The 20 Most Sustainable Face Masks - Good On You
15 Jun

The 20 Most Sustainable Face Masks

The first half of 2020 has 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, mask-wearing is 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.

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Shop Christy Dawn’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 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.

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

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.

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

Etiko

Rated: Great
black and white fairtrade face mask from Etiko

‘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.

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

The Social Studio

Rated: Great
cotton reusable face masks by the social studio

As COVID-19 is unfortunately still lingering over a lot of our heads, The Social Studio have decided to redirect their manufacturing efforts towards creating DHHS-compliant reusable cloth face masks for the community at cost price. They restocking at 9am each day, and the masks are available in two sizes and made from 100% cotton.

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Shop The Social Studio’s face masks (ships within 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!

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

Springkode

Rated: Good
sustainable face mask by fashion brand Springkode

Springkode is a revolutionary fashion hub that lets customers buy from a curated network of luxury textile factories. They have stocked a wide range of reusable masks that have been tested as per the European Norms for particle retention capability and breathability even after multiple uses and washing cycles.

See the rating.

Shop Springkode’s face masks (ships internationally from Portugal).

OhSevenDays

Rated: Good
fashionable face mask by sustainable brand OhSevenDays

Offers

woman wearing sustainable white top and skirt from ethical brand OhSevenDays

OhSevenDays – Studio Samples

OhSevenDays have a distaste for waste! Shop charismatic pieces crafted from reclaimed materials. Up to 80% off retail price on studio samples. (Ends: 10 OCT)

Shop now

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).

Seek Collective

Rated: Good
upcycled cotton face mask from ethical brand Seek Collective

Seek Collective is a line of elevated essentials inspired by the global woman blended with art, craft, and design. The brand has produced a range of stylish face masks made with upcycled fabric. Each mask has three layers: Two cotton layers and a washable polypropylene filter in the middle. Featuring a nose wire to adjust for comfort and prevent fogging of your glasses, plus adjusters at the earloops to achieve a perfect fit. To top it all off, 10% of all mask sales will be donated to the COVID-19 relief fund for The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe!

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

Whimsy + Row

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

This LA-based brand makes truly affordable ethical fashion that looks great—a rare find indeed.  By limiting each garment to short runs, Whimsy + Row utilise deadstock fabric, reduce packaging waste and take 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).

ARIELLE

Rated: Good
plain sustainable face mask by brand ARIELLE

ARIELLE is a conscious collective focussed on sustainable textiles and domestic manufacturing. The brand has created organic civilian masks featuring an interior wool filter for particle capture, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial protection.

See the rating.

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

tonlé

Rated: Good
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).

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 lifestyle apparel company that plants ten trees for every item purchased! The brand uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including organic cotton. It uses renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact.

See the rating.

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

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 2,500 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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