11 Mar

The 32 Most Sustainable Face Masks

The first half of 2020 sent the world into a spiral of widespread panic, and for good reason. From devastating bushfires in Australia, to flooding and locusts in East Africa, to a plague of hornets in the States… not to mention, you know, the global pandemic. In response, health authorities across the world have made a point of highlighting the effectiveness (or not) of face masks for each new seemingly apocalyptic situation we find ourselves in. We knew it was about time to track down the most sustainable face masks.

For most of us in 2021, mask-wearing is still either mandatory, encouraged, or the socially responsible thing to do. But there’s no doubt mask wearing has its downsides! Beyond possible discomfort there are environmental impacts to consider, and then there’s the all important question of how we look: there’s no denying our identity is tied up in what we wear—face coverings included. So if you’re going to wear a mask, why not choose a reusable mask that reduces environmental impact and makes a (sustainable) fashion statement at the same time?

Masks and your health

Trying to find the right mask can be confusing and intimidating. The primary benefit of mask wearing is to help reduce the spread of respiratory diseases including COVID-19, ideally before symptoms appear—remember, general health advice is for people with symptoms to stay home if they can. But even a basic mask will offer some protection to you and your family, so they’re worth a look in. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Before we get to the brands, let’s take a moment to talk about the effectiveness of certain types of masks. The latest guidance from the World Health Organisation, currently stands as this: “WHO guidance recommends more complex masks made of three layers of fabric for the general public taking public transport or going into shops or places of worship where they cannot keep their distance.” It also advises people over 60 or with underlying health conditions to wear medical grade masks (N95 Standard) “in settings where physical distancing cannot be achieved because of increased risk of infection and/or negative outcomes.”

If you are low-risk and lucky enough to be able to maintain social distancing (you’re not within 1.5 metres of others at work, on public transport, or while shopping) then a simple single- or double-layer face mask will do the job. If you are low-risk and social distancing isn’t always doable, consider one of the three-layer options for the more crowded moments.

Disposable masks: a new environmental issue

An unfortunate side effect of the Coronavirus pandemic is the increased use of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE). As a conscious consumer, the thought of disposable masks might make you a little uneasy, especially in the long term—though of course in specific situations like hospital settings, disposable is the only safe option. But for the rest of us, there’s no reason not to invest in these ethical brands making sustainable and reusable face masks to stay safe and look great at the same time.

Both #Masks4All and plastic pollution expert Mark Benfield encourage the use of reusable and even homemade masks, for our sake and the sake of the planet. Be sure to read through all of their research-based advice to stay on top of appropriate mask use. As we slowly come out of one set of crises, we should do our best not to contribute to the overarching existential threat facing humanity—the climate crisis.

Find your country

In an ideal world, we would all be able to buy sustainable face masks locally, but that might not be possible for everyone. However, chances are your country or a country near you is producing options! Below you will find brands from the US, Germany, UK, Turkey, Portugal, and Australia—most of which ship internationally.

Christy Dawn

Rated: Great

Christy Dawn is a minimalist showroom for vintage-inspired women’s clothing and footwear, locally made with surplus fabric. The brand rates ‘Great’, making it a fabulous boho option for your wardrobe.

See the rating.

Shop Christy Dawn’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Tasi Travels

Rated: Good

For travelwear designed for adventures, look no further than Australian brand Tasi Travels. Boasting a stunning collection of handmade garments in eco-friendly materials that are made-to-order, you can feel good out in the world knowing you are leaving a light footprint behind.

See the rating.

Shop Tasi Travels’ face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

People Tree UK

Rated: Great

Sustainable fashion pioneer and leader People Tree is a ‘Great’ ethical brand and one of our favourites. The brand uses eco-friendly materials and addresses labour risks by adopting the Fairtrade International – Small Producers Organisations Code of Conduct. Find most products in UK sizes 6 to 18.

See the rating.

Shop People Tree’s face masks (ships internationally from the UK).

NIKIN

Rated: Good

If you’re the kind of person who likes to wear their morals, look no further. Not only is a tree planted every time you purchase a NIKIN product, you also get to show your tree pride! Protect yourself and those around you now with the TreeMask Allover. The many small trees always provide you with fresh air despite the mask. The tested protective mask not only meets the European standard but is also made from sustainable materials in Europe.

See the rating.

