“Yes, yes…let me see…what do I have for you…very curious…yes, indeed…this might be just the one,” I mutter as I study Mike D’s inability to breathe properly, observe his terribly fogged glasses, and start digging through my magic bag. I have taken it upon myself to be the local “Olivander of Masks”, with a mission to find the perfect face mask that works best for each person in my life.
*Spoiler Alert: The SLIP Silk Mask, The Athleta Everyday and The Outdoor Research Mask (shown below) have been my top recommendations for almost everyone I know.
Slip Silk | Athleta Everyday-Adult | Athleta Everyday-Kids | Outdoor Research
Now back to Mike D….I had brought him a whole bag of face coverings to try, and after MUCH trial and error, I finally gave up and instructed him to just steal Shana’s black SLIP silk mask when she wasn’t looking. I knew as long as he was okay with the shiny luxe look (which he was), he would love it (full review here). I do think he would like the Outdoor Research mask as well, but my husband wasn’t willing to part with his for Mike’s mask consultation.
Mask Match-Maker: Which Face Covering Is Best For You?
It’s definitely a lot easier to mask up (and stay masked up) when we find face coverings we love and feel good in (that are also effective, of course). Everyone’s mask preferences are different, though, soooooo…get ready for another LONG LONG Linzi Post. I included pros AND cons of the face masks we wear most, as well as pros and cons of the masks we don’t wear at all since those may fit YOUR preferences (keep-a-scrolling—allllll the way to the bottom)—hope that’s helpful! And if you want to see MORE masks I’ve tried (you know when I have a mission…I go hard!) go to this post, this post or this one.
**Face covering recommendations have changed since the first time I folded up a bandana, attached it to rubber bands, and walked out the door. For the general population, the CDC is currently recommending masks that have two or more layers (I personally now look for three), are made of washable breathable fabric, and fit snugly without any gaps. For the most up-to-date info from the CDC, go here.
Face Mask-Matching: My Family’s Favs
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
My Most-Worn Face Masks For Everyday
1. SLIP Silk Face Covering
**Full Review Post Here**
Pros: Feels AH-MAZING on. Triple layered. 100% silk outer layers w/ 100% cotton inner layer. VERY strong nose wire to help prevent foggy glasses. Adjustable ear loops. Replacement nose wires & ear loop adjusters. Washes well. Good for “maskne.”Pretty design. Luxe look.
Cons: Expensive. Not as breathable as Athleta masks. Hot in really warm weather.
At Nordstrom | At Anthropologie | At Bloomies
2. Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Mask
Pros: Super-breathable. Doesn’t collapse in when you breathe. Adjustable ear loops (so they fit the whole family)–their smaller version fits little kiddo faces extremely well too. Three layers (with cotton lining). Soft. Washes well.
Cons: Sometimes fogs my glasses if it’s not positioned perfectly.
3. Sanctuary Organic
Pros: Triple layered with filter. Four removable filters included. 100% organic cotton. Breathable. Nose wire. Pretty fabric. Adjustable ear loops.
Cons: Fabric choices sold out fast, and I can’t find my specific colors anymore, but these new ones are also good in the same style. Wash in delicates bag…one of my straps broke in regular wash.
My Kids’ Most-Worn Face Masks
4. Athleta Everyday-Kids: 7-Year-Old’s Fav
Pros: Stays put and doesn’t fall down. Super-breathable. Soft & comfortable. Three layers (with cotton lining). Sized specifically for little faces (fits my 7-year-old well, but my 12 -year-old can wear them in a pinch). adjustable ear loops for better fit.
Cons: No nose wire at all in the kid version, so likely a no-go for little kiddos with glasses.
5. Athleta Everyday-Adult: 12-Year-Old’s Fav
**I have to put a disclaimer here…my 12-year-old’s ACTUAL favorite is my SLIP Silk mask in black (that he steals ANY time he can), but it’s not “his”, and he’s a big fan of the Athleta masks if my silk one isn’t available.
Pros: Super-breathable. Doesn’t collapse in when you breathe. Adjustable ear loops. Three layers (with cotton lining). Soft. Washes well.
Cons: Inside is white and gets dirty easily…especially when 12-year-old is eating chocolate while wearing mask.
My Husband’s Most Worn Mask (Outside Of Work)
6. Outdoor Research
Pros: Comes with three filters; Microbe-resistant mask material. Filters greater than 95% of virus, bacteria and particles in accordance with ASTM test standards. Super-breathable. Adjustable ear loops and strong nose wire. Comfortably fits my 12-year-old and hubs too. Comes with storage pouch. Water- and stain-repellent. Doesn’t fog glasses. You can read more about the filter and protection here. Now comes in more colors…yay!
Cons: Expensive. Not super-soft.
