Face Masks in Short Supply? Try These Face Coverings Instead

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As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, government officials are now encouraging people to keep their faces covered at all times when they’re outside — even if they don’t have access to a face mask.

While hospitals continue to deal with a shortage of face masks, the CDC says many cloth face coverings could still be effective in helping to “slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

The CDC says cloth coverings are most effective when they follow these five guidelines:

Keep in mind these face coverings are not are not surgical masks or the particulate-filtering N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders, as recommended by current government mandates.

These masks are also not intended to replace other recommended measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. In other words, continue washing your hands, keeping your distance from others and refraining from touching your face.



Looking for face coverings for you and your family? Here are nine of the best face mask alternatives you can get online right now.

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1. Organic Cotton Face Mask

Leave it to a mattress brand to help solve a problem that’s keeping us up at night. West Coast-based Avocado Mattress is now offering reusable face masks for the whole family. The masks are made from two layers of 100% certified organic cotton canvas, with two simple tie straps to secure the mask in place. No elastic or plastic is used. The masks are being sold in a “family pack” of four adult and four children’s masks.

Courtesy Avocado Mattress

Organic Cotton Face Mask, $23, available at Avocado Mattress

2. Buck Mason Face Masks

LA-based Buck Mason is known for their cozy basics (think: perfect tees and sweats for working from home), but the brand is stepping up to make a collection of reusable cotton face masks. The reusable masks are treated with an anti-microbial coating that the company says will last up to 30 wash cycles.

Buck Mason is building masks in real time and their next shipment is scheduled for delivery in a few weeks. The company says they’re donating one mask to health professionals for every consumer mask sold. Their goal is to donate up to a million non-medical face masks to communities in California and the rest of the country.

Courtesy Buck Mason

Buck Mason Face Masks, $20 (five-pack), available at Buck Mason

3. Reformation Masks

Womenswear brand, Reformation, is using its factories to help produce masks for both public and business use. The brand is selling mask packs on their website that can also be purchased for donation. Note: these are non-medical grade masks with ties. One pack comes with five masks. Their next shipment is scheduled to go out in a few weeks.

Courtesy Reformation

Reformation Masks (5-Pack), $25, available at Reformation

4. Face Mask Bandanas

Cover up quickly with these tube-style bandanas, which slide easily over your face and neck to keep you protected. (You can also use this as a headband for working out or as a scarf for warmth). The bandanas are made from a soft and breathable microfiber, and come with a built-in filter to keep out dust, smoke, allergens and germs. This set includes two face coverings per order.

Courtesy Amazon

Face Mask Bandanas, $19.98, available at Amazon

5. Ergodyne Balaclava Ski Mask

These ski masks make appearances every winter, especially in the colder parts of the country, but they’re making a comeback right now as an effective face covering. Pull the material over your forehead and face to wear it as a classic balaclava. Or, keep the hood off and just wear it as a face mask (the whole thing can be worn bunched around the neck as a scarf too).

This ski mask is made from a thermal fleece so expect to feel warm under the material. Reflective details let you wear this at night while still remaining visible.

Courtesy Amazon

Ergodyne Balaclava Ski Mask, $18.65, available at Amazon

6. Large Unisex Shawl Scarf

If you already have a scarf at home, officials say you can use it to wrap your face before heading out the door. If you need a new scarf, you can’t go wrong with this large shawl-style scarf, available in a dozen unisex patterns and colors. The scarf measures 23 x 79 inches, letting it wrap easily around your neck, face and nose. It’s made from a synthetic material that’s lightweight for breathability, and soft — not scratchy — against your skin.

Courtesy Amazon

Wander Agio Shawl Scarf, $8.99, available at Amazon

7. Under Armour ColdGear Balaclava Hoodie

This Under Armour hoodie does double duty, as a way to keep you warm and dry, while also adding a protective cover for your face. The hoodie is made from a sweat and moisture-wicking material, that’s great for a run or workout. The built-in balaclava pulls over your face and head for a stretchy and comfortable fit, with mesh panels on the side and face for ventilation.

Courtesy Under Armour

Under Armour Balaclava Hoodie, $74.99, available at Under Armour

8. French Fitness Revolution Headband

Here’s a good hack: take these fitness headbands (designed to keep hair out of your face during yoga, cycling, crossfit, etc.) and use them as mouth coverings too. The stretchy, moisture-wicking material measures just under four inches wide — more than enough material to pull over your mouth and nose. The best part: the headband is fully reusable. Just toss it into the washing machine to keep it clean and sanitized.

Courtesy Amazon

9. Classic Bandana

If all else fails, cover your face with a classic bandana, like this one from Amazon. It measures 20 x 20 inches; fold it in half or by the corners to form a mask or scarf that can be tied behind your head. The traditional paisley design is printed on both sides, and the material is lightweight and machine-washable.

Courtesy Amazon

Amscan Bandana, $7.69, available at Amazon

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