As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rule the world, the importance of face masks has come sharply into focus.
With so many different options out there though, it’s hard to find a comfortable face mask that is reusable, as opposed to constantly using single-use masks.
But, some brands have quickly stepped up to the challenge. They’ve created sustainable and eco-friendly face masks that are great for everyday use.
We’ve found some of the very best and are going to show them to you in this guide.
Let’s jump in!
Why Use a Sustainable Face Mask?
There are plenty of reasons to wear a mask. They offer a great deal of protection and can help slow down the spread of coronavirus.
However, the widespread and rapid adoption has meant that single-use masks present a massive environmental challenge.
If we all wore a disposable mask every time we leave the house, we’ll get through hundreds per year. A WWF report states that even if only 1% of masks are discarded incorrectly, it could lead to in 10 million masks being thrown into the environment per month.
Plus, these types of masks tend to have a lifespan of over 450 years before they degrade, making it a major ecological concern.
Current research shows that we’re already starting to see the results of this.
There’s evidence to suggest that increased usage of single-use face masks has already led to (even further)widespread plastic pollution.
Do Reusable Face Masks Offer Protection?
To put it simply, yes.
Reusable face masks and single-use face masks provide the same protective benefits.
The main difference is that reusable face masks are just that, reusable. You can wash them after wear, rather than throwing them away and therefore using them for longer.
Cloth masks are useful in reducing the droplet radius and blocking breath droplets that could lead to potential infection.
Studies show that if 100% facemask use is adopted by the population, the epidemic is brought under control and there’s far less disease spread.
Depending on the materials used and the fit of the mask, it can not only protect others from potential spread but also help filter out droplets that could put you at risk.
If you’re looking for sustainable facemasks to add to your rotation, here are some brands you need to know about.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Use these reusable masks at your own risk. If you have specific questions about them, please ask the vendor before purchasing.
Best Sustainable Face Mask Brands
Highlights: TENCEL Lyocell, made from upcycled materials from their tee run offs
Price: $25 for 3
Allbirds make their reusable masks from upcycled materials taken from their TrinoXO tees.
They’re comfortable, layered yet breathable. They’re easy to fit thanks to adjustable ear loops, and you can keep them fitted thanks to the bendy nose piece.
The masks are made from 65% Tencel™ Lyocell, merino wool, and 5% Chitosan — an odor-reducing fiber material made from discarded snow crab shells.
Highlights: Fair trade certified, Certified organic cotton
This mask from Knickey is made from 100% certified organic cotton, and lined for extra thickness to help keep you safe.
All of the materials used are Fair Trade certified.
The mask is super soft, and you can easily throw it in the washer and dryer to safely reuse. But, the brand recommends air drying to save energy, and we’re onboard with that.
Highlights: Certified B Corp, 100% organic cotton, transparent supply chain slow fashion brand philosophy, Oeko-Tex Certified
Price: $76 for 5
Encircled is a Canadian slow-fashion brand. They’re a Certified B Corp and Oeko-Tex R(100) Certified, which means no toxic chemicals are used in any materials the brand uses.
They took to making face masks to help ensure medical grade ones weren’t being bought by the public and instead could go to frontline care workers.
The masks are made in local factories from 100% organic cotton. You can choose to buy a pack of 5, or, if you prefer, buy and donate a pack.
Highlights: 100% organic cotton, Made in the USA, copper and silver infusion. Proceeds from purchases go to CDC Foundation. Tree planted for every purchase.
Price: Packs from $14.99
Turmerry make a variety of reusable and face masks.
What’s so good about their masks?
Well, a few things. Firstly, they have a line of resuabale masks made from 100% organic cotton, and they’re made in the USA.
Second, their masks are infused with silver and copper. Copper has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, so it’s a great material to have in your face masks.
All of Turmerry’s masks can be washed at home and reused. Part of the proceeds from every purchase go to the CDC Foundation, and a tree is planted for every single purchase.
If you’re looking for a reliable, 3-ply, Made in the USA mask, Turmerry is a great option. They come in a variety of styles and colors.
Highlights: Slow fashion brand, upcycled and recycled materials, sweatshop-free
Price: Individual masks start at $9.99
Ash & Rose are a slow fashion brand applying their ethos to a range of sustainable masks.
They come in a variety of fun prints, and are all made of upcycled, organic materials.
You can buy the masks individually, or they come in useful multipacks, so you’ll always have a clean mask ready to go.
Alternatively, if you spend more than $50 in their sustainable clothing, you’ll get a free face mask with your oder.
Highlights: Fun prints and good levels of protection against PM 2.5 particles, certified as FFP2.
