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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of this year's most necessary and sought-after accessories was the now-ubiquitous face mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended people wear face masks in April, ultimately prompting brands from Athleta to Trtl and VIDA to make and sell their own.
Wearing masks to school and to work is now the norm (if you or yours are even heading into either), and some states even implemented mask mandates that require people to wear face coverings in public spaces like gyms and outdoor areas, as well as face shields, prompting many to opt for home gyms and other outdoor-but-indoor niceties. Below, we dive into the bestselling face masks we covered in 2020.
While they don’t alone prevent the spread of COVID-19, theCDC recommends people wear face coverings in public when keeping a physical distance of at least six feet. is not possible. The VIDA Protective Mask is by far the most purchased mask we’ve covered throughout the past few year. Each mask is made from two layers of 100-percent cotton with adjustable straps and a multi-layer filter. Masks are sold individually or in a multi-pack, as well as in a selection of colors. Masks come in three sizes: Regular, Kids and Extra Large.
Among five criteria outlined by the CDC, face masks should fit snugly against your face and include multiple layers of fabric. Buck Mason’s All-Day Antimicrobial Face Masks hits these markers, as they have adjustable ear loops and are made from three layers of fabric. The masks also have a padded nose bridge insert and an antimicrobial coating. Masks come in packs of five and are sold in three colors: Black, Navy and Olive.
Some states require gym goers to wear masks while exercising, and the CDC recommends wearing a mask while exercising outdoors when social distancing is not possible. We named the Adidas Face Mask one of the best to exercise in due to its breathability and high quality polyester fabric. Adidas masks are made from 40-percent recycled materials and come in one-size-fits-most. They’re dual-layered and machine-washable, too. If you’d rather wear a neck gaiter while exercising, readers like Eddie Bauer’s Unisex-Adult Multiclava.
As kids head back to school in-person, many are required to wear face masks during the day. Crayola launched a collection of reusable, machine-washable face masks for kids in collaboration with School MaskPack, each featuring fun designs. Masks come in packs of five, fit children ages three to 11 years old, and are color-coded for each day of the week. They also come with a mesh laundry bag and a calendar card to keep track of mask use.
The CDC recommends all kids older than two wear a face mask in public to minimize the spread of Covid-19. If you don’t want to invest in a reusable face mask for kids (in case they lose it), Dr. Talbot’s makes a disposable option that’s sold in a pack of 10. Masks have soft ear loops, three layers of filtration and an adjustable easy-bend nose clip. You can get these disposable masks in kid-friendly patterns like hearts, rainbows and flowers.
Experts say getting a child-friendly face mask probably increases kids’ compliance with wearing one. To that end, Vistaprint makes a selection of kids' face masks with colorful designs and patterns, like a puppy face, splatter paint and pineapples. Masks are reusable and allow for a filter to be inserted. They also have adjustable ear loops and four filtration layers: a textile exterior, replaceable fiber filter, a cloth layer and a 100-percent cotton inner layer.
Some companies are pursuing an additional element of good with their face mask offerings by donating to relief funds or donating personal protective equipment to healthcare workers. Rails sells its non-medical face masks in packs of five, and for each pack sold, one is donated to essential workers. These reusable face masks are made with assorted fabrics, including cotton. Masks are machine-washable and each pack comes in assorted patterns.
If you’re wearing reusable face masks, experts recommend you keep a number of them on hand as they need to be washed frequently. Old Navy sells packs of five and ten masks in over 20 pattern collections, from Tie Dye Cool to Pink Camo. Masks are three-ply and 100-percent cotton, made entirely from excess fabric used in Old Navy’s parent company Gap Inc’s factories. They’re machine-washable and have adjustable elastic ear loops, too. Old Navy also makes kids' face masks.
Hedley & Bennett’s Wake Up and Fight mask is one of the most purchased options we’ve covered this year. Although it has to be hand washed, readers like the mask’s adjustable elastic ear straps, metal nose insert and filter pocket. Masks are made from a breathable cotton and polyester fabric blend, and it has a name tag sewn into it. For every mask the brand sells, it donates one to first responders and front-line workers.
Maxboost’s sleek black face masks are also popular among Shopping readers. They come in packs of three and are made with two layers of fabric. Masks have adjustable ear loops and a nose bridge wire to prevent slipping. They come in two sizes: Extra-large and Unisize-M/Large.
Many popular brands and retailers have pivoted to making and selling face masks online this year. These machine-washable, cotton face masks from Anthropologie are sold in packs of five. Each set includes a variety of patterns and colors, allowing you to wear different styles depending on your outfit. Each lightweight, breathable mask comes with an adjustable metal nose bridge for a tighter and more comfortable fit.
Onzie’s Mindful Masks are made from upcycled, multi-layered fabric, which is also used in the brand’s yoga clothing. The fabric is stretchy, comfort fitting, quick-drying and breathable. Masks have elastic ear straps and must be hand-washed, as well as hung to dry. Masks are sold in packs of two and are pre-packed in assorted colors, so you won’t know what your masks look like until they arrive.
Most purchased face mask peripherals
Experts say that equipping a face mask with a filter should increase its effectiveness in filtering out particulate. Many masks come with a filter pocket, leaving you to purchase disposable filters separately. Readers like these filters — available in packs of 20 — because they’re made from five layers of activated carbon, non-woven and melt-blown filter cloth. They’re designed to filter out about 99 percent of particles like pollen, smoke, dust, chemicals, particles and fumes. Kinglight’s pm2.5 Activated Carbon Filters, which come in packs of 10, are also a popular option.
Face shields are best worn over face masks as a second layer of protection, rather than on their own, according to medical experts we consulted. Shopping readers like this option, which is made of transparent, recyclable plastic. They cover your entire face and feature a soft sponge material that sits on the headband for added comfort. The shield’s elastic band can be easily adjusted to fit different sized heads, too. Shields can be washed with water or disinfectant, and they come in packs of two.
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