As the number of COVID-19 cases keeps on rising, we adapt to the new normal by practicing social distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing face masks. These preventive measures control, if not somehow eradicate, the spread of the virus. The DOH advises that everyone must wear face masks when going out to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Buying reusable masks is more practical and budget-friendly than buying disposable ones. By washing them with soap, we can use them again many times. In this article, we are giving you a buying guide and a top 10 list of the most recommended high-quality reusable face masks that you can purchase online. We also asked for some comments and insights from board-certified dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz!
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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With proper use, reusable masks can be as effective as disposable ones. Reusable masks offer a convenient and budget-friendly solution since you do not need to purchase new masks every now and then. These are usually wash-and-wear, which means they are sustainable, and they can last a long time.
Depending on the brand and materials used, reusable masks range from budget-friendly to being costly. Even in these challenging times, you can show your personal style with the different colors and designs available in the market that you can choose from. Reusable masks are enough for everyday use, and they can keep you protected from the virus.
Medical-grade masks such as the N95 ones must be reserved for hospital front liners, infected patients, and other high-risk workers. They are not designed for daily use and for long periods. Also, gas masks are designed to use when handling harmful chemicals or in gas attacks instances, not for COVID-19.
With the pandemic, wearing a mask is of utmost importance. It's a must! However, wearing masks can also be hard on the skin. Thus, we should take extra care of our skin to prevent problems associated with mask-wearing.
Remember, not all masks are created equal, and thus, offer different levels of protection. Reusable masks can suffice for everyday use, as long as you're not based in the hospital or other high-risk setting.
For more information, read through our buying guide below.
For more information, read through our buying guide below.
Having only one reusable mask is not enough, especially during these times. If you are using public transport every day, it is recommended to buy a pack of masks, so you do not need to wash one daily. There are reusable masks that are packed by 10s, so you can have enough for yourself.
If you are buying for your family, you might need to buy more. This can ensure that everyone has enough masks to use. The masks should not be shared even if they are reusable for hygienic purposes and to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
Masks are part of the new normal. Whether you're going to the supermarket or having guests at home, masks are definitely a must.
When buying a reusable face mask, it is better to buy one with multiple layers for maximum protection. Go for a mask with two or three layers. There is a huge difference in protection when you use a face mask with multiple layers compared to a single-layered face mask.
Also, it is better if each layer is made of different materials for better protection. The innermost layer can be made of cotton for moisture absorption. The middle layer can be made of synthetic material like polypropylene or cotton to enhance filtration and repel moisture. The outermost layer can be made of hydrophobic materials like polyester.
Choose the right fabric. Multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric make a good choice. Hold the fabric up against a bright light source; the fabric should block the light to be considered adequate.
There are different ways of fastening the mask to your face, such as using ear loops or head loops. Ear loops are the most commonly used in masks, and they are usually elastic to keep your mask fit snugly behind the ears, but they can be uncomfortable when the mask is worn for longer periods. You can look for a mask with adjustable loops.
Also, there are face masks with head loops where the loops go around the head instead of sitting behind the ears. Using head loops can provide comfort and relief to the ears, especially when you go out for longer hours. The loops can be made of elastic material or fabric ties that can be adjusted for a snug fit.
The choice between ear loops vs. head loops may not be as simple as preference, so it seems. Interestingly, a journal by Chee Fu Yung cited a difference in fitted filtration efficiencies (FFEs) when comparing a surgical mask with head ties (71.5%) vs. a procedure mask with ear loops (38.1%).
When purchasing a reusable mask, you have to know what size or dimension you will be needing. The mask must fit over the bridge of your nose, past the edges of your mouth to under the chin. The face mask should fit snugly without restricting your movements. Check the mask's dimensions indicated in the product description.
Also, get a face mask that can be easily adjusted, so you can fit it properly on your face. The point of wearing a mask is to block any potentially harmful droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing. If you wear loose-fitting masks, the droplets might pass through and may lead to virus transmission.
Ensure the mask has a proper fit. Remember, gaps allow air with potentially infectious droplets to leak in through the edges of the mask. You want it nice and snug over the nose, mouth, and chin. It is better if you can get a mask with a nose wire. It ensures that the mask stays in place.
There are several types of materials used in making reusable masks, and they served different purposes and uses. Check these some examples of the most popular materials used in making reusable masks.
Cotton is the most widely-used and the most affordable material for reusable face masks. Cotton can filter fine dust and droplets with its almost microscopic strands. This fabric is the most recommended because it is soft, lightweight, and breathable. It makes a formidable face mask to filter out air particles and droplets.
Make sure to buy a cotton face mask with a high thread count of at least 600 and a tight weave to ensure that the air is well-filtered. You can also look for cotton face masks with a built-in filter pocket for added protection. Soft fabric masks are easy to disinfect by washing them with warm water and soap to remove any lingering bacteria.
