workout as tolerable as possible. It’s shaped to leave a gap between the cloth and your mouth for added comfort and ease of breathing yet it still forms a full covering over your nose and mouth. It’s also highly breathable and wicks sweat away from your skin while the exterior has a water-resistant finish. An antimicrobial treatment inside the mask helps ward off pathogens and also reduces odor as you sweat during long wear.
BAGGU Fabric Masks
BAGGU’s colorful face masks have a unique strap design wherein one long strap can be slipped over your head then passed through both sides of the mask and finally secured at the back of the neck. This allows for a snug, comfortable fit by just about anyone regardless of head size, hair style or age. The masks sell in packs of three.
Aysha Louise Melanated Face Masks
These contoured, supple masks can make you feel comfortable in more ways than one: not only will they help protect against the spread of a virus, but they also come in colors that match the skin tones of people of color. The company offers their Melanated Face Masks in six different skin tones, so whether you have very dark skin or a lighter complexion, you’ll be able to find one that will be a close match to your skin.
Gap Adult Unisex Face Masks
These masks are a great price for a three-pack and the styles options range from the simple and understated (like solid white or pale blue) to charming patterns with floral prints. The masks are soft and pliant, but note that the straps are on the larger side, a positive if you have a bigger head, but they may need to be tightened with knots for some users.
SLEEFS Face Mask
Sleefs has been in the business of making face coverings in the form of sports neck gaiters for years, so their transition to producing cloth masks in bulk numbers was only logical and has allowed the company to produce multiple patterns of mask, including basic and single-color masks for $10 or more intricately patterned masks designed with ergonomic stitching for $15. Many of their masks also have filter pockets for enhanced safety. Forbes readers save 25% on their order with code MASKS25.
Casetify Reusable Cloth Masks
Your purchase of a reusable cloth mask from Casetify, a company usually known for tech hardware accessories like Apple Watch bands or phone cases, will trigger a donation of a mask to a healthcare worker on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. It will also of course get you a sturdy, washable cloth mask that comes with two removable filters that add to its efficacy.
Lucky Brand Pleated Cotton Face Masks
If you have ever owned a pair of Lucky Brand jeans, you know they last for years and only get more and more comfortable with each wash and wear. These masks are made in LA using the same fabrics as Lucky’s denim apparel, so you can count on them to last a good long time as well, which seems like a selling point that we all have to come to terms with as the pandemic stretches on. Lucky is doing its part with a one-to-one donation plan: for each five pack they sell, they’ll donate five masks as well.
Reformation L.A. Protects 5X Masks
Made in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, the five cloth masks you’ll get with man order from Reformation are soft and comfortable enough for extended wear and they can be washed and re-used many times. You can’t pick the color or pattern you’ll get, but you can count on the masks looking as good as any you’ll find out there right now, being stitched by a company usually devoted to high fashion, high quality women’s wear. (And as it’s a company devoted to fast fashion, often going from garment design to production in a month, it’s little wonder they were able to pivot so quickly to making good masks.)
Onzie Mindful Masks
These non-medical face masks from Onzie nonetheless provide excellent protection for you against potentially viral droplets on the air and from you for others if yourself might be sick. These masks are multi-layered and include an exterior made largely from spandex as well as elastic ear bands; paired together, these two stretchy components help ensure a snug fit. Again here you can’t pick the print of your masks, but all of the brand’s offerings feature muted colors and pleasing, largely abstract graphics.
Los Angeles Apparel Facemask3
The fabric face masks produced by Los Angeles Apparel have extra long tie straps, so you can ear them around your ears or with one band around the neck, the other over the top of the head, thereby reducing the chaffing behind the ears so many people have found to be an issue. The masks are made 100% from cotton save for a small metal band inserted where the masks crosses the bridge of your nose that allows it to be form-fitted to your face, adding better protection. They can be washed and reused multiple times.
