Mask Buying 101


If you’re reading this, you’re probably coming to terms with what everyone is calling ‘the new normal’. Most major airlines, schools, workplaces, stores, restaurants and venues are requiring you to wear a mask to protect local communities from the spread of COVID-19. At this point, there’s no clear end-in-sight for face coverings, which also happen to serve as a great reminder to keep your hands away from your face and practice social distancing.


Okay, so you’ve committed. Now you’re in the market for masks that are both stylish and comfortable. Maybe you’re looking for masks made in sustainable ways. Our Mask Marketplace has all of your options covered, but let's take a look at what you might want to consider when ordering a mask to help you narrow your search for the perfect ones.


STYLE

Over the past few months, hundreds of brands started to switch focus and have their factories begin making masks. The result? Some of the most stylish and innovative masks for everyday use we’ve ever seen. With tons of styles and colors to choose from, you’ll be able to find a print or solid color that resonates with you. Looking to complement your existing wardrobe? Simply search our Marketplace for masks in the colors and textures you typically wear. While some masks trade a bit of functionality for style, there are plenty of options that earned a high-rating from us in both categories.


5 Star Recommendation: Check out these unique, color-blocked masks handmade by our friend and Nashville local artist Emlee Design.

 


COMFORT

There’s no way to avoid it. You’re going to spend quite a bit of quality time with your new masks. Instead of spending hours looking for reviews, our team rated each mask in our Marketplace based on comfort for you. Here’s a few things to consider:

 

  • As a general rule of thumb, a comfortable mask is made of high-quality materials that you’d find in the clothes you find coziest (think soft, Pima cotton for example). If you don’t enjoy that material elsewhere on your body, it’s probably not a great fit for your face either.
  • Some masks attach with ear loops, while others use elastic bands or even ties. Looking to really get a custom fit? Standard ties help you tailor the mask just right. Ear loops and elastic bands can be more convenient, but you should ensure that the mask is snug and comfortable without any areas that rub or irritate your skin.
  • Want the perfect fit? Minimize, and ideally eliminate, gaps around the edges of the mask to seal off exposure to germs and protect yourself and others. Some masks come with flexible metals, allowing you to manipulate the mask to fit securely.

 

4.5 Star Recommendation: For ridiculous-level comfort, Ministry of Supply's 3D Print-Knit is the way to go. These MIT grads worked through prototype after prototype until the mask perfectly shaped the contour of most adult faces. Made of incredibly soft Viscose fabric and fully adjustable, this light-weight mask feels great all day and the hygroscopic material pulls moisture to the core of the fiber rather than creating the clammy feeling you sometimes get in other masks. According to Fast Company, “this science-backed mask is the best we’ve found yet.” We’ll second that.

 


FUNCTION

Not all masks are created equal. Our team ranked each mask based on its ability to do the tough job of keeping you safer every time you wear it. We evaluated 100+ brands and only kept the masks that were up to the task. We’re happy to say that our Mask Marketplace is stacked with masks that offer different functionality. Here’s an idea of what to look for:

 

  • Thinking about a filtered mask? Filtered masks offer a ton of protection against contagions. Keep in mind that the better a mask filters, the less breathable it might be. We recommend a filtered mask for trips to public settings where you’re at the highest risk of exposure and more breathable masks for everyday wear while practicing social distancing and other CDC guidelines for public safety.
  • Wash it and re-use it! Let’s get technical for a minute. Masks are intended to either be single-use or washable and reusable. Every time you wear a mask in public, you should take steps to sanitize it before the next use. Our team chose some of the best masks for continued use including several with filter pockets and replacement filters to keep you going.
  • Innovation: We found some up-and-comers in the mask space, pioneering new technologies from new filter materials like Copper to antimicrobial fabrics as well.

 

5 Star Recommendation: This mask features a removable, washable, lab tested filter, moldable nosepiece for comfort and fit, and antimicrobial fabric. Proper Cloth nailed this everyday mask!

 


BREATHABILITY

Nobody wants to wear a sweaty mask that has you putting more effort into breathing than normal. While some brands tend to just layer-up, it sometimes means you’ll end up with a flush face. For exercising, look for masks that are intended to be training masks specifically. Our team paid special attention to the construction and materials used in masks, bringing together the ones that held their own in other categories without taking a hit here.

 

4 Star Recommendation: Alex & Nova's cute and whimsical patterned adult masks are sold as a pack of three with six filters included and perfect for on-the-go protection and comfort. Made with breathable cotton, Alex & Nova's masks are one of the most comfortable options we've found. Also available for kids as well.

 


SUSTAINABILITY

We gave extra points to brands who made good choices about their impact on people and the planet when choosing how to make the mask and what to make it from. At the core, Nisolo strives to change the fashion industry, pushing brands to adopt radical transparency of wages for their workers and environmental impact. Many of the brands we ranked in our Mask Marketplace found creative ways to use upcycled, recycled, and salvaged materials to create their masks and keep manufacturing jobs alive through a global crisis.

 

5 Star Recommendation: Our friends and certified B Corp, Known Supply, make masks from upcycled Pima cotton, and by purchasing these masks, you are providing meaningful jobs for their partners in Santa Ana, California.

 


If you have further questions or want more tips about finding the perfect mask, check out our FAQs on masks as well and feel free to reach out directly to our CX team.

 

Be safe. Be smart. Let’s beat this.

 


2 comments


  • Elaine

    I have found that putting the lower part of my glasses frame over the top edge of the mask works pretty well for me – except with disposable masks. Maybe a fix for you -?? I do not exercise with a mask on – that would fog.


  • Robin Mitchell

    Please add masks that are designed for people who have to wear glasses to your curated mask collection. Our glasses tend to fog up when wearing masks, and many of us are using debatable techniques to combat this problem! Thank you.


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