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How to buy face masks, according to medical experts

Shopping for face masks? We consulted medical experts on how to shop for face masks and rounded up those adhering to the CDC’s guidelines.

There are numerous companies making and selling face masks online. If you’re shopping for your own face mask, we’ve compiled those face masks whose listed features and materials adhere to the CDC’s criteria on what you should be looking for, as well as to guidances from medical experts we consulted.

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.

Editor’s note: As we will report below, experts agree that face masks do not replace or relieve the need to wash your hands and social distance, and absolutely do not alone prevent the spread of COVID-19. This article will be updated regularly to include new face masks that meet our criteria for inclusion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans last month to wear face masks while in public to minimize the spread of COVID-19 — guidance which seems to grow more popular each day: JetBlue is now requiring passengers to wear face masks. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring anyone in the state must wear a face mask if they can’t socially distance. And Costco now requires shoppers wear face coverings.

In response, many clothing retailers and brands have turned to creating and selling their take on cloth masks to the public. If you’re looking for places to shop for masks, we consulted experts on how to buy the best face mask for your needs. Some clothing companies are pursuing an additional element of good with their face mask offering, donating to relief funds or donating personal protective equipment to healthcare workers. We’ve rounded up some of those brands using their resources to give back.

How to shop for the best face masks

In guiding the proper way to wear a face mask or “cloth face covering,” the CDC outlined five criteria:

  1. They must fit snugly (but comfortably) against your face
  2. They must be secured with ties or ear loops
  3. They must include multiple layers of fabric
  4. They must allow for breathing without restriction

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