Linen is textured textile made from large strands of wool. With their thicker strands, particles are a lot slower to pass through the mask. Though not waterproof, it is a level-up from cotton-based masks. Linen is a good material for reusable face masks because it is not easy for germs to breed there.
Many manufacturers prefer to use linen because of its natural antimicrobial features. Linen is also hypoallergenic, so it is ideal for people who are looking for a mask that won't itch or give them rashes. However, linen has small openings, so some particles may be stuck. Make sure to wash the face mask thoroughly.
Based on the journal of Bhattacharjee S, et al. on "Last-resort strategies during mask shortages: optimal design features of cloth masks and decontamination of disposable masks during the COVID-19 pandemic," the inner layer should be made of cotton/linen, as this will absorb expelled droplets and humidity and be more comfortable. Interestingly, they recommended that the thread count should be 300–350 threads per inch.
Synthetic fiber is very durable and can withstand wear and tear because of its thermoplastic properties known for having a flexible and dense structure. Synthetic fiber can be a combination of different materials like polypropylene and polyester, which can have a high air filtration rate and good moisture-wicking properties.
However, this material needs to be used in multiple layers to ensure protection. Spandex and cotton can be used as a layer on the outside and inside to improve breathability. Most face masks made with synthetic fiber have a cotton lining to provide comfort when worn for long periods of time.
Avoid synthetic fabrics (e.g. nylon, polyester, and rayon) on the layer that rests against your skin as these can cause irritation and/or breakouts.
Several masks allow a filter to be inserted in them. Filters serve as extra protection from dust and droplets in the air. A good filter type is the small PM 2.5 specifically designed for masks. These filters are usually made with polypropylene that can filter microscopic particles, and they can be bought separately.
If filters are not readily available, you can use some alternatives, such as coffee filters, reusable fabric grocery bags, carbon mask filters, or nylon pantyhose. Also, while adding filters can effectively block particles, it might become difficult to breathe. It also might not be sustainable since you have to dispose of the filter regularly or after each use.
Add a filter to improve the performance of a reusable fabric mask.
Be wary when buying reusable face masks with a valve since they only filter the air that is coming in and not the air you exhale. The face mask should serve as two-way protection. The wearers should protect themselves from acquiring the virus and prevent the people around them from getting the virus in case the wearer is infected.
The experts have discouraged the use of reusable face masks with a filtering valve. These masks help you breathe more comfortably. However, they only protect the wearers and not the people around them. This negates the point of wearing a mask, so it is not recommended to wear this kind of face mask.
Yes, masks with vents or exhalation valves are not advisable as they allow the unfiltered breath to escape the mask. Remember, masks are meant to protect you and the people around you as well!
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AIRism Mask｜Pack of 3
A High Performing Face Mask for the Whole Family
Silver Ion Mask
A Face Mask With 99% Filtration Efficiency
Washable and Reusable Face Mask
Get the Everyday Protection You Need With This Face Mask
Viral Off Mask
Reduces 99% of Viruses for Up to Two Hours
A Reusable Face Mask for Sports Enthusiasts
Washable COVID-19 Barrier Mask｜Twin-Pack
Stay in Shape While Protecting Yourself and Others
Nano Zinc Bamboo Mask
100% Organic Face Mask Ideal for Everyday Use
Washable Anti-Microbial Headloop Face Mask
An Affordable Antimicrobial Face Mask
Washable Face Mask with Double Filters & Design
A Reusable Face Mask Ideal for Traveling
3-Ply Washable Anchor Printed Poly-Cotton Face Mask
A Pack of High-Quality Face Masks
Uniqlo's AIRism fabric is loved by many people because of its good features, so no wonder a face mask made with AIRism mesh also makes people want to have it. This face mask has three layers that serve different functions. The first and third layers are smooth and highly breathable, and the second layer filters up to 99% of airborne particles.
It is available in different sizes, so you can choose which one fits your face. The ear loops are also soft, which provide comfort to the ears even when the mask is worn for longer hours. Also, it is water-repellent to keep it dry from splashes and moisture. Reviewers of this product have nothing but high praises, and they are satisfied with what it brings.
This Pacsafe Silver Ion mask is the perfect product to use these days. It has 99% filtration efficiency, which means it can filter most antimicrobials and airborne particles. Most face masks have 3 layers, but this one has 5 layers that serve a specific function making the mask very effective to use.
It has an adjustable nose clip for a snug and tight fit and adjustable straps to keep the mask in place. Also, with the use of Antimicrobial Silver Ion Technology, it effectively disinfects and reduces the amount of microbes. The 3D skeleton construction creates room for comfort and helps you breathe easily.
