9 retailers selling fabric face masks that are worth buying
Not all fabric face masks are created equal.
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To help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending people wear homemade face coverings when in public. While homemade masks are not as effective as medical-grade and N95 masks (which should be left for health care workers due to scarcity), experts agree that wearing a cloth face covering could help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus.
While we’ve provided readers with instructions on how to make face masks at home, along with where to buy the materials to do so, we understand that DIY craft projects are not for everyone. Luckily, there are many options to buy homemade masks from retailers, designers, and DIYers popping-up online. But with so many to choose from, which ones are worth buying?
After spending many years working in the apparel and textile industry, doing everything from design to material development to evaluating textiles (most recently at Nike before joining the team at Reviewed), I can confidently say that not all cloth face masks are created equal. A quality mask should be made of tightly woven dense fabric and fit snugly on your face. This means the fabric and fit can make all the difference.
While it is easier to click-and-purchase than make your own mask at home, it’s important to be sure you are buying a quality product, and I’m here to help you do just that. After browsing dozens of masks being sold at different stores and what fabrics they are made of, I narrowed it down to nine homemade masks that are worth buying online.
1. Take Care: The Precision 2 Mask
Take Care has multiple versions of their masks. The Precision 2 is the latest one, offering a tighter fit around the face. According to the website, “the fit of this mask means your glasses won’t fog up.” The mask is made from high thread count quilter’s cotton and has an adjustable tie elastic strap. These masks also have a filter pocket, and their website states, “Several health professionals recommended dried, unscented baby wipes as appropriate for filters in fabric masks.”
2. Etsy: Organic Cotton Face Mask from ShiitakeCreek
Etsy has endless options to choose from when it comes to face masks, this mask meets all the requirements. It’s double-layered, made with densely woven material, and has organic cotton lining. What really sets it apart? It comes in 3 different sizes for a better fit. The fabric has also been pre-washed so there’s no surprise shrinking when you wash it.
3. Aplat: Organic Cotton Mask
This is another mask that fits all of the requirements. It’s a double-layer mask made with densely woven cotton fabric. It covers the mouth and nose well and has an adjustable tie strap for a better fit. It also has an insert for a filter (Aplat specifies a coffee filter). As a bonus, for every mask purchased, they are donating one to a healthcare worker.
4. Hedley & Bennett: The Wake Up and Fight Mask
It’s no surprise these masks are great quality, seeing as the well-known apron company, Hedley & Bennett, teamed up with pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert Cho (you might know his wife, Joy Cho, from the famous brand Oh Joy!) to create these masks. These masks have a snug fit to the face, and unlike others, they don’t have a metal nose-piece because they feel it decreases durability. According to Dr. Cho, even in the operating room, tape is the preferred seal because having a good seal is critical for a functioning mask. One drawback to these masks, as stated on the website, is the fabric can change as supplies change so you’re not guaranteed a specific material, but since it has a pocket for a filter you could add in the material of your choice.
5. Plover: Organic Cotton Mask
GOTS-certified is one of the hardest certifications to meet for organic textiles. To get this certification, manufacturing practices are verified, as well as social and environmental standards. That being said, you can feel good about purchasing anything that is GOTS-certified. These masks are made from double-layered heavy cotton twill with elastic ear loops.
6. Avocado Green Mattress: Organic Cotton Mask
These organic cotton masks are a good choice for the individual or family. They are made of a thick weave cotton canvas and are double-layered. These masks are also made of GOTS-certified material. Avocado sells these in a pack of four or a family-pack that includes four adult masks and four children’s masks. They do limit one family-pack per household, though, so if you have more than four children or want spares, you won’t be able to order extra.
7. T-Masks: T-Mask
If you have breathing concerns when wearing a homemade mask, you might want to consider this one. Based on research, t-shirt masks potentially offer less filtration than other types, but they are easier to breathe in. This face covering is one of the better masks made of t-shirt material. It offers a double-layer and is made of material following Kaiser Permanente’s recommendations for face masks.
8. Alice and Olivia: The Staceface mask and Limited Edition masks (Better as mask covers for healthcare workers)
All of us could use a little cheering up right now, especially those in essential jobs and on the front lines. It’s the little things that can make a difference, and a fun print mask could brighten someone’s day. Alice and Olivia are selling tons of masks in different, trendy prints—and for every mask sold, they’re donating one to a community in need. These are great for someone who wants to have a little fun with their mask. However, this mask may not be as effective as the other ones highlighted in this list. It’s better suited for a medical worker who wants to cover their N95.
9. Mask Club: Printed Mask (Better as mask covers for healthcare workers)
While we don’t recommend these masks to the everyday person, Mask Club masks are perfect for healthcare workers looking for a fun way to cover their N95 masks. Tell the medical professional in your life they are a superhero by sending them one of these masks. They have all sorts of prints available from Batman to Superman to Wonder Woman to Hello Kitty and more. The masks also have an insert for a filter that could be used for more protection in a pinch.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.