Updated

A Gentleman’s Guide
to Face Masks

Best non-surgical cloth face masks

June Update

A Gentleman’s Guide to Face Masks

Which ones to buy, plus how to wear and wash them

LA's General Quarters is selling masks made from Japanese shirting material—but are currently sold out.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that masks will be part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future. But what kind of mask do you actually want to wear on your face? Do you want ear loops or straps that tie? Do you want a pocket for a filter or just want it to look cool? Why not get one you actually want to wear on your face? And more importantly, which ones do the best job?

Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, who recently conducted a study of the efficacy of different materials used for homemade masks, says that you want thick, tightly woven cotton. Want to make sure a mask is effective? Dr. Segal suggests a light test: If you can see light passing through the material, when you hold it up to a bright light or the sun, it's less likely to be a good filter.

To help you out, we've rounded up the best ones still in stock—for now. There's a lot of variety out there and so many brands are making them. From simple styles cut from chambray shirting and cozy sweatshirt material to more advanced styles featuring antimicrobial scuba fabric or vintage bandanas, take your pick and be safe out there.

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The Best Masks
to Buy Right Now

Sewn with antimicrobial silver

Silver mask,
$16 by Mack Weldon

Adidas Face Cover Mask

Face cover mask,
$16 (for three) by Adidas

Treated with an anti-microbial coating

Anti-microbial mask,
$20 (for five) by Buck Mason

Sid Mashburn Yarn-Dyed Cotton Mask

Yarn-dyed cotton mask,
$25 by Sid Mashburn

With replaceable 3-layer filter

Everyday mask,
$25 by Proper Cloth

Banana Republic 3-Layer Mask

3-layer mask,
$29 (for three) by Banana Republic

Koral Infinity Mask

Infinity mask,
$20 by Koral

Hyer Goods Tie Dye Mask

Tie dye mask,
$20 by Hyer Goods

Hedley & Bennett Wake Up & Fight Mask

Wake up & fight mask,
$22 by Hedley & Bennett

Sanctuary Printed Cotton Mask

Sewn with a polypropylene meltblown filter

Sewn with a polypropylene meltblown filter

Printed cotton mask,
$28 (for five) by Sanctuary

Let's Be Frank It's Electric Mask

It's electric mask,
$25 by Let's Be Frank

Kenny Flowers Graphic Print Mask

Graphic print mask,
$10 by Kenny Flowers

Vida Adjustable Protective Mask

Adjustable protective mask,
$10 by Vida

Profound Bandana Paisley Mask

Bandana paisley mask,
$25 by Profound

Kevan Hall Pleated Plaid Mask

Pleated plaid mask,
$18 by Kevan Hall

Sixty Nine Dark Denim Mask

Dark denim mask,
$6 by Sixty Nine

Made from moisture-wicking and abrasion-resistant technical fabric

Traditional mask,
$16 by Mystery Ranch

United by Blue Salvage Hemp Mask

Salvaged hemp mask,
$20 (for three) by United by Blue

Coal Double-Layer Cotton Mask

Double-layer cotton mask,
$36 (for three) by Coal

DIOP Triple-Layer Woven Cloth Mask

Triple-layered woven cloth mask,
$15 by DIOP

New Republic Soft Jersey Cotton Mask

Soft jersey cotton mask,
$12 (for three) by New Republic

Stock Mfg. Washable Chambray Mask

Washable chambray mask,
$12 by Stock Mfg.

American Trench Grey Neoprene Mask

Grey neoprene mask,
$12.50 by American Trench

Birdwell Breathable Surfstretch Mask

Breathable Surfstretch mask,
$19.95 by Birdwell

Made from antimicrobial scuba fabric that's light and breathable

Antimicrobial stretch mask,
$16 by Jack Henry

With built-in pocket for additional filter

Cotton folded mask,
$19 by Rendall Co.

Ball and Buck Cotton Camo Mask

Cotton camo mask,
$20 by Ball and Buck

Customize it with your own message

Stretch cotton mask,
$19 by Apolis

Los Angeles Apparel French Terry Mask

French Terry mask,
$30 (for three) by Los Angeles Apparel

Lotuff Vintage Bandana Mask

Vintage bandana mask,
$25 by Lotuff

Goodfight Mark 1 Mask

Can be worn on its own or as a cover to extend an N95 mask

Mark 1 mask,
$30 by Goodfight

Wear It Properly

If you wear your face mask incorrectly, it's useless. According to Oscar Health, you should never pull it up or down while you're outside. “Don't wear it below your nose or expose your chin. Do make sure your face mask comes all the way up, close to the bridge of your nose, and that it fits snugly around your face, without any gaps.” Don't touch the fabric part of the mask. Remember, that's filtering the germs, and you don't want to spread whatever germs it has trapped. Instead, use the ear loops or ties to secure your mask and to remove it.

How to Clean Your Mask

According to the CDC, your fabric masks should be “washed routinely.” Most experts advise washing them daily or at least weekly in a machine or a sink, just using regular laundry soap. Toss it in the dryer or let it air dry. And while it's not necessary, you can also go over it with a hot iron to ensure any germs that might remain are killed.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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