Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Everlane #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Everlane
Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Reformation #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Reformation
Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by HSF Collective #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by HSF Collective

Sustainable Face Masks: 9 Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet

*This post contains affilate links


Who would have thought that we’d ever get to a point where eco friendly face masks would be a sustainable fashion piece?

But it’s 2020, and here we are. 

COVID might not be on par with Coco Chanel, but we can’t deny it’s a trendsetter in its own tragic way.

While these masks are designed to protect you from contracting nasty things, they’re also made in such a way that avoids other nasty parts of the fashion industry, too.

We elaborate a little more on how we chose these brands using our sustainable and ethical fashion criteria at the end of this article, but here’s a quick filtering for some of our faves:

Synergy has a unique (and super transparent) way of showing the impact of their products. A purchase with Everlane means a contribution to social justice, and HSF Collective masks are made with only the best upcycled and organic materials. These 3 brands all offer mask options without elastic ear straps, too, meaning there’s no virgin synthetics involved.

Let’s get to it. Here are the 9 most eco friendly face mask brands protecting you and the planet. Socially distancing has never been more sustainable! 

1. EVERLANE

Image by Everlane
About Everlane

If Everlane sounds familiar, it’s because they are. We regularly feature them on our site. The brand was founded in San Francisco in 2010 and since then has become one of the most well-known icons of ethical fashion. 

While they’re known for their comfy loungewear, underwear, and everyday basics like sustainable denim, their emphasis on radical transparency is what truly made this brand a breath of fresh air for the fashion industry.

While the same can’t be said of face masks in general, Everlane makes them just about as tolerable as possible. From tie-dye to striped, to floral, their cool face masks and bandanas are safe, comfortable, and stylish. 

Everlane‘s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

They call their comfortable facemasks 100% Human but they’re also made with 100% cotton. Even the stretchable ear pieces are made with a cotton-Lycra blend. 

They also have bandanas that are made from 100% silk.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Everlane’s transparency is some of the best we’ve seen. Customers can see exactly which factory produced their facemask (including deets about who works there and how workers are supported). Access the full factory list here.

Everlane also provides a cost breakdown for all of their products—for each product the cost of materials, hardware, labor, duties, and transport are shown. This gives us a unique look at what we’re paying for!

Green business practices: 

While Everlane does use some not-so-sustainable materials, they’re playing an active role in trying to reduce these. Their ReNew line line is their way of using no new plastic (AKA virgin synthetics) in their entire supply chain by 2021.

Community & charitable giving: 

As part of their 100% Human line, all face masks support Everlane’s fight for human rights. 10% of all sales from this line get donated to the ACLU (they’ve already contributed more than $600,000).

On a wider level, they donate the entirety of their yearly Black Friday Fund to fight ocean plastic through Oceana.

Available:  Everlane


2. SYNERGY ORGANIC CLOTHING

Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Synergy Organic #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Synergy Organic
About Synergy Organic Clothing

Synergy is one of our favorite sustainable fashion brands. The California-based company is a Certified B Corp—and has many other certifications. They make an impressive range from sweaters to t-shirts and more. 

We don’t usually single out a brand’s website but Synergy’s is quite unique – it shows customers the impact of their shopping cart. Basically you can see how the making of your face mask compares to things like driving or using an LED light bulb. For example, just one of their organic face masks saves 8.8 days of drinking water and 23.8 hours of LED bulb energy!

Synergy Organic Clothing’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Sustainable deadstock (fabric leftovers) is the first material to go in Synergy’s recycled face masks/bandanas. Paired with GOTS certified organic cotton, these masks divert fabric from entering landfills while still providing reusable and comfortable safety.

Synergy offers a choice between plain cotton bandanas, or a more traditional face mask with the addition of elastic ear straps.  The latter are available in either adult or child sizes.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The non-medical grade masks are sewn in India in a factory that is Fair Trade certified (as with most Synergy garments).  Only a handful of non-mask products are made in an uncertified factory in Nepal still held to the same stringent principles. 

And, since their cotton comes from India, too, their supply chain is localized. We love social distancing… except when it comes to shipping between various supply chain entities.

