If we were giving out fashion awards, face masks and coverings would be crowned the ‘must-have’ accessory of 2020, quite literally.
We’re now all used to wearing one to curb the spread of Covid-19, 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 be part of our every day experience for a while yet: as essential to have on your person as keys, phone and Oyster card.
Most people already have a mask, but building up a mask collection is crucial 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 you should avoid purchasing single-use masks.
Such 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 day-to-day wear. Plus, they come in a range of styles to suit whatever mood or look you’re in. Many feature a pocket for removable filters so you can swap in new ones to keep 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 ensur 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.
Medical lab tech Katie Corley coughed on two petri dishes, one while wearing a mask, and one without a mask. (From her public FB post.) pic.twitter.com/Ez65r2lE2r
— Sophie Rapp (@SophieSRapp) May 25, 2020
How to properly wear a facial covering or mask
A 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
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.
Right now there are festive masks to keep you safe while staying protected over the holidays.
Use these quick links to shop masks by type:
See our selection below
Best Festive Face Masks and Christmas Coverings
Liberty Christmas Festive Face Mask
A gorgeous design on Liberty fabric, this magical face mask features a menagerie of creatures, all ready to celebrate Christmas. It’s handmade with organic cotton and can be made to fit specific face sizes.
£5 | Etsy
Three layered Christmas face mask
From snowmen to holly and mistletoe, there are a host of jolly designs waiting to be snapped up from this Etsy shop. We love the navy mistletoe design best, but honestly, each one holds a certain Christmassy charm. Buy for yourself or give as helpful stocking fillers.
£3.74 | Etsy
M&S 3 Pack Adult Christmas Face Coverings
Made with double ply cotton, M&S has you Covid covered with a triple pack of Christmas-ready masks. There’s a snowman, Santa’s beard and a somewhat quizzically festive triangle theme. All come with toggles to ensure a snug fit.
£9.50 | M&S
Kevin McCallister Shocked Face Mask
Whether you’re Home Alone this year or stuffed into a shouty houseful a la Chez McCallister, raise a smile with this fun mask. It’s available in an adult size as well as a smaller version for kids, so you can all join in the fun for family snaps.
£9.33 | RedBubble
Christmas cats face mask
Kittens in Santa hats – what’s not to love? This handmade cotton mask comes in adult and kids sizes, featuring wire across the nose for a closer fit.
£6.49 | Etsy
Christmas Tree Face Mask With Hepa Filter
When in doubt, keep it simple with a chic covering from Love Those Prints at Not On The High Street. This pared back white and green design covered with Christmas tree illustrations will spruce up your mask wardrobe and keep you safer when you’re out and about.
£14.95 | NOTHS
Cotton Christmas Dinner Face Mask – Adult
A playful mask covered in festive fare – namely Brussel sprouts and Christmas puds – this cheerful mask is perfect for this time of year. Best of all, it’s currently 50 per cent off in Claire’s sale.
£4 | Claires *Was £8
Unisex Festive Christmas Face Mask
A triple whammy of beautiful reversible red and white masks covered in stars, snowflakes and gorgeous Christmas motifs will be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection. These come in small, medium and large sizes, with elasticated ear loops to keep the design in place.
£11 | NOTHS
Accessorize Christmas face covering set
Made with 100 per cent breathable and comfortable cotton, this two-piece of face masks are covered in cheerful candy canes and Christmas puds to help you get into the festive spirit.
£12 | Accessorize
Tanness Christmas Bandana Neck
Go for gold and make like Saint Nick to delight your friends and family this year with a mask/ scarf/ bandana invention. Printed with a jolly smile and Father Christmas’s fluffy beard, it will have everyone doing a double take.
£6.99 | Amazon
Christmas Face Masks pack of 5
Make the chore of wearing a mask that much brighter this Christmas with a selection pack of cheerful, vibrant designs. Featuring tumbling penguins, snowmen, Christmas trees and Santa hats, not to mention Father Christmas himself, they’re fun to wear and offer a brilliant opportunity for a group photo.
£7.50 | Amazon
Best Fun and Funky Face Coverings
Popsockets Face Mask
The makers of mobile phone knobs 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.
YR Customised Face Masks
If you have a specific face covering design in mind, make a beeline for YR Masks. You can create your own triple-layered look using their various templates, images, colours and settings for a result that’s as unique as you are. As you can play with the combinations for hours, YR offers a clever way to persuade stubborn kids and teens into wearing a mask – especially if it’s one they’ve designed themselves.
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.
From £12 | NAB
After a hugely successful US launch, MaskClub has brought its huge collection of officially licensed designs to the UK, from Adventure Time and Dexter’s Laboratory to Wonder Woman and Superman all on soft, breathable fabric. There are also animal print and camouflage designs available too, so a style to suit every taste.
