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The Best Reusable Face Mask for 2021
Your Ultimate Guide to Reusable Face Masks
Wearing a face mask has now become a part of our daily lives all due to the spread of SARS-COV-2 or more commonly known as COVID-19. Pre-Corona times, only a handful of us would wear a mask for various reasons such as the flu, illnesses, hiding a no-makeup bareface, and much more. Nowadays, any kind of face covering — whether it be a disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, surgical mask — is an absolute must to contain the spread of the virus.
Covering the nose and mouth is highly essential, as according to lab tests and scientific data, the virus travels through the spread of droplets. Because of the need for face masks, various companies and brands have come up with their own versions of commercial face coverings for the masses.
Commercial face masks are a huge help, especially for the health care sector as it ensures that the public will be able to reduce the spread of the virus while reserving surgical masks and other medical-grade face masks for health care workers. Commercial face masks are also reusable and a lot of them can be washed either by hand or by machine too!
In this guide, we’ll be covering and ranking the best reusable masks that you can get to protect yourself and others around you! We’ve got cloth face masks, cotton masks, and so much more! Check them out!
In a Hurry? This is the Best Face Mask:
Japan’s affordable yet high quality wear brand Uniqlo has stepped up above everyone else with their Airism masks. Uniqlo is a brand synonymous with the word comfort, and they’ve extended that same kind of comfort to their cloth face mask lineup.
The Airism masks feature a triple-layered system that ensure not only breathability but protection as well. This mask may not have a wire for your nose bridge but thanks to the inner Airism fabric, there is a breathing space between the nose and mouth, which is highly important. The mask also holds its shape up well.
You can acquire these face masks in packs of three, and can re-use and wash the masks for up to 20 times each.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Reusable Face Masks
Majority of reusable masks are cloth face masks, allowing users to easily wash and dry them after each use. Since there are a lot of types of cloth masks, you should use the one that you’re most comfortable with. There are masks constructed with cotton, neoprene, satin, and so on.
Apart from the type of cloth, you should also consider the amount of layers that a mask has. The best masks have triple layers, but you can also go for a mask that has dual layers. Ideally, a good reusable mask is one that has a breathing space between your nose and mouth.
Additionally, a mask with an adjustable nose bridge wire is ideal to fit the mask over nose bridges, making them more snug against the face. The nose bridge wire also helps in preventing glasses from fogging up. When it comes to ear loops, a mask that has adjustable loops would be good as well to prevent ear strains.
Some brands offer masks in several sizes; on the other hand, some only offer a single size to fit everyone. If you’re opting for a commercial mask that’s only available in a single size, do look for one that has adjustable ear loops as well so that you’ll be comfortable when wearing the mask.
Why Should I Wear a Reusable Masks Instead of Surgical Masks?
Reusable face masks have the same function as single-use or disposable masks: these masks are able to filter out droplets that carry virus particles around. As what their name implies, reusable masks are meant to be worn over and over again.
For the general public, it’s better to use a reusable mask than medical-grade single-use masks. Unlike medical-grade masks, commercial reusable masks don’t offer the same kind of protection against pathogens, but they’re good enough to prevent the virus from being passed around through the nose and mouth in a general public setting.
Medical-grade masks such as N95 masks, masks made by 3M, and surgical masks should be reserved for the use of the health care sector. Our health care workers are on the frontline, making them the most at-risk since they deal with patients and are directly exposed to the virus. Think of surgical masks and the like as a health care workers’ shield against corona. It is highly important for them to be well-protected in order to help their patients and themselves as well.
Additionally, by wearing a reusable mask instead of a disposable mask, you also reduce the environmental damage being done due to improper disposal of masks. You also save yourself money by having reusable masks on hand instead of buying boxes upon boxes of disposable masks.
Top 10 Best Reusable Masks
Let’s Go Over Each Reusable Mask
If you’re looking for a mask that is breathable and still protects you, look no further for Uniqlo has the solution with its Airism mask. This mask is incredibly popular, so much so that there were numerous people lined up in front of Uniqlo stores when the product was first launched in Japan last June 2020. Since its first launch, the mask has been redesigned and released globally, becoming a favorite and quickly selling out in stores.
Uniqlo claims that the Airism masks are constructed with three layers of fabric. One layer is a breathable mesh with Airism fabric, the layer in between is a nano-filter that blocks particles, and the last outer layer that blocks UV rays. The brand assures that the masks are smooth to the touch, are moisture-wicking, and dries fast.
The masks are machine washable, however Uniqlo reminds users to put it inside a mesh or net bag when washing. Moreover, Airism masks come in four sizes, namely S, M, L, and XL, and are also available in three colors: black, gray, and white. You can buy the masks in packs of three, with each mask washable up to 20 times.