Green business practices: 

While this doesn’t apply to their masks (for obvious reasons), we love that Synergy has a program that allows customers to recycle their old Synergy garments. Items can be shipped back to the company in exchange for a 25% off voucher!

If you still don’t buy their dedication to being a responsible brand, just look at their certifications as a Green America Green Business, Organic Trade Association, and the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program.

Community & charitable giving: 

Synergy’s fundraising list is…long. Throughout the years, they’ve supported a range of organizations. 5% from every mask/bandana sale is donated to Feeding America.

Available:  Synergy Organic Clothing


3. HFS COLLECTIVE

Image by HSF Collective
About HFS Collective

The mother-daughter duo that is HFS Collective has revolutionized what it is to be a “bag.” 

Their line of belt bags, bottle bags, and cross-body bags have all been designed with sustainability in mind. These ethical handbags are small enough to fit the essentials and serve as a reminder of simplicity—that is less stuff and more happiness, wholeness, and experience. And that’s exactly what you get from their organic and recycled face masks.

HFS Collective’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

With several options to choose from, HFS Collective uses materials like upcycled chambray, upcycled denim, hemp, organic canvas, and organic cotton in their face masks. Even the straps are cloth, so no elastic is involved.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

A small, family-run LA-based factory is where most of their products are made and HFS Collective is committed to ensuring it provides safe, happy, and healthy working conditions. Of course, it helps that the factory is only a couple miles from their office and they know every worker by name.

Community & charitable giving: 

Working with organizations like Rainforest Trust, Farm Sanctuary, TreePeople, and more, HFS Collective is able to support initiatives and causes that align with their values. 

Some of these organizations (like Direct Relief) provide financial relief for garment workers out of work during the pandemic.

Available:  HFS Collective


4. MALIA DESIGNS

Sustainable Face Masks: Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Malia Designs #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Malia Designs
About Malia Designs

Mixing Eastern and Western cultures, Malia Designs incorporates inspiration found from around the globe to produce some of the world’s most ethical purses

They started in 2005 and since then have impressed customers with unique products that have been made using fair trade practices and recycled materials—and their reusable face masks are no exception.

Malia Designs’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

The artisan-designed fair trade face masks are made from double layers of tightly woven fair trade cotton and elastic ear bands.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Malia Designs works predominantly with artisans in Cambodia. Their mission is to provide economic opportunities for Cambodians from areas where human trafficking is common. 

Through their involvement with three women-led fashion cooperatives, Malia Designs is able to employ more than 300 people and, in some cases, provide them with additional benefits like safe living accommodations and grants for training, home-based employment, workshop expansion, and new equipment.

Green business practices: 

Since their masks come in packs of five, you can either have several on hand for yourself, outfit the whole family, or give them to friends. Which, by the way, reduces shipping emissions.

Community & charitable giving: 

Contributing to their mission of breaking cycles of human trafficking in Cambodia, Malia Designs has already donated more than $160,000 toward the cause. Partnering with organizations like Damnok Toek and Stop Traffick, they have helped support vulnerable children and those who have experienced trafficking. 

However, in terms of their masks specifically, Malia is trying to embody the notion of “alone together” by ensuring everyone has access to a mask. For a set of sustainable face masks purchased, they donate five masks to communities in need.

Available:  Malia Designs


5. NISOLO

Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Nisolo #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Nisolo
About Nisolo

Located in Nashville, USA, Nisolo is one of the biggest names in ethical leather handbags, but as a certified B Corp, they’re much more than that. 

Valuing the producer and the planet just as much as profit and the customer, Nisolo has a range of men’s and women’s sustainable shoes (like ethical sandals), bags, and other accessories—and recently, eco friendly and ethically made face masks.

Nisolo’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Nisolo is like a veritable sustainable mask marketplace as they have several different options from different designers. 

Some of our faves are their compostable face masks. Like the upcycled face mask that’s made with recycled linen and cotton, or the upcycled hemp version, and of course, there’s a sustainably sourced cork version too (which is especially great because cork is naturally antimicrobial).

Incorporating a few layers of polypropylene (common textile plastic) to do so, some masks are equipped with a filter that filters out about 85% of air particles. 