Shop NIKIN’s masks (ships internationally from Germany).

L’ENVERS

Rated: Good

L’ENVERS’ mission is to design fewer pieces made in a better way. Specialised in knitwear, this Spanish brand believes in mindful, careful, and slow consumption, offering timeless editions guided by conscious, sustainable materials. You can find their knitted collection in sizes XS to XL, or even customise your own piece.

See the rating.

Shop L’Envers’ face masks (ships internationally from Spain).

milo+nicki

Rated: Great
ethical masks by milo nicki

milo+nicki makes cruelty-free, ethically-designed, eco-conscious womenswear with Indian & Zambian roots. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials like GOTS certified cotton, and is a leading advocate for better labour rights!

See the rating.

Shop milo+nicki’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

A.BCH

Rated: Great
woman wearing beige reusable face mask by abch

Recognising a need for masks in the community, and to preserve medical grade PPE for health workers, A.BCH made over 350 masks for our customers and, after some tweaks, added them to their core range! The result is a 2 ply 100% organic cotton mask, crafted from a thick, naturally moisture repelling rib outer and light jersey inner.

See the rating.

Shop A.BCH’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

The Common Good Company

Rated: Great
man wearing For The Common Good logo black face mask by The Common Good Company

The Common Good Company produces clothing using recycled materials, proving that there is not only a better way to produce but a better way to consume. Do your part and don a GOTS certified organic cotton face mask ‘For The Common Good’!

See the rating.

Shop The Common Good Company’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

Yes And

Rated: Good

YES AND aims to banish the stigma that sustainable fashion has to sacrifice style, quality, fit, colour, comfort or price. With this US-based brand you can actually have it all, and more: it is certified organic, low-impact dyed, and ethically made! You can find most items in sizes XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop Yes And’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

The Good Tee

Rated: Great
colourful sustainable kids face masks by The Good Tee

Offers

The Good Tee – Activewear

The Good Tee's first yoga collection: made of an organic cotton and lycra blend, it is soft, breathable, and hugs you in all the right places. Exclusive 20% off activewear with code goodonyou20. (Ends: 1 JUL)

Checkout code: goodonyou20
Shop now

The Good Tee – Dresses

A selection of premium quality dresses with a relaxed fit, made with love using ethical and sustainable business practices. Exclusive 20% off dresses with code goodonyou20. (Ends: 1 JUL)

Checkout code: goodonyou20
Shop now

The Good Tee – Tops

From boxy to slim fit styles, these sustainable tops are made with ultra-soft certified Fairtrade organic cotton jersey. Exclusive 20% off tops with code goodonyou20. (Ends: 1 JUL)

Checkout code: goodonyou20
Shop now

Canadian brand The Good Tee is on a mission to be a positive example of responsibly made basics for the whole family, and strives to humanise the fashion industry. Find its range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop The Good Tee’s face masks (ships internationally from Canada).

Culthread

Rated: Great

Culthread is a UK-based clothing label that offers stylish, practical, and everlasting jackets and accessories from vegan and deadstock materials. Culthread’s goal is to make quality coats and lifestyle products that you will want to wear and treasure forever. Make an ethical statement in this black edgy logo face mask.

See the rating.

Shop Culthread’s face masks (ships internationally from the UK).

The Social Outfit

Rated: Great

Buy one mask from the Social Outfit and give one to a person in need. Accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, the Social Outfit has a social mission to employ and train workers from refugee and new migrant communities, you can be confident your purchase is directly contributing to a better life for minorities who need it most.

See the rating.

Shop the Social Outfit’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

HYER GOODS

Rated: Good
woman wearing checkered sustainable mask by hyer goods

HYER GOODS is an NY-based, leather goods label that curates hand-made products including handbags, wallets, and accessories. By upcycling “trash” it eliminates the massive energy footprint needed to cultivate land, livestock, crops and fertilizers, while simultaneously reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill. Less energy and less pollution mean fewer greenhouse gases.

See the rating.

Shop HYER GOODS’s masks (ships internationally from the US).

Outerknown

Rated: Good

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a sustainable brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association. Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Outerknown’s reusable face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Bhumi

Rated: Great
man wearing bhumi reusable face mask

Sustainably made from ‘offcuts’ which would have otherwise ended up in landfill, Bhumi’s face masks are available in a range of tightly knitted jacquard patterns for double layering. The fabric has no toxic chemicals or dyes and is easily washable.