Pros and Cons of the Uniqlo Airism Face Mask
✔️ Comes in four sizest
✔️ Three masks in one pack
|✖️ Might be uncomfortable in hot temperatures|
Doing exercises, running and other sports-related activities can be highly uncomfortable when wearing a mask. Not only will you have to deal with sweat, but you’ll also need room for breathability and a lot of face masks don’t offer that. This is why well-known activewear brand Under Armour developed their own face mask, specifically designed with athletes in mind.
The UA Sportsmask features three layers of fabric, with the first layer being a spacer fabric that the brand claims to be lightweight with air pockets, creating structure and ensuring the mask has enough space between your mouth and nose for better airflow. The second layer is a moisture-wicking open-cell foam layer, while the last layer of the mask uses the UA Iso-Chill fabric technology that disperses heat and feels cool when wearing the mask.
Additionally, the masks are machine-washable. However, UA has not specified up to how many times their masks can be washed. The UA Sportsmask comes in a pack of two and is available in six colors.
Pros and Cons of the Under Armour Sportsmask
✔️ Made for exercise or sports activities
|✖️ Ear loops may curl after numerous washes and use|
The usual masks can be uncomfortable and ill-fitting when worn for long hours. Not only that, but some also experience irritation, especially around the nose and cheek area. Masks that are both protective and comfortable to wear are highly sought after, that’s why it’s not a surprise to see AirQueen selling out left and right.
Made in Korea, the AirQueen Nanofiber masks feature a nose bridge wire, giving the mask a 3D shape and making it breathable. These masks are incredibly popular in Korea, so much that normal citizens and celebrities alike are using these masks. The AirQueen masks are a substantial equivalent for N95 masks and have a secure fit with enhanced durability.
The masks are also lightweight and have elastic ear loops, making them comfortable to wear. While the AirQueen masks aren’t washable, they can be sanitized with 75% ethanol and can be reused up to 10 times.
Pros and Cons of the AirQueen Nanofiber Mask
|✔️ 3D ergonomic shape|
✔️ Has a nose wire
|✖️ Can only be reused up to 10 times|
Almost every brand out there has come out with their own version of a face mask, and sportswear brand Adidas isn’t letting itself fall behind.
Adidas prides itself with its face masks made of recycled materials. The masks are constructed with two layers, allowing them to be lightweight, breathable, and highly comfortable when worn. Because of the soft two layers of fabric used by Adidas, the mask doesn’t cause any skin irritation, making it ideal for those who are sensitive.
The Adidas Face Cover only comes in black, and it has the Adidas logo stamped on the outside. The mask can be washed, either by hand or machine, but Adidas has not stated how many times the mask can be washed and reused. It’s also worth noting that the Adidas masks don’t feature a nose piece and therefore will probably fog up glasses. Still, the masks are soft and snug -— pretty good for daily use, especially if you’re someone who wants to be comfortable when wearing a mask for long hours.
Pros and Cons of the Adidas Face Cover
✔️ Made of recycled materials
|✖️ No nose wire |
✖️ Only has two layers
Underwear brand Hanes definitely knows a thing about comfort, it’s not a wonder that they applied the same principles to their cloth face masks.
Hanes’ face masks are pretty much like their undergarments, no frills and nothing fancy. The Hanes face mask is your bare bones, classic cloth face mask made with cotton.
Don’t let its low price fool you, for these masks are made with absolute quality. Hanes’ cotton face masks have three layers to them and also comes with an adjustable nose wire, making them comfortable and breathable when worn. These cloth masks are also washable and reusable. If you’re looking for a highly affordable and comfortable mask, get the Hanes cotton masks as they come in packs of three with a price tag of under PHP 200, making them an absolute value-for-money buy.
Pros and Cons of the Hanes Face Mask
✔️ Made with three layers of cotton
✔️ Has an adjustable nose bridge wire
|✖️ Ear loops are not stretchable|
When COVID broke out globally, one of the first things people did was to find out and know products or items that could kill and prevent viruses. Apart from the usual disinfectants and the endless necessary reminder to wash our hands, one of the subjects that came up was copper.
Dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt, the use of copper as an antimicrobial agent has long been proven and tested. It wasn’t a surprise when companies here and there began marketing their products that were infused or laced with copper.
Joining the ranks of brands that have come up with copper-woven products is the socks and undergarment brand Burlington and their very own Copper Pro mask. Burlington describes the Copper Pro as a mask “strengthened with active copper yarn which is known for its natural antimicrobial properties.”
