Remember the olden days when face masks were something you'd put on after lighting a candle and before you slipped into a warm bath? Sigh. With nearly a full year of face covering under our belts, the term has definitively been usurped to mean "the thing I don't leave the house without." And now, even one isn't really enough. Double-masking by putting a disposable surgical mask under a reusable cloth one is the CDC's recommendation.
Over the past months, we've collectively bought and tested dozens, if not hundreds of masks. Turns out, there's a lot of room for opinion about something you wear across your face for hours on end. We've whittled down our favorites—the ones that don't slip, rub, or squeeze—so that you might find a new addition to your collection as well.
These are our current favorite face masks. Shop our favorites below!
It's without shame that I confess I bought a box of these because they're a celeb-favorite. Well, I mean, I technically googled "black disposable face mask" because I was tired of the blue ones getting so gross and found they're the top pick of Williamsburg hipsters and the Biebs alike. Never one to turn away from a bargain celebrity bandwagon, I one-click ordered them in a flash. I've realized I like the disposables best for outside activities because they don't instantly turn into a soppy wet mess. (They also make a great first layer when doubling up.)
We love pretty much anything that lets us match with our littles—and when those things also help us stay safe in a pandemic? Yes, please. Row + Lee makes beautiful masks—gorgeous prints in a really soft fabric. They have styles for adults and kids—and of course, this adorable mommy and me set.
My nine-year-old attends in-person school two full days per week, so we've tried dozens in order to find one that's comfortable for hours on end. The uniquely constructed HMNKIND masks have been a consistent winner. They're made from a super soft antibacterial material that's actually used in the Korean beauty industry which makes them non-irritating and more breathable than cotton masks. I also love that they're UV protectant so we'll be using them this summer for sure.
There's a lot to love about Space masks, including their rad name which makes them sound more like a fun accessory instead of a somewhat apocalyptic necessity. Their nano-tech material blocks even the smallest particles and is conveniently water-resistant. We also love their moldable nose clip which helps to manage glasses fog.
The ultra-breathable neoprene sport masks from Mamask are fab for all situations, but also a solid choice for outdoor exercise. The stretchy fabric stays in place and doesn't make your ears ache while the combination of copper ion fiber with polyester makes it antimicrobial and deodorizing even when you work up a sweat.
With tons of styles and even more 5-star ratings, these masks are a huge hit, especially with the kiddos of Motherly's Director of Health and Wellness, Diana Spalding. With just a little bit of stretch and adjustable ear loops, they're comfy enough for an entire school day.
The Chinese-made equivalent of the N95 masks, KN95 masks have become one of the most popular disposable masks available to non-healthcare workers. These are great for a first layer in your double-masking game.
Comfy, LA-made and available in a wide variety of colors and patterns (like tie-dye and leopard!), these simple cotton masks are a favorite of several Motherly kiddos. They're easy to toss in the wash and the soft ear loops don't make little ears red and uncomfortable.
The trademark "parrot beak" shape of Happy Masks kid masks leaves extra space in front of their nose and mouth so it's easier to speak clearly and not feel stuffy. Motherly's Content Director Conz Preti says they're her preschooler's top pick (though it's likely the dinosaur print that really sells it for him.) They also feature an adjustable nose wire to help it stay in place.
Developed in partnership with Easterseals SoCal, a leading provider of disability services for people with autism and other sensory sensitivities, these sensory-friendly masks are a must-have for families whose little ones are challenged by mask-wearing. The mulberry silk liner is extra soft against their skin while minimal design and limited seaming makes them less irritating all around.
The leading reusable, clear-paneled mask on the market, the smile masks from Rafi Nova were designed with the needs of members of the hard of hearing and the deaf communities in mind. But honestly, they're a great option for anyone who spends time with kids. Conz says they're a top-pick at her child's preschool since they make it so much easier to communicate with kids who look for expressions as much as they do for words.
There's nothing like a good multitasking accessory. And given the amount of winter gear my kids carry around (and subsequently lose), this is a win in my book. The clever design keeps ears toasty while also providing all the protections of a mask.
Ingrid & Isabel Mama + Babe mask set
Pandemic twinning is a thing. This adorable pair is handmade by a mama in the USA and features built-in filter pockets.
Everlane's double-layer knit cotton masks are a go-to for Motherly's Business Development Director, Allie Litwak. "They come in a bunch of fun colors and layer well over the KN95 for double masking." What's more, for every 100% Human product sold, Everlane donates 10% to the ACLU.
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