Since the spread of COVID-19, face masks have become the new normal in the United States. While many Americans balked at the discomfort and inconvenience at first, residents in other countries have long been accustomed to face masks. For example, face mask culture became prevalent in Japan after the 1918 Spanish Flu, and Japanese people still wear them today for a variety of reasons. In the Philippines, I wore a face mask to protect myself from air pollution in my motherland. And high school students in South Korea even wear masks on their chins as a fashion statement. (See more about face mask culture.)
These days, wearing a face mask is more than just a fashion choice; it’s a safety precaution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.” The purpose of wearing a face mask is simple: Slow the spread of COVID-19 and help people who may not know they have it from spreading to others. You’re protecting not only yourself but everyone around you!
Still, a properly-fitted mask covers more than half of your face — the very features that allow you to fully express yourself. So why not take this opportunity and make your mask a true reflection of you? With an overwhelming array of options to choose from, we’re offering a look at 10 masks with shopping tips to help you find the one for you — whether you have sensitive skin or simply want something that allows you to express yourself.
Types of Face Masks
- Medical (N-95): These masks should be left for those on the frontlines — healthcare workers, police, EMTs, and other protective service workers.
- Non-medical: These masks are for the general public.
- Disposable or surgical: This is the ubiquitous blue face mask you see around that is perfect for one-time use.
- Reusable: This single- or multi-layer fabric mask may or may not include a filter. Multi-layer masks offer extra protection. According to research from Missouri M&T, several layers of a HEPA filter will block 80-90% of particles.
When shopping for masks online, keep the following tips in mind.
- Be aware of the return policy. Most retailers/sellers have a “Final Sale Only” policy on masks for obvious hygiene reasons.
- Delivery time could be two-to-three weeks out, so bear in mind you’ll need something to hold you over in the meantime. Disposables may work for the time being.
- One size does not fit all. The better a mask fits, the better protected you’ll be. Consider purchasing from a seller that offers different sizes or measurements.
- Buy a three- or five-pack of reusable masks so you’ll have a week’s worth. Then you can wear, wash and repeat.
- Start out with a base set in classic neutral colors (black, white, navy blue, brown/beige) if you’re concerned with matching and pairing masks well with your outfits.
Top 10 Face Masks
1. Eugenia Kim: Sleep with a silk pillowcase or love the touch of silk on your skin? Then this fashionable silk mask will rest nicely on your face.
2. Reformation: If you like surprises and can rock both prints and solids, this option is for you. Masks within a single shipment may vary; you might receive a mix of different colors and patterns, or the masks may all be the same.
3. Lele Sadoughi: It’s all in the details. Pearls, stars, and a filter!
4. Outdoor Voices: For those who want to stay active during this time of shutdowns and home quarantines, these masks are made of wick-away fabric that is form-fitting and breathable.
5. Tanya Taylor: These face masks in fun prints pinch at the nose for a better fit.
6. Luminora: Are you sensitive to smells or do you simply like everything neat and odor-free? Then I sense this odor-resistant face mask is best suited for you.
7. Jeune Otte: If you have extra sensitive skin, a mask lined with 100% cotton, such as this one, is ideal.
8. Rowing Blazers: Be summer ready with this seersucker fabric mask.
9. Aphea Fashion: Make a statement with extra layers of protection, too.
10. Rag & Bone: This simple, versatile mask pairs well with everything. Dress it up or down!
General Considerations from CDC
Whether you go patterned or neutral, sleek modern or textured rustic, be sure to follow these guidelines from the CDC when wearing a face mask:
- Your mouth and nose should be fully covered.
- The mask should fit snugly against the sides of your face without any gaps.
- You should not have any difficulty breathing.
- The mask should be tied or otherwise secured to prevent slipping.
You can visit the CDC for more details.
It’s important these days to wear a proper face mask and spread the word — not COVID-19 — and I hope you find at least one that makes the experience a little more enjoyable.. We might as well look cute while doing our part to stop the spread!