Wearing a face mask at work all day long has become a glum, dreaded reality for everyone, but especially for nurses. While some ERs and ICUs might require you to wear the masks they give you, a lot of hospitals and clinics are loosening to allow staff to bring in their own masks. So as we’re finally getting used to breathing through fabric all day, it’s time to invest in a mask like you would a good stethoscope or a good set of scrubs. You want a mask that’s breathable and that stays in place while you’re talking to patients (if you’re having to pull it up all day, what’s the point, right?). You want your mask to offer you the greatest level of protection, both for yourself and the people around you, because it’s unlikely you’ll be able to remain social distanced with all of your patients. And finally, you want your mask to be comfortable and as attractive as a mask can be. Like most things, if you can make it cute, you can make it work.
That’s a lot of requirements for a small piece of fabric, but here are five mask companies up to the challenge.
Maybe it’s because Mandala is already used to making practical items for those who work in the healthcare industry, but these masks rock! They come in lots of different solid colors, two different sizes and two different styles. They have adjustable ear straps, a wire to fit to your nose, and a pocket insert where you can put filters. Each mask comes with a pack of three replaceable PM2.5 filters, which is a six layered activated carbon filter, designed to effectively block airborne contaminants.
The masks are made with the same anti-microbial fabric that Mandala makes their scrubs with, so they’re sanitary and easy to breath in. And with the adjustable straps, they offer a nice clean look. You can talk all day in them and they won’t fall down your face. We recommend the pleated cloth style, as it offers a little more breathing room than the other style.
Price: $9.99 each
There’s no hiding how much we love Figs and to no surprise at all, they have launched a fantastic mask. Simple with pops of fun color, these masks are comfortable, breathable, and sleek. Made with both safety and comfort in mind, these masks boast features like a bendable nose wire for a close fit, a slot for replaceable filters, and soft elastic ear loops for all day comfort. Made with Figs signature FIONx fabric with Silvadur™ antimicrobial technology, four-way stretch, moisture-wicking, anti-wrinkle, and ridiculously soft properties, this mask is sure to check all of the boxes. The Medium/Large mask can even be worn over an N95 mask for extra coverage!
Price: $12.99 each
The Mandala masks have everything….except fun patterns. If florals are really your thing, these double-cotton face masks come highly recommended by stylish doctors. They come in six different floral patterns and each comes built with two cotton layers and a washable filter in between, as well as adjustable ear straps. Reviews all say they’re cute and comfy.
Price: $14.99 each
If you’re looking for a more casual, athletic look in a mask, these Casetify cotton masks look simple and light, but still offer you all the protection you need. Just like Mandala masks, these come with two filter inserts. They don’t have the wire at the top of the nose, but they fit snugly enough for it not to matter.
Price: $12 each
These are made with three layers of thick cotton t-shirt material, but they’ve also been treated with an anti-microbial layer, giving even more protection from bacteria. The Buck Mason masks are unique because they tie around your head, like a real surgical mask. It gives you the freedom to tie them comfortably so they stay in place all day.
Price: $30 for a five pack
For an everyday selection of face masks, you really can’t go wrong with Old Navy. They offer limitless bundles of different patterns, and all of them are three layer cloth. They have ear adjustable straps, and they’re SO affordable. You can buy a 10 pack for $25. You could wear a different mask every day of the week without having to wash. Amazing!
Price: $25 for a 10 pack