The Copper Pro mask features three layers of fabric, specifically an outer layer of polyester, a middle layer of cotton, and an innermost layer of tightly woven cotton, fused with active copper yarn. It also comes with a stopper for its adjustable ear loops, and every mask has a neck lanyard for the user’s convenience. Burlington also says that their Copper Pro mask can be washed and reused many times without damaging its copper feature.
Pros and Cons of the Burlington Copper Pro Mask
|✔️ Infused with active copper yarn|
✔️ Adjustable ear loops
✔️ Has a neck lanyard
|✖️ Comes in only one size|
While a lot of brands have hopped on the copper train, one brand seems to swim against the current by using a different material instead. Filipino activewear company World Balance has joined the numerous brands in launching their own commercial cloth face mask called Protective Mask.
World Balance’s Protective Mask is a fabric mask made with three layers of silver nanoparticles. Similar to copper, nanosilver is also an antibacterial agent that can filter bacteria and particles. Moreover, World Balance also says that their mask can also aid in preventing dust and haze from reaching the wearer’s face. Instead of a nose bridge wire, the mask is equipped with a PVC special nasal splint so that it doesn’ press on the nose bridge and it won’t fog up glasses.
The face mask is available in three colours but only comes in one size. No worries though, for this mask is equipped with adjustable ear straps, allowing it to fit the face of any wearer. World Balance also claims that their fabric face mask can be washed and reused up to 30 times.
Pros and Cons of the World Balance Protective Mask
|✔️ Has silver nanoparticles|
✔️ Adjustable ear loops
✔️ PVC noise piece
|✖️ One size fits all|
If you’re of the fashionable kind, you may be opting for a face mask from known fashion brands. One such brand is streetwear company Herschel Supply Co., known for their hipster retro backpacks and accessories.
Herschel’s Classic Fitted Face Mask features three layers of breathable fabric and a filter pocket that can fit a standard PM 2.5 for better protection. While the masks are only available in a single size, Herschel asserts that their face masks are designed to fit close to the face, and therefore it’s equipped with a lightweight adjustable nose bridge.
Among everything else though, the highlight of the Herschel face masks are its adjustable ear loops. The elastic ear loops have silicon side adjustment tabs to them, allowing users to wear the mask as they see fit. The adjustable ear loops also ease the pressure on the wearer’s ears. This face mask is machine washable and reusable. Additionally, it’s available in plain colors and patterned versions, ensuring you to be protected in style.
Pros and Cons of the Herschel Classic Fitted Mask
|✔️ Adjustable elastic ear loops|
✔️ Has a filter pocket
✔️ Three layers
Chain, also known as The Chain Reactions, is a Philippine-based brand that started out with stylish yet comfortable women’s wear but has since expanded into making cloth face masks due to COVID-19.
Chain’s The Premium masks are all reusable masks that have triple layers of cotton. On the other hand, the outer layer of their masks are made with either silk, satin, or neoprene, depending on the design.
Chain assures that their tightly woven cotton face mask is breathable, soft, and comfortable. The masks have a nose bridge wire for a snug fit, and also have an inner filter pocket that fits a standard PM 2.5 filter. While the brand doesn’t offer different sizes for their mask, they do have ear loops that can be adjusted. Chain also affirms that all masks are laundered prior to packing and that they are machine washable.
Pros and Cons of the Chain The Premium Mask
|✔️ Inner layer lined with 100% cotton fabric|
✔️ Has a filter pocket
✔️ Three layers
|✖️ No other sizes available|
If you have an eye for color and design, these fabric face masks may be your bet.
Bibsisita is a Philippine-based brand that’s rooted in Isabela who takes pride in turning Filipino-themed artworks into everyday items. The brand started out with offering pillows, bags, and shirts, and has now turned to designing fabric face masks with the use of their artworks.
Bibsisita claims that their fabric face masks are all made of 100% tightly-woven cotton and feature three layers of fabric. Each cotton face mask comes with a filter pocket, and each purchase includes 1 piece of filter. There is no shortage of designs in Bibsisita’s face mask lineup; their artworks range from simple designs to outstanding colorful ones. Not only will you be a headturner with this brand’s cotton face masks, but you can also proudly display your Pinoy pride when wearing them.
Pros and Cons of the Bibsisita Face Mask
|✔️ Huge range of designs|
✔️ Has a filter pocket
|✖️ Thick ear loops are a trade off |
✖️ No nose wire
Best Reusable Mask Comparison
We hope we were able to narrow down your choices when it comes to looking for the best reusable mask you can get your hands on! If the mask that you’re opting for is a washable mask, always remember to wash it after every use either by hand or by machine. If the reusable mask that you picked isn’t a washable mask, remember to sanitize and disinfect the mask after usage. Apart from masking up, always remember to wash your hands as well and keep your distance. Stay safe!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will Cloth Face Masks Prevent Maskne from Developing?
