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A brief guide to the best quality face masks

12th October 2020 Print

With no sign of the end to social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face coverings in indoor spaces, like shops and hospitals, the word on the street is often about how annoying these little strips of fabric are. You’ll hear people complain about “steamed up glasses”, “breathing difficulties” and “getting too hot”. It is wise to bear in mind the doctors and nurses that have to wear these and other more uncomfortable PPE when we complain about wearing a mask to pop into the shop, but in addition there is also the question of quality. The disposable masks and many other cheap fabric options that you see on the high street are really designed for single use and without any care for quality or comfort, so you cannot expect to find them particularly pleasant to wear. 

If you wish to find some high quality face coverings you will want to pay attention to the following:

Material and comfort:

As with all clothing, material is incredibly important when it comes to comfort and only 100% cotton or silk will provide you with comfort for longer periods of use, when it comes to face masks. Adjustable elastic bands are best for getting the best level of comfort and a good fit.


The functional disposable masks and many home-made or cheap mass-made masks are not made with face contouring in mind. Look for options that specifically mention that the masks have been designed to fit the natural contours of the face. This will also help with the problem of steamed up glasses. The better the mask fits, the easier it is to simply place one’s glasses on top of the fabric.

Filter pockets:

While double layered cotton masks will provide a good level of protection, the addition of stitched-in filter pockets in the interior of the mask will allow you to add in activated carbon filters, that function a bit like vacuum cleaner filters and filter out smaller particles (like the virus) with greater efficiency.

Looking good:

There is absolutely no reason that you can’t make face masks work for you as an accessory. We all need a bit of a lift at the moment, so finding a high quality mask that also has a design that makes us feel a little bit of joy or confidence is certainly recommended.


Look for masks that mention the fact that they are lightweight and afford good breathability. This will in all likelihood come back to material – and cotton and silk will rule – but also in the way the mask is designed.

A couple of extra tips:

Remember that face masks should be washed and filters replaced after every use, especially if you have been in an indoor space with other people for a prolonged period of time. It is, therefore, very important to have at least 2 face coverings to allow for rotation. 

In addition, you must remember that touching your mask while wearing it should be avoided and you should avoid touching the mask when removing it – use the elastic bands to put the mask on and take it off.