MaskClub is another company offering masks for good, vowing to donate 10 per cent of sales to NHS Charities Together. Masks are typically £13.99 for a one-off purchase, but you can buy them on a monthly subscription and save up to 30 per cent off 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 Masks
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.
£20 | David Watson
Shop all masks at David Watson
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.
£15 | Nudea
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.
£25 | NOTHS
Shop all face coverings and masks at Not On The High Street
When 24 year-old Claire Gifford came to England from Australia she was full of hope for her future. Unfortunately her arrival coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, stopping her original plans in their tracks. Instead, she set up Pharma-Saurus, which offers face masks and coverings in an array of fun, cheerful prints.
Each one is made with certified materials – think locally sourced cotton with a non woven anti-allergenic inner layer that’s comfortable to wear against the skin and filters out 95 per cent of airborne particles. Reinforced stitching and clever filtration helps to clean the air without trapping moisture.
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. We like the navy stripe design the best.
£25 for 3 | Lavender Hill Clothing
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.
From £8 | The Mask Collective
Savile Row Company’s Face Masks
Made from the same 100 per cent cotton as 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 to allow you to replace filters when you need to. 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 it or hate it, face masks are a 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 lower part of the face 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.
£19.50 | Johan Ku
Isabel Manns Mandevilla Vine Cotton Mask
With all profits going to the NHS, 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.
£12 | Isabel Manns
Luisa Cerano mask sets
There are two printed sets of masks to snap up at Luisa Cerano. One is a pale pink and green two set, the other a darker botanical print. Each set comprises two masks, made with double layers of breathable cotton, wire over the nose bridge and colour coordinated ear loops.
£22 | Luisa Cerano
Best Luxury Face Masks
Pearl Lowe – Reusable Print Silk Masks
Delivered two weeks after ordering, these stunning masks add a touch of style to any outfit, whether you’re meeting friends for a socially distanced picnic or just heading to the supermarket for the essentials. They’re made from off-cuts from Pearl Lowe’s 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 fabrication. The luxe face coverings have adjustable ear straps, a nose wire, a cotton interior lining and come in three stylish designs, including leopard, pink and black.
£39 | lookfantastic
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.
£88 for a set of three | Wolf & Badger
Shop all face masks from £15 each at Wolf & Badger
Gingerlily Silk Face Mask – charcoal
Face masks can sit against your skin for hours at a time, so why not make it a sumptuous fabric? Renowned for luxuriously 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.
£25 | Gingerlily
Best Charity Face Masks
Needle & Thread Face Coverings
Known for exquisite bridal and special occasionwear, Needle & Thread has turned its attention 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.
£15 each | Needle & Thread
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.
£15.99 | Prezzybox
Shop Prezzybox Camouflage Print Masks
Shop Prezzybox Animal Print Masks
Shop Prezzybox Rainbow Print Masks
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
Gandys is a sustainable and travel-inspired clothing and accessories brand, founded by brothers Rob and Paul. The pair tragically lost their parents in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which inspired them to establish the brand and use a portion of the profits to build Campuses for deprived children around the world. The centres offer education, medication and nutrition support to people who need it most. They’ve branched out from their bread-and-butter collections of bags and apparel to offer masks, like many in light of the pandemic.
The masks are reusable and washable, created 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.
£7.99 | Gandys
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.
£20 | Boden
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.
From £12.95 | Gap
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.
From £12 | Togetherband
Pucker Face Masks
Positioning itself as a place to “buy a mask with morals”, Pucker helps support independent makers and charities by giving them 25 per cent of profits on sales made through the site. Every block colour mask is handmade in the UK from a triple layer of high-quality, soft, breathable cotton. They have a shaped nose and chin, adjustable nose bridge and ear toggles to provide a secure, top-of-the-range fit.
The masks also have a pocket which can hold a range of particulate filters (available to buy on the site) for that extra layer of protection. Prices are £17 per mask.
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.
£12.99 | Amazon
Shop reusable face masks at Amazon
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.
From £5 | Tottenham Hotspur
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.
£11.99 | Hype
Paisie adjustable non-surgical face mask in navy
Selling masks for delivery in mid-July, now’s the perfect time to lock down your order of Paisie’s non-surgical masks. They offer exceptionally good value for money – 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.
£6 | Paisie
1Rebel Face Mask
The spin and gym studio has released an all-black mask to help fitness fans to cut the spread of Covid-19. Made of light mesh fabric, it’s light and breathable and comes with a Velcro fastening for a secure fit. It comes with an air filter that should remain effective for up to a fortnight, after which you’ll need to fit a new one. 1Rebel says on its website that it will be selling replacement filters soon.
£10 | 1Rebel
Best luxury hand sanitisers that moisturise your hands and smell great
Best ergonomic office chairs for home from budget to professional
Best budget laptops 2020
Best laptop stands for the bed, desk and table
Best computer monitors: screens for desktops, laptops and Chromebooks
Best small desks for a compact home office