Sustainable Face Masks: 11 Eco Friendly Brands Protecting You & the Planet
Who would have thought that we’d ever get to a point where eco friendly face masks would be a sustainable fashion piece?
COVID might not be on par with Coco Chanel, but we can’t deny it’s a trendsetter in its own tragic way.
Sustainable face 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.
Christy Dawn’s eco friendly masks are made entirely of organic cotton, including the straps, making them compostable.
Here are the 11 most eco friendly face mask brands protecting you and the planet. Social distancing has never been more sustainable!
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1. CHRISTY DAWN
About Christy Dawn’s Eco Friendly Masks
They’re made either of 3-ply organic cotton or a 3-ply combo of silk and organic cotton. The many colors and prints are made possible by organically certified dyes.
Because the tie straps bear no elastic, they’re ready for your indoor compost bin at the end of their lives.
These USA-made compostable face masks come in singles or packs, and in either cupped or pleated cuts, depending on what you find fits your face better.
Available: Christy Dawn
2. THE GOOD TEE
About The Good Tee’s Fair Trade Face Masks
This Certified B Corp uses 100% certified organic cotton deadstock, making these the sustainable face masks for fighting textile waste.
The fair trade face masks are available for both kids and adults and in singles or packs of two.
Available: The Good Tee
3. MALIA DESIGNS
Malia Designs’ Ethical Face Masks
Their fair trade face masks are made from double layers of tightly woven fair trade cotton and elastic ear bands. They’re available in singles, as well as packs of three and five.
To create these masks, they work with fair trade, women-led fashion cooperatives in Cambodia in order to provide economic opportunities for women in areas where human trafficking is common.
This is part of their larger mission of breaking cycles of human trafficking, which they do by donating to victim recovery organizations like Damnok Toek.
Available: Malia Designs
About Coyuchi’s Eco Friendly Masks
Coyuchi offers one simple eco friendly reusable face mask. It features a double layer of undyed organic cotton that’s not only GOTS certified but crafted using remnant scraps from the making of other Coyuchi products.
Being 500 thread count extra-long-staple cotton, this soft and cooling mask will feel as comfy as one of Coyuchi’s organic pillows—well, as comfortable as a mask can be.
The long-staple threads are also more durable and can withstand frequent rewashing.
The straps are elastic and the double-layer design can accommodate an added filter.
5. WHIMSY & ROW
About Whimsy & Row’s Sustainable Face Masks
Whimsy & Row offers some of the best sustainable face masks for those who want to see the impact of their purchase. Just check the Green Story calculation on each product page.
Most have two layers of 100% upcycled deadstock cotton followed by an inner polypropylene filter (as well as a pocket to add an additional filter).
These masks are fully washable and feature a fog-free shapeable wire nose crimp.
Available: Whimsy & Row
About Toad&Co.’s Sustainable Masks
For this sustainable outdoor clothing brand, “ it’s organic (or recycled) cotton or bust”.
In the case of Toad&Co.’s knit and flannel eco friendly masks, it’s both. They feature double layers (with in-between filter pocket) of organic cotton remnants from their other garment production.
Their Reform sustainable masks aren’t organic cotton, but they are still made from leftover scraps of Toad&Co’s other flannel products.
All masks are OEKO-TEX 100® approved, washable, and feature an adjustable nose bridge piece.
About Outerknown’s Sustainable Masks
Made in partnership with Guatemala’s New Denim Project, they feature a two-layer blend of virgin and recycled cotton.
The pleated design is intended to fit all faces comfortably and elastic straps keep it secure. Just remember to remove before composting.
Each compostable face mask is fairly made too since Outerknown is Fair Labor Association accredited and every purchase helps their mission to remove plastic from the world’s oceans.
About tonlé’s Eco Friendly Face Masks
In the case of their eco friendly reusable face masks, this means a triple layer of quilted cotton paired with elastic straps to keep them snug and safe.
The ethical face masks come in packs of three, and, while tonlé typically refuses all plastic packaging, they’re packaged in recycled plastic poly bags.
9. THREADS 4 THOUGHT
About Threads 4 Thought’s Eco Friendly Face Masks UK
For sustainable face masks in the UK, Threads 4 Thought has of-so-many options.
Whether you prefer masks that die behind the ears, head, or low-fuss bandeaus, T4T offers adults and child-sized eco friendly masks, made of materials like Lenzing Modal, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and upcycled production scraps.
Their Triblend Jersey masks are also certified carbon neutral.
Some contain a filter pocket so you can upgrade with a standard replacement filter.
This organic clothing brand is also WRAP and Fair Trade certified, so we know the masks are ethically made.
Available: Threads 4 Thought
10. PEOPLE TREE
About People Tree’s Sustainable Face Masks UK
Another source of eco friendly masks UK readers can rely on is People Tree.
While their selection is much smaller (just one, in fact), the “buttery soft” floral mask is made of a double layer of TENCEL Lyocell sourced from production scraps.
It’s functionally designed with an internal filter pocket and wide, padded ear loops that won’t bite into the skin.
PT’s eco friendly face masks are UK designed and produced by their Fair Trade Indian partner, Creative Handicrafts.
Available: People Tree
11. THE SOCIAL OUTFIT
About The Social Outfit’s Sustainable Face Masks in Australia
With a wide variety of bright, fun colors, The Social Outfit’s eco friendly face masks won’t just help keep you safe, but also stylish.
This Australian brand makes washable 3-layer masks for adults and kids using remnant fabric from their other collections.
Each one contains a wire nose shaper to prevent the dreaded glasses fog.
If you purchase one of their B1-G1 sustainable face masks, this social enterprise charity donates a mask to those in need.
Available: The Social Outfit
How We Chose These Ethical & Sustainable Face Masks
Face masks have become a part of normal life so it’s important to keep in mind that safety and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.
As always, the most eco friendly face mask would be the one you already own or a DIY face mask.
For DIY reusable face masks, 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:
Some of our favorite sustainable fabrics were commonly used in the ethical face masks discussed here.
We’re a big fan of the OG sustainable fabric (organic cotton) as it’s a great material for making compostable face masks, but were also happy to see materials like modal, TENCEL™, and upcycled cotton, and denim.
Be sure you cut off any elastic straps before composting your natural fiber mask at the end of its life.
- Certifications: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Bluesign, and Rainforest Alliance Certified
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 sustainable face mask 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 the last few years have 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, stylish masks 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.