In a mere matter of months, the public wearing of face masks has changed from an eccentricity — if not an outright oddity — to the standard operation procedure for millions of Americans. Numerous brands that just a few months ago were focused on making dresses, jeans, baby clothes, and other everyday textiles have launched into action, adding in production of cloth face masks that offer customers a way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 when they have to leave home.
To be clear, the face masks you buy from, say, Banana Republic, are not comparable to the medical grade N95 masks that nurses, doctors, and other frontline medical personnel need. But that’s the point — the CDC stresses that while N95 masks are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers, “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.
And as this pandemic isn’t likely to end any time soon, you might as well invest in a few washable masks that are built to last and even look good, in their own weird, new normal way. Below, see a number of face masks you can pre-order or buy online right now.
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.
Sanctuary Organic Cotton Masks 3-Pack
As you might expect from brands sold by Anthropolgie, these face masks are almost as much about looks as function, but the good news is that they function well. Made from soft organic cotton and with a shape that lets the masks nestle close to the chin, mouth, and nose, these decorative face masks can be fitted with filters for enhanced wearer protection.
Zazzle Decorative Custom Face Masks
If you’re not finding a face mask to suit your taste, or you want to have something special made up, you can create a custom face mask using your own artwork or text through Zazzle. Choose from a black or white cotton base, and easily customize online by uploading your own image or playing around with Zazzle’s text formatting tool.
Pegasos Disposable 3-Ply Face Masks
If you are buying masks for the whole family (or other group) or if your work necessitates frequent contact with people (but in a non-medical setting — think deliveries, for example), then a bulk order of disposable masks is the way to go. These masks work out to a dollar fifty per mask, much cheaper than buying lots of reusable masks for a small group, and for people who remain on the job even during the pandemic, a disposable mask offers the best way to ensure you leave any potential pathogens well away from your home when you remove and dispose of your mask.
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 5-Pack
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 2-Pack
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 6-Pack
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 6-Pack
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.
Emilia George Sustainable Face Masks
The colorful face masks from Emilia George are made from 100% Cupro, a fabric produced by recycling cotton fibers and with a soft feel not unlike silk. The masks feature tieable ear bands so you can create a custom fit for your head and fit them to many different users. They can be washed and dried repeatedly.
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.