After almost a year of the coronavirus pandemic turning everyone’s world upside down, it’s likely that you already have a collection of face masks. Although, if you’re looking for a few new options — we’ve got you covered (literally).
The Post interviewed a handful of medical experts to get the lowdown on whether we should be wearing and using disposable or reusable face masks and which ones are best.
“Disposable and reusable cloth masks can differ in filtration efficiency. The performance of reusable cloth masks depends on the mask material and number of layers,” Dr. Krystal Pollitt, assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health, told The Post. “Fabrics that have a high thread count reduce the gaps between threads improve performance. While adding more layers of fabric will increase the filtration efficiency of the mask, breathability drops.”
But which is better?
Well, “whichever one gets you a tighter fit around your face,” said Dr. Ravina Kullar, an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist based out of Los Angeles. “If you can hold it up to a light and light gets through — that mask is not thick enough and the fibers on the mask are not woven tightly enough.”
Therefore, before your next mask purchase (whether it’s disposable or reusable) make sure it’s at least three plies so you know you’re getting the best quality possible.
“[There’s] no simple answer here [but a] properly fitted N95 [mask] from a reputable source is the best protection,” said Dr. Karen Jubanyik, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. That being said, since they’re routinely used by medical professionals, Jubanyik doesn’t recommend the public use them.
While it certainly depends on the situation, all three medical pros recommended doubling or even tripling up for maximum protection.
“Surgical face masks can be bought at big box stores or even gas stations, but these vary in quality,” Jubanyik told The Post. “Some are very good, whereas there are a lot of counterfeit ones out there that are not well made or tested and there is no quality assurance. The best ones are tightly woven, have two or three layers, a moisture barrier protection and have adjustable/elastic all around.”
Keep reading to find out which disposable face masks they recommended — for adults and kids — to ensure you’re staying as protected as possible.
Disposable Face Masks for Adults
1. Evolvetogether Adult Masks, $36 (30 pack)
Both Jubanyik and Kullar spoke highly about the Evolvetogether face masks.
“[They’re] FDA-registered, meet strict guidelines for filtration [and have] splash resistance,” said Kullar. “[The] design has an inner layer that filters bacteria along with an interior made from moisture-absorbing material for mouths and lips. In addition, they are hypoallergenic and latex-free.”
“They’re comfortable with an adjustable nose bridge, they are breathable even for athletes [and] they are multilayered [with] four-ply,” Jubanyik said.
Plus, the brand is environmentally conscious. “They donate proceeds from some of their masks to wildlife and environmental preservation, which helps offset the impact of disposable masks worldwide,” Jubanyik said. Evolvetogether is partnered with a charity called One Tree Planted, which aims to restore forest ecosystems around the world.
2. Healthify Disposable 3-Layer Protective Face Masks (50 pack), $9, original price: $16
For a simple and very affordable option, Kullar recommends this 50-pack from Amazon that’s made by the brand Healthify.
Kullar likes these masks because they they’re lightweight, breathable, fit well for many, have three layers and are budget-friendly.
It seems like many other people are a fan of these Healthify masks, too. They have more than 6,500 positive reviews on Amazon.com.
These individually wrapped WeCare disposable masks were another pick that both Jubanyik and Kullar mentioned.
“WeCare masks are latex-free, adjustable, and are individually-wrapped which is particularly good if you are going to be traveling or out and about and want to make sure you always have a fresh, clean mask at all times,” said Jubanyik.
“[The design has] three layers, [they’re] individually wrapped which provides extra hygienic benefit [and] comfortable to wear,” Kullar added. These masks even have a “thin ‘metal’ piece inside where you can pinch to your nose to cause a tighter fit.”
The WeCare masks are available in both black and white.
4. WWDoll KN95 Face Masks (25 pack), $50+
For a reputable, yet disposable KN95 mask, Jubanyik recommends this WWDoll 25-pack from Amazon. “This KN95 [mask] is reasonably priced but more expensive than many other disposables. It has five layers. It adjusts well to most face shapes and sizes [and] it’s foldable, so [it can fit in] your pocket,” she said.
These KN95 masks are available in white, black, navy blue and even light pink.
Disposable Face Masks for Kids
1. Evolvetogether Kids Masks, $36
Evolvetogether also has protective (and adorable) face masks that work great for children.
“[Some of their masks come with] decals so kids can decorate the masks, which come in white, green and black,” said Jubanyik.
Kullar’s face mask recommendation for children was this option by WesGen sold at Amazon. “They come in several different colors and animal [designs],” she said. “They are breathable, fit well on kids and affordable.”
These masks are suitable for ages 4 to 14.
3. Singe Use Kids Disposable Face Masks from Amazon (50 pack), $35
Kullar also likes these disposable masks for kids. “[They’re designed with] three layers, they come in four different patterns [and they have] comfortable ear loops for kids.”