If we were in the business of handing out fashion awards, face masks and coverings would be crowned the ‘must-have’ accessory of the last year and a half too.
We’re now all used to wearing one routinely, whether that’s shopping, using public transport or going to the loo in-between restaurant courses. Although a vaccine is on its way, masks are bound to continue to be part of our every day experience: as essential to have on your person as keys, wallet and phone.
While the majority of us have a mask, building up a collection is crucial to ensure you have a clean one at all times - they should be washed after every use. You’ll also need one to avoid being refused entry to supermarkets and shops as well as using trains, trams, buses and planes.
What's the difference between medical masks and face coverings?
Medical staff and frontline workers still need single-use clinical medical grade face masks (or PPE) to stay safe, so avoid purchasing single-use masks.
These masks, plastic gloves and disposable PPE are creating a mountain of waste and most of us don’t need them for daily wear to stay safe. Instead, look to reusable cloth masks and coverings. They offer a better - and far more comfortable - option for daily wear. Plus, they come in a range of styles to suit whatever mood or look you’re in. Many feature an insert pocket for removable filters so you `2keep your mask working effectively in trapping allergens.
Can I wear a face visor instead of a mask?
Full face visors are ineffective because they don’t close securely around your mouth and nose. If you choose to wear one, you may still need to wear a facial mask to ensure you’re properly protected and meeting government guidelines.
Buying reusable cloth masks for personal use means critical supplies of clinical PPE are there for the frontline workers who need them the most.
What’s the point of wearing a face mask?
Wearing a secure covering over your mouth and nose helps catch the microscopic water droplets that spray out when you talk or sneeze, generally unseen by the naked eye. A covering massively curbs the chances of others catching coronavirus - remember even if you don’t show symptoms, you could still be a spreader of the virus.
Continue to wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitiser; wearing a mask is an additional measure every one of us can take to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
How to properly wear a facial covering or mask
A few do’s and don’t’s from Gov.UK to wearing a mask as safely as possible.
Do make sure your mask or covering is enclosing your mouth and nose while still allowing you to breathe comfortably.
Do wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when you’re wearing one - tuck away loose ends and hair so you’re not tempted to brush it away.
Do keep your mask safely stored in a plastic bag until you have a chance to wash them.
Don’t touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, do make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched, such as the lower half of your face.
Do wash your mask regularly - most can go in with your normal load, using your regular detergent or washing machine gels. â
Safe and stylish options
There are plenty of how-to guides on D.I.Y-ing a mask yourself, but if you don’t have the time or the sewing skills, there are plenty of entrepreneurs and retailers with stylish mask collections designed to keep you safe.
Facial masks and coverings are 100 per cent for safety first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself with them too, just like any other accessory.
We’ve found chic prints, statement designs and luxe styles, all available to buy online, to keep you protected - while looking as good as possible.
Below we’ve broken down masks by type:
Best Fun and Funky Face Coverings
Best Fashion Forward Facial Masks
Best Luxury Face Masks
Best Charity Face Masks
Best Budget Face Masks
See our selection below
Best Fun and Funky Face Coverings
Popsockets Face Mask
The makers of mobile phone knobs/ stands have joined the fight against coronavirus by offering a medley of masks that match their hero eponymous products. The selection is small - black, multi-coloured nebula, blue tie-dye and floral - but may expand in the future. You can also pick up removable filters on the site too.
Not Another Bill Face Coverings
Created with soft, breathable cotton, Not Another Bill’s face coverings make the perfect gift to a loved one - not least because they can be customised with their initials. Each one is handmade in the UK and there are toddler versions to protect small faces too.
Migrate Art - Masks for Meals
Migrate Art has teamed up with a group of 10 artists to launch a collection of limited edition re-usable, reversible face masks, with profits going towards helping displaced and homeless people in the UK. You can buy single masks, and also sets of five (£79.99) to cover everyone in your household or simply keep as spares. Singles from £19.99.
David Watson Face Mask
These made-to-order masks use iconic prints from the likes of William Morris to give 2020’s top personal hygiene product a unique aesthetic. The arty masks, made from breathable, quilted fabric, come with elastic ear loops and are available in child and adult sizes to get as perfect a fit as possible. Best of all, 10 per cent goes to the NHS Charities Together.
It's important to note that orders at David Watson are only made per order, so delivery can take up to two weeks. Machine washable.
