The Best Reusable Face Masks in Canada
We all have had to endure the pandemic for almost a year. And while vaccinations are being distributed across the country, it still might be a long time before things feel like they are returning to “normal”. It may be many months before we can be out in public without a facemask – so why not treat yourself to a nice one?
On Nov. 3rd, the Public Health Agency of Canada updated its recommendations, stating that a non-medical face covering should be made from a tightly woven fabric and include either a filter-type fabric (such as non-woven polypropylene) or a pocket that can hold an external filter. These masks strictly limit the ability for vapor droplets of varying sizes to be inhaled by a wearer, whereas masks with less effective filtering may allow smaller droplets through. With that in mind, here are our favourite masks in Canada that fit the new guidelines.
Our top picks
What to look for in face masks
When looking at buying non-medical face masks, there are several things you should consider, but the most important considerations is the effectiveness of the material/design at filtering out potentially harmful airborne particles and how well-fitting a mask is.
- Layers – As of November 3rd, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing a face mask of at least 3 layers, including 2 layers of a tightly woven material fabric (like cotton or linen) and a third filter layer in the middle, made of a material like non-woven polypropylene fabric. Two-layer masks with a pouch to add your own filter is also a viable option. These masks provide the best protection from vapour droplets of all sizes in the air, as these layers make it very difficult for any airborne pathogen in the air passing through all three layers.
- Fit – Beyond the material of the mask, fit is the most important criteria. According to Canada’s Public Health agency, a mask should be large enough to completely and comfortable cover the nose, mouth and chin, without any gaping, and should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops. Ultimately, a mask should be comfortable as well, so you do not need to continuously adjust one.
- Breathability – The balance between getting a mask that does not let any droplets out while being perfectly breathable is not an easy one. While many do not have issues wearing a mask for long time, older Canadians, people with respiratory diseases and children may struggle with certain masks.
- Style – as the mask most often seen these days is a blue surgical-type mask, style does not totally matter – but while we must wear masks to keep each other safe, why not have fun with it? Many brands and designers have released a line or two of face masks with amazing-looking designs and patterns, so you can easily start looking for facemasks for each of your outfits.
Why trust us
When shopping for a facemask, people are generally happy with a mask that fits well and is comfortable. However, you should not have to sacrifice style or protection for a comfy mask. In making this buying guide, we ensured all the masks on this list meet governmental recommendations, as well as comfy and well-fit for many. We put over 10 hours researching different kinds of face masks while making this list, so you do not need to.
Best face mask made in Canada
Puffin Gear by the Orange Room
These facemasks from Puffin Gear are the best 3-ply mask and one of our favourites, due to their comfy fit, protection and the wide range of designs offered. Made from high-quality breathable cotton in 35 different designs, Puffin Gear has a face mask perfectly suited to you. The unique compression fit across the nose and under the chin prevents the mask from moving while on your face, and its roomy fit and soft elastics that wrap around the back of the head make this a non-obtrusive, so you can wear this mask comfortably for longer periods of time. Additionally, this reusable 3-layer mask comes equipped with a non-woven Polypropylene filter layer, so you do not need to find an insert for optimized protection. Overall, this a comfy face mask with the fit, protection and all the designs you could need!
- Built-in non-woven polypropylene.
- Snug fitting.
- 35+ different designs to suit your aesthetic.
- N/A. 😊
Best fabric face mask
While Montreal-based Confetti Mill specializes in Linen kitchen accessories, they are also the maker of these understated yet effective masks. Made from 100% linen, this face mask features 3-layers to help keep you safe, including a linen filter pocket so you can add a filter for the recommended amount of protection. Adjusted with cords, this mask stays in place and does not touch your ears, for those who feel irritated by over the ear masks. In four simply gorgeous styles, these masks can be a versatile face mask for even the most fashion-savvy of shoppers.
- Elegant yet minimal style.
- Does not touch ears for those who find over ear elastics on masks irritating.
- One cord goes over top your head, which may not be the look for everyone.
Best fabric face mask with patterns
Arraei x Bohème Goods
Vancouver-based brands Arraei and Bohème Goods collaborate on this line of sustainable face masks, that is both good-looking and good for the environment. With a double layer of comfy fabric and an internal pocket that you can put your own filter in, these masks provide the recommended amount of protection. Masks are fitted to shape to your nose, as well as strings to tie around the back of your head or tie your own ear loops if preferred. Arraei also features a line of their sustainable face masks in kid friendly sizes, to help keep the little ones in your life safe. You can feel great choosing this facemask, as Arraei has donated $24000 in free masks to the community in Vancouver, and right now you can enjoy a 4th mask free if you purchase 3 masks. With all the styles, sustainability and price available, if you’re looking for the best inexpensive face mask, these Arraei x Bohème face masks are sure to give you a bang for your buck.
- Sustainable, made from cotton and hemp waste fabric and other sustainable fabrics.
- Comfortable and well fitting.
- Children might find tying this facemask difficult, so keep that in mind if bought for children.
Best face mask for kids
Vancouver-based clothing company Glasnost features a collection of the best cotton facemasks in a wide range of shapes and styles for the whole family. Made with 2 layers of woven Japanese cotton, these masks are lightweight for breathability, and feature a pocket to add a filter for optimal protection. With an adjustable elastic that can convert to the over ear style, and an optional nose wire, these Glasnost masks can fit how you like them to. In 5 sizes for everyone of any age, as well as 16 fashionable designs to choose from, each member of the family can have their own personalized mask – and each size has a unique coloured lining to help differentiate between masks. Additionally, you can feel good ordering a gorgeous facemask from Glasnost, as $1 from every order will be donated to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
- Adjustable elastic that can tie or go over ear.
- Optional nose wire.
- 16 styles and 5 sizes available.
- Some styles seem to go in and out of availability.
Best mask for glasses
Medium Rare Chef
Medium Rare is already well known in kitchens as makers of aprons and other kitchen wares designed to protect yourself. Now they are offering face masks to help protect others as well. Medium Rare’s face masks feature adjustable nose wire for custom fit, and comfortable, