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Recently I was on a search for another mask after hearing certain types of masks are not as effective as others. I wanted a chemical free face mask because a Toxin-free mask may be the best choice for people who suffer from chemical sensitivity or have existing respiratory issues like asthma. One of my first searches was for a silk face mask and then I searched for others like bamboo and organic cotton.
In this article, I will help you choose from several sustainable face masks which include 1) face masks that don’t make you so sweaty, 2) breathable face masks, and 3) a hybrid eco-friendly face mask.
3 important factors for an effective face mask
1. Fit and size: It is essential to get the right size face mask or the mask is not as effective. In fact, any gaps reduce the face mask’s effectiveness by 60%. Look for masks that give you the dimensions of the face mask. To figure out the correct size face mask for you, measure from your lower eyelids down to your chin and then across your face.
2. Material: According to a study from the University of Chicago some of the most effective homemade face masks are masks made from several layers of 600 thread count cotton or a combination of materials such as a high thread count cotton and silk. Silk is considered antimicrobial and provides an electrostatic charge which makes a barrier to trap particles.
3. Layers: CDC recommends a minimum of 2 layers in a face mask. Whereas the WHO recommends a 3-layer face mask. Another way to add additional protection is to use a mask filter insert.
Tip: If your face mask does not have ear loop adjusters, you can buy them in different colors and sizes to add to your mask. The easiest way I saw the adjustors being added to the ear loops was by using a bobby pin.
Bamboo face mask
Bamboo is more breathable, odor-resistant, and less resistant to shrinking than cotton. This triple-layer mask made from bamboo has ear loops with toggles and a nose wire to create a tighter seal which may help prevent foggy glasses.
This bamboo mask comes in 2 options: Bamboo mask with a filter pocket or without a filter pocket. Sizes: Adult and children. Several color options are available.
It has been featured in Vogue, People, and Today. Payment options include the standard credit card options but also include Paypal, ApplePay, and Venmo to make checkout a breeze!
Silver ion face mask
A bamboo face mask infused with silver ions helps to provide an antimicrobial defense. It is a dual-layer bamboo mask with ear loops and a nose bridge wire. It comes in 3 colors.
Silk face mask with nose wire and filter pocket
The combination of cotton and silk is considered one of the most effective homemade face masks! Scientists believe the combination of materials provides an electrostatic filtration.
NIH tested silk face masks and determined “silk was more effective at impeding the penetration and absorption of droplets due to its greater hydrophobicity relative to other tested fabrics.”
These silk face masks are reusable and have pleats like surgical masks. It is available in 10 solid colors or 12 fun prints like a butterfly face mask and it is a reversible face mask. It has ear loops and a nose wire. It’s available in 3 sizes and has the option to insert a mask filter.
Some testimonials for this mulberry silk face mask are “soft against their skin, best face mask for hot weather, and it was easy to breathe.” I bought a horse print face mask and it shipped the very next day!
Bonus: they are offering 1 free organic mask pouch with any mask purchase and Free shipping.
Organic Cotton Face Mask made in the USA
This USA-made face mask comes in several options. Pleated face mask, non-pleated GOTS Certified cotton face mask, and a copper-infused organic face mask.
Organic vs. GOTS: Organic is a certification that can only apply to certain items like food and cotton. Whereas textiles fall under other chemical-free certifications such as GOTS. These certifications control chemicals in every aspect from how is it grown, to chemicals in manufacturing, and chemicals in things like fabric dyes.
- Pleated organic face mask: This is a surgical-style cotton mask made of 2 layers of 500 thread count GOTS certified organic cotton. It comes with ear loops, I didn’t see anything written about a nose wire but the picture appears to have some stitching to help hold it around your nose, and is sold in packs of 3.
- Organic face mask: Everything is the same as the above mask except for it is not pleated. It is available for both adults and kids.
- Copper-Infused Face Mask: This copper-infused organic cotton mask is a dual-layer mask with elastic ear loops. Copper is woven into the fabric to stop and kill bacteria and pathogens. Sizes: You can buy an organic mask for kids or an adult mask.
I have referred to this company before since they offer other chemical-free items like 4 types of eco friendly dog beds.
Dog print Face masks
While these plant based dog masks are not made from organic cotton, I wanted to feature this company because the majority of what they do does include eco-friendly products and practices.
Their original masks and bags are made with Vegan leather and recycled or upcycled materials. The upcycled material comes from the skirts of Asian women with whom they pay a fair wage and have established a relationship while living there. They sell masks for both adults and children and even sell them in packages for a greater discount!
Banned face masks on airlines
These 3 face masks are considered the least effective face mask and are the most commonly banned masks. 1) masks with air valves, 2) bandana or bandana masks, and 3) neck gaiters. However, some airlines have also banned the use of mesh and lace masks. According to the CDC, they feel the masks with air holes allow air to be released by a potentially infected mask wearer. As for neck gaiters, Duke researchers suggest gaiters may increase the rate of droplet transmission.
Can face shields be worn instead of a face mask?
It depends on where you go. The airlines will likely tell you must have a face mask on underneath your face shield. According to the CDC, face shields work as eye protection and protect the wearer from respiratory droplets. If you want the most coronavirus protection, it was suggested to wear both a mask and a face shield when in close contact with people.
3 face mask hacks
- Do Earloops hurt your ears? you can take two rubber bands, and tie one to each ear loop. Next, open a paper clip to an S shape and attach each rubber band. If you don’t have a paper clip or think that will be uncomfortable, try adding another rubber band. Now you can have the mask band around the back of your head versus your ears.
- Never forget your mask again: I attached a carabiner clip to my free mask pouch zipper so I can attach it to my belt loop or my purse.
- Coffee filters: can be used as a mask filter in a pinch. What?!
I hope this helps you find an appropriate mask replacement or finally find the sustainable mask you have been wanting.