This face mask from Razer is made of soft, antimicrobial cotton and has a bacterial filtration efficiency of 95%. It has double-layer fabric weave that is certified to filter pathogens and other fine particles, so you do not have to worry when you need to go out for work or do some errands.
Also, it is designed with a bacteriostatic surface to kill microorganisms that come into contact. You can easily breathe with this mask, and it can be comfortably used for longer periods. The ear loops are made of soft fabric which provide relief to the ears.
This reusable face mask uses ViralOff Polygiene Technology to reduce 99% of viruses for up to two hours. It is like a sanitizing gel for your mask. Its anti-splash feature makes the fabric water-repellent and serves as a barrier against droplets from sneezing and coughing. You can breathe easily with this mask because of its 3D fit and has stretchable fabric for a snug fit.
Also, it removes unpleasant odors with the help of Odor Crunch Technology. Because of the Polygiene Technology, it requires less washing, so you can save water and energy in the long run. This face mask is ideal for everyday use and can protect you from microbial and other airborne particles.
This face mask from Under Armour can help you get back to your training regimen while following health protocols. It is made with high-performing materials, which allow you to wear the mask all day and when playing sports. Its structured design provides added comfort and breathability, and the antimicrobial treatment keeps the mask fresh.
Also, it has built-in UPF 50 sun protection and UA Iso-Chill fabric that feels cool to the touch. It also has a soft, adjustable nose bridge to keep the mask in place and stretchy ear loops to reduce strain on the ears and prevent chafing.
One of the best ways to keep your body healthy is by exercising. This face mask can protect you and others when you go out to exercise. It is made with UNS-1 fabric that can filter 90% of 3µm particles, and it can be washed 50 times without losing its effectiveness. The soft synthetic fabric makes it pleasant to wear and is also quick-drying.
The adjustable elastic strap makes it easy to fit the mask to your face. This face mask uses a strap that sits behind the head and neck, so it is more comfortable to use than those with ear loops. This is ideal for everyone to use, but it is not advised to be worn for more than four hours.
This face mask is soft, breathable, and non-toxic, making it ideal for people who have sensitive skin. It has 3 layers of bamboo cotton fabric for good breathability while providing good protection. The inner layer has anti-microbial properties with nano zinc fiber to prevent bacterial growth.
Also, you can put a filter in the filter pocket for added protection. The shape of the mask covers the nose, cheeks, and chin and fits snugly. It also has soft elastic ear loops to keep the mask in place, as well as anti-odor properties that eliminate bad odors. This is an ideal mask if you are prone to itch and rashes because it has anti-bacterial features.
If you are looking for an affordable antimicrobial face mask, this one is for you. Biofresh is known for making clothing with antibacterial properties. This face mask has three layers of cotton that can filter airborne particles. It is also treated with antimicrobial treatment to kill microorganisms that cause bad odors.
This can be fastened to the face with head loops that eliminate pressure on the ears. Also, it has a filter pocket that you can use if you want to put a filter for added protection. It follows the shape of your face because of its soft fabric, so there are no gaps where the air can leak.
This face mask is made by upcycling the materials originally used in making luggage covers. No two masks are the same because the design will be based on which part of the luggage cover design is used. There are three layers of cotton and polyester spandex, so you can be sure that this can filter dust and particles well.
Also, it is water-repellent, so moisture and water cannot easily pass through the fabric. It has a nose wire to prevent gaps where air can leak and keep the mask in place. The adjustable ear loops help the mask fit snugly behind the ears. You can also put filters in the filter pocket for extra protection.
Armando Caruso is a local brand famous for its fashion accessories, especially handkerchiefs, and they are now making face masks. This pack of 3 face masks is made with premium cotton blend material that provides enough protection. It is comfortable and breathable, making it ideal for daily use.
It has 3 layers to filter airborne particles, and the nose wire keeps the mask in place and prevents it from sliding down. Also, the adjustable elastic earloops provide a snug fit behind the ears. Reviewers said this product has good quality and is a practical buy for people who have to often go out for work.
Below are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz.
Definitely, after every use! This lessens the risk of spreading germs.
The World Health Organization recommends cleaning fabric masks as follows:
Wash it with a hypoallergenic fragrance-free detergent to lessen possible irritation.
There’s no hard and fast rule on this one. Just remember that a mask's effectiveness may lessen over time.
The answer is yes. Some factors to consider: the mask's fabric can become loose, or the straps can begin to stretch. Thus, these can affect the overall effectiveness of the mask because it may not be as snug as when it was new.
Nowadays, most people don't really go out much or not at all. If you want to go out, you may want to level up your style. You can complete your OOTD with accessories by checking out our other articles.
Author: Roel Pillas Malubay
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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