Wearing cloth masks can definitely aid in reducing maskne from developing on your skin. Disposable masks can be irritating on the skin, particularly around the nose, chin, and cheek area. Wearing a mask made of cotton or other types of cloth can be less irritating, especially for those who are highly sensitive.
Do note that of course, with every mask, your mileage may vary. Some face masks made of cloth may irritate you, and some may not. You should always pick out the type of mask that suits your skin the best. Wearing a cloth face mask is just one way of reducing irritation; other things you can do are to wash your face, wear less makeup, and do spot treatment. For more information, check out our guide on how to prevent and treat maskne.
Should I Double Mask?
You’re probably worried about the newer variant of COVID-19 that’s starting to make its way around, or maybe you’re someone who is at risk, or perhaps you really just want to ensure that you won’t be affected by the virus and you don’t want to affect the ones surrounding you as well. Experts have hypothesized that you can greatly reduce transmission by double masking.
Double Masking means to wear two face masks on top of each other; usually the inner mask should be a disposable mask, while the outer mask should be a fabric mask. While double masking can help, the method isn’t right for everyone.
If wearing two masks makes it difficult for you to breathe, you shouldn’t force it. If two masks irritate your face further, again, don’t double mask. Comfort should always be your priority, alongside protection. One mask may be sufficient for you. The important thing is that you ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth well and has a good, snug fit on your face.
If you’re aiming to double mask, you can try a couple of mask combinations. The most common is to wear a cloth mask over a disposable mask. You can also use two cotton masks on top of one another. If you’re wearing an N95 mask or a KN95 mask, there is no need to double mask as they can filter out 95% of particles. However, the supply of N95 masks are limited so it’s best to reserve N95 masks for the use of essential workers. KN95 masks are a great alternative if you do not want to double mask.
Are There Other Alternatives to the Reusable Masks in this Guide?
Yes, there are several alternatives to the masks mentioned in this guide! If you’re looking for a sports mask, you can try Reebok’s face masks. The masks come in packs of three, are available in black and white, and are all washable and reusable too.
For a mask that’s more unique, you can check out Nike’s Strike Snood. While it’s not exactly a mask, the Strike Snood covers not only your face starting from the nose, but all the way down to your neck as well. It’s a great alternative as it features a breathable mesh fabric over the mouth.
Another alternative to a cloth face mask is the Hedley & Bennett Wake Up & Fight Mask. The brand started out with making aprons but have expanded their lineup into face masks. Their masks are comfortable, breathable, and while they only come in a single size, the ear loops are fully adjustable to ensure they fit your face. The masks also have nose inserts and filter pockets. With every mask purchased from Hedley & Bennett, a mask is donated to a frontline worker.
More alternatives include the Pacsafe ViralOff Face Mask that’s water-repellent and antimicrobial, as well as Globe’s 0917 Aircross Face Mask that features adjustable ear loops and has an ear saver attached as well. For reusable but non-washable masks, you can get the Ilwoul KF94 mask that comes in black, or Soom Lab Hyper’s face mask. Both the Ilwoul and Soom Lab feature a 3D ergonomic design, just like the AirQueen Nanofilter Mask.
For a more local flair, you can get the Kalinga Hand-Woven face mask that features weaves made by members of the Kalinga community in partnership with brand Filiology. Arts and crafts store Ifugao Nation carries masks hand-woven by the Ifugao community and uses cotton that was grown by farmers in Negros, Ilolilo, and Cebu. Modern Filipiniana brand Style Ana also offers face masks that feature handloom-woven textile.
Can I Make My Own Face Coverings?
Yes, you certainly can make your own face coverings. It’s a little more difficult to make your own mask than just buy one that’s already made, but you certainly can if you’re passionate about it. For the non-sewing way, if you have old shirts that you no longer use, you can download a mask pattern from the internet, cut the pattern along your shirt fabric, and insert a non-woven material or filter in the middle for protection. You can pin the pieces together and tie it around the back of your head.
For those who are versed with sewing, you can use any cloth that you like to make your masks. Again, you can get a reusable mask pattern from the internet, measure your face for the correct mask size, cut up your fabric according to the pattern, and sew around the necessary parts. You can add a pocket in your mask to insert filters in for added protection. To make ear loops for your mask, you can make use of elastics or garters and make sure that they’re a good fit on your face before sewing it all together.
Ira Arellano graduated with a degree in Multimedia Arts from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. When she’s not busy writing, Ira uses her remaining free time fawning over groups with too many members, reading three books simultaneously, crying over animated shows and fictional people, and being salty over her lack of gacha luck.