Nudea Face Mask
While Nudea traditionally specialise in lingerie, the brand is now offering a new range of face masks that will become your everyday essential. Putting comfort at the forefront, they are water resistant, washable and have a secure fit. There are two colours; forest green and pink that will act as a barrier. The face coverings come alongside a zip-up reusable travel pouch to keep it safe and on hand.
Vintage Daisy Chain Fabric Washable Reusable Face Mask
With a pocket for filters and bendy wire over the bridge of the nose so you can adjust it to your features, this mask from Nervous Stitch has all boxes ticked.
The breathable cotton fabric ensures you won’t overheat or steam up, and the pattern nods towards a vintage aesthetic - the fabric used is John Lewis’s Daisy Chain print.
Lavender Hill Clothing cotton face masks
A British brand focused on sustainability, this company is offering soft cotton masks in packs of three using printed fabric. They’re made with three pleated layers for ultimate protection, and best of all, for every pack purchased, the company will donate the same to a charity supporting vulnerable people in Battersea.
Plumo Protective Masks
Shop masks for men, women and children at Plumo. The company hand makes the mask from four layers of organic linen for ultimate breathability, while the elastic ear loops ensure you get a secure fit. Like many other vendors, Plumo is helping the coronavirus fight by donating to the 'Masks 4 Heroes' crowdfunding campaign, which aims to providing PPE to NHS frontline staff.
Best Fashion Forward Facial Masks
The Mask Collective
Made from a twin layer of breathable cotton, The Mask Collective offers a selection of pared-back masks that are perfect for daily wear. Shop neoprene masks which chic top-stitching or discover designs from Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS line. There are also multi-packs to buy and masks with removable filters for added effectiveness in trapping pollutants.
Right now there’s 50 per cent off on selected styles.
Savile Row Company's Face Masks
Made from the same 100 per cent cotton used in all the Savile Row Co's luxury men's shirts, these shaped face masks are flat pleated to allow them to sit closer to the face. They come with a filter pocket so you can replace filters when required. The reusable masks are washing machine safe and as a further step to protect the environment, are delivered in biodegradable bags too.
Johan Ku face mask
Love ‘em or hate ’em, face masks are part of our future. Johan Ku nails the national mood with an Andy Warhol-inspired Marmite print mask, which is shaped to fit over the nose, mouth and chin properly. The designer has a selection of other printed masks for sale, all made to keep you safe while helping you to stand out from the crowd.
Isabel Manns Mandevilla Vine Cotton Mask
With all profits going to Maggie’s Charity, the chic designs on offer at Isabel Manns not only help you stay safe and look good, but do good too. There’s a gap in the lining so you can place a filter inside if you like. There are six designs available on the site to choose from; we’re drawn to the cheerful Mandevilla design.
Best Luxury Face Masks
Anya Hindmarch Stop print cotton face covering
This statement design saying 'Stop' to the spread of the virus will make the perfect addition to your mask wardrobe. Made from 100 per cent cotton, it comes with a metal nose piece so it can sit more securely on your face. There's also a 'Keep your distance' mask (£45) for those keen to collect the set.
Great British Designer Face Mask - 3
Fancy a face mask with a bit more style? This triple pack has been designed by a selection of designers including Rixo, Raeburn and Mulberry to keep you and others safe as well as raise the style stakes. Made from 100 per cent cotton, they are machine-washable and made with two breathable layers.
Pearl Lowe - Reusable Print Silk Masks
From designer Pearl Lowe, these stunning masks add a touch of style to any outfit. They’re made from off-cuts from her studio; think vintage floral prints on soft silk, all around the £30 mark.
A portion of the sales of the matching silk Liberty print dresses will go to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to support frontliners in these trying times.
Slip Face Mask
You may already know Slip for its luxurious silk pillowcases and masks but now the brand has unveiled a range of masks in the same sumptuously soft fabrics. The luxe face coverings come with adjustable ear straps, a nose wire, and a cotton interior lining. Choose from three stylish designs, including leopard, pink and black.
GISY Non-Medical Face Masks
Starting from £15 to £139 for 12 packs, there are more than 100 masks to browse at Wolf & Badger. If your focus is on style as well as safety, we like these triple-pack of double layered silk masks by Gisy.
Gingerlily Silk Face Mask - charcoal
Face masks can sit against your skin for hours at a time, so why not make it a luxury fabric? Renowned for silk bedding and sleep accessories, Gingerlily has moved into face masks made from a triple layer of pure Mulberry silk.
