Disclaimer: According to the CDC, loosely woven cloth masks provide the least protection against Covid-19. For the highest level of protection, it is recommended that you use a KN95 or N95 mask. Here are some tips on identifying counterfeit N95 masks and how to spot real ones.
Face masks are one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but not all of them are designed for comfort or convenience. Some can bother your ears or irritate the skin, while others can only be worn for a few hours before they need to be tossed. And most of the ones you find in convenience stores don't leave much room for individuality.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of masks you’ll actually want to wear. Unique, fashionable, fun, and, above all, ultra-comfy, these face coverings will help you change up your routine and be ready to leave the house for whatever the world has to offer (six feet apart from others, of course!).
1. Ministry of Supply's 3D Print-Knit Mask; $50
It only takes Ministry of Supply around seven minutes to shape and weave each of its new face masks, but that's only part of what makes their story so impressive. The company's Maskº line is made possible thanks to its 3D Print-Knit process, which ensures that every one of the viscose and polyester masks adheres to the specs that were developed and backed by doctors and nurses for long-term use.
Each mask comes with 10 single use-filters that have been tested by an outside lab to provide more than 95 percent bacterial filtration efficiency (you can buy more once you use those up, too). And while the first Maskº wave is sold out, you can currently put your name on a list to order from the second wave in August. For the next batch, the company is tweaking the 3D printing process based on customer feedback to make the masks more comfortable and easier to use.
Buy it: Ministry of Supply
2. Moshoodat’s Flower Bomb Face Masks on Etsy; $25-$40
If you’re looking to turn your face mask into an artistic expression, look no further than AllThingsMoshoodat’s Etsy Shop. Moshoodat’s unique masks feature bursts of brightly colored flowers, which stand out in a sea of generic cotton masks. Although they look delicate, the pieces are hand-washable and reusable, so you can spread virtual sunshine wherever you go. And if flowers aren’t your thing, check out Moshoodat’s Afrocentric masks for a more understated look that’s no less stunning.
Buy it: AllThingsMoshoodat on Etsy
3. Sanctuary's Fashion PPE Masks; $28 for five
Though Sanctuary is best known as a forward-thinking fashion brand, their line of lightweight, breathable face masks doesn't leave function behind, either. Each cotton mask includes a 100-percent polypropylene meltblown fabric filter for extra protection as you walk through the park or grocery store. And if you're not into the camo prints pictured above, you can pick from the company's latest line of animal-print masks.
Buy it: Sanctuary
4. Athleta's Made to Move Masks; $25 for three
Athleta is all about embracing an active lifestyle, even during a pandemic. That's why the company's Made to Move face masks are woven from a lightweight blend of polyester and spandex to promote breathability, allowing you to enjoy some much-needed peace of mind during your outdoor jogs and yoga routines. The company's dedication to sustainability also means these masks can be thrown in a washing machine and reused throughout your summer workouts.
Buy it: Athleta
5. LED Matrix face mask from Lumen Couture; $95
For protective gear with a touch of high-tech glam, this LED face mask from Lumen Couture is the ultimate fashion statement. With customizable LED technology—you can select a premade look, write your own text, and create designs via an Android/IOS app—your mask is limited only by your imagination. The hidden electronic component is charged via USB and lasts for three to four hours. And the electronic portion of the mask is completely removable, so you can safely throw the otherwise cotton mask in the wash without it being lights-out for your fashion piece. The brainchild of Chelsea Klukas, a product design manager at Oculus, Lumen Couture has raised over $4500 for the WHO's COVID-19 relief fund since April.
Buy it: Lumen Couture
6. Baggu's reusable masks; $32 for three
Give your spirits an instant boost with these cheerful masks from Baggu. They're made from 100-percent quilter’s cotton, because, according to the manufacturer, the tight weave and thick threads effectively block respiratory droplets—but it’s soft and breathable, too. These masks include an adjustable nose wire and straps, and although they’re not medical-grade, they include a sewn-in pocket so you can insert a filter for extra protection. Baggu will donate a pack of surgical masks to healthcare workers for every pack sold, which only improves their happiness-inducing quality.
Buy it: Baggu
7. Clear Window Mask from The A/C Space; $20
With so many faces now hidden away behind masks, we've got to do without much of the non-verbal communication we've come to depend on. And for those with hearing impairments, the difficulty is compounded, since many rely on facial expressions and lip-reading to understand the people around them. The A/C Space is looking to help with a cotton mask that features a vinyl PVC window over the mouth, allowing for better facial communication. Plus, it never hurts to flash a smile at a stranger. These masks can be washed by hand or in a washing machine, but you'll want to line-dry them afterward.
Buy it: The A/C Space
8. and 9. Horror Movie-Inspired Masks From Redbubble; $13
Pay homage to your favorite horror movies—and muffle your screams during any late-night screenings—with these masks inspired by Silence of the Lambs (designed by user Modestquotes) and The Shining (designed by user SandiTyche). Each mask is made with two layers of gentle 100 percent polyester, so they’re as lightweight as Hannibal Lecter is without his steady supply of human flesh. With elastic straps to keep the mask fitting snugly around your face and ears, you’ll feel extra secure whenever you go outside…when you’re not looking over your shoulder for a deranged Jack Nicholson, that is.
10. This Friends-inspired mask on Redbubble; $13
This Friends-inspired face mask from user foureyedesign on Redbubble will help you feel like less you’re in the midst of a global pandemic and more like you’re a featured guest on everyone’s favorite sitcom. Featuring "The One With the Quarantine” prominently displayed in Friends font on the front of the mask, it’s made with two layers of soft polyester that’s as comforting as one of Phoebe’s original songs. You may not be trapped in the same apartment building as your nearest and dearest pals, but wearing this mask will let you pretend you are.
Buy it: Redbubble