Best buys: stylish face masks

group colorful mask self prevention ill on desk made of fabric for protect dust and germs pm 2.5, coronavirus covid-19

Since face masks became mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from July 24th, it just makes sense to find some that you like. If something more stylish appeals to you, and it does to me, thankfully there are a whole host of designs now available. This way, you can stay safe and feel a little better about wearing one, too. So, I’ve been on the hunt for designer face masks in an effort to find some which may be more aesthetically pleasing. Which ones would you choose?

Fashionable and healthy?

I know these face coverings are not a fashion accessory per se. But I do believe anything which can help you and I feel better about this situation is going to help. I also want to enable all the retail assistants out there to feel safer any way I can, in light of the latest news reports. It looks like we’re going to be wearing these face masks for quite some time…

Boden new designs for the face
Pic: Boden has produced these non-medical face coverings using the ends of fabric rolls for an eco-friendly solution to face coverings. Each set of three has a mystery mix of their vibrant colours and prints and a nose wire for comfort too, £20 for three

Make your own

Although I love this idea, when will I get round to making one myself? I don’t even own a sewing machine, although I do have a sewing kit stashed away somewhere in my home. So if, like me, you haven’t got the inclination to make your own, maybe it’s time for a rethink. So, I’ve come up with a far easier option – simply shop for one online. The good news is there are all sorts of patterns, colours and styles, so you’re bound to find something to suit.

Liberty Face Masks
Pic: If you love Liberty patterns, then you’ll adore their assorted upcycled Tana Lawn cotton face coverings, £40 for a set of five

The fit

The fit of your face mask is crucial. This is because you need to eliminate gaps between your skin and the mask. It’s so important to wear your mask properly as this will contribute to how effective your mask will be. The best way to achieve this is to cover your nose with a mask which goes below your chin. And for glasses wearers, like me, look for models with nose clips or wires. In fact, these will help to eliminate steam from covering your glasses every time you walk into a shop. Don’t forget you’ll still need to abide by social distancing measures and wash your hands thoroughly using antibacterial gel too. After all, it’s this combination which will help to slow down this pandemic.

Vaunchy Creations washable face mask cotton
Washable Floral face masks in every colour from Vaunchy Creations on Etsy, £8.45 each

Materials to choose

There are a whole host of face covering materials to choose from and I’m not talking about surgical or medical masks. These should be left for those most in need -the healthcare professionals and key workers. One issue for me has been to find fabrics which will be breathable. This is all the more important for those of you who may want to wear them for sport, too. And remember, you’ll probably want to throw them in with your other laundry after use. So, I think machine washable models will be ideal.

The Big Silk silk face mask
100% Mulberry silk face masks with adjustable ear loops and nose clips, £14 each, from The Big Silk. These are single layer, are good for sensitive skin and are hypoallergenic. They’re also machine washable!

Silk

Silk makes a great choice for anyone with allergies or sensitive skin. I’m unlucky in that I suffer with both, so this could make a silk face mask a win-win for me. They are breathable and cool, making these another great choice especially as the weather’s turning warmer. The 100% Mulberry silk face masks from The Big Silk are single layer so you may want to buy replaceable filters to place inside before you wear them. With adjustable elastic ear loops, silk is hypoallergenic making it perfect for prolonged wear! They are hand or machine washable and reusable; they even come with a nose clip – a must for those who wear glasses. After all, you won’t want your glasses steaming up every time you walk into a shop. There are three colours to choose from – I chose pink and grey.

Set of three pure silk face masks orange, rose, galanga by Gisy
Made from double layers of 100% silk hand-weaved by artisans in Vietnam, these pure silk face masks, a set of 3 for £76, from Wolf & Badger, have been designed to curve smoothly around your nose, cheeks and chin. They are super lightweight and ideal for sports and those who have sensitive skin

Cotton

I hear tightly-woven cotton is one of the most popular materials for fabric face masks right now. Apparently, the tighter the weave, the better the protection will be. However, you’ll need to make sure you can breathe! And if your mask isn’t too comfortable when the weather’s warmer, you could end up touching your face more. In fact, you could try a combination of materials – cotton and chiffon or cotton and natural silk – some research suggests these could work particularly well together.

Sabinna face coverings power couple set
You can choose between four different prints and simply adjust the elastics and hide the knot seam in the Power Couple Set, £28 from Sabinna. This machine washable design (you get two) is so pretty and is made from natural, upcycled fibres – tencel, linen and organic cotton – with a nose wire so I’ve snapped up a pair
ethical face mask
Looking for an ethical fashion accessory? Then check out this African organic face mask, £15 for a double layer, which you can pick up from wheredoesitcomefrom. I know because I’ve just ordered two. The fabric is organic cotton which is grown in a farming cooperative in Uganda, a social enterprise training farmers in ecological farming methods. What I also like about these masks is that you can choose double or triple layer (£19) models, they feel silky and they coms in three striking patterns. With a string tie, these even fit children too.

How to wear and clean your face mask

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you put on your mask or take it off. Also, don’t forget you’ll need a snug fit so there aren’t any gaps between the material and your face. When you’re wearing it, don’t pull it away from your face to speak or touch the front of your mask. Don’t forget to wash your face mask after every use so you may want to buy two or three to keep you going. When you dry them try to do so on a washing line in direct sunlight. Then, hey presto, you’ll be prepared for every shopping trip!