Update, April 4, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that President Donald Trump shared on Friday: they are now advising everyone to wear a cloth face-covering mask in public to slow the spread of coronavirus.
This story was originally published on April 3, 2020
It seems like each new day of the COVID-19 pandemic comes with a hearty dose of surprising, overwhelming, and sometimes even conflicting information about how to navigate your way through this crisis — and yesterday was no different. While the efficacy of non-medical face masks is still under debate, President Donald Trump said we may soon hear revised nationwide recommendations on why we should be wearing them to help stop the spread of the virus, despite initial claims that universal mask-wearing is unnecessary. As a result of this update, you can expect a massive spike in the production and purchase of cloth face coverings within the lifestyle and fashion spaces. In fact, we’re already seeing brands pivot to making coverage options more accessible to all. And while we can’t tell you whether or not you need a non-medical face mask to protect yourself and your loved ones, we can help you shop masks online if you choose to seek one out.
To be clear, a cloth face mask is much different than a surgical mask or an N95 mask, which is the kind of highly protective respirator equipment so desperately needed among healthcare professionals right now. Anyone who isn’t fighting on the frontlines of this health crisis that is in possession of extra N95 or surgical masks is encouraged to send them directly to those in need. You can also donate to organizations helping to produce, procure, and distribute medical-grade face coverings approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hospitals in highly affected areas.
Now that we’re all on board with this distinction, you may be left wondering: what can a non-medical face mask really do for me, and do I even need to buy one? According to the CDC’s website, at least for right now, you don’t need to wear one unless you’re caring for someone who is sick. Although, the CDC has shared that 25% of people who get the virus could be asymptomatic, so being overly thoughtful by covering your face, might not be a bad idea. And of course, if you’re the one that’s sick, however, properly wearing a face mask is advised for when you are around others.
Still, these guidelines haven’t stopped government officials like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti from advising all citizens of the metropolis to wear some form of face-covering when making trips to essential places like the grocery store or pharmacy. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has also urged anyone who is immunocompromised and/or over the age of 70 to wear a mask at all times, along with those individuals in their company.
In addition to the thousands of DIY templates and tutorials available online to make your own mask out of everything from shop towels to t-shirt fabrics. Companies like Reformation and Sanctuary are also reacting quickly by organizing local manufacturers to produce non-medical masks using fabrics from their warehouses. These efforts don’t just allow for more people to buy masks for personal use, it prevents them from purchasing the medical-grade materials our heroes on the frontlines require to do their jobs safely.
So in anticipation of an announcement that widespread mask-wearing may, in fact, be an effective complement to all that hand-washing and social-distancing you’ve gotten so good at to curb the spread of this disease, we’ve put together a list of resources where you can find non-medical masks online. They tend to sell out quickly, so we’ll continue updating this page to keep you informed about the best places to make your purchase. And don’t forget: It’s still considered best practice to not touch your face when wearing your mask, and you should try with all your might not to mess with it once it’s on!
After a few prototypes following guidelines set forth by the City of L.A. and the California health care non-profit Kaiser Permanente, the factory of fashion brand Monogram managed to create its own non-medical community masks. While they sold out of 10,000 masks within the first 24 hours, Monogram just went live with even more inventory. Each order includes two masks shipped to its purchaser along with two additional masks donated to workers at essential businesses in L.A. The masks are 100% cotton jersey, machine washable, and reusable.
To purchase a 2-pack of 100% cotton jersey non-medical masks, click here.
While it’s tough to find any of the essentials like toilet paper or hand sanitizer on Amazon these days, you can occasionally get your cyber paws on packs of disposable masks made from non-woven fabrics for easy breathability. If you can’t order them right away, you can still make a purchase now for a delivery in late April or May.
To order a pack of 50 disposable face masks, click here.
If you need to make a bulk order, you can shop wholesale emergency essentials like disposable and civilian face masks, first aid kits, thermometers, flashlights, sanitizer packages and more from Discount Mugs. Some orders do require a hefty minimum, so be wary of that when making a purchase, and please leave the FFP2 general care face masks and any other medical-grade options for the professionals that need them the most.
To order a pack of disposable 3-layer civilian masks (minimum is 50), click here. To order a pack of washable cloth face masks (minimum is 100), click here.
This NYC-based sport bag brand has launched an initiative to get non-medical grade masks to as many people as possible. Reusable, machine-washable, and designed for comfort, these masks — available for pre-order for the week of April 17th — are constructed from excess fabric cuttings of Caraa bags to reduce waste and make use of these leftover pieces for good.
To pre-order a pack of 5 non-medical masks, click here. To donate a pack to New York State’s COVID-19 Response Fund, click here.
