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Face masks became a necessity in 2020, and as new strains of the Covid-19 virus crop up — including British, Brazilian and South African varieties — protective face coverings will likely stay in demand for the foreseeable future, whether reusable or disposable face masks. One highly-rated and Shopping reader-favorite disposable face mask brand is Evolvetogether, which specializes in making them.
SKIP AHEAD Evolvetogether masks and other products
While the company launched as a direct-to-consumer brand, you can buy Evolvetogether products from Nordstrom, Intermix and Revolve right now. This expansion might be the result of A-listers sporting the brand’s masks — Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes and Justin Bieber, to name a few. Disposable face masks have otherwise grown in popularity recently with the rise of the double masking trend.
When Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on NBC’s "TODAY” show, he noted that since face masks help "prevent droplets" from spreading, multiple layers in your face mask (or multiple face masks) would likely be “more effective.” Given Fauci's expert guidance and the CDC's new mandatory face mask requirement for public transportation, coupled with a substantial following around Evolvetogether, we put together a handy guide to the brand's offerings in 2021.
Evolvetogether's founder and the brand's DNA
The geographic coordinates of international cities — New York, Tokyo and Milan — along with Amazonia, are printed on the front of each face mask, a homage the brand says it pays to the concept that we can all "evolve together." Cynthia Sakai, the founder of jewelry line Vita Fede, launched Evolvetogether in 2020 given the increased demand (and necessity) of face masks during the pandemic.
Another part of the brand's DNA is tied to charitable donations. With each purchase of the brand's green face mask with Amazonia emblazoned on the front, shoppers can donate $1 — the cost to plant a tree — to One Tree Planted, a nonprofit focusing on ending deforestation and global warming. Since teaming up with the organization in December 2020, shoppers have donated more than $10,370, according to a brand spokesperson, who noted their goal is to contribute $150,000 to the program by the end of the year. Evolvetogether also provides face masks to One Tree Planted volunteers.
The ACLU is another organization of choice for Evolvetogether, which created a Matte Black four-ply mask featuring the phrase “We Stand Together” rather than coordinates. According to Evolvetogether, this mask launched in June in support of the Black Lives Matter protests. The brand has donated 25,000 masks to protestors through the ACLU and Covenant House New York.
Best face masks from Evolvetogether in 2021
Evolvetogether's hero product is their face mask, which is available in four colors — Black, Green, White and Gray — and comes in packs of seven, 21, 28 and 30, as well as a 42-pack for families. According to the brand, the face masks are certified to be medical grade type IIR, or surgical-grade masks, by SGS, a third-party company that certifies, tests and inspects the quality of various items, including medical devices, wellness products and electronics.
According to UNICEF, type IIR masks offer a 98-percent bacterial filtration effectiveness (BFE) against particles as small as 3 micrometers, or .003 millimeters. That’s slightly higher than maximum, 93-percent BFE a typical cloth mask offers, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine, whose data shows some cloth masks offer as little as 43 percent BFE.
These three-ply masks consist of a water-resistant outer layer and a meltblown center layer. The meltblown layer is composed of natural materials like cotton that are converted into non-woven fabrics, and that subsequently act as a mask filter, according to manufacturing company Thomas. There is a moisture-absorbing inner layer, too, which is particularly helpful when exercising with a face mask. You can also pinch the face mask’s adjustable nose bridge to customize the fit.
Evolvetogether’s smaller face masks are made for children ages three to 10. These kids’ face masks are similar to the adult masks, offering the same three-ply protection, adjustable nose bridge and four colorways — White, Black, Green and Gray.
However, each 30-pack comes with two sheets of colorful decals, so kids can play around and customize their masks. Vice President Kamala Harris' niece, Meena Harris, dressed her two daughters in Black Evolvetogether kids' face masks for the Presidential Inauguration.
Face masks are functional but storing them safely when not in use, like when you’re dining out, can be a challenge. Evolvetogether created a 10-pack of Keepers as a convenient way to house your protective face coverings. The brand says they are made from plant-based and biodegradable materials. Storing your mask is quick and simple — lay your mask on the Keeper, fold along the lines and employ the ear loops to secure the mask, then tuck away into your winter coat pocket when not in use.
Children and adults can get creative by accessorizing their face masks with these peel-and-stick mask decals.Each order comes with two sheets of emoji decals and three colorful Alphabet decals, which were inspired by the New York City subway lines. Evolvetogether also claims their SGS-tested decals are non-toxic and made from plant-based and biodegradable materials, to boot.
Are Evolvetogether masks reusable?
No, Evolvetogether face masks are not reusable. The New York-based brand makes disposable face masks. However, if you've worn your mask to run a quick, essential errand and it's not visibly dirty or if you're in a pinch, then you could reuse your disposable mask, if necessary — just mind how often you’ve already done so.
In our guide on the efficacy of disposable face masks, Gregory Charlop, MD, explained: "You can reuse disposable face masks but you must do it the right way."
So what exactly is the proper way of reusing a face mask? "Be sure to take it off by the straps, put it in a safe place and wash your hands. Wait a few days before reusing it, or put it in a paper bag and heat it with a blowdryer to kill any lurking viral particles," he advised. You could also utilize a UV sanitizer to kill germs on your face mask, such as reader-favorite Phonesoap, or the Coral 3-in-1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer, which was featured in our guide to cleaning your makeup brushes.