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Face Masks in Short Supply? Try These Face Coverings Instead

While they aren’t approved for medical use, the CDC says using these mask alternatives could still help prevent the spread of the coronavirus

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Reformation

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As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, government officials are now encouraging people to keep their faces covered at all times when they’re outside — even if they don’t have access to a face mask.

While hospitals continue to deal with a shortage of face masks, the CDC says many cloth face coverings could still be effective in helping to “slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

The CDC says cloth coverings are most effective when they follow these five guidelines:

  1. Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  2. Be secured with ties or ear loops
  3. Include multiple layers of fabric
  4. Allow for breathing without restriction
  5. Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Keep in mind these face coverings are not surgical masks or the particulate-filtering N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and first responders, as recommended by current government mandates.

These masks are also not intended to replace other recommended measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. In other words, continue washing your hands, keeping your distance from others, and refraining from touching your face.

Looking for face coverings for you and your family? Here are nine of the best face mask alternatives you can get online right now.

1. CASETiFY Face Masks

Leave it to a phone accessories brand to help solve a problem that’s keeping us up at night. CASETify, best-known for their pop culture-inspired phone cases, is now offering reusable face masks for the whole family. The masks are made from a breathable 100% cotton material, with a durable band to secure the mask in place. The best part: the masks are fitted with a filter to help prevent the spread of the virus.

CASETiFY has donated 10,000 masks to Direct Relief, and has pledged to continue to donate a surgical mask for every mask sold. Choose from five different colors online.

casetify-face-masks

Courtesy CASETiFY

Reusable Face Masks (with filters), $15, available at Casetify

2. Lookhuman Face Masks

We like these hand-sewn cloth masks from Lookhuman, which gets you full coverage for your face down to below the chin. The straps tuck easily behind your ear. This boho-print mask is made from a gentle polyester material, with a microfiber back that’s soft against your face. Lookhuman as more than three dozen other prints and patterns available here.

best cloth mask

best cloth masks lookhuman

Boho Print Hand-Sewn Cloth Mask, $18.99, available at Lookhuman

3. Los Angeles Apparel Face Masks

We stocked up on these T-shirt-soft face masks made from the same company known for their cozy hoodies and sweatshirts. These cloth masks are made from a thick French terry material with comfortable (adjustable) straps and an adjustable nose. These masks are produced in the USA and available in more than 30 stylish prints, colors and patterns. This set gets you a three-pack for $30.

los angeles apparel masks

Courtesy Los Angeles Apparel

LA Apparel Face Masks (set of three), $30, available at Los Angeles Apparel

4. Shein Face Masks

Lifestyle and fashion e-tailer SHEIN has produced a wide selection of face masks and face coverings for under $5. These cotton masks are simple and straight-forward, with a wide hook that wraps behind both ears. You can also find face masks for men and kids here.

shein face mask

Courtesy Shein

Shein

Shein Cotton Face Masks, $2, available at Shein

This polyester dust mask, meantime, has a simple elastic hook that goes around the ears. What we like: the coverage extends past the mouth and covers your neck as well. Multiple patterns available.

shein dust mask

Courtesy Shein

Shein

Shein Dust Mask, $2.50, available at Shein

5. Buck Mason Face Masks

LA-based Buck Mason is known for their cozy basics (think: perfect tees and sweats for working from home), but the brand is stepping up to make a collection of reusable cotton face masks. The reusable masks are treated with an anti-microbial coating that the company says will last up to 30 wash cycles.

Buck Mason is building masks in real time and their next shipment is scheduled for delivery in a few weeks. The company says they’re donating one mask to health professionals for every consumer mask sold. Their goal is to donate up to a million non-medical face masks to communities in California and the rest of the country.

buck mason face masks

Courtesy Buck Mason

Buck Mason

Buck Mason Face Masks, $20 (five-pack), available at Buck Mason

6. Boohoo Masks

Fast fashion site, boohoo.com has a number of face coverings available, including this tie-dye mask. What started as a great accessory for festival season (to protect against dust and debris) has now become an essential accessory no matter where you’re off to. Boohoo has multiple styles available for men and women. See their full collection here.