Alice + Olivia
Since the beginning of this outbreak, fashion brand Alice + Olivia has been mobilizing its teams to create and distribute protective masks to hospitals and communities in need. Now, they’re helping to stop community spread with non-medical protective masks made available to the public. The masks are made from jersey material for reuse, wash-ability, and comfort and are currently available for pre-order for the week of April 20th. Plus, for every mask sold, Alice + Olivia will donate one to the medical community and beyond.
To pre-order a Staceface Protective mask, click here.
Custom Ink, known best as a resource for making personalized apparel, is selling cloth face masks from one of their t-shirt manufacturers who has shifted its production capability. The single-ply face masks are made of ultra-soft jersey fabric for a comfortable and breathable fit.
To purchase a pack of 12 protective cloth face masks, click here. To purchase a pack of 120, click here.
Reformation has partnered with The City of Los Angeles on LA Protects, an initiative to organize local manufacturers to make five million non-medical masks. You can pick some up for yourself or donate to someone in need directly through the retailer’s website.
To join the waitlist for a pack of 5 non-medical grade, reusable masks with ties, click here. To donate a pack to essential workers, click here.
This popular sustainable bedding company is now producing GOTS® organic certified reusable face masks using two layers of 100% organic cotton canvas and two tie straps. They do not use elastic or plastic and are sold at cost, not for profit.
Global apparel and accessories brand VIDA has shifted gears amid the pandemic to help get protective face masks in people’s hands. Their masks are breathable, washable, and made of two layers of 100% cotton. The design also features a carbon filter, integrated metal nose-piece, and adjustable ear loops for a snug, protective fit. What’s more, Vida is donating 10% of proceeds to the SF-Marin Food Bank and Food Bank NYC to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
While you won’t find any medical-grade products available on Etsy, many of its crafty vendors have shifted to selling handmade masks and other fabric gear that serves as a barrier between you and your surroundings.
Youth masks suitable for ages 5 to 15 made by the trendy brand Jeune Otte are now available for purchase via children’s clothing and lifestyle e-commerce site, Maisonette. Each mask purchased will allow for Maisonette to donate 5 handmade, reusable adult masks to those in need during the COVID19 pandemic.
Los Angeles Apparel
This L.A.-based clothing manufacturer and design space is making masks from a thick, French terry fabric in 100% cotton. The adjustable nose forms to the contours of your face for a more comfortable wear, and every purchase made on Los Angeles Apparel’s site helps fund the company’s ability to donate masks to other essential services while providing living wages for its staff.
For a limited time, fast fashion brand Shein is creating masks and other face coverings sold at the lowest possible cost to cover production. The fabric masks come in all sorts of prints and can be washed and used repeatedly.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo is also now offering easily accessible and affordable face masks for under $5. The selection is described as being for accessory purposes only but can still function as a non-medical face covering.
This e-commerce platform offers a wide selection of quality products from premium brands across Asia, including disposable and reusable cloth face masks — a number of which are still in stock.
L.A.-based brand Sanctuary has launched its Essential Lifestyle Masks for consumers, designed to create a barrier to protect you from your surroundings. These are currently available on pre-order for April 19. At the same time, the company is using its resources and the profits of its lifestyle masks to produce over 5 million N95 masks to support the medical community (N95s are not for sale) as they battle this virus on the frontlines across the nation.
The outdoor gear and adventurer’s shop doesn’t stock face masks but it does have an assortment of double-lined balaclavas and face/neck coverings. Look for ones that are double-lined or add an extra swatch of woven fabric underneath for an extra layer.
The lifestyle brand known for selling stuff-to-make-you-laugh is now producing reusable, washable polyester designs made to hold a standard disposable earloop mask, or to be worn alone as a simple cloth mask. And with motif options like “Stressed Opossum” and “Tiger with a Crown,” you can’t help but smile a bit when adding one to your cart. Plus, everything on Look Human is 30% right now with the code SPRING30.
This dreamy fashion brand has always been committed to environmentally friendly practices, and their launch of non-medical grade face masks was no different. They are made from 100% doubled deadstock cotton and feature behind-the-ear elastic. Each mask is reusable and washable, and for every pack of 5 you buy, an additional 5 masks are donated to someone in need. Click here to sign up for the waitlist.
USA Sewn Masks
USA Sewn Masks was created to employ textile workers currently without jobs to sew non-medical face coverings. All the proceeds from the sale of these masks are donated to Flexport, an organization that gets PPE to healthcare workers. In addition choosing from a variety of fun prints (otters! cats!), Refinery29 readers can enjoy a 20% discount off their purchase using the code REF29.
If you’re feeling crafty, grab some supplies (elastic, fabric, and a sewing kit), a pattern, or freestyle a mask of your own. You can even make a mask using a bandana and some coffee filters — no sewing required!
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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