Naturepedic Organic Cotton Face Mask
The contoured face masks offered by Naturepedic provide plenty of coverage, easily spanning from the bridge of the nose to well below the chin for most adult wearers. The straps are not highly elastic but they can be cinched for a secure fit, ensuring the mask stays snug. And as the materials used are all organic, users need not worry about irritation from chemicals. (Though of course a cotton allergy would be an issue.) At $39 for six, or $6.50 per mask, these are an affordable option for a reliable reusable mask that can reduce the chance for the spread or contraction or the virus.
Etsy Printed Face Masks
If you’re looking to stock up on inexpensive masks in a variety of different prints, Etsy is a great place to start. Many of the masks available here are made by hand from crafty folks wanting to do their part. With thousands of options to choose from, you can find just about any type of print to suit your taste, from leopard print to florals to goofy fake mustaches. The masks shown above, which feature a pocket for disposable filters, is a particularly good choice; it’s available in a variety of floral prints, graphic stripes, or zigzags.
Nordstrom Rack Washable Face Masks
Nordstrom is selling six-packs of their masks for $24, or $4 per mask, a decent price for a reusable face covering that should fit most adults. The masks are just shy of six inches in height and seven in width, thus providing ample coverage for most adult faces. And the company is also committed to providing a free mask to a community member in need every time one of these packets is purchased. The masks are made from pleated cotton and are machine washable without special instructions.
BKB Tailoring Bella Mask
These masks are 100% handmade in Brooklyn, NY and are crafted using soft, pliant cotton that allows for comfort even during extended wear. Although unisex and one-size for all, the masks are a bit on the smaller side, which is a benefit, not an issue, if you have a smaller head, as a mask that’s too large can have gaps around the sides and defeat its own purpose by potentially allowing exhaled or sneezed droplets in or out.
Kitsbow Reusable HEPA Type Mask
This is one of the most expensive cloth face masks out there right now. You could indeed get half a dozen reusable masks from many other companies for the same price you’ll pay for this one, but it will be worth it if the mask keeps you safe for hours on end, which it may well do. These masks feature a filter pocket that accommodates a HEPA-type insert (two come included) that should be able to capture even minute airborne particles. Also, it has larger side panels than most masks, reducing the chance for open gaps by your cheeks.
Cubcoats Kids Face Masks
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cubcoats was known for making soft hoodie sweatshirts that could be stuffed into themselves to make dolls ranging from Frozen’s Elsa or Anna to Wookies from Star Wars to charming animals. Then the virus hit, and they, like many brands, changed gears and started making masks.
What sets this company apart is that their masks are adorable: they feature little animal snouts. This cuteness is hardly superficial; in fact, it’s imperative. Masks can make people look scary to kids and wearing one can be an unsettling experience, so the charming look of these washable, reusable dual-layer cotton masks will greatly ease the challenge parents face as they help their kids stay safe in these strange times. The masks have adjustable ear loops so they should be able to fit most kids age five and up with ease.
Savalino Blue Chambray Face Mask
This small Austin-based company grew their workforce by dozens to meet the threat of COVID-19, turning expertise gained making custom aprons and leather goods into face mask design. So it’s no surprise that their masks are surprisingly stylish and well-made, albeit a bit pricier. This mask features side pleats for a close fit and elastic bands that go over the head and neck, sparing the back of your ears, while the mask itself is made from a Cotton Yoshiwa Mills Japanese Chambray Fabric you’d usually expect to see in higher-end garments or accessories.
Alice and Olivia StaceFace Protective Face Mask
Not only is the Alice and Olivia StaceFace Protective Face Mask a decent price for a washable, re-usable face mask when compared to similar offerings from many other companies, but for every cloth mask they sell, the brand is also donating a mask to a community in need. The masks are made of a “jersey” fabric (96% viscose and 4% elastane) so they are soft and flexible. The playful exterior design — images of a woman who likely goes by the name Stacey — help add a bit of lightheartedness to a situation that’s hardly comical.
Sanctuary Fashion PPE Masks
The face masks you get from Sanctuary Clothing are about as fashionable as this particular accessory can hope to be. Most feature variations on a camo pattern, though some have leopard or floral prints as well. The one size fits all masks feature a band of metal at the nose bridge and come with a fabric filter insert.