*Not my husband below…(ha!)…my hubs is MUCH MUCH balder (and cuter, of course, in my opinion)*
Neutral Colors At Nordstrom | Bold Colors At Nordstrom | At Amazon | At Backcountry | At Outdoor Research
The Face Masks I Wear For A Little Fun
Pros: Made from 100% organic quilters cotton. Pocket for filter. Nose wire and adjustable ear loops. Cute fabric pattern. Great colorways. Unique shape/design (creates space away from your mouth–good for lipstick-wearers). Fun to wear for something a bit different. Breathable.
Cons: Fabric is stiff and not very soft. Design/shape takes a bit to get used to when looking in the mirror, but it’s growing on me.
At Nordstrom | More Adorable Colors/Patterns
8. Lady Lancaster
Pros: Gorgeous fabrics. Unique designs. Reversible.
Cons: Double- (not triple-layered). Pricey. I need to adjust mine tighter than below to limit gaps on side.
At Anthropologie | At Lady Lancaster
9. The Odells
Pros: VERY soft and breathable. Pretty fabrics and patterns. Adjustable soft fabric ear loops
Cons: Double- (not triple-layered). No nose wire.
At Anthropologie | At The Odells
5 Masks That Didn’t Work Out For Me
1. Sanctuary Lightweight
Pros: REALLY pretty fabrics and colors. Good price point for a set.
Cons: WAY too thin. I added a filter inside of the mask for a while, but it kept falling out. I wouldn’t buy unless you are willing to cut it open and sew in another layer.
2. Amazon’s Highest Rated
Pros: Reviews are ridiculously good for this mask set. Over 54,000 great reviews. Very soft. Good for a basic go-to mask.
Cons: Overall I wasn’t impressed. The large was too big for me (despite trying to follow review recommendations for sizing). My husband said he liked it fine, but it’s not the one he grabs as he walks out the door.
3. DIOP (Black-Owned Business)
Pros: Gorgeous fabric pattern and design. LOVE that Nordstrom is including more Black-Owned-Businesses in their selections.
Cons: I can’t stand the behind the head straps…I’m an ear loop gal, so I may try this one directly from DIOP instead. Wish fabric was softer.
4. Athleta Active
Pros: Some people LOVE LOVE LOVE this mask. Breathable. Soft. Pretty colors (As of today, looks like these specific ones are no longer in stock…but they may come back because people really do LOVE them.)
Cons: The fit was difficult for me. In order to get it to stay in place, the ear straps have to be very tight. I tried the upside down trick (that some reviewers have suggested on Athleta’s site), but they still didn’t stay put, and they still fogged my glasses. Looks like there’s a brand new version. I was hoping maybe these issues were fixed with the new version, but reviews indicate that people don’t like the new ones as well as the original Athleta Active.
5. 22-Silk (From Amazon)
Pros: Less expensive than the SLIP Silk masks. Soft and feels good on. More color/pattern choices than SLIP. PERFECT for when you want to dress as an Oompa Loompa.
Cons: Doesn’t feel or look as luxe as SLIP; Nose wire not as strong, not THAT much less $$ than SLIP brand and not as many great features.
Give the comment section some love, guys! Let us know where you are in the mask-match-making process….what favs have you found for your families? Also, check out the comments from readers in my previous mask posts here, here and here…..I find it super-helpful to get others’ opinions on masks as well!
I found that the Under Armour sportsmask works really well for me. I’ve worn it running 4+ miles and it doesn’t bother me (helps when the weather is cold, I bet it would be pretty swampy in the summer). It will fog up glasses a bit if you’re breathing really hard but overall excellent for outdoor exercise.
Oh so good to know! I’ve taken a bit of a “pause” on my personal working out, but hoping to get back in the swing of things soon and always good to have another workout mask recommendation for folks. I really appreciate you writing in. Thank you, Erica.
Your detailed overviews are so helpful – thank you! I’m wondering about how you clean the silk masks – hot water by hand or machine wash? Or do you need to stick with cold water?
Oh I’m so glad it feels helpful. I personally am not very precious with any of my laundry (other than cashmere)…I throw my silk masks in regular loads, but I try to remember to put them in my delicates bag and I also try to remember to not put them in the dryer. There have been occasions, though, where neither of these things have happened, and the masks have survived. The official “slip” directions recommend hand-washing or washing on delicate cycle 86 degrees F with a pH neutral liquid detergent and then line dry. I’m sure they will last longer and look silkier and prettier if you do that.
We are mask opposites! I can’t stand having the elastic behind my ears. If I only had to wear it for a quick errand, sure, but 8 hours a day x 5 days a week, no way. Here are some more behind the head options: https://www.sfgate.com/shopping/article/Masks-that-don-t-go-behind-your-ears-15457330.php
YES! Thank you so much for writing in, Valerie! Masks are so personal with preferences and lifestyle. I completely stopped trying behind-the-head options, so I’m so happy to hear from someone who prefers them. Do you have a favorite behind-the-head mask right now?
Another vote for SLIP (day to day) and the Under Armour for heavy cardio. The UA is a bit awkward for my face but feels safe and can definitely breathe better during workouts.
