Update, June 24, 2020: Since communities in the United States resume holding public events such as protests and political rallies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines defining these sorts of gatherings as high risk. In situations where maintaining physical distance is difficult, the CDC says cloth face coverings are “most essential” and should be worn by both event staff and attendees.
Update, May 6, 2020: As stay-at-home orders come to an end and businesses across the U.S. begin to re-open, a number of states are taking the CDC’s recommendation to wear a cloth face-covering in public to the next level by making it a requirement. This is in effect in the following seven states so far: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.
Update, April 4, 2020: The CDC issued a recommendation that President Donald Trump shared on Friday: they are now advising everyone to wear a cloth face-covering mask in public to slow the spread of coronavirus.
This story was originally published on April 3, 2020
It seems like each new day of the COVID-19 pandemic comes with a hearty dose of surprising, overwhelming, and sometimes even conflicting information about how to navigate your way through this crisis — and yesterday was no different. While the efficacy of non-medical face masks is still under debate, President Donald Trump said we may soon hear revised nationwide recommendations on why we should be wearing them to help stop the spread of the virus, despite initial claims that universal mask-wearing is unnecessary. As a result of this update, you can expect a massive spike in the production and purchase of cloth face coverings within the lifestyle and fashion spaces. In fact, we’re already seeing brands pivot to making coverage options more accessible to all. And while we can’t tell you whether or not you need a non-medical face mask to protect yourself and your loved ones, we can help you shop masks online if you choose to seek one out.
To be clear, a cloth face mask is much different than a surgical mask or an N95 mask, which is the kind of highly protective respirator equipment so desperately needed among healthcare professionals right now. Anyone who isn’t fighting on the frontlines of this health crisis that is in possession of extra N95 or surgical masks is encouraged to send them directly to those in need. You can also donate to organizations helping to produce, procure, and distribute medical-grade face coverings approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hospitals in highly affected areas.
Now that we’re all on board with this distinction, you may be left wondering: what can a non-medical face mask really do for me, and do I even need to buy one? According to the CDC’s website, at least for right now, you don’t need to wear one unless you’re caring for someone who is sick. Although, the CDC has shared that 25% of people who get the virus could be asymptomatic, so being overly thoughtful by covering your face, might not be a bad idea. And of course, if you’re the one that’s sick, however, properly wearing a face mask is advised for when you are around others.
Still, these guidelines haven’t stopped government officials like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti from advising all citizens of the metropolis to wear some form of face-covering when making trips to essential places like the grocery store or pharmacy. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has also urged anyone who is immunocompromised and/or over the age of 70 to wear a mask at all times, along with those individuals in their company.
In addition to the thousands of DIY templates and tutorials available online to make your own mask out of everything from shop towels to t-shirt fabrics, companies like Reformation and Sanctuary are also reacting quickly by organizing local manufacturers to produce non-medical masks using fabrics from their warehouses. There are even incredibly stylish face masks from designers like Collina Strada if you want to turn the CDC’s crucial recommendation into a moment for responsible self-expression, along with kid-friendly options as well. These efforts don’t just allow for more people to buy masks for personal use, it prevents them from purchasing the medical-grade materials our heroes on the frontlines require to do their jobs safely.
So in anticipation of an announcement that widespread mask-wearing may, in fact, be an effective complement to all that hand-washing and social-distancing you’ve gotten so good at to curb the spread of this disease, we’ve put together a list of resources where you can find non-medical masks online. They tend to sell out quickly, so we’ll continue updating this page to keep you informed about the best places to make your purchase. And don’t forget: It’s still considered best practice to not touch your face when wearing your mask, and you should try with all your might not to mess with it once it’s on!
Society6’s new collection of non-medical face masks not only provides a charitable kickback—donating a portion of all proceeds to World Central Kitchen, an organization that provides meals to those in need during the COVID-19 recovery effort—but it also stands to support the vibrant community of Black artists behind many of the designs. Available for $16.99, each non-medical grade mask is crafted from multi-use and machine-washable materials with a pleated front, flat-woven elastic ear loops, and a dual-layer construction containing an inner pocket for disposable filters.
Known for creating luxurious and durable fabrics, Gryphon has applied that same commitment to quality to its launch of washable and reusable face masks. The dual-layer style is crafted from soft cotton combined with a polyester that is enhanced with silver-infused fibers to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This is also a company you could feel good about supporting right now, as Gryphon has already provided nearly 500,000 masks to frontline and essential workers.
American Eagle and Aerie are encouraging their communities to do good while protecting themselves and others. The brands are now offering reusable cloth face masks made of breathable fabrics for maximum comfort. Each washable style, available in a range of colors and prints, features an antimicrobial finish and, as part of AE and Aerie’s joint efforts to support mental health awareness, they’ll be donating 20% of face mask sales to Crisis Text Line, the nation’s largest text-based crisis service providing free, confidential 24/7 support from trained Crisis Counselors.
B&H is now carrying a range of masks, both reusable and disposable, to suit your needs. In addition to large packs of 3-ply, latex-free options you can toss after each use, there are also styles made from antibacterial fabrics or featuring valves for filters to make breathing easier.
While you won’t find any medical-grade products available on Etsy, many of its crafty vendors have shifted to selling handmade masks and other fabric gear that serves as a barrier between you and your surroundings.
This digital fashion destination has a growing selection of stylish, reusable cloth face coverings from covetable brands like Maaji and PQ Swim. Whether you’re looking for a trendy option to complement your tie dye loungewear or you’d prefer something sleek and simple, you’re likely to find a match on Shopbop.
