With the Delta variant and Omicron case rates increasing in the US, masks have completely re-entered the conversation. According to CDC guidelines, a mask must be worn when traveling by plane, bus, train, or any other form of public transportation. If you are fully vaccinated and are in a crowded indoor setting or are doing something that requires close contact with others (vaccinated or unvaccinated), you should wear a mask. The CDC also states that people who not fully vaccinated and from 2 years old and above must always wear a mask in public places in the house. In general, people do not need to wear a mask if they are outdoors.
To help you prepare for the months to come, we’ve put together masks for every occasion. Like when you are exercising, when you need to put on a mask, you can get dirty and if your skin is too sensitive (hello, maskne).
Psst … to find your specific community transmission and mask guidelines, select your location here. Oh, and official recommendations can change quickly so be sure to stay up to date with current CDC guidelines.
This post was originally published in April 2021 and has since been updated.
The KN95 respirator is FDA approved and ideal for travel or densely populated areas…
To break it down, the KN95 mask and the N95 mask are very similar. The difference is where they are manufactured and certified (KN95 is made in China). Currently, the CDC does not recommend that the public wear an N95 respirator mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus. Those are important supplies that should be reserved for paramedics and other first-aiders.
The Powercom KN95 is a great alternative to a headband that can be worn alone and filters out about 95% or more of airborne particles. The mask has multiple layers, has a noseband, and is also available in black option. The most important thing is to make sure the patch fits your face snugly. The mask can be worn more than once, but you should toss it when there is dirt or if breathing is obstructed. ($11.50 / pack of 10, Bona Fide Mask)
Triple layer mask, use only once you can get dirty…
Maybe you’re doing your hair and don’t want to worry about dyeing one of your favorite fabric masks. These disposables are not meant to be reused, so throw them away when you’re done wearing them. The ear loops are not adjustable, but the barrier created by three layers can protect the wearer from contaminants. They are individually wrapped so you can put an extra one in your bag. If you are looking to create a double mask, it can be used as your background layer. ($17.98+ / pack of 50, Amazon)
Reusable mask with multi-layer filter…
They have adjustable ear loops and metal nose pads. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors. And packages Filters can be replaced available. Each filter can be worn for up to a week. ($10, Life)
The mask is designed to make it easier to breathe…
Goodbye, face sweat. This kit has a three-tier construction: The first layer is moisture-wicking, the second has a washable built-in filter, and the third is made from mesh to block UV rays. Reviewers say the mask feels comfortable and light to wear, and dries quickly. ($14.90/ 3 pack, Uniqlo)
The soft mask is ideal for exercise…
Made with three layers and adjustable ear loops, these masks feel lighter when pressed against your face. This means you may feel more breathless, especially during a workout. They are highly rated, with more than 6,000 customers giving them five-star reviews. People highlight the nose wire, the versatility of the mask and the comfort of training. Some customers even say that this fabric helps prevent breakouts. ($25 / pack of 5, Athleta)
A pack of a variety of pleated masks for children…
These masks are made of three-layer cotton and are washable when soiled. They are designed according to CDC recommendations for non-medical masks. They also have adjustable ear straps, which is a big bonus when it comes to getting a headset that fits your child’s face snugly. ($12.50 + / pack of 3, Old Navy)
Mask made from 100% mulberry silk helps to soothe sensitive skin…
It’s hard not to feel frustrated with skin irritation and breakouts caused by wearing masks for hours. This one has adjustable ear loops and noseband, but instead of fabric that can weigh on your skin, it’s made with Slip’s innovative and light silk. Customers rave about how soft the mask is and how it can help with pesky masks. ($39+, Dermstore)
The perfect disposable three-layer mask for people who wear glasses…
A Skimm HQ’r who regularly wears sports glasses swears by these masks. Extremely flexible dipped, curved nose clip ensures a snug fit around the bridge of the nose. Aka way less fog is generated. Sign us up. ($10.99+/pack of 100, Amazon)
And a spray bottle for glasses if you can’t stand the fog when you step outside…
This anti-fog spray works on all types of glass and does not require continuous application. A few spritzes and you’ll be good for today. Sigh of relief sold separately. ($14.99, Amazon)
A silicone holder to wear under the mask to give you a little extra space…
So you will have some space between your lips and the inner lining of the mask. This way, your lipstick won’t smudge, your skin won’t get irritated, and you won’t feel your breath on you. Reviewers say the holder can help reduce fogging and improve breathability. ($4.99+ / pack of 3, Amazon)
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Skimm’d by Alexandra Napoli, Emmy Favilla