15 Face Masks That Benefit Frontline Workers
As the imminent arrival of COVID-19 hung over the United States, many people began to panic and started ordering as many face masks, both medical and non-medical, as they could. The CDC was quick to issue a statement that this wasn't necessary, but flash forward to over a month later, and the government has changed their tune: the CDC is recommending that everyone wear a face mask in public to slow the transmission of COVID-19. But you can buy face masks that support a hospital or charity, and make a difference for yourself and our healthcare heroes.
Before you start purchasing, though, there are some things you need to know. The CDC and doctors everywhere want everyone to know that cloth face masks are absolutely not a substitution for social distancing. Even if you and the people you are with are all wearing face masks, it's still imperative that you stay at least six feet away from each other as this is the better way to prevent transmission.
Cloth face masks will help slow the spread of COVID-19 if they're worn by someone who is showing symptoms or someone who has COVID and is asymptomatic — in other words, they don't even know they have it, but they are spreading it to others around them. They may help prevent droplets that could carry the virus from one person to another. However, cloth face masks are not medical-grade (they are not nearly as protective as the N95 masks you've probably heard of). They are not guaranteed to work, and that's why social distancing is still important.
The other thing to know is that healthcare professionals across the country still need more PPE. So, if you can afford to buy a mask, you should strongly consider buying one from a brand that is going to donate masks or money to hospitals or charities. You'll get something to protect yourself, and you'll be giving back in the process. Remember that most of these companies are making these in real time, so you may have to wait a few weeks before you receive yours.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Sanctuary has created stylish cloth face masks in a variety of patterns that will make wearing them a little bit more... fun? Almost. These are unisex and are made with a double lining. Sanctuary recommends cleaning them with alcohol after each use, then throwing them away after a few wears (they're not meant to last forever).
With the purchase of a mask, Sanctuary will be providing a mask to organizations in need. These are available for presale right now, and will begin shipping April 19.
2. Buck Mason
Buck Mason has created a pack of five non-medical, reusable cotton face masks with an anti-microbial coating on the inner layer that lasts up to 30 wash cycles. The company is careful to stress that this isn't a fashion piece: they are making them for protection, which means that they can't guarantee color or design, and they are making them in real time.
They have a goal to donate a million non-medical masks to residents in California and throughout the country. For each mask sold, they will be donating one mask to someone in need.
3. Alice and Olivia
Covered in Alice and Olivia's signature Staceface design, this is just as cute as you'd think it would be. It's machine washable so you can re-wear it, and it gives back: for each mask sold, Alice and Olivia is donating one to communities in need.
4. Jack and Mulligan
For $50, you can get five reusable non-medical grade masks that can be machine washed. They are reversible, and are white on one side, black on the other (although some might be one solid color). A portion of proceeds from the Jack & Mulligan masks will be donated to the CDC Foundation's Emergency Response Fund.
Caraa is being environmentally responsible and helpful at the same time: each mask is made with recycled scrap materials from their production line in order to minimize waste. They are reusable, hand-washable, and non-medical grade. The colors vary and can't be requested, and they come with free shipping.
Caraa will match each purchase with a pack donation to New York State's COVID-19 Response Fund.
6. American Blanket Company
American Blanket Company is making soft fleece masks that stand out: they are supposed to be thicker, denser, and more comfortable than cotton or paper options. And while they might look like, well, a blanket, they are still breathable. Each pack comes with five, and they are machine washable.
The company is donating face masks to first responders and healthcare workers with every purchase made, so shipping time will be about 25 to 30 days. Before placing an order, you can look on the site to get an idea of when yours would be ready.
Everybody World is making 100% cotton face masks with an adjustable nose to ensure it forms to the contours of your face and fits properly. The two straps that go around the head and neck can be tied and tightened for the right fit as well.
A portion of proceeds goes to their employee relief Rainy Day Fund, which offers more paid time off for factory workers during the pandemic.
Goodfight is making washable and reusable masks that can be worn on their own or as a cover for an N95 mask to extend its life. Each mask has an inner sleeve to insert a replaceable filter, along with printable cut-and--trace guidelines.
For each mask sold, Goodfight is donating a mask to local institutions in need of PPE. You have the option to preorder a mask, or just to donate one if you want.
9. Ball and Buck
Ball and Buck has pivoted from making just menswear to making face masks as well. They've created reusable cotton masks in their well-known original camo design. These can be worn on their own as a non-medical grade mask or as a cover for N95 masks.
For every mask you purchase, Ball and Buck will donate one to a hospital in need.
10. Naomi Nomi
Naomi Nomi is making cotton masks for anyone who wants one. They are machine washable and really basic, but they get the job done. For each purchase, Naomi Nomi will donate a mask to a healthcare worker in need, which will be distributed through Masks4Medicine.
If you want to pay $18 to donate both masks, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number.
11. Los Angeles Apparel
For $30, you can get three reusable face masks from Los Angeles Apparel. Each mask is made of 100% cotton and has an adjustable nose to form to the contours of your face. The two straps can also be tied and tightened as needed. It's made of a thick French terry fabric (but is still breathable) and can be washed in the machine.
All purchases of the face masks will help fund their ability to donate masks to other essential services while providing living wages and supporting vertically integrated US manufacturing.
Onzie is making colorfully patterned two-pack masks that are quick-drying and breathable. They are made from up-cycled fabrics used in their yoga clothing to minimize waste. The masks are made of a multi-layer fabric made of Full Flex Spandex technology for a stretchy, comfortable fit.
Proceeds from each purchase will be donated to healthcare workers across America through a donation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. If you want to donate masks, there is another link where you can pay $24 to donate two masks to a healthcare worker.
13. Hedley and Bennett
Hedley and Bennett, a brand that normally makes gear for chefs, has switched things up during what they call "a crucial need to come together to support individuals and the world alike, even if the solution is not perfect or something normally in our wheelhouse." They have transitioned to making face masks instead of aprons.
Each time you buy a mask, they will donate one to those working on the front lines, such as doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery store employees, restaurant workers, and others.
14. Mask Club
Mask Club is the first subscription-based buy one, donate one online face mask destination. They are working with over 800 licensed brands to produce 20,000 double-ply masks a day, all printed and sewn in the USA. Their first 2,000 designs include brands like NASA, Betty Boop, Popeye, and Care Bears to make them less intimidating for kids.
For each mask purchase, the company will donate a medical grade mask to First Responders Children’s Foundation for distribution to paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters and medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. At launch, MaskClub is also donating an initial 5,000 masks to the foundation.
15. Arm The Animals
Arm The Animals has started making funky and unique face masks for anyone to buy. They are machine washable and reusable. For every mask purchased, an additional mask will be donated to local hospitals, medical facilities and front line workers.