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Best face masks for work in 2021

Here are some non-medical face masks you can wear back to work.

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Although some states and parts of the world are beginning to re-open, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are still urging people to wear non-medical face masks and coverings when outside the home.

This doesn't mean just N95s or even loose-fitting surgical masks. They can be reusable cloth masks, bandanas, scarves, or any other fabric (such as cotton, silk, and linen) that helps reduce the amount of large particles and droplets you breathe in or spread to others. They must cover the nose and mouth and should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat between uses to kill bacteria and viruses. 

If your business plans to re-open soon, or if you are preparing to return to work, here is a selection of face masks and face coverings that are professional-looking to wear and are best suited for the workplace. But be sure to follow the latest guidelines on hygiene and social distancing, in addition to masks, as you navigate the new normal post-COVID-19

3M N95 respirators

85-packs limited to Amazon Business users

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Amazon is currently offering 85-count packs of 3M N95 particulate disposable respirators. However, they're only offering them to "organizations on the frontlines of responding to COVID-19." If you think your organization or business might apply, you can do so through a free Amazon Business account. 

View Now at Amazon

Custom Ink

Design your own face masks

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Custom Ink is a printing company making soft masks with three layers of 100% cotton. You can even outfit your teams with customized cloth face coverings from Custom Ink. Just start your design and request a quote -- all online. But there is a 20-mask minimum for custom orders. You should also check out the triple-ply basic cotton masks that come in packs of 100 for $350. There's single-ply 120-packs for $240, too.

$200 at Custom Ink

Under Armour Sportsmask

Wear all day, even when playing sports

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If you're looking for something that you could wear for work and also while out for a run during lunch, Under Armour has made a mask just for you. It's built for professionals who are always on the move. It stays cool while you exercise, plus the mask sits up off of your lips for added comfort, and it comes in six colors. 

$30 at Under Armour

Christy Dawn

Made in LA from sustainable deadstock fabric

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Christy Dawn, a fashion brand, is selling three-packs (start at $30) of masks made from sustainable deadstock fabric. Every mask is sewn in its Los Angeles factory and is reusable and washable. 

$30 at Christy Dawn

Kenny Flowers

Buy a beachy mask, and one will be donated

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These Kenny Flowers masks are beach-themed for those of you who want something more exciting. For every mask you buy, one will be donated to Bali to help those in need. In, Kenny Flowers said it had donated 14,065 masks. A three-pack of masks costs $24, and you can get financing for them through Affirm.

$24 at Kenny Flowers

SubZero

Optional carbon filter sewn between layers

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These 100% cotton masks are hand-sewn and made in the US. They start at $24, but for an extra $10, they can come with two layers of filter-media sewn between the layers of the mask. This includes a carbon filter best suited for odors and some ozone and volatile organic compounds. SubZero Masks says it's donating one mask to an at-risk person in need for each mask purchased.

$24 at Subzero

GFA reusable washable masks

Basic masks with replaceable filters

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These are great basic face masks if you're looking for something for you or employees to wear all day, every day. They are simply black, washable, and have replaceable filters. The three-pack comes with six filters, too. 

$20 at Amazon

SwimSpot

100-pack face masks for $250

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SwimSpot, a swimsuit company, is selling non-medical, laser-cut face masks made from polyester and spandex materials. This particular set comes with 10 masks in the color black for $20. There are other masks available, with most five-packs starting at $10 and 100-packs going for $250.

$20 at Swimspot

TheraMasks

Copper masks made at FDA-registered facility

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TheraMasks sells "medical-purpose" copper masks, which the company claims have antimicrobial properties. They're machine washable up to 30 times and are made at an FDA-registered facility. TheraMasks notes that its $20 masks won't prevent coronavirus; they're just engineered to be a "dependable and sustainable."

$20 at TheraMasks

Tilit

Recycled masks with bulk discounts

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Tilit, a New York City-based workwear brand, sells face masks made from a recycled hemp and organic cotton blend. For every mask bought, it is donating a mask to a food service worker or medical professional. Bulk wholesale orders for under 100 pieces will be discounted (but are not part of the donation offer), and there's custom ordering available, plus financing through AfterPay. 