See the rating.

Shop Bhumi’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

Dorsu

Rated: Great
woman wearing bright aqua sustainable face mask by Dorsu

Dorsu creates everyday basics and key signature favourites that form the core of any conscious wardrobe. Shop their fabric face masks for personal preventative measures, featuring adjustable around-the-head straps, and made with a soft cotton jersey to ensure comfort.

See the rating.

Shop Dorsu’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

Jyoti – Fair Works

Rated: Good

For those living in Europe, you’re lucky enough to be able to get your hands on the beautiful 100% GOTS cotton products created by Jyoti. Truly embodying ethical fashion practices, this German company provides employment for people from marginalised or disadvantaged groups in India. Sizes available are S-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Jyoti’s face masks (ships Europe-wide from Germany).

Etiko

Rated: Great
black and white fairtrade face mask from Etiko

Offers

man wearing ethically made black Etiko tshirt with red logo

Etiko – Clearance Stock

Save on Etiko by shopping old stock sneakers and clothing, and stock with slight aesthetic faults. 50% off clearance stock. (Ends: 30 JUN)

Shop now
person wearing blue and white ethical sneakers by Etiko

Etiko – Site-wide

Vegan clothing and shoes that are both comfortable and sustainable. Good for the Earth and your body. 25% off sitewide. (Ends: 30 JUN)

Shop now

‘Great’ Aussie brand Etiko is making organic cotton triple-layered Fairtrade facemasks for pre-order, available in three sizes for men, women, and children. They are one of our top-rated brands, and it’s fantastic to see them distributing some of their resources to this important cause.

See the rating.

Shop Etiko’s face masks (ships internationally from Australia).

Armedangels

Rated: Great
woman wearing black slogan face mask by ethical brand Armedangels

Affordable, ethical and on-trend. Germany’s Armedangels gets a ‘Great’ rating overall from us. The brand covers all the basics for women, men and kids. Armedangels quality and long-lasting pieces are made from eco-friendly and certified materials, like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. They have designed organic cotton mix masks that catch larger droplets when speaking or coughing, and every purchase raises money for Doctors Without Borders—they are currently halfway to their goal of one million euros!

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels’ face masks (ships internationally from Germany).

Where Does It Come From?

Rated: Great

Where Does It Come From? creates clothing and textiles that are kind – to the planet, the makers and to you too. You can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are helping others and our planet through your buying choices. After all, it’s cool to care!

See the rating.

Shop Where Does It Come From?’s masks (ships internationally from the UK).

Malaika New York

Rated: Good

Offers

Person standing in front of a giant metal statue wearing a versatile and sustainable little black dress by Malaika New York.

Malaika New York – Site-wide

Zero-waste dresses, tops, pants, sweaters, and more for women that don't care about wasteful trends. If you are looking for beautiful high-quality pieces that will last for years to come, look no further. Exclusive 20% off with code goodonyou2022. (Ends: 17 JUL)

Checkout code: goodonyou2022
Shop now
Someone outside swishing their long red dress by Malaika New York into the air.

Malaika New York – Mystery Box

A limited edition of 10 boxes packed with beautiful pieces including samples and exclusive wholesale products. Mystery box for $199, containing exclusive items valued at $500. (Ends: 30 JUN)

Shop now

Malaika New York is a minimalistic sustainable clothing brand with a focus on zero waste clothing and accessories. The US-based brand aims to eliminate fashion’s harmful environmental effects by utilizing minimal or zero waste patterns, while maximizing wearability by producing luxe-quality, contemporary garments that make a statement now and into the future. Find most garments in S-XL with some items going up to 2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Mailaika New York’masks (ships internationally from the US).

OhSevenDays

Rated: Good
fashionable face mask by sustainable brand OhSevenDays

OhSevenDays was started by Australian-Canadian Megam Mummery to promote slow fashion and the ‘power of circularity’. Based in Istanbul, the brand reclaims end of roll fabrics from the city’s garment factories and creates sharp, everyday womenswear that’s as wearable as it is ethical. These cute masks are made from two layers of upcycled scrap fabrics, and can help to inhibit the transmission of COVID-19.

See the rating.

Shop Oh Seven Days’ face masks (ships internationally from Turkey).

