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If you put on your glasses with your face mask before leaving the house, there’s a strong chance you’re going to be in for a foggy commute. Whether you’re just taking your dog on a walk on a humid day, or carrying groceries to your front door, when your glasses fog up, it’s not just annoying to the point of making you want to take them off — it can be pretty damn risky if you can’t see where you’re going, not to mention potentially making your vision even worse than it is without your prescription. The best face masks for glasses wearers could help prevent foggy frames.
But why exactly does this even happen in the first place? “The short answer: condensation,” explains Danielle Richardson, optometrist and West Coast director of clinical care at Zak in Los Angeles. “When warm air hits a cool surface (the lens), condensation forms.” In other words, when you step foot outside, your breath makes it harder for you to see.
This isn’t just a concern if you’re outdoors — now with the rise of the Delta variant, the CDC has recently updated their guidance, saying that even vaccinated people should still be wearing a mask indoors in public if you’re in an area of substantial or high transmission. But there’s good news glasses-wearers: There are a few simple things you can do so the world doesn’t look so fuzzy, indoors or out.
How to Prevent Glasses From Fogging Up When Wearing a Face Mask
If you’re looking for the best face mask to wear with glasses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently still calls for wearing masks that have as close of a fit as possible and include at least two layers of fabric. And if you’re going to wear glasses with your mask, the CDC advises going with an option that “fits closely over your nose or one that has a nose wire to limit fogging.”
It all sounds pretty straightforward, but it can still be a challenge to secure your mask so it doesn’t make your glasses look like you just got out of the shower. Luckily more brands are releasing masks that aim to give you a clearer view when you have your glasses on, and there are specific features to look for when you’re shopping for one. It all really comes down to how it fits on your face.
“The best type of mask to wear is one with a tight seal across the bridge of the nose,” Dr. Richardson says. “This can be accomplished with a metal wire or other structure in the mask and/or adjustable ear loops.”
Look for masks with a flexible seal, that you can bend and shape to fit the contours of your nose. That will help it frame your features better and lie flat against your face, eliminating the air pockets that often lead to fog and condensation when you breathe. You may also want to consider a good KN95 mask or a duckbill-style mask, which sits away from your mouth, to direct your breath forward into the filter, rather than trapping it in the mask or directing your breath upwards, where it can fog up your glasses.
Beyond looking for the right mask features, there are a few things you can do that don’t have much to do with your mask at all, like choosing the right-fitting frames. “The best thing to do is ensure your glasses fit your face properly and are correctly adjusted,” Dr. Richardson notes. “You’ll want to avoid styles where the lenses touch your cheeks and instead opt for styles that allow circulation of air. When the glasses sitting on the cheeks is unavoidable, I recommend patients fit their mask tight around the nose and cheeks and allow the lenses to rest on the mask, instead of the face.”
Meanwhile, aside from better-fitting face masks, companies have released other products with the goal of helping to prevent foggy lenses, including Warby Parker, which sells a bottle of anti-fog lenses spray that you can also use to clean your lenses.
What Are the Best Face Masks for Glasses Wearers?
With this expert advice in mind, we picked some of the best face masks for glasses wearers, to hopefully help you avoid a fogged-up walk in the process.
1. First Authentic KN95 Protective Face Mask
When it comes to putting on your mask with your glasses, fogged lenses aside, a mask with a contoured shape can help make sure it doesn’t move up or slide down your nose when you’re talking or on the road. This protective KN95 mask available from DMB Supply sits comfortably on your face so you shouldn’t have to touch your mask when you’re running an errand. They’re ready to order in bulk in boxes of 20, 100, 500 and 1,000, so you shouldn’t have to worry about running out.
2. Blue Bear ProSport Face Mask
While you can buy everything from a box of KN95 masks for commuting to hand sanitizer to keep at your desk, this slim-fitting ProSport mask from New York City-based company Blue Bear is just one of its many reusable masks. With its adjustable design that can help cut down on foggy lenses, you can wear it with your glasses on runs, and it comes with a built-in Nanotec filter, which you’ll need to eventually replace after you’ve worn it for 12 hours. (You can buy more of the filters here.) Reviewers, including glasses wearers, like it for its comfortable feel and fit. It’s available in adult and kids sizes, as well as colors like gray, pink and blue.
3. VIDA KN95 Masks
If you’re looking for a disposable, well-fitted mask, but care about environmental impact, than VIDA’s KN95 masks are the way to go. Their masks are FDA-registered and filter up to 95 percent of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger. Every time you order masks from VIDA, you’ll also receive a prepaid return label so you can send back your used masks for recycling sustainability. It’ll protect against fogging up, with a nose clip and stretchy ear loops—one big plus is that they don’t look so industrial, though, and come in a variety of colors. Right now, you can also get 30% off their selection of masks with the promo code ROLLINGSTONE30.
4. är Big logo Grey Self-cleaning Face Mask
Our editors have tested är’s sleek face coverings and recommend them as one of the best face masks for glasses wearers. The lightweight, silky material slips easily under your frames, while the straps are easily adjustable to secure the best fit. You can get it with or without the exhalation valve, and it comes with the company’s three-layer Nanofilter.
