Face masks are good. They protect you, they protect others and you should be wearing one when you're out and about or can't socially distance yourself from others. But they have their issues. For one, face masks can make it difficult to breathe. Maybe even worse, a bad face mask can get hot and humid (gross).
Thankfully, there are numerous options available to help you breathe easy while staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
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.
Wicking moisture away is key to letting water droplets evaporate and letting you breathe. Buck Mason's face mask is made from soft pima cotton that does just that while also preventing the growth of microbes, courtesy of an anti-microbial coating.
Cotton is a great all-around fabric thanks to its softness and breathability. These face masks employ recycled cotton in a 3-ply design that's light enough to wear through summer and beyond.
Merino wool may sound like the furthest thing from a summer-ready face mask. However, merino wool is great for regulating temperature (winter and summer) and wicking away moisture for better air flow.
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.
Under Armour's tech-forward approach to the face mask yields a complex product that's built for performance. The structured shell sits away from your nose and mouth, allowing for better air flow and breathability while the UA Iso-chill technology keeps your face feeling cool all throughout your workout.
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.
Hammacher Schlemmer's multifaceted face mask keeps you cool thanks to its technical fabric lining that draws moisture away from the face. It also helps block UV rays and is imbued with antibacterial silver ions to ward off odors.
Uniqlo's AIRism fabric is lauded for its supercooling capabilities. While overseas customers have enjoyed the innovative tech in the AIRism Face Mask, Uniqlo's set to release it Stateside on the August 24. It features a built-in filter as well as a UV-blocking mesh fabric to keep your skin safe from the sun's rays.
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.
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.
Made using lightweight shirting fabric, American Trench's straightforward face masks are crafted for summer. The accordion-style construction allows it to expand over the face for full coverage without hugging, letting you breathe more easily.
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.
Made using The North Face's nano-spun FUTURELIGHT technology, their eponymous Nano Mask makes partaking in high output activities palatable in a mask. There's a semi-soft nose bridge for stability and adjustable ear loops for personalized comfortability.
Champion's single-layer mask made from a polyester/spandex blend proves significantly more breathable, which prevents you from vaping your own breath. Designed to keep moisture in check, they can even survive summer sweat.
Don't need a face mask specifically for hot weather? Check out all these great face masks here.