Wellness Health & Well-being The 7 Best Eco-Friendly Face Masks of 2020 Reusable options that are both sustainable and stylish By Starre Vartan Writer Columbia University Syracuse University Starre Vartan has been an environmental and science journalist for 15-plus years. She founded an award-winning eco-website and wrote a book on living green. our editorial process Starre Vartan Updated September 11, 2020 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: United by Blue Salvaged Hemp Blend Face Mask at Unitedbyblue.com "They're also made from deadstock fabrics including organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester." Best Buy-One-Give-One: Buck Mason M1 All-Day Anti-Microbial Face Mask 5 Pack at Buckmason.com "Buck Mason aims to donate a million masks to those in need via its one-for-one “Masks for America” project." Best Design: Collina Strada Fashion Face Mask With Bows at Collinastrada.com "These are made in NYC from colorful deadstock materials and include a pocket to insert a filter into." Best Organic Linen: Eileen Fisher Double Layer Organic Linen Mask at Eileenfisher.com "From superlight and breathable organic handkerchief linen, the fabric is made from French flax grown without harmful chemicals." Best Budget: For Days 5 Smiley Mask Pack at Fordays.com "A five-pack of For Days masks is $25, which was the least expensive option that still had eco bona fides we found." Best Fair Trade: Tonlé Reusable Cotton Face Masks at Tonle.com "Made in Tonlé's own Cambodian workshops, where workers get fair wages, benefits, vacation, free lunch, training, and team retreats." Best for Sensitive Skin: Ravella Hope Silk Face Mask at Shopravella.com "This OEKO-TEX-certified silk is made without toxic chemicals in monitored facilities dedicated to minimal waste." To prevent coronavirus transmission, face masks are going to be with us for some time to come. In many places, they are mandatory accessories in any public place. While some stores and restaurants will offer disposable face masks, these aren’t safely recyclable and end up as trash or litter. A reusable face mask that can be easily and regularly washed is a more eco-friendly—and stylish—choice. You’ll also be more likely to find a fabric and fit that is comfortable for you if you test some reusable options. This list includes face masks only—no bandanas, neck gaiters, or funky scarves. That’s for two reasons: One, other face coverings may be less effective at containing virus particles than a properly fitting face mask. And two, many places require masks that fit snugly over the nose and mouth and exclude other types of face coverings. Note that these masks are not medical-grade and are not intended for use by medical professionals; all are meant to be worn by the general public to prevent and minimize COVID-19 transmission. Whenever possible, and especially inside, keep a distance of 6 feet or more from people around you—wearing a mask doesn’t mean it’s OK to get closer. And keep washing those hands in warm water with soap for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that is designed to kill viruses (not just bacteria). Ahead, the best (and most eco-friendly) reusable face masks. Best Overall: United by Blue Salvaged Hemp Blend Face Mask (3 Pack) Buy on Unitedbyblue.com United by Blue hits the eco-friendly trifecta. At just $20 for a three-pack, these masks are budget-friendly. They're also made from deadstock fabrics including organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester. For every pack of three that are sold, a mask is donated to Chosen 300, which helps Philadelphia residents experiencing homelessness. In addition, the mission-driven company removes a pound of trash from the world's oceans and waterways for every product sold. Best Buy-One-Give-One: Buck Mason M1 All-Day Anti-Microbial Face Mask 5 Pack Buy on Buckmason.com With a super-simple modern black design, Buck Mason’s poly/rayon blend face masks have an inner layer treated with an anti-microbial coating that the brand says will last up to 30 wash cycles. Buck Mason aims to donate a million masks to those in need via its one-for-one “Masks for America” project. So far, the brand has donated over 750,000 masks. A package of five masks goes for $30. Best Design: Collina Strada Fashion Face Mask With Bows Buy on Collinastrada.com Collina Strada’s fanciful face masks are expensive, at $100 for just one mask. But when you buy one, you’ll be ensuring three more go to Seeding Sovereignty, an Indigenous womxn-led collective that works to empower Indigenous communities in their coronavirus response. The masks are made in NYC from colorful deadstock materials and include a pocket to insert a filter into. Read More: Why Ethical Fashion Matters (Hint: It’s About People) Best Organic Linen: Eileen Fisher Double Layer Organic Linen Mask Buy on Eileenfisher.com Available in two sizes, every purchase of an Eileen Fisher mask gets one to an essential worker in need. Made in Irvington, New York, from superlight and breathable organic handkerchief linen, the fabric is made from French flax grown without harmful chemicals. Available in three colors at $12 per mask. Read More: Which Fabrics Are Most Sustainable? Best Budget: For Days 5 Smiley Mask Pack Buy on Fordays.com A five-pack of For Days masks is $25, which was the least expensive option that still had eco bona fides we found. Made from two layers of organic cotton and including a filter pouch, these masks are made in Los Angeles and only come in all-black, but they still have a bit of a style edge with a low-key smiley face on one side. Read More: Which is Greener: Cotton or Wool? Best Fair Trade: Tonlé Reusable Cotton Face Masks Buy on Tonle.com Tonlé masks come in two sizes, which means you can get a more precise fit for your particular face. Masks are made in Tonlé's own Cambodian workshops, where workers get fair wages, benefits, vacation, free lunch, training, and team retreats. Fabric comes from remnants from larger manufacturers, which the ethical fashion company typically uses to make incredible jackets and other clothes as one of the world’s first zero-waste fashion companies. Tonlé masks are lined with organic cotton t-shirt jersey, the fabric recommended by the CDC for non-medical masks (it’s just the right thickness and weave—plus it’s nice and soft). Packages of five masks are $28. Best for Sensitive Skin: Ravella Hope Silk Face Mask Buy on Shopravella.com Those with sensitive skin might want to try a silk mask—but a single layer of silk wouldn’t be enough protection against virus particles, which is why Ravella’s mask has three layers of silk as well as a pocket for a removable filter. Silk is naturally biodegradable, and this OEKO-TEX-certified silk is made without toxic chemicals in monitored facilities dedicated to minimal waste. Twenty percent of proceeds from the masks is donated to a charity of choice (you get to choose when you order if you want to benefit women’s empowerment, social justice, or healthcare workers). Why Trust Treehugger Starre Vartan has been covering sustainable consumer products for 15 years, 10 of those with Treehugger (under the MNN brand). She’s also a science writer who has covered biotech, astrobiology, animals, women’s health, and space for a variety of publications including Scientific American and National Geographic. How to Wear a Face Mask For complete instructions, check out the mask-wearing instructions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If a mask is truly uncomfortable to wear, you should try a different style or fabric. But some minor discomfort is inherent to mask-wearing and is easy to get used to, just like wearing a belt or a bra is for the first few days. Once you put your face mask on, try not to touch it. If you do, wash your hands or sanitize them. Be especially careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when you take it off, and wash your hands after you do. A note on fit: A face mask should cover your mouth and nose and fit snugly against the sides of your face. It should be comfortable enough to wear for long periods (so, no pulling so tightly across the bridge of your nose or behind your ears that rubbing causes redness). How to Wash a Face Mask The CDC recommends either adding masks into your normal wash cycle and washing with detergent, or washing them by hand in a bleach solution, detailed here. To dry, either place outside—preferably in the sunlight—or in the dryer. It’s important to ensure the mask is completely dry before storing or reusing it.