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good
organic cotton face mask by ethical brand Whimsy + Row

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. By limiting each garment to short runs, Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, reduces packaging waste, and takes care of precious water resources. The brand has made 100% cotton machine washable masks that are good for those practicing social distancing, and for every mask purchase, one is donated to locations that need them most like women’s centers.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Ash & Rose

Rated: Good
patterned face mask by sustainable company Ash & Rose

Made in the USA from eco-friendly materials, Ash & Rose create easy-chic pieces for the modern romantic. Sadly, the business was recently devastated by flooding, but is pushing on with face mask sales and donations to local organisations in need. The masks are non-medical, double-layer cotton cloth. Each is reversible, and most have a plain solid side if you prefer a more conservative look. Material is 100% cotton, either organic cotton or designer remnant/salvage. All pre-washed and machine washable. Let’s show the brand some love!

See the rating.

Shop Ash & Rose’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

tonlé

Rated: Great
woman wearing sustainable polka dot face mask by ethical brand Tonle

tonlé provides environmentally-friendly women’s clothing with a zero-waste design process. To do so, the brand uses remnant fabrics from large manufacturers as well as recycled threads and reclaimed wood from local suppliers for its trim and accessories. The brand is selling these triple-layered quilted cotton tie-on masks and selling them in packs of 10 at cost.

See the rating.

Shop tonlé’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Threads 4 Thought

Rated: Good
woman of colour wearing colourful sustainable face mask by threads 4 thought brand

Threads 4 Thought uses a range of sustainable materials including Lenzing Modal harvested from the limbs of beech trees. This process means that the trees are never cut down and 95% of the production materials to make the yarn are recovered and reused. Their manufacturers are a combination of Fair Trade USA certified and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified. Be protected, safe, and stylish for the foreseeable future with these sustainable face masks lined with organic cotton.

See the rating.

Shop Threads 4 Thought’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Miakoda

Rated: Great
sustainable face masks by Miakoda

If you’re all about that organic plant-based lifestyle, then you’ll most certainly vibe with Miakoda and its organic, ultra-cosy active and loungewear. Supportive of different shapes and sizes, these ethical and sustainable pieces include stripped-back colours and designs that are all about comfort. Everything is manufactured in an ethical factory in NYC, and all packing materials are eco-friendly. Neat!

See the rating.

Shop Miakoda.’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

MATE the Label

Rated: Great
sustainable face masks by mate the label

MATE the label creates clean essentials made with GOTS certified Organic fabrics and low-impact dyes. It also manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint.

See the rating.

Shop MATE the label’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Saint Basics

Rated: Great
colourful masks by saint basics

Saint Basics creates the next generation of vegan eco-basics for people inspired by change. The Dutch brand is fully OEKO-TEX certified and has adopted the GOTS Code of Conduct to protect its workers’ labour rights.

See the rating.

Shop Saint Basics’s face masks (ships internationally from the Netherlands).

Birdsong

Rated: Good
sustainable face masks by birdsong

Birdsong is a boutique label producing gorgeous womenswear. Its clothes are handmade in London by knitters and seamstresses earning above the London living wage. The business is built on a philosophy of fairness and authenticity, promising customers “no sweatshop, no photoshop”.

See the rating.

Shop Birdsong’s face masks (ships internationally from the UK).

tentree

Rated: Good
sustainable face masks by tentree

tentree is a Canadian sustainable lifestyle brand that plants 10 trees for every item purchased. The certified B-Corp brand has already helped to remove tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and reforested over 5,000 hectares of land (that’s equal to 12,000 football fields). But its commitment to sustainability extends way beyond trees. Using recycled, organic, and circular fabrics, tentree cuts down on huge amounts of waste and water usage with every piece. We love them for their super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples that are available from XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree’s face masks (ships internationally from Canada).

Altar

Rated: Good
two patterned cotton facemasks by Altar PDX

Altar is a US-based boutique that specializes in alternative and custom fashion, apothecary, and gifts. The brand celebrates independent manufacturers and artists from across North America, with a focus on the stories that are woven into their work. Its clothing brand, Altar Houseline, is proudly made in America using deadstock materials and serves size gradations from size S to 6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Altar’s face masks (ships internationally from the US).

Editor's note

Feature image via OhSevenDays, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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