$18 at Tilit

Vida

Masks with adjustable straps and a PM2.5 filter

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Vida's masks are made of two layers of cotton, have adjustable straps and a metal nosepiece, and come with a PM2.5 filter, which the company says features two layers of "Meltblown filter" and one layer of carbon-activated fabric. This filter needs to be replaced every seven days. Four-packs of Vida masks cost $72, but a single masks goes for $18. Vida is donating 10% of profits to the SF-Marin Food Bank and Food Bank NYC.

$18 at Vida

Threadless

100% of the net proceeds go to MedShare

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Threadless sells masks made of three-ply polyester. The masks also feature a built-in wire that forms to your nose. There are tons of design themes, from Star Wars to cats. We picked out this safe blue (Pantone's color of 2020) for you to consider. Each mask is $17. The company promises to donate 100% of the net proceeds to MedShare, a national non-profit organization that recovers surplus medical supplies.

$17 at Threadless

41 Winks

Masks with a polyethylene filter and nose bridge

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41 Winks, an eye mask company, has face masks with two layers of cotton fabric, one layer of polyethylene filter, and an adjustable nose bridge. It's also donating 5% of masks to the First Responders First fund. The masks cost $15 apiece or $30 for a three-pack.

$15 at 41 Winks

Radian Jeans

Bulk discounts for non-profits and corporations

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Radian Jeans is selling masks made from two layers of knit jersey fabric. They come in packs of five for $15. The retailer says it offers bulk discounts to non-profits and corporations for their employees and clients, and it can also print logos (email first: pr@radianjeans.com).

$15 at Radian Jeans

Brookstone

Reusable with five layers, including carbon filter

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This face mask from Brookstone comes in three colors: Black, white, and seafoam. It has an adjustable fit so one size fits all and uses replaceable carbon filters to provide five layers of protection. 

$14 at Amazon

Maxboost plastic face shields

Three-pack for $15

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Face shields have become more common as service industries have begun to re-open during the pandemic. These plastic shields wrap around your head but have a comfortable foam sponge on the brim. This makes it easy to wear for longer periods, and you get to avoid feeling fabric on your mouth all day

$15 at Amazon

Snaptotes

Masks with wicking material and HEPA filters

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Snaptotes' masks offer three layers of protection, including an exterior durable polyester material that is 77% water repellant and an interior wicking material pocket to help wick moisture away from the face. Each mask includes a filter pocket, comes with six replacement HEPA filters, and has a flexible wire nose piece. They come in a range of color options and patterns and start at $14.95 each.

$14 at Snaptotes

Vistaprint

Masks with a 'Replaceable Nanofilter System'

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Vistaprint makes face masks with a custom "Replaceable Nanofilter System," which the retailer describes as "advanced filtration" that "blocks airborne contaminants without trapping moisture." The masks start at $13.

$13 at Vistaprint

Amazon

50 disposable masks for $11

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These masks are an ideal choice if you're just looking for something to offer customers coming through the doors of your business. They're disposable, which is handy, but also, because of that, they're not the most environmentally-friendly or sustainable solution. There's also the same masks in black for $16.

$11 at Amazon Amazon (Black masks)

Hot Topic

Cotton masks with Klarna financing

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Yes, Hot Topic still exists. And, yes, it sells face masks that are professional enough to wear to work. Here is a standard black one made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex. It's $10 on sale, plus Hot Topic offers four-month financing through Klarna. Shop around, though, as there are other patterns.

$10 at Hot Topic

Emilia George

Sustainable masks with a flexible nose bridge

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Emilia George, a maternity wear brand, is selling face masks with two layers of Cupro (a 100% sustainable and eco-friendly fabric). There's also a webbed interfacing middle layer and a flexible nose bridge design that supposedly works well for glasses wearers. The masks cost $10 each and come in a variety of colors.

$10 at Emilia George

Other places to check for masks online

Still looking for a face mask to buy online? Perhaps shop local. Facebook Marketplace is a good online tool to use to find face mask sellers nearby. Just be sure to follow safe social distancing and hygiene practices when you pick up your masks. Etsy is another option if you're looking to buy homemade face masks online from individual sellers. Ebay, too. 

Finally, check out Amazon. It's beginning to sell bulk quantities of face masks, coverings, and even surgical masks again. Just double-check the shipping dates to be sure you're not waiting months for your delivery. Our sister site, CNET, has a thorough roundup of the best face masks to buy right now and where to get them, as well.