2020 was the year of the face mask, and it looks like the trend is going to continue into 2021. Face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and until we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we should all do our part and wear one in public spaces. Over a year into the pandemic there are plenty of different masks out there — from disposable face masks to athletic face masks, clear face masks, cloth face masks, holiday-themed face masks and even designer PPE. The one annoying thing about face masks? They aren’t the most comfortable thing to wear, after wearing one for more than a few hours it’s a big relief to take it off. Many tug on your nose, irritate your ears and cause acne or “mask-ne” as it’s been dubbed by some. Not all masks are made equal, but thankfully there are comfortable face masks out there worth looking into.
Materials of Comfortable Face Masks
Disposable face masks tend to not be the most comfortable option, so we don’t recommend those if comfort is your top priority. Instead, go for one made of cotton, or a mixture of fabric blends designed to be moisture-wicking, antimicrobial and breathable.
Size of Comfortable Face Masks
Another key aspect of comfort when wearing face masks is the fit. You want a mask with plenty of room to stretch from the tip of your nose to the bottom of your chin so you can breathe, move your lips to talk and flex your facial muscles. Face masks that are too small can tug on your ears via their straps and face masks that are too large fall down and need constant adjustment. You also want to avoid touching your face whilst wearing your mask as much as possible to avoid infection.
Here are some of the most comfortable face masks you can find out there. They’re made of high-quality fabrics and designed to fit a variety of face shapes and sizes. Are they better than a bare face and fresh air? No, but if you’ve got to wear a mask they’re all great options.
1. Reebok Face Covers
I have a few face masks from Reebok and they’re incredibly comfortable. Their face mask is made to be worn during athletic activity from breathable fabric that’s stretchy and very lightweight. It’s soft and fits like a glove unlike many other face masks I’ve tried. I have the M/L size and it fits perfectly, it also has excellent temperature control due to the breathability and never gets too hot. I’d highly recommend this mask to anyone, as even after wearing it for hours I’ve stayed comfortable while staying safe.
2. UA SPORTSMASK
This is another face mask made for athletes and is an excellent blend of soft, breathable fabric with an anti-microbial treatment to keep your skin as healthy as possible. Under Armour is a leader in the athletic wear space and has the structured design you want with enough room for your face and lips. It’s made of polyurethane foam that allows air to pass through easily while keeping water and sweat away so your face stays comfortable. It also has UA Iso-Chill fabric on the interior lining so you can cool and calm no matter what the day throws at you.
3. Craft & Soul Mattana Face Mask
This face mask is highly rated on Amazon for its comfort. It’s made of a high-quality cotton/poly blend that’s comfortable but stretchy at the same time. It fits closely to the face while allowing breathability and won’t fog up your glasses while you’re wearing it. It’s easy to care for and use repeatedly, and is made to fit a variety of faces. It comes in eight different colors and a pack of five costs less than $10, a bargain on comfort.
4. Outdoor Research Face Mask Kit
This face mask was designed by engineers to be as comfortable and protective as possible. It’s size adjustable via the ear pieces and has a large structure that extends from the tip of the nose past the chin for plenty of breathing room inside. The mask uses a filter that blocks 95% of viruses, bacteria and particles and it’s treated with HEIQ V-BLOCK and CO DWR, two mixes that enhance its resistance to microbes. They were originally developed to reduce contamination in hospitals for medical staff. This mask is also made of a durable polyester fabric that’s fast-drying and wicks moisture away.
5. Isko Vital+ Supreme Face Cover
LIGHTWEIGHT + BREATHABLE
This is another face mask I’ve tried that I found to be incredibly comfortable to wear. It’s the most lightweight mask I’ve ever worn and is more breathable than the average disposable face mask. It feels disposable in its structure but is made of soft fabric and a pliable nose clip that’s easy to adjust. Their face masks come in a variety of sizes but I recommend the medium for average-sized heads. The small is more of a child’s mask and the large is going to be too big for most.
6. Everlane 100% Human Face Mask
BEST MATERIAL BLEND
This face mask from Everlane is made of 100% cotton, an ideal for comfort. It comes in a size designed to fit most, so if you’ve got a larger or smaller face you may want to consider other options for a better fit. It’s machine washable and you can put them in the dryer which makes caring for this face mask as easy as cleaning your socks. They also come in packs of five and five different color options.
7. Buck Mason Anti-Microbial Face Mask
BEST FOR YOUR SKIN
“Anti-microbial” is the key here. This mask from Buck Mason is designed for all-day wear with the least amount of irritation for your skin possible. It’s made of washable, triple-layer pima cotton with added stretch for a comfortable fit and has adjustable ear loops in the back as well as a nose bridge insert so you can find your ideal fit. It has reinforced seams built to last wash after wash as well as an anti-microbial coating so your face stays clean and pores unclogged.
8. Banana Republic Face Mask 3-Pack
GREAT FOR ALL-DAY WEAR
This face mask from Banana Republic is made of ultra-stretchy fabric with a contoured, multi-layer design and adjustable ear straps. The design leaves plenty of room at the middle of the face for your nose and lips and has a nose wire for a secure fit up top. Each face mask also has an internal pocket for inserting a filter if desired.
9. Uniqlo AIRism Face Mask
This face mask from Uniqlo is designed to wick away moisture with their patented AIRism fabric, a key factor in keeping you comfortable, your skin healthy and the mask functional long-term. It has a high-performance filter designed to keep the user dry from splashes and is made to be easier to breathe in. The first layer of the AIRism fabric wicks away moisture, the second layer has a washable filter that’s built-in and the third layer is made of AIRism mesh that blocks UV rays.
10. Vistaprint Sunrise Face Mask
BEST PRINT OPTIONS
Vistaprint’s face masks fit similarly to the Reebok ones, and come in a wide array of colors, patterns and prints. This Bandana pattern is one of my favorites, but there are many others including seasonal holiday options as well. Their masks are made with advanced protection through a layered filtration system. The fabric is durable and yet stretchy, breathable and reinforced with extra stitching. The latex-free straps are adjustable and their masks are machine-washable as well.
11. Tart Collections 100% Cotton Face Mask
MADE IN THE USA
This face mask is also made from 100% cotton in the USA and has excellent breathability while also preventing the inhalation of dust, pollen, mites and other allergens in the air. The mask has an outer shell for protection and two layers inside. It’s designed to be worn again and again, and can be washed to prevent particle build-up in the mask. This mask is available in two different colors, blue and black, with or without the American flag decal on the side.
12. Wulcea Cotton Face Mask 4-Pack
This face mask is made of soft cotton and has a large, 3D shape that creates plenty of breathing room inside. It also has ear-loop silicone adjusters on either side as well as a nose clip making it easy to augment the dimensions of the mask to your liking. This mask has two layers of cotton and one layer of polyester for optimal protection and minimal irritation. The lightweight fabric is designed to wick away sweat and moisture, and comes with attachable straps to keep the mask around your neck when not in use.
13. Athleta Everyday Non Medical Masks
Athleta also makes a great face mask for anyone looking for an athletic face mask that’s suitable for everyday use. The fabric is pleated and expands to accommodate a variety of face shapes and the mask has soft-knit ear loops for a secure fit. The masks are sold in 5-packs of varying colors so you’ll have plenty to cycle through, and the 3 layers of lightweight, breathable cotton are machine washable.