5. KN95 Face Mask Protective Respirator
These five-layer KN95 face masks feature a nose wire you can adjust when wearing with your glasses to help keep your lenses clear. The disposable masks come in a 25-pack.
The site N95 Medical Supplies has a ton of N95 and KN95 face mask options currently available on its online shop. With a bendable nose clip along with its strong filter, this N95 NIOSH mask also has a harder shell, though it’s not designed to be reusable. Currently, you can order them in a pack of 25.
7. Public Goods KN95 Face Mask
If you’re looking for a protective KN95 face mask you can wear with your glasses, consider this one from Public Goods, which you can buy in packs of 10. Public Goods’ mask offers up to 95 percent filtration with a mechanical filter, according to the company, along with five layers of defense per mask. Each one has a nose clip to help make sure there’s not as much extra space between your face and your mask. Note: Rolling Stone readers can take 10 percent off orders of $70 or more with the code RSTONE10 at checkout.
8. The Tie Bar 5-Pack Classic Masks
The company that sells some of your favorite neckties and dress shirts now designs two-layer cotton masks you can wear with any outfit. And with their built-in wire, that especially includes your glasses. This pack is machine washable, and the masks come in one size.
9. WWDOLL KN95 Face Mask (25-Pack)
These FDA-approved KN95 masks from the brand WWDOLL aren’t reusable like some of the other options on this list, but they feature a convenient nose clip and five layers to help filter out harmful particles. You can buy them in both 25-packs and 50-packs. They fit tight across the face, and let you wear your glasses over the mask comfortably.
10. Bonobos Riviera Face Mask
From houndstooth to a red check floral pattern, you won’t have a problem finding a stylish mask at Bonobos. This machine-washable Riviera model can accommodate a filter and has a double layer of cotton with a wire to better fit your mask over your nose. Instead of ear loops, Bonobos upped the comfort and designed the masks’ straps to go around your head and neck, sealing off the gaps that can often lead to condensation and foggy glasses.
We like how the Better Mask, which is designed by Inex Gear and Oscar-nominated costume designer Luis Sequeira, uses three layers, including a built-in nanofiber filter, along with a flexible nose bridge to keep you comfortable and protected when you’re on the go. You can choose among four colors, and you can adjust how tight you want the mask to fit over your ears using the adjustable toggles. You can get it in extra-small, small-medium or large sizes.
12. Huckberry Tri-fold Woven Face Mask (2-Pack)
Available in three colors, Huckberry’s own woven masks contain a mix of polyester and cotton and feature elastic ear loops so you’ll get a secure fit every time. You can clean it in the washing machine, and you can modify the nose bridge so it’s more comfortable with your frames.
13. Bilio Face Mask
Anyone with a glasses prescription should know about Bilio’s mask. When you wear it, the “nose crimp” gives you a tighter fit so you shouldn’t have to remove your glasses just to see what’s in front of you. The durable fabric is a mix of recycled polyester and silver yarn, and the company says it’s supposed to fit even better the more you wear it. Right now, it’s available in both small/medium and large/extra large sizes and in three colors, including sage, onyx and dove.
14. Under Armour Sportsmask
If you’re doing outdoor workouts and wearing your glasses, you’ll want to try one of our top workout face masks, like Under Armour’s Sportsmask, which you can adjust to better fit your nose. Its fabric will help protect your face from the sun’s rays, and you can buy it in five different sizes. The brand even recently designed it into the new ColdGear Mock Long Sleeve Shirt. Under Armour currently has a deal where you can get two for $40, so you’ll always have a clean mask ready to go when you’re ready for your next run.
15. Honeywell Dual-Layer Face Cover
For a stylish, reusable mask for double-masking and beyond, you can’t go wrong with Honeywell’s dual-layer mask. The company made it so that it gives you a little extra breathing room, literally, with a shape that sits away from your mouth. It comes with an adjustable nose clip, plus an inside pocket and a set of filters you can use along with the mask.
16. Herschel Supply Company Classic Fitted Face Mask
From its sleek line of backpacks to its durable carry-ons and laptop cases, Herschel has a large supply of go-to accessories. And now you can even pick up the company’s face masks that you can fit closer to your nose. Aside from the fitted features, including smart ear loops that you can easily tighten or loosen, we like that the brand makes eight versions of this mask, from a stylish peacoat-engineered stripe design, to camo and more.
17. Outdoor Research Essential Face Mask Kit
Outdoor Research’s Essential Face Mask has a nose wire and can stand up to the wear and tear of daily use thanks to its polyester fabric, which can also wick away sweat. With the kit, you’ll get your mask, three disposable filter inserts and a carrying pouch, so you don’t have to worry about dropping it on the ground.
18. Cotopaxi Face Mask
Available in packs of three or five and a ton of fun-and-unique color combos, Cotopaxi’s face mask includes a nose wire along with two layers of woven cotton, so you’ll be prepared whether you’re at a campsite, at the store and everywhere else. Cotopaxi says that if you buy one of its masks, the company will donate a mask to the nonprofit Mercy Corps.