According to Rand McClain, DO, chief medical officer of Live Cell Research, typical non-medical grade face masks (aka not the N95 masks worn by medical professionals) provide anywhere from 10 to 30 percent increased protection against COVID-19 when you wear them. Knowing that, a good argument can be made to make masks more comfortable and breathable, starting with the fabrics you choose, he says.
"Cotton, wool, polyester, and other fabrics—preferably all washable—can be used," says Dr. McClain. "The weave and its density are responsible for its breathability as well as its protection, but—in terms of protection—most any fabric one chooses will provide significant protection to others, and therefore ultimately to oneself as part of the community, from transmitting the virus through droplets and aerosolized breath."
Keeping a few good breathable masks in rotation will keep you comfortable as temperatures rise and humidity intensifies.
20 breathable masks that are perfect for summer
Can you beat face masks made from bedsheets? These breathable masks are made from 100 percent cotton with comfortable linen ties and a pocket for an optional extra layer of protection.
Shop now: Matteo Cotton Face Mask (Set of 5), $25
These pretty masks are made up of 100 percent cotton. They'll help keep you safe and allow you to breathe easily... not to mention have you looking cute in the process.
Shop now: Kitsch Cotton Face Mask (Set of 3), $12
This artist-designed face mask is perfect for plant ladies. It's machine-washable, has woven elastic ear loops, and an inner pocket for disposable filters. (Society6 has a slew of other cute options from artists as well, with proceeds benefiting World Central Kitchen's COVID-19 relief efforts.)
Shop now: Society6 Gale Switzer Into the Jungle II Face Mask, $14
These 3-ply, 100 percent cotton breathable masks are soft to the touch with elastic ear straps to keep them in place.
Shop now: Old Navy Triple-Layer Cloth Face Masks (Set of 5), $12.50
The shell of these masks is a cotton-polyester mix, and the lining is 100 percent cotton. They also have ear straps to keep them in place.
Shop now: Z Supply Face Covering (Set of 4), $24
6. BeatBasic Face Mask (Set of 2), $13
Aside from the breathable cotton fabric, these face masks also have an adjustable nose bridge wire that ensures you get the perfect fit.
Shop now: BeatBasic Face Mask (Set of 2), $13
This soft cotton face mask comes with a pocket for filters. It's also double-layered and has comfortable ear loops.
Shop now: Milk N Toast Face Mask with Filter, $10
8. Shashi Face Mask, $11
This double-layered jersey cotton mask is soft and cozy. Plus, who doesn't need a little tie-dye in their life?
Shop now: Shashi Face Mask, $11
This face mask has adjustable ties that go around the ears, making it easy to get a snug fit. It's also made from a cotton, rayon, and spandex blend that's breathable yet cozy.
Shop now: Urban Outfitters Printed Reusable Face Mask, $8
10. Gap Adult Face Mask (Set of 3), $15
These face masks are made from a triple layer of lightweight cotton, keeping you cool and protected. There are also 15 different patterns to choose from.
Shop now: Gap Adult Face Mask (Set of 3), $15
Madewell's cotton face masks come in multiple different colors and on-brand prints (like stripes!). Since they're made from leftover fabric scraps, there's always a new option to snag before it sells out.
Shop now: Madewell Non-Medical Face Mask (Set of 3), $20
12. The Odells Adjustable Face Mask, $10
There's another perk of getting this mask aside from the pretty pattern and soft, breathable cotton fabric. Every purchase provides 10 meals to hungry adults and children through Feeding America.
Shop now: The Odells Adjustable Face Mask, $10
13. Whimsy + Row Face Mask, $10
These face masks have comfortable elastic ear hooks and fit snuggly on your face. They're also good for the planet, as the company uses deadstock fabric and has eco-friendly practices.
Shop now: Whimsy + Row Face Mask, $10
14. Honest Cotton Face Masks, $25 for 2
Aside from the cute cactus print any plant lady will love, these 100 percent cotton face masks are also comfortable, have adjustable silicone sliders for a customizable fit around your ears, and a place for a filter in the lining.
Shop now: Honest Cotton Face Masks, $25 for 2
15. Everlane The 100% Human Face Mask, $25 for 5
These cotton tie-dye face masks are made from a double-layer of knit fabric, and they have stretchy cotton-Lycra ear loops. Also cool: For every pack sold, 10 percent of the sales will also be donated to the ACLU.
Shop now: Everlane The 100% Human Face Mask, $25 for 5
How cool are these hand-embroidered daisy face masks? They have three layers of natural and organic cotton fabric. You also have the option to add a nose wire at no extra charge for an even better fit.
Shop now: BePrettyBeSafe Embroidered Flower Face Mask, $17
17. Luxe Face Mask 2.0 Vote, $21
Not only will wearing this face mask help remind people to vote this November, but it's also lightweight, breathable, and incredibly comfortable with the adjustable ear straps.
Shop now: Luxe Face Mask 2.0 Vote, $21
Prabal Gurung's new lifestyle brand iMPOWER just launched its first collection: vibrant face masks available from Walmart.com. Aside from the fun prints, they're made from three layers of soft cotton and have an adjustable nose bridge.
Shop now: iMPOWER by Prabal Gurung Reversible Face Mask, $14
Aside from this face mask's dreamy print, it's made from moisture-wicking organic cotton, has comfortable woven elastic ear loops, and is reversible. When you flip it, you'll find a dark charcoal back.
Shop now: Bunglo Dusk Reusable Ear Loop Face Mask, $22
Now your face mask can match your backpack. Herschel's masks are made with a polyester outside and upcycled cotton inside. They also have an adjustable nose bridge and ear loops with adjustment tabs.
Shop now: Herschel The Classic Fitted Face Mask, $15
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