9 Best Face Masks for Summer
These coronavirus face masks are designed to keep you cool and comfortable on hot summer days while limiting the spread of Covid-19. We spoke with health experts who offer their tips for finding the one that's right for you.
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Types of coronavirus face masks for summer
As the official start of summer rapidly approaches, temperatures are already heating up across the country. But as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, face masks have become an accessory as common as a pair of shades—and they are a crucial tool in the fight against the virus. (Be sure not to make any of these face mask mistakes.)
“Covid-19 is passed from one person to another through respiratory droplets (cough/sneeze),” explains emergency room physician Jay Woody, MD, chief medical officer of Intuitive Health in Plano, Texas. “To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we follow the recommendations of the CDC, which are to wear a face covering whenever in public. Any covering that completely covers the mouth and the nose is effective.” (Here are the 9 things you need to know about coronavirus face masks.)
Unfortunately, wearing a face mask can be accompanied by discomfort that’s only compounded by summer’s heat and humidity—but choosing the right one can make all the difference (leading some people to opt for neck gaiters instead.) “First and foremost, you want to find a mask that’s comfortable,” says pediatrician Cara Natterson, MD, founder of Worry Proof Consulting and author of Decoding Boys. “If it feels good while you’re wearing it, you are more likely to keep it on. The mask can be made of cloth of any type or even a paper product and should fit over your nose and mouth. I love a cool, cotton mask because it’s breathable and easily washable. You want to stay away from materials that trap heat and make the area underneath hot, sweaty, or irritated.” (Find out how the weather can affect your skin.)
To help you find the best coronavirus face masks for summer, we spoke with several health experts on what they recommend to feel cool and comfortable on the hottest of days. (Plus, check out how to make your own coronavirus face mask.)
Sanctuary 3-Pack Organic Cotton Washable PPE Masks
$24 for three
“When you are outside it is so important to have a natural cotton fabric of lighter color. You want to be able to get rid of excess heat from collecting around your face,” says board-certified dermatologist Tanya Kormeili, MD, Santa Monica, California. These Sanctuary masks are made with 100% organic cotton and come in three different colors, including light and summery lavender and lime green. “Many patients feel that the heat is exacerbating their rosacea,” adds Dr. Kormeili. “So keeping your skin cool will definitely help with breakouts of every kind.”
OURA Air Mask
The OURA mask rings in at a higher price point than most, but for good reason: Embedded antimicrobial particles actually kill any germs that come into contact with the mask. Add in the fact that the fabric is water repellent and moisture-wicking for summer and it can’t be beaten. For an extra $8, you can add an N95 filter. (If you’re looking for a mask with a filter, here’s 9 of the best masks with filters on Amazon.)
The Purple Face Mask
$20 for two
The mattress and sleep accessory company Purple earns raves for their sheets and pillows, which are designed to keep you cool all night long. In designing their face masks, they called on the moisture-wicking Breeze Mesh from their lauded pillows to keep you comfortable on steamy days and layered it with cotton to guarantee a strong particle barrier. (Here’s how you can stop the spread of coronavirus at home.)
Natural Home Hibiscus Organic Cotton and Silk Face Mask
With an organic cotton side to block respiratory droplets from getting through and a silk side to improve breathability and absorb sweat, this Natural Home mask does it all. It even has the option to insert a filter for added efficacy. “Filtering can be done with any material known to trap particles,” says Dr. Natterson, who adds that you could even use a coffee filter.
ThePersonalizedGift 2+ Athletic Summer Mask
$15 for two
If you’re wearing a mask for an extended period on a hot day, it needs to be comfortable on your ears as well as on your face. “Make sure that the ear loops are soft. Skin behind your ears can be eaten up fast with rough elastic bands,” says Amy Baxter, MD, founder and chief medical officer of Pain Care Labs in Atlanta. The solution: The ear loops on this mask are made from the same soft, seamless material as the face portion for all-day comfort. For an added filter, Dr. Baxter suggests placing a nonwoven fabric sheet, such as a Swiffer dusting sheet, in between the two layers.
Pegasos Disposable Breathable 3-Ply Face Masks
$50 for 100
If reusable fabric masks feel too thick when the humidity hits 90%, consider buying disposable masks in bulk. These masks offer three layers of protection, plus a moldable strip at the top that you can shape to the bridge of your nose to ensure a safe, snug fit. “The most important aspect of a mask is keeping particles out of your nose,” says Dr. Baxter. “Shapes that don’t gap at the top or have a metal bar to conform to your nose are the best.” Then when the mask gets sweaty or smelly, simply toss it and grab a new one the next day.
Los Angeles Apparel Facemask3
$30 for three
Does everyone in your family have a different head size and hairstyle, but you want to purchase a package of masks so everyone gets one that fits them? Look no further than these masks from Los Angeles Apparel. The adjustable nose ensures that the mask will fit snugly onto every face, while the straps can be worn around the head and neck or both behind the head and tightened or loosened as needed. Meanwhile, the 100% cotton fabric won’t irritate hot skin and colors like white, yellow, and cream will keep you cool.
Tough Headwear Cooling Neck Wrap/Gaiter
Perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, this neck wrap delivers SPF 50 sun protection and is easy to pull up over your face when you pass others on the trail. Another boon: You can soak the moisture-wicking fabric in cold water, wring it out, then put it on for maximum cooling effect. This makes it one of the ideal types of face masks for summer. “I’ve tried cooling towels before, and they were ok but felt strange and clammy and would dry weirdly and crack. This was the first time I’d tried this design, and it is nothing like my previous experiences,” shares one Amazon reviewer. “This works especially great when I bring along ice water in my insulated water bottle and douse it and put it on when I’m done exercising. I’ve been using it a lot the past few weeks after running outside when it’s been hovering around 100° and humid in Texas, and I’ve cooled down much more quickly.” (Find out whether sun protective clothing really works.)
Koral Netz Face Mask
Koral crafts their bestselling exercise apparel from polyamide, an antimicrobial fabric that delivers UPF 50+ protection against UV-A and UV-B rays. Their stylish face mask made from the same fabric will protect the face from sunburn on cloudless summer days while delivering a soft, secure, and breathable fit. (Next, here’s how to disinfect your DIY face mask.)
- Jay Woody, MD, FACEP, chief medical officer of Intuitive Health and a co-founder of Legacy ER & Urgent Care, Texas
- Cara Natterson, MD, founder of Worry Proof Consulting and author of Decoding Boys
- Tanya Kormeili, MD, board-certified dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, California
- Amy Baxter, MD, founder and chief medical officer of Pain Care Labs, Atlanta