Cremoly’s sustainable face masks filter out PM 2.5 particles, which means they provide protection against dust, pollen, mold, biologics, and other microscopic airborne contaminants.
They’re officially certified as FFP2 and can prevent particles down to the size of 0.3µm from getting through.
The masks have four layers, including a cotton inner, and two layers of filter material in the middle.
They can be re-used up to 60 times, making them an amazing alternative to a single use surgical mask.
Highlights: Made in Portland, OR
If you’re looking for a beautifully designed resuable mask, Kiriko is for you.
Kiriko as a brand is forged from the spirit of Mottainai (勿体無い). Mottainai is a Japanese value that embraces recycling everything you can, and wasting nothing.
The brand works with small textile factories in Japan, and assembles most of their products – including this face mask – in Portland, Oregon.
As you would hope, you can safely wash and re-use this mask.
Highlights: Offering two distinctive mask styles, Rendall uses premium cotton materials for their masks, all made in Los Angeles.
Price: $19 USD
Rendall offers two mask styles, the Sentry and the Ace using premium materials. Sentry masks are designed with an accordion-style design with a tie-back option. The design of the mask ensures that no fiddling or adjustment will be needed while keeping you as comfortable as possible. Ace masks use a similar accordion-style look as the Sentry but come with elastic loops instead.
Made of two layers of 100% woven cotton, their masks are designed and made in Los Angeles. Each mask comes with an embedded copper nose band bends for a snug fit, and built-in pocket to let you add a filter. And for each mask bought, Rendall donates a mask to essential workers and nonprofit organizations serving people experiencing homelessness.
Highlights: Bold prints using remnant fabrics, these double-layered masks are breathable with and have wire shaping
Price: $27 AUD ($19 USD)
The Social Outfit is creating sustainable masks using remnant fabrics from their clothing collections.
Double-layered for comfort and protection, the masks are designed to be washable, reusable, and come with wire shaping around the nose for added protection. Each mask is handmade by sewing technicians from refugee backgrounds and ethically created in small quantities to reuse as much fabric as possible and prevent waste.
Because of the nature and quantity of the remnant fabrics, there isn’t an option to pick a print. Instead, each purchase is a lucky dip and with limited quantities for each style, these masks are unique. Plus, The Social Outfit is currently operating a Buy One, Give One model for face mask purchases. For each mask purchased, the team will donate a mask to a person in need by teaming up with reputed charity partners. This ensures that even the most vulnerable communities are protected and each purchase contributes to something meaningful.
Highlights: Offering a two-pack facemask, these premium quality 100% organic cotton masks are protective and comfortable
Price: $39.99 AUD ($27.99 USD)
Bhumi’s face masks come in a 2-pack and are created from super soft cotton, 100% organic. Minimally processed, these face masks are created from premium quality fabric and built to last. Created from offcut fabric that was destined for the landfill otherwise, these face masks are comfortable and protective. Masks are double-layered with comfortable ear loops and patterns include tightly knitted jacquard,
These sustainable face masks are dyed with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) approved inks and dyes and free from toxic chemicals and dyes. They’re easily washable, fast-drying, and can withstand multiple washes due to the premium quality yarn used in the masks.
Highlights: Sustainable masks made from recycled polyester and organic cotton, these masks are protective and come with positive slogans emblazoned on them.
Price: 10 euros ($12 USD)
ArmedAngels have created durable and protective sustainable face masks that are PETA-approved vegan. Created from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester, the masks come with flexible metal and wire and rubber bands to affix on the nose and elastic ear loops. Made in Portugal by their fashion supplier through fair and sustainable practices, these masks are designed at the highest quality standard. Plus, the ArmedAngels masks have positive slogans on them to make a statement. Slogans include ‘protect each other,’ ‘I wear this mask for you,’ and others.
Because of their reusable nature, masks can be washed multiple times and it’s recommended to wash these masks regularly at a minimum temperature of 60°C with powdered detergent. Plus, these can withstand bleaching too and dry relatively quickly. Additionally, 2 euros from each sale is donated to Doctors without Borders and the current goal is to raise 1 million euros for the organization through mask sales.
Highlights: Made from 100% upcycled cotton, these masks are lightweight and comfortable, perfect for everyday use.
Price: $10 USD
Created from 100% upcycled (Deadstock) cotton, each mask is created with sustainable practices in mind and aims to use deadstock fabric that would’ve ended up landfills otherwise.
Whimsy and Row masks are functional and easy to wear, making them a great choice for an everyday face mask.
They can be machine washed on warm, and are dryer-friendly.
Reviewers love these, stating that these masks are reasonably priced, easy to wear, and perfect for running errands and everyday use.