A few other options also sacrifice a bit of eco friendliness for other features such as the OEKO-TEX certified cotton which is combined with SILVADUR™(an antimicrobial solution that prevents the growth of bacteria), and another that incorporates antibacterial copper-lined yarn.

Our preference would be the compostable face masks but how you weigh up your own health and that of the planet is a personal choice.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Nisolo works with three factories, one of which they own. Their website takes a look at each factory—in Kenya, Mexico, and Peru—and elaborates on how Nisolo is committed to paying living wages in one of their factories, and pursuing the same in the other two. 

One big step here was joining the Lowest Wage Challenge to publish the lowest wage in their supply chain (which was still 47% above the area average).

They have a strict Code of Conduct, use the consulting group Accountable to receive social impact assessments, and provide benefits like English classes, in-house finance training, fitness and yoga classes, and health and nutrition education.

Green business practices: 

Partnering with Ecosphere+, Nisolo offsets emissions through programs that save trees from deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. 

They’re one of many brands to also sign on to Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) Commitment to Circular Fashion and pledge to put a certain number of their garments to reuse, which we’ll discuss more just below.

Community & charitable giving: 

With a goal to collect and reuse more than 5,000 pairs of shoes by the end of 2020, Nisolo and their Shoe Reclamation Program reduce waste and help provide shoes to those who need them.

With every purchase of a mask, another one is donated. 

Available:  Nisolo


6. AZURA BAY

Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Azura Bay #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Azura Bay
About Azura Bay

We first discovered Azura Bay when looking for sustainable lingerie. They’re all about empowering the women who make their PJs, loungewear, and ethically made undies

While it definitely isn’t as sexy or comfortable, a face mask from Azura Bay can be just as sustainable. 

Arguably the most out-of-place brand on this list, Azura Bay isn’t a designer per se, but rather an online aggregator for all things ethical and sustainable. They handpick products from a variety of legitimately ethical brands.  

Shifting slightly from their typical curated collection, they’ve recently added a line of ‘zero waste masks’ (even some Hollywood faves are sporting them – Friends anyone?). Groceries Apparel is responsible for the design – another brand that makes an appearance on our fashion brand guides.

Azura Bay’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

The kids’ and adults’ masks are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. It’s as simple as that. The elastic straps keep them fitting snugly throughout the day. 

For the masks that are tie-dyed, they’re done so using non-toxic indigo dye.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

While Azura Bay is not the manufacturer, they assure the masks have been produced in the US. They also opt for those produced in Fair Trade factories as much as possible.

Green business practices: 

Why are these considered zero waste face masks? We’ll it’s not so much about the masks as it is about the shipping. Azura Bay packages them in recycled/recyclable materials that are mostly compostable. Specifically, they use compostable mailers by Better Packaging Co., recycled boxes, and non-compostable but reusable poly mailers by EcoEnclose.

Community & charitable giving: 

Every purchase from Azura Bay means a donation to organizations that protect our planet and the people who call it home. They’ve partnered with Because I am a Girl, WWF, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to support a healthier and more just world.

Available:  Azura Bay


7. OUTERKNOWN

Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Outerknown #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Outerknown
About Outerknown

If you’re looking for an eco friendly face mask to pair with your sustainable jeans or other adventure-ready recycled clothing, then Outerknown will tick all those boxes.

Outerknown was started by surf-legend Kelly Slater and while they only have one type of mask (in both adult and kid sizes) if you do buy it, you’ll be supporting Outerknown’s mission to keep plastic out of our oceans.

Outerknown’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

The tie-dye plastic-free face masks are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. Even better, they’re hand-dyed with non-toxic indigo. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The factories used by Outerknown are both Bluesign and Fair Trade certified. They even pursued a Fair Labor Association accreditation before they shipped their first product. Through these efforts, Outerknown is able to support the (fair) livelihoods of more than 5,000 workers in their factories in Peru, Mexico, and China.

You can also check out a list of their suppliers, fulfilling Outerknown’s motto that “sustainability starts with transparency”.

Green business practices: 

Not only are 90% of the fibers used by Outerknown recycled, organic, or regenerated, but they also offer a program where some garments (like their jeans) can be recycled and are one of the few brands to create swim trunks that are made with 100% recycled/renewable materials. 

