Keys, wallet, phone—check, check, check. And now, there’s another item to add to the list of things not to forget before stepping out for essential errands: a cloth face mask. It’s been more than two months (!) since I’ve been in quarantine in the suburbs, grateful to be safe and still adjusting to the new rules of this new unpredictable world we’re living in.
What helps is knowing that we’re all in this together, and hopefully, the more we motivate each other to stay safe, the more we can decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
Since the CDC’s recommendation to wear a cloth face mask in public settings, more and more brands have been coming out with surprisingly chic versions. Might as well choose one that can help brighten the mood a bit, right? Designers have been thinking outside the box on their mask creations, many even using leftover fabrics from past collections. And better yet, a number of brands are donating a percentage of sales to support charities.
Just a note that cloth face masks don’t offer the same protection as medical-grade ones (which should be saved for healthcare workers) but are still helpful in limiting the spread of germs. Plus, cloth masks are reusable after wash, which makes it a sustainable option for places like the supermarket.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make your own with a scarf or t-shirt at home. If you’re in the mood to shop for a cause, scroll on to find some thoughtful brands that are doing great things.
1) Pretty Connected
Let’s face it, wearing a mask can be inconvenient and easy to lose if you take it on and off. But my friend Lara Eurdolian, founder of Pretty Connected has a brilliant solution. Her line of multi-use chains—which originally launched as camera straps and also used as holders for cell phones and water bottles—coincidentally works as the perfect mask strap! It’ll keep your mask in place and, really, just looks cooler. The longer-length version (which you can wrap around your neck) comes in gold, silver, and an iridescent mermaid hue and the shorter-length version comes in silver. Another thing worth noting: the quality of the chains are so good as it won’t tarnish and is built to last. See how she wears it here.
15% of all net sales will be donated to COVID-19 related relief organizations. If you’re planning to shop, doing so from small businesses can help make a difference, especially during this time!
Yet another brand evolving with the times is Kitsch. In addition to their best-selling items like satin pillowcases, jewelry, hair and wellness accessories, the brand created by Cassandra Thurswell recently launched its soft cotton face masks, which comes in a pack of three and available in three colorways (neutral, leopard, and blush).
Kitsch is donating $10,000 worth of masks to hairstylists and salons so these employees can feel more comfy as they begin working again.
Kitsch Face Masks, $12 for three (Shop Now)
I’ll most likely be using my Luminora face mask for running outside since the material is the most lightweight and breathable one I have. The brand, founded by Azadeh Hendi, a former attorney, and Ali Hendi, a board-certified dermatologist, focuses on UV protective clothing for women. Made with proprietary Luminology Technology fabric, the face masks are also UV protective and blocks out 98% of UVA/UVB rays. Plus, it’s antimicrobial and dries quickly after wash. Prints range from leopard and camouflage to classic solid colors.
As for sizing, it comes in XS, S, M, and L, so there’s a mask that can fit every member of your family. For each mask sold, Luminora is donating one mask to a frontline worker in need.
Luminora Face Mask, $15 (Shop Now)
4) 41 Winks
When this 41 Winks face mask came in the mail, it made my day because of 1) the gorgeous white and oatmeal-colored print and 2) the fact that the brand is donating 5% of the purchase price of each mask to First Responders First to provide essential supplies, equipment, accommodations child care, food, mental health support and other resources for protecting frontline healthcare workers and their patients.
Created by Olivia White, 41 Winks is known for their cushiony eye masks with fun sayings like “Disco Nap” and “Beauty Nap”. Using the same level of quality for their face masks, each is made with three layers of protection: one layer of filter fabric surrounded by two layers of 100% cotton.
41 Winks Face Mask, $12 (Shop Now)
5) Elyse Maguire
Elyse Maguire’s lifestyle brand is inspired by the salt, sand, and serenity of Cape Cod. Women’s and home accessories are the designer’s specialities, and now, so are reusable face masks. With two prints in various colors (floral and silky wave), each one is made with two layers and adjustable grosgrain ribbons.
For every mask purchased, the brand will donate another mask to an essential worker on the front lines. Elyse Maguire is also working on a Hugs for Heroes campaign, where you can nominate a hero to receive a cozy Marconi wrap that spells out “HUG” in a Morse Code and dot dash design. How sweet!
Elyse Maguire Crinkle Cotton Face Mask, $20 (Shop Now)
6) Rendall Co.
LA-based workwear brand Rendall Co. was founded by Deirdra Jones in 2020. Quality and craftsmanship are the ethos of the brand, and it shows by the way each face mask is intricately made. In two designs, the Sentry (with a tie-back style) and the Ace (with elastic loops) and several colorways for each, the masks fit snugly and reduces eyewear fogging!
For each mask purchased, one is donated to essential workers and nonprofits working with the homeless.
Rendall Co. Face Mask, $19 (Shop Now)
7) Lele Sadoughi
If you love Lele Sadoughi’s signature headbands and accessories, you’ll love the designer’s collection of face masks now available for pre-order. The hand-embellished designs include pearls, hearts, florals, stars, and stripes in a variety of colors. There are even kid sizes for the little ones in your life. These designs actually make the masks a fun accessory to wear!
The brand is giving back by donating headbands with button hooks to help healthcare providers with comfort when wearing their medical masks.
Lele Sadoughi Face Masks, $40 for three (Shop Now)
Update: adding a couple more masks from designers I recently came across and love!
Boy Meets Girl
Athleisure brand Boy Meets Girl has long been focused on philanthropy (since its start in 2001) and when COVID-19 hit, founder Stacy Igel continued to do what she does best: use her creativity to help make a change. She teamed up with Survivor Corps—the largest grassroots movement dedicated to ending the pandemic—to produce double-layer masks. A portion of proceeds for every mask sold goes to Survivor Corps and Glam4Good’s Critical Aid Fund, which helps fund PPE and personal care essentials to healthcare heroes, families in shelters, and children in need.
In her Instagram stories, the founder shared a little production mishap back in April—the factory sent all the mask orders to her house instead of the warehouse where they were supposed to be mailed to customers. Instead of shipping it back and causing a delay, she put on a mask and gloves and hand-packaged more than 200 orders herself, showing her dedication and passion for helping others.
Boy Meets Girl Face Mask, $20 (Shop Now)
Ashley Nell Tipton
Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most during hard times. Season 14 Project Runway winner Ashley Nell Tipton recently launched a mask line with cheerful designs to help people express themselves and maybe even strike up a conversation, too—as long as it’s from six feet away. The pieces in her collection all share the theme of positivity and inclusivity and includes Latina motifs, vibrant florals, denim, polka dots, and more. When I received the mask in the mail, the first thing I noticed was its structure, which feels somewhat like a well-made shoulder pad. Each mask (which is made from three pieces of fabric) comes with an ear stress reliever, which hooks to each side to prevent from slipping.
The designer made the collection locally in California and donated 5,000 face masks to those in need during the coronavirus.
Also, check out the matching kid styles!
Ashley Nell Tipton Face Mask, $30 (Shop Now)