With each mask purchase, one is donated. Whimsy and Row have manufactured around 1,000 masks with plans to make more. Masks will be donated to organizations such as Union Rescue and other LA locations working with vulnerable communities.
Highlights: Simple and sustainable double-layered linen masks for everyday use
Price: $15 CAD ($11 USD)
Cedar and Vine masks are classic and neutral, perfect for everyday use. Made from durable fabric, these masks are constructed with double-layered linen and come with an inner pocket for a filter insert. There are also multiple color options in five classic shades, making them a great unisex option.
To make it easy to wash and reuse, the linen has been pre-washed and dried. The masks are effective and practical and come with two options: tie around the head or elastic loops to make it as easy as possible to match personal preferences. Customer reviews are glowing for Cedar and Vine masks, especially when it comes to comfort and design. Customers rave about the easy and comfortable fabric, the easy fit, and its durability as they continue to use them.
Highlights: Stylish and protective GOTS-certified organic cotton masks that customers absolutely love
Price: $10 USD
Threads 4 Thoughts face masks are lined with organic cotton and feature filter pockets for easy insertion. The masks are washable, reusable, and made from sustainable materials.
Constructed from sandwash jersey, Lenzing Modal, and recycled polyester, these masks are durable and ethical. They also include GOTS certified organic cotton, and are free of toxic chemicals (as is the case with the rest of their product range).
Customers love the masks at Threads 4 Thoughts too. Their products have received glowing reviews on the ease of adjusting the ears of the mask for maximum comfort, as well as the great pattern choices available.
Highlights: Sustainably made from upcycled fabrics, these 100% cotton masks are durable and long-lasting.
Price: $12 USD
Bomme Studio has created face masks made from high-quality dual-ply 100% cotton and designed for everyday use. Using upcycled fabric, all masks are created in Los Angeles and developed under CDC recommendations. Sustainability and ethical labor are core values for Bomme Studio, and masks are no exception. All material for the masks is sourced in Los Angeles, as is the labor in creating them and their shipment.
These reusable masks are made from soft, breathable fabric that works especially well for sensitive skin, and won’t irritate after long periods of use. These masks can be washed an unlimited amount of times, and it’s recommended to machine wash on hot with detergent to get maximum usage out of the masks.
Highlights: An everyday mask with antimicrobial properties, this is a premium, durable mask that offers a lot of protection.
Price: $12 USD
Atoms masks are comfortable and protective, offering a host of features to ensure that these masks are perfect for everyday use. The masks are constructed with a polyester blend outer layer and a copper-lined ionized quartz yarn inner layer.
All of the premium materials are eco-friendly and created to be durable and long-lasting. The polyester outer layer has been chosen for its lightweight, breathable and quick-drying properties. Copper is known for its fast-acting antimicrobial properties, making it the perfect addition to these masks.
The INNOMAX material used is chemical-free, and these masks can be hand washed up to 50 times. Masks are currently being sold at cost, rather than for profit by Atoms. And for each purchase of a mask, one is donated to organizations in need.
Highlights: Available in multipacks, these super comfortable and soft masks are both eco-friendly and wallet-friendly.
Ugmonk sell masks at costs to keep prices down and ensure that everyone has access to these products as the pandemic continues.
Whether you’re looking for a single mask or buying a few to rotate around, Ugmonk has you covered.
Customers can either purchase one mask, or buy a bundle of masks in packs of 1, 5, or 9 masks. The 2-ply fabric used for the masks is incredibly soft, breathable, and machine-washable
Created from 52% cotton and 48% polyester, these masks are made in Los Angeles. The masks have comfortable ear loops as well as a subtle Ugmonk logo.
Highlights: High-quality sustainable face masks with great patterns for both men and women, it’s clear to see why these masks have gained so much popularity
Made from a combination of cotton and muslin cotton, the masks come with a variety of features to make them comfortable and safe for everyday use. These masks have 4 layers of 100% cotton total for breathability and comfort. They also come with a nose wire for a snug fit, and the muslin cotton makes the masks super breathable for everyday use.
The masks also have a filter pocket and there’s an option to add air filters to the masks as well at an additional cost. The masks fit any size comfortably and come with adjustable elastic straps. Reviewers absolutely love these masks, especially for their softness, comfort, and ease of use throughout the day.
Brands are working incredibly hard and fast to bring sustainable face masks to the general public. They have succeeded in this endeavor quickly and easily without creating waste and damaging the environment. As seen with the brands mentioned, there are lots of ways to reduce and recycle materials to create durable and breathable masks for everyday usage. These brands have demonstrated that speed and quality do not have to come at the cost of the environment.