boohoo face masks coronavirus

Courtesy boohoo

boohoo

Tie-Dye Face Mask, $8, available at boohoo

boohoo man face masks

Courtesy boohoo

MAN Face Mask, $7.99, available at boohoo

7. Reformation Masks

Womenswear brand, Reformation, is using its factories to help produce masks for both public and business use. The brand is selling mask packs on their website that can also be purchased for donation. Note: these are non-medical grade masks with ties. One pack comes with five masks. Their next shipment is scheduled to go out in a few weeks.

reformation masks

Courtesy Reformation

Reformation

Reformation Masks (5-Pack), $25, available at Reformation

8. Face Mask Bandanas

Cover up quickly with these tube-style bandanas, which slide easily over your face and neck to keep you protected. (You can also use this as a headband for working out or as a scarf for warmth). The bandanas are made from a soft and breathable microfiber, and come with a built-in filter to keep out dust, smoke, allergens and germs. This set includes two face coverings per order.

best face mask bandana

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Face Mask Bandanas, $19.98, available at Amazon

face mask bandana

Courtesy Amazon

Thermal Neck Warmer/Face Covering, $12.90, available at Amazon

9. Large Unisex Shawl Scarf

If you already have a scarf at home, officials say you can use it to wrap your face before heading out the door. If you need a new scarf, you can’t go wrong with this large shawl-style scarf, available in a dozen unisex patterns and colors. The scarf measures 23 x 79 inches, letting it wrap easily around your neck, face and nose. It’s made from a synthetic material that’s lightweight for breathability, and soft — not scratchy — against your skin.

best shawl scarf face covering

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Wander Agio Shawl Scarf, $8.99, available at Amazon

large mens scarf head wrap

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Mato & Hash Scarf Head Wrap, $11.99, available at Amazon

10. French Fitness Revolution Headband

Here’s a good hack: take these fitness headbands (designed to keep hair out of your face during yoga, cycling, crossfit, etc.) and use them as mouth coverings too. The stretchy, moisture-wicking material measures just under four inches wide — more than enough material to pull over your mouth and nose. The best part: the headband is fully reusable. Just toss it into the washing machine to keep it clean and sanitized.

headband face mask

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

French Fitness Revolution Headband, $9.90, available at Amazon

11. Disposable Safety Face Shields 

These plastic face shields are typically worn by dentists, painters or people working in home improvement, but they’ve become popular items these days as well. The transparent masks have an elastic band that wraps around your head, and a foam headband that presses directly against your forehead. The polymer screen won’t fog up, and it’s been treated with an anti-static coating to not attract dust, dirt or other airborne particles that may block your vision.

What we like: the shield wraps around the sides of your face, offering you even more protection from spray and splatter. This set comes with two shields.

best face shield

Disposable Face Shield, $29.99 (two-pack), available at Amazon

12. The Friendly Swede Sun Hats

These hats are designed for fishing and outdoor excursions, but people have been snapping them up as face coverings during the current coronavirus pandemic as well. The hats are all adjustable, and come with a detachable face and neck flap. The neck flap protects your skin from sun damage, while the front panel is designed to keep sand and dust away from your mouth and nose. Use the drawstring to loosen or tighten the hat over your head.

face mask hat

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

The Friendly Swede Sun Hat, $27.99 (two-pack), available at Amazon

13. Classic Bandana

If all else fails, cover your face with a classic bandana, like this one from Amazon. It measures 20 x 20 inches; fold it in half or by the corners to form a mask or scarf that can be tied behind your head. The traditional paisley design is printed on both sides, and the material is lightweight and machine-washable.

best bandana

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

Amscan Bandana, $7.69, available at Amazon

14. “Homemade Face Mask” book

Yes this book was rush-released to take advantage of people’s interest in coronavirus prevention measures, but reviewers say it’s actually pretty helpful when it comes to showing you how to make your own face masks at home. The book breaks down the different types of masks used in the health and professional fields, and then shows you how to make similar masks using everyday items you can still find at the store or online.

how to make face mask at home

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

“Homemade Face Mask” book, $6.99, available at Amazon

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