Since our daily routines have changed dramatically to comply with lockdown orders, the always-chic activewear brand Carbon38 has shifted accordingly to offer consumers a comfortable mask design made from top-tier technology. Carbon38 masks are sold as a set of two with a small laundry bag for easy machine-washing. Plus, the design features a multi-layered filtration system and a fast-drying antibacterial fabric to ensure you stay cool. All profits from the sale of these mask kits will be donated to Frontline Foods.
With 15 years of garment industry experience under their belts, Rendall Co. is now creating masks for the very best, gap-free fit. Premium materials and expert construction make for an effective barrier between you and your neighbors, and you can choose between elastic loops or a tie-back style to secure the mask to your face — whichever you find most comfortable. Rendall Co. is also donating a mask for each one sold, giving to essential workers and nonprofit organizations serving people experiencing homelessness.
Non-medical face masks can help you express yourself even when you can’t show your face, and Redbubble has enlisted independent artists to help. Pick a design featuring your favorite Golden Girl emblazoned on two layers of soft, 100% brushed polyester. Plus, for every mask sold, Redbubble will make a donation to Heart to Heart International.
Trendy travel wear brand Summersalt is now offering machine-washable, non-medical grade face coverings made from 100% cotton, recycled materials and sold in sets of three. For every set sold, Summersalt will donate a face covering to a worthy organization doing their part to help the larger community. Currently, the public can DM @summersalt via Instagram to nominate an organization that would benefit from this donation.
To order a pack of 3 reusable cotton face coverings, click here.
With every purchase of a Reusable Cloth Mask from global tech accessories brand Casetify, the company will donate a surgical mask to a medical responder in need. To kick off this effort, Casetify is starting with a donation of 10,000 masks to Direct Relief and will continue to donate a mask for every cloth mask sold.
Global apparel and accessories brand VIDA has shifted gears amid the pandemic to help get protective face masks in people’s hands. Their masks are breathable, washable, and made of two layers of 100% cotton. The design also features a carbon filter, integrated metal nose-piece, and adjustable ear loops for a snug, protective fit. What’s more, Vida is donating 10% of proceeds to the SF-Marin Food Bank and Food Bank NYC to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
Los Angeles Apparel
This L.A.-based clothing manufacturer and design space is making masks from a thick, French terry fabric in 100% cotton. The adjustable nose forms to the contours of your face for a more comfortable wear, and every purchase made on Los Angeles Apparel’s site helps fund the company’s ability to donate masks to other essential services while providing living wages for its staff.
Rent The Runway
Rent The Runway developed its own protective masks (for purchase, not for rent… just to be clear!) with an eye towards fashion and sustainability, so they’re washable and reusable. Made from 100% cotton or cotton blend and lined in cotton/poly, the fabric used has been salvaged as scraps from prior production runs or purchased as unused surplus from textile mills. Plus, for each 5-pack sold, RTR will give a 5-pack to a community in need through its partnership with Project Renewal.
To order a pack of 5 non-medical grade, reusable masks, click here.
This NYC-based sport bag brand has launched an initiative to get non-medical grade masks to as many people as possible. Reusable, machine-washable, and designed for comfort, these masks are constructed from excess fabric cuttings of Caraa bags to reduce waste and make use of these leftover pieces for good.
To order a pack of 5 non-medical masks, click here. To donate a pack to New York State’s COVID-19 Response Fund, click here.
The retailer known best for its fashion-forward clothing labels and glossy Instagram campaigns is now offering 2-packs of re-usable face masks with elastic straps (with the option of a trendy print, of course!) from the brand Onzie.
L.A.-based brand Sanctuary has launched its Essential Lifestyle Masks for consumers, designed to create a barrier to protect you from your surroundings. At the same time, the company is using its resources and the profits of its lifestyle masks to produce over 5 million N95 masks to support the medical community (N95s are not for sale) as they battle this virus on the frontlines across the nation.
This family-favorite brand announced it is now offering affordable, readily available masks in 5-pack sets for both adults and kids. Each 3-ply non-medical grade mask is made of 100% cotton poplin using sustainably sourced excess fabric — so expect to be surprised with an array of delightful prints and patterns. And, as part of this effort, Old Navy is also making a donation of 50,000 masks to its longtime partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The masks are currently sold-out, but Old Navy will have more on the way soon.
For the best cloth face masks for you and your loved ones, consider supporting this female-owned, family-operated L.A. apparel company which is now making 100% cotton masks from remnant fabrics.
Youth masks suitable for ages 5 to 15 made by the trendy brand Jeune Otte are now available for purchase via children’s clothing and lifestyle e-commerce site, Maisonette. Each mask purchased will allow for Maisonette to donate 5 handmade, reusable adult masks to those in need during the COVID19 pandemic.
To order a reusable youth cloth face mask, click here.
This e-commerce platform offers a wide selection of quality products from premium brands across Asia, including disposable and reusable cloth face masks — a number of which are still in stock.
The lifestyle brand known for selling stuff-to-make-you-laugh is now producing reusable, washable polyester designs made to hold a standard disposable earloop mask, or to be worn alone as a simple cloth mask. And with motif options like “Stressed Opossum” and “Tiger with a Crown,” you can’t help but smile a bit when adding one to your cart. Plus, everything on Look Human is 30% right now with the code SPRING30.
USA Sewn Masks
USA Sewn Masks was created to employ textile workers currently without jobs to sew non-medical face coverings. All the proceeds from the sale of these masks are donated to Flexport, an organization that gets PPE to healthcare workers. In addition choosing from a variety of fun prints (otters! cats!), Refinery29 readers can enjoy a 20% discount off their purchase using the code REF29.
If you’re feeling crafty, grab some supplies (elastic, fabric, and a sewing kit), a pattern, or freestyle a mask of your own. You can even make a mask using a bandana and some coffee filters — no sewing required!
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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