Their 2030 sustainability roadmap is impressive, and they’re even passionate about helping others be more sustainable by selling zero waste essentials and helping their partners transition to reusable energy.

Community & charitable giving: 

Outerknown is driven by the desire to help rid the world of ocean plastic, so their charitable campaigns are all targeted toward that end.

Past anti-plastic advocacy campaigns include their  “Our Tides Turn. We Rise.” Breitling x Outerknown ECONYL® NATO watch.  Both campaigns donated all proceeds to Ocean Conservancy.

Available:  Outerknown


8. AMOUR VERT

Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Amour Vert #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Amour Vert
About Amour Vert’s

For anyone who knows French, you’ll know that Amour Vert stands for “green love.” An apt name because after a quick browse through their sustainable men’s and women’s clothing, you’ll likely fall in love with any number of their green denim, pajamas, and tee shirts

Using the same sustainable materials and practices that they’re known and loved for, Amour Vert has recently released a line of some of the most sustainable face masks available (for adults and kids). A few of them also include a pocket for a filter, making these potentially the most breathable face masks on this list.

Amour Vert’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

If you haven’t read our articles on modal and TENCEL™ lyocell, as a quick reminder, modal is made from sustainably-grown beech trees, and TENCEL™ is made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus pulp. 

Combined with other sustainable materials like organic cotton, kapok fabric, and a tiny bit of spandex (4-6%) the face masks from Amour Vert are silky soft, stylish, and sustainable.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Amour Vert may sound French but just about all their items are made in the USA. In fact, more than 95% of their products are made in one of their San Francisco factories.

Green business practices: 

Aside from using the best materials for their garments, they also use the best materials for packaging. Everything is recycled/recyclable and/or compostable. It’s all printed with soy-based inks, too.

Community & charitable giving: 

With each mask purchase, one will be donated to an essential worker in the city of San Francisco where the brand is based. 

That’s their newest charitable program, but their longest standing is their Tees = Trees, which has to date been responsible for planting more than 300,000 trees through American Forests.

Available:  Amour Vert


9. REFORMATION

Sustainable Face Masks: Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet Image by Reformation #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle
Image by Reformation
About Reformation’s

“Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”

Wise words from one of our regular sustainable fashion suspects: Reformation. And they aren’t exactly wrong but in times of a global shutdown, wearing an environmentally friendly face mask is both sustainable and safe. Plus, most places that require masks may also frown on nudity.  No shirt, no shoes, no masks, probably…no service!

Reformation’s unique face masks come in the coolest designs and colors, adding some much-needed fun to an otherwise sombre fashion piece. Let’s all agree if we’re having to wear a mask, we could use a little brightening up.

And you can even brighten up someone else’s day by choosing to donate a pack to one of the organizations they’re partnering with (see below).

Reformation’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Reformation uses some of the most sustainable materials around (usually recycled and organic) but their line of facemasks admittedly puts safety over sustainability. The non-medical grade face masks are made with a TENCEL™ and cotton,  blended with lesser sustainable viscose and polyester thread. Not perfect, but designed to last.

We do like the fact that there are tie-on masks bearing no elastic ear straps.

Since 56% of their dyeing partners are either Bluesign® or OEKO-TEX 100 certified (and the rest are tested against a whole gamut of restricted substances), they’re non-toxic… which is good considering masks personal.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

We’re impressed with the fact that most of Reformation’s line is produced in the US, in the 33 Los Angeles based factories they own. 

Their masks, however, are some of the few outliers produced overseas. While we don’t know where exactly, we do know their overseas partners are located in Morocco, Turkey, and China.  Since all are held to equal stringent standards, we can assume that the factory is held to the Global Social Compliance Programme’s (GSCP) Code of Conduct.

Green business practices: 

Putting planet before profit, Reformation’s website includes a quick how-to guide for making your own mask out of a bandana and two hair ties. Why buy when you don’t actually have to? This is always our first recommendation!