Rather than sitting flat against your nose and mouth, the masks have been crafted to sit slightly away from your features while still providing a secure seal around the face. Filled with 100 per cent Habotai raw silk, hand wash only.
Best Charity Face Masks
Needle & Thread Face Coverings
Known for exquisite bridal and special occasionwear, Needle & Thread has turned its focus to face coverings. They’re given the same treatment as the brand’s beautiful clothes, crafted with two pleated layers using floral print fabric in a light cream or black.
As well as looking good, they do good too - 50 per cent of profits from non-surgical masks will go to mothers2mothers (m2m), an organisation that supports vulnerable women in Africa.
Prezzybox Face Mask - Nature Prints
A pretty mask that acts as a barrier against coronavirus droplets, Prezzybox has a wide selection of facial shields online at the moment - including this one that you can personalise with a photo.
Arriving at your door in up to five working days, each one features a design that’s made to fit over your nose, mouth and chin with the help of elastic ear loops. While it’s not a replacement for PPE, opting to use these frees up masks for NHS workers and frontline staff that need them. The masks come with two filters for added protection, which you can clean and reuse. The company pledges to donate £1 to the NHS Charities campaign for each mask sold.
Palava face masks
Offering playful dresses for women and kids, Palava has turned its attention to mask making for adults and children. £5 from the profits of each mask will go to the makers, while a further £2 will be donated to the Trussel Trust to help support emergency food initiatives and those locked in poverty.
The company has also made a PDF of the mask pattern available to download for free on its website, so you can have a go yourself if you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine.
Gandys Teal Namaste Mask
Sustainable and travel-inspired clothing and accessories brand Gandys was founded by brothers Rob and Paul after losing their parents in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. The brand donates a portion of the profits to building Campuses for deprived children around the world.
The centres offer education, medication and nutrition support to people who need it most. New for 2020 are masks, reusable and washable, fashioned from a soft, high-quality melange fabric with a subtle mesh lining. There is an integrated nose wire that gives you a closer fit against your face.
Boden Non-Medical Face Covering - Multi
Offering a surprise selection of three masks in every set, Boden’s non-medical face masks are stylish yet practical. There’s wire in the nose bridge to help it sit snug against your face and the ear loops are covered in matching fabric, offering a nice finish than just plain elastic. From each sale, £5 will go to help charity Helpforce.
Gap Face Mask
Gap has added super soft face coverings to its range of clothing and accessories. The masks are non-medical grade but have a triple layer construction. There are adjustable straps with a wire addition at the nose for a secure fit. They come in packs of three and eight with a range of designs to choose between. The American label has also donated 5,000 masks to The Princes Trust UK.
Together Band Masks
Sustainable accessories label Bottletop - best known for its luxury bags handcrafted with upcycled bottle tops - has launched a range of masks. The face coverings are composed of a double layer of organic cotton (that produces less CO2 and water than traditional cotton). The masks are machine washable, offered in black and neutral and come with the option of filters for added breathability. All the packaging is entirely recyclable. To go alongside this, the brand has donated 30,000 medical-grade face shields to Médicins Sans Frontières to bring PPE to the front line.
Best Budget Face Masks
HONYAO Reusable Face Masks
Resuable and machine washable, this budget pack of two-layer stretchy cotton black and white face masks offers great value for anyone who’s not fussed about winning style points. Each pack contains four of each colour.
Tottenham Hotspur Spurs Face Coverings
Arsenal fans look away now. The North London-based football club is offering face coverings with four different designs as well as multi-pack sets. They come in the Spurs signature navy hue and feature the brand’s famous cockerel logo. They are fitted with adjustable straps, a nose wire and a soft fabrication.
Just Hype Adult Grey Knit Face Masksâ
There's a great mix of masks on offer at Hype, from block colours to neon knits for men, women and kids. Prices start at just under a tenner for a black design with the distinctive 'hype.' script on the front.
Despite the Hannibal-esque aesthetic, we're into this grey knit and mesh design, which will cover your nose, mouth and chin without leaving you feeling smothered.
Paisie adjustable non-surgical face mask in navy
Paisie is selling the masks with free delivery at cost price - and are made using surplus cotton from the company’s studio.
They stress: “Whilst these masks are not a substitute for medical-grade ones, when used properly and with a filter they will help to contribute to less particle transmission.” There’s space in the double layer mask to fit in your own filter.
Amazon Prime Day deals – Read our ES Best guide to all the best offers to shop now