A protective face mask has become 2020’s most essential item. One that affords you and those around you a degree of protection from COVID-19. Which is why, protective face masks have become non-negotiable by law in most countries around the world.
And yes, they can be uncomfortable. And also yes, they can give you acne (read this post about how to prevent mask-related acne!).
But. They. Are. Essential.
So, why not make our lives a bit easier and more cheerful than finding one that’s both comfortable and suits our style? Because there are now so many protective face masks out there – ranging from Liberty printed crisp cotton florals to luscious silk brocades – that you are actually spoilt for choice.
And since what you choose is taking up real estate on at least 50% of your face, it can make or break your look. So, pick one that best reflects your personality.
I have gone cross-eyed scouring the shops for the most gorgeous protective face masks and here’s what made the final cut. Which one’s your soulmate (I am partial towards Lurelly Tan’s silk masks and the KES soft-wash tie ‘n dyes)?
PS: And remember, some of the greatest fashion staples were invented as utility items. Denim jeans for miners who needed hardwearing clothing… pants for women when they entered the workforce during the second world war… !
PPS: None of these face masks are a replacement for an N95 or surgical mask.
L. Erickson Peace II Adult Pleated Reversible Cotton Face Mask, $28
This double layer woven mask from L.Erickson is washable, reusable and reversible.
Silvia Tcherassi Gingham Yellow Face Mask, $40
KES Sustainable Washable Face Mask, $40
Ultra-soft silks organically dyed with madder root, red cabbage, soda ash and lemon salts? Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. The adjustable drawstring ties straps and pocket for optional filter inserts are added bonuses. Good job KES!
Lurelly Tan Silk Mask, $28
These ultra-soft silk masks are handmade from two layers of recycled silk and come in luscious jewel toned hues ranging from the bright and cheerful to neutral and sophisticated. They also include a double layer of filter. You also have the option of scrunchie-style ear bands (which are surprisingly comfortable) or drawstring ties for a more customised fit. Which one would you pick?
Alice+Olivia Staceface Face Mask, $10
Made from breathable jersey material, with a healthy dose of elastane thrown in for stretch, these masks are dressed in Alice+Olivia’s iconic State Face pattern for a touch of cheerful quirkiness.
Giovanna Wish I Was There Face Mask, $30
This watercolour style, double layer cotton face mask is not only all your travel dreams come true, it’s also comfortable to wear. That’s via the elastic wraps that go around the back of the head and neck for a more comfortable fit. My ears thank you! Bonus: For every mask sold Giovanna donates funds to cover the cost of an N95 mask for RETI’s Rapid Resilience program.
Collina Strada Fashion Face Mask With Bows, $100
If you really want to make a statement, Collina Strada’s maximalist yet super-comfortable masks come complete with oversized bows and colorful designs that are guaranteed to make you stand out from the crowd. All masks are made from deadstock (leftover fabrics from previous collections), fabrics and patterns vary with every piece. What’s common is that each comes with an opening to insert a filter and with every face mask purchased, five are donated to healthcare workers in NYC.
When you’re looking for more glitzy vibes, there’s no going wrong with Courtyard LA’s masks, which are made from vintage silk and brocade fabrics. So utterly decadent and romantic! And they have an interior layer of cotton or satin rayon for added protection. Only problem? They seem to sell out as soon as a drop happens, so get on that pre-order list NOW.
For when you want to be minimalistic but still with a flare, reach for these sustainably produced cotton masks with Still Here’s signature stripes in multiple colorways. They come with a filter insert and two filters, plus adjustable strap options that can go around the head or be tied behind the ears.
Katie May Disco Ball Face Mask, $26
If it’s glitzy enough for JLo – who’s been spotted wearing this sequinned face mask on more than one occasion – this double layer poly and nylon mesh face mask is definitely the one when you want to shine. Quite literally.
Erdem Face Mask in Meadow Teal, $65
This printed Italian cotton face mask is perfect for romantics with its painterly blooms. It includes a removable filter and 100% of net profits donated to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.
Kurt Geiger Rainbow Mask, $20
If bright and cheerful is what you are aiming for, there’s no better option than this rainbow striped heavyweight cotton mask from Kurt Geiger. The stopper has elastics for your perfect fit. And all profits go to UK Black Pride through July 2020.
Is it possible to be low key yet with a flair for color? That’s a definite yes, if you have stocked up on Katerina Buscemi’s hand painted 230-thread-count organic cotton sateen face masks. Each mask is made to order and comes with a choice of ear loops or behind-the-head ties. Each one is a soft wash of color in pretty hues like Faded Rainbow (my favorite) and Cotton Candy Sky.
VPL Japanese Silk Maruobi Mask, $125
These decadent masks are crafted from vintage Japanese obi belts that are traditionally worn over kimonos. Maru Obi belts feature the most intricate silk brocades and luxurious embroideries as they are reserved for deeply special occasions, like weddings. A single Maru Obi can be worth more than an entire kimono! The masks are handcrafted in California by a woman-owned factory and proceeds fund the Fashion Girls For Humanity initiative. And yes, there is an interior pocket to insert your own filters.
Stoney Clover Lane Pastel Heart Mask, $28 for Set of 2
Whimsical pastels for your inner romantic? Stoney Clover’s pink and mint-hued cotton masks have the most precious heart shaped beading on the adjustable straps. You have the option of removing the beads but that wouldn’t be have as much fun, right?