Going beyond that, the company is Climate Neutral, has signed on to the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment with a goal of recirculating 500,000 garments by 2025 to keep them out of landfills, and uses eco-friendly materials for shipping, e-commerce, and packaging. 

Have a look at their sustainability report and comprehensive explanation of their green initiatives to see just how committed they are to being a sustainable and responsible brand.

Community & charitable giving: 

Who doesn’t love a good BOGO sale? Well, in Reformations’ case, it’s buy-one-give-one. Aware that global shutdowns adversely impact BIPOC individuals, at-risk people in the LBGTQ+ community, and the homeless, they’re donating a mask to these communities for each one purchased. 

Donated masks go to organizations like Until We Do It, The White Mountain Apache Tribe, Los Angeles Mission Shelters, and Los Angeles LGBT Center

That’s on top of Ref’s many other charitable initiatives, like organizing company-wide volunteer days, paying their staff to volunteer once a month, and gifting a tree for staff birthdays.

Available:  Reformation


How We Chose These Best Sustainable Face Masks

With recent regulations, many of us are scrambling to find face masks. But it’s important to keep in mind that safety and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. You can easily tick both boxes with a bit of effort. 

As always, the most eco-friendly option would be the one you already own or a DIY face mask. This can be as simple or as difficult as you make it. A bandana is as good as any face mask, or you can get out your sewing machine and go for a fancier, more protective option. Here’s some inspo to help you get started:

If you don’t have loads of time at home, there are plenty of brands out there making ethical face masks for all you essential workers.  

When you do pick out an eco friendly face mask, consider the following criteria taken from our guide to sustainable and ethical fashion:

Materials:

Some of our favorite sustainable materials were commonly used in the face masks discussed here. We’re a big fan of the OG sustainable fabric (organic cotton), but were also happy to see materials like modal, TENCEL™, and upcycled cotton and denim.

Unfortunately, stretchy materials like Lycra/elastane/spandex also made it on the list. While these aren’t exactly the best from an environmental standpoint (they’re made from polystyrene, aka oil), there are few other options when it comes to providing the stretch required to keep the mask securely on your face! We’ll be on the lookout for any promising alternatives.

Just be sure you cut off the straps before composting your natural fiber mask at the end of its life.

Supply chain & labor practices:

When it comes to transparency, the more the better! If brands can trace the production of their products down to individual factories or share the real cost of each item, we feel good about supporting them. 

But as an LA Times article succinctly put it, “The sweatshops are still open. Now they make masks.”  Even in countries like the USA, garment workers aren’t necessarily guaranteed fair wages, so certifications and third-party audits are the best reassurance we have that such practices aren’t occurring.

Green business practices:

This one is tricky because for sanitary reasons, most masks have to be enclosed in some sort of plastic film, but it’s best if brands can use bioplastic or at least recyclable plastic.

Aside from using the right materials and packaging, we’re always crazy about a brand who keeps things sustainable from sourcing all the way to shipping. Look for brands that will ship your sustainable face mask in reusable/recyclable packaging. 

Community & charitable giving:

In times like these, giving back has never been more important. We’re so happy to see that most of the brands on this list have supported a range of organizations over the years. 

We’re even more impressed by the fact that several are currently helping to provide aid or free masks to those most impacted. 


Final Thoughts On Eco Friendly Face Masks

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that without health we have nothing. That is, our own health and that of our planet, too. 

We think general mask mandates should be sustainable mask mandates. Eco friendly cloth face masks might be annoying (which mask isn’t?!), but they’re effective and sustainable. And, thanks to the brands mentioned here, they can even be a legit fashion statement! 

Just remember masks aren’t like underwear; you don’t need one for every day of the week. When it comes to staying safe and sustainable, one or two masks should suffice. Less is more—especially when it comes to something we’ll (hopefully) not be wearing much longer. 

Now we want to hear from you. How do you feel about your favorite eco friendly brands dedicating resources to this cause? Is there another brand we forgot to mention? Or do you have a good DIY face mask tips to help us save on textile waste? Let us know in the comments! 


Sustainable Face Masks:  Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You and the Planet #sustainablefacemasks #ecofriendlyfacemasks #sustainablemasks #sustainablejungle

Leave a comment

Send this to a friend