10 Cute Face Masks to Buy If You're Not Comfortable Going Totally Maskless Yet

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In late February, the CDC announced that 70 percent of Americans can go without masks in indoor settings—including public schools. And while that shows great promise in the mission to combat COVID-19 after two years covering our faces, the journey to going completely maskless may be a long one. Maybe you’ll go barefaced while walking at the park, out for a run or at a family gathering, but at large events like weddings, graduations or in commuting hubs such as buses or the subway, you won’t feel totally comfortable. For those moments when you feel like masking up, we’ve compiled a list of ten cute face masks you can wear. From FDA-approved KN95 options, simple face coverings you can rock while social distancing, as well as comfy options for the kiddos, there’s a cute face mask that suits your needs.

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How can you tell if a KN95 mask is legit?

You may be scaling back your mask usage because mandates are a lot less restrictive. However, in the event that you do want the protection, you want to make sure you’re purchasing the right thing. It seems counterintuitive, but if you’re buying a KN95 mask and it has a NIOSH-approved stamp on it, it’s not the real deal. Why? NIOSH is a U.S. federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. Part of those responsibilities is approving protective health gear. The CDC, through NIOSH, does not approve KN95 masks, only N95s. So, if your KN95 says NIOSH-approved, it’s most likely not legit.

Also note that if your KN95 mask has no marks whatsoever, it’s probably a fake. Current KN95 standards require masks to be stamped with GB2626-2019, reports Wirecutter. This shows that the manufacturer constructed the mask following up-to-date Chinese respirator standards.

How do you sterilize a KN95 and N95 face mask?

Pre-COVID, N95s were made for single use only. However, due to shortages over the course of the pandemic, scientists discovered that dry heat could decontaminate an N95 for reuse without damaging its protective qualities. A 2020 study conducted by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that placing an N95 mask in an electric appliance—like a home oven or rice cooker—for 50 minutes at 212°F decontaminated the mask without compromising filtration and fit.

Another study conducted by a team of Harvard and Beth Israel doctors found that microwave steaming a mask will rid it of COVID spores. They used 60ml of distilled water in a glass Tupperware, placed mesh from a produce bag to give the mask a platform, put the mask on top—face up—and ran the microwave for three minutes. This method was effective for both KN95 as well as N95 masks.

10 Cute Face Masks at a Glance:

1. Hotodeal Kn95 Face Mask

Best KN95 Mask

Why We Love It:

  • Classic shape
  • High filter efficiency

With a five-ply protective layer, best believe those pesky COVID germs are going to have a tough time getting past this mask. The filter efficiency of this KN95 mask is more than 95 percent, so it can also protect you against dust, smoke and—for allergy sufferers—pollen.

2. Base Camp Reusable Cloth Face Masks

Best Cotton Face Mask

Why We Love It:

  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable

With mask regulations a bit more lenient now, you definitely want something that you can use over and over again. That’s why this machine washable offering from Base Camp is a good choice. It’s skin-friendly, breathable and comfortable to wear for any occasion. It’s also equipped with an opening pocket for an additional filter, as well as a bendable nose wire and adjustable ear loops so you get a snug fit.

3. Maskc Rose Quartz Kn95 Face Masks

Best Mask for Working Out

Why We Love It:

  • Breathable
  • Soft texture

If you’re still wary about going maskless at the gym, you’re not alone. Thank goodness for this rose quartz pick from MaskC. Made with premium material that has a soft texture, this KN95 mask is breathable, so you don’t have to struggle for air as you break a sweat. It also features super soft and comfortable ear loops, so there’s no chafing.

4. Vida Kids Fda Listed Kf94 Mask

Best Disposable Mask for Kids

Why We Love It:

  • Comes in multiples
  • Eco-friendly

Don’t let the four-layer build freak you out, this mask is completely breathable, comfortable and FDA-approved, so your little ones are getting the best of the best. And though disposable masks typically cause more pollution than reusable ones, Vida helpfully provides an easy way for you to return the masks for recycling. Win-win.

5. Brave New Look Artist Hall Of Fame Printed Kids Mask Pack

Best Reusable Mask for Kids

Why We Love It:

  • Fun designs
  • Comfy fit

Your kids may not know who Vincent Van Gogh is when they don this super artsy mask, but you’ll know they’re the coolest kids on the playground. This reusable mask comes with one filter that you can swap as needed, as well as adjustable ear loops so you can adapt it to their tiny face. Note that this is a face covering, not a KN95 or medical grade mask, so it should be worn at your discretion.

6. Mali + Lili Adult Four Layer Mask Scarf

Most Versatile Mask

Why We Love It:

  • Multipurpose
  • Adjustable tie closure

This lightweight, four-layer scarf not only serves as a protective face mask, but it also becomes a stylish accessory to wear around your neck or hair or as a hat. It’s a great shield to have on when commuting to a happy hour, for example, but it’s also a nifty accessory to feature in those obligatory bathroom selfies.

7. Stella Cove Cheetah-print Reusable Face Mask

Most Stylish Mask

Why We Love It:

  • Chic
  • Reusable

Even the most laidback of looks can be pulled together by a good cheetah print, so add this fierce mask to your selection for the days you want to keep things simple, but still want to look like you’ve put in major effort. Pair it with a matching purse or flats and you have an effortlessly sleek ‘fit.

8. Barrière Tie Dye Multi Pack

Best Tie-Dye Mask

Why We Love It:

  • Medical grade
  • Multi-pack

Proving that medical grade masks don’t just come in that boring blue colorway is this multi-pack of ten masks courtesy of barrière. These premium, disposable, protective face masks filter out dust, bacteria as well as pollen. They’re lightweight, easy to breathe through and feature an aluminum nose piece for a secure fit, as well as soft ear loops for sensitive skin.

9. Katie May Disco Ball Face Mask

Best Mask for a Night Out

Why We Love It:

  • Sparkly
  • Eye-catching

Nothing wrecks a perfectly good outfit like a mismatched mask, which is why this disco ball face mask makes for the ideal accessory to have in your lineup. It comes in two color ways—ivory (pictured above) and sparkling rose—so you can keep things nice and neutral or bring on the drama, depending on the kind of night you plan on having.

10. Carolina Herrera Print Silk Adult Face Mask

Best Mask for *Very* Special Occasions

Why We Love It:

  • Stylish
  • Fun print

We get it, $95 may be a lot to spend on a face mask, but picture yourself rocking this chic cow print mask as part of an elegant ensemble for a fancy dinner. It’s simple, but it has just the right amount of personality to elevate any look. It’s made with 100 percent silk and is machine washable, so it can work as a designated mask for formal events only.

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Steph is a native of Zimbabwe who is both enamored and genuinely baffled by the concept of silent letters. From 2020 to 2022, she served as Associate Editor at PureWow covering...