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The Best Lightweight and Breathable Face Masks

Breathe easy and stay cool with these options.

there different types of face mask

Face masks are good. They protect you, they protect others and even though mask mandates have been lifted in most places, you should be wearing one when you're out and about and don't feel like you can safely go about your business. Sure, the official ones — like KN95 or N95 — have their issues, but they're recommended most by health professionals. But these ultra-effective options are best reserved for those same professionals until inventory reaches a stable level again.

Thankfully, there are numerous other options available to help you breathe easy while staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19. (It's important to note that cloth masks are less effective but still better than bare-facing it.)

To keep cool while wearing a face mask, look for face masks made from lightweight fabrics like cotton poplin, seersucker, madras or linen. Though synthetic materials can actually make things worse in the heat, certain manufacturers produce face masks made from synthetics that are moisture-wicking and offer UV protection. Those can be great especially for rigorous workouts.

Sometimes, the heat simply cannot be beat and even the greatest face masks can turn into a swamp. That's why it's important to have multiple masks with you if you are out of the house for an extended period of time. When one mask gets too moist, make sure to swap it out for a clean, dry mask. Here are the ones you should stash in your bag and have with you at all times.

The CDC updates its guidelines and recommendations on masks regularly. To read the latest guidelines, click here. To shop our comprehensive guide to disposable face masks, click here.

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5 Pack Cotton Solid Masks
Tie Bar

Made from 100 percent two-ply cotton, Tie Bar's simple masks come in five packs — with two gray, one blue and seafoam green option. Plus, they have adjustable ear loops.

UA Sports Mask

Under Armour's UA Sports Mask is ideal for working out in a crowded gym or fitness class. It's breathable, form-fitting and plenty effective.

TrinoXO™ Face Mask 3 Pack

Allbirds makes this mask from upcycled T-shirt materials, meaning they're lightweight, soft and more sustainable than ones made from virgin material. They're moisture-wicking, snug and come with adjustable ear loops.

AIRism MASK (3-Pack)

Uniqlo's AIRism Mask is one of our favorites overall, for its lightweight triple-ply constructions and comfortable ear loops. Plus, a 3-pack costs less than $15 bucks.

Triple-Layer Cloth Face Masks (Five-Pack)
Courtesy Space Mask
Space Mask

Space Mask's got a host of features built in, making it not only one of the most breathable face masks, but one of the best all-around. It has an ergonomic fit which stays snug while allowing enough room inside for better air flow. The lightweight nanotech fabric also helps stave off microbial growth for a cleaner experience.

2-Pack Silver Mask
Courtesy Mack Weldon
Mack Weldon

Boasting a two-pronged approach of super soft supima cotton and antimicrobial silver, Mack Weldon's face mask is soft to the touch and prevents odor.

Triple-Layer Cloth Face Masks (Five-Pack)
Courtesy Old Navy
Old Navy

Poplin fabric is often seen is lightweight shirts and makes it a great candidate for summer-friendly face masks. Old Navy's done just that with its (really) wide range of face masks so you can breathe easily and safely.

Seersucker Face Mask Made With Lightweight Linen
Courtesy Etsy
Six Oaks and Co

Linen and seersucker — classic summer fabrics — are the perfect combo for a warm-weather face mask. Seersucker's unique rippling allows it to sit away from the skin, letting air circulate. Linen, meanwhile, is cool to the touch and typically looser in weave, which makes it more breathable.

Flyweight Face Mask 3-Pack
Banana Republic

These ultra-light face masks comprises of two layers, a shell made from polyester and spandex and a lining cut from 100 percent cotton. They're breathable, designed for a contour fit, and feature a bendable nose bridge and adjustable ear loops.

These Are the Best Disposable Face Masks You Can Buy
3m disposable face masks
Mladen AntonovGetty Images

What to look for in a disposable face mask, what the CDC recommends, how to suss out imposters and much more.


Other Great Everyday Face Masks
Courtesy Winter Session

Don't need a face mask specifically for hot weather? Check out all these great face masks here.


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