Thank you so much, Margaret…appreciate the suggestions and votes. 🙂
Hi Linz! Should have known we could rely on you for a great mask roundup! My question is, Which of these have filter pockets (even if they don’t come with their own filters)? Do all the ones marked triple layer have them? A filter pocket is the main thing we look for in a mask, along with it being 100% cotton.
For those who do not mind the behind the head ties (I actually find they reliably provide a better fit and less fogged glasses), Take Care masks from Canada are wonderfully soft and well made, and do check both of my boxes.
Ooooh. Good question….let me gather all of mine up and I’ll get back to you. 🙂
Sanctuary Organic and the Outdoor Research masks both have filter pockets. Several others are triple layered, but no built in pocket for filters. I’m so glad you introduced me to the Take Care masks from Canada…they look great. Now I have a question for you, though..do the earloop masks from Take Care have a nose wire?
Our family favorite style is the style shown on the Baguu mask. It’s sometimes called a 3D style and it fits similar to N95 masks in that it doesn’t sit on your lips. I buy mine from Etsy (seller ElenaAndChris). But for higher/longer exposure we use and reuse an N95 by placing it in a paper bag for several days between uses, up to five uses.
Thanks, Christy…Etsy can be a bit overwhelming with SO many options and I tried a few that were not so good, so I appreciate the personal recommendations.
I stocked up on a bunch of masks back in March. Johnny Was has 5 for $25 and they are soft and flexible. I have discovered that the elastic sizing is slightly different depending upon the series, so I have ones that I like better than others. Amazingly Target’s Universal Standard ones are my (large-headed) husband’s favorite in L/XL. They are way too big for me. Etsy FrenchFixLLC has great ones–multilayered, big sized and adjustable.
Thanks for the recommendations.
We are loving the Wayre masks. They are very light and thin, easy to adjust, and claim five filter layers. They are NOT soft, it’s almost a plastic feel, but I think that’s the filtering coating. My mom hilariously did the “candle test” over and over in one because they are so thin and light we didn’t really believe they could be so filtering but also easy to breathe in, and the candle flame did.not.move.
My not-quite-two year old has started wanting a mask when we take walks around the neighborhood… makes me sort of sad, but in any event, we picked up a little mask for her from Paige Lauren and it is the softest thing I might have ever touched. It’s a single layer and I’m sure doesn’t do much for filtering, but for a wee kiddo who just wants to have a mask like the grown-ups, it’s a nice option.
The Wayre masks sound interesting…I need to check them out. I’m not around little little guys anymore…so all I have to say is awwwwww….kind of breaks my heart to hear about your not-quite-two year old wanting to “play-pretend” mask-wearing, but also pretty adorable too. Of course she wants to be just like her smart mama masking up for safety. Thank you for sharing.
As always, I love how comprehensive your posts are! Thank you for all of your research! How are the Baguu ones with glasses? My mom struggles with this so much. I’m going to order a few of your recommendations here for her (and me, too!) and I like the style of the Baguu. Or really, I lost miss wearing lipstick and if I could wear lipstick and glasses, all would be right in the world again! (Ha! I wish.)
Thanks, Elizabeth. The Baguu does pretty well with glasses because of the nose wire. I don’t grab it as an everyday mask, though, just because it’s not very soft. I’ve gotten spoiled with the silk ones. I’ve been meaning to try those plastic mask inserts I’ve seen on Amazon, but kind of don’t feel like dealing with another “thing” to keep track of by my front door. And agreed…I miss the lipstick.
Meant to also say that for glasses, the SLIP silk ones really are the best ones I’ve tried…at least for my shape face, nose, glasses, etc.
Thanks so much! I really like the Sanctuary ones. I’ve actually only bought the over-the-heads from Take Care, which have no nose wire, but honestly they fit so well that I haven’t felt the need for one (which I do with all my other masks). The cotton is really thick and soft and kind of molds to your face. They are the only kind my son will wear.
Thank you for this super useful review!! I’m with you on the Athleta Everyday–they are so comfy for everyday, and the adjustable ear loops are great.
For readers with little kids, my preschooler’s favorite masks are the Crayola School Pack ones–they are cut for small faces and the ear straps are adjustable and don’t hurt at all (says the 4-year-old.) They have a nose wire, wash well, and have a super soft inner layer. My kid is the only out of our family who actually wears a mask most of the day (he’s in daycare while the rest of us work/school remotely), so his opinion is worth something. (Despite the fact that they’re advertised as fitting bigger kids/tweens, these are SMALL masks. They are great for the 3-to-5 set.)
Oh this is perfect, Laura. A friend just asked me about masks for this age group. Thank you!
Thanks, Linzi! I have a mask insert that I’ve tried for work, but found it uncomfortable. It moved around too much. I don’t know if I was using it wrong or it was too big, but it made wearing a mask even more cumbersome than normal. Thanks again for your in-depth research! I’m going to order a Slip mask for my mom and myself.
I’ve been wanting the Slip mask since you first wrote about them and just ordered one from Anthro b/c they are 40 percent off right now! Also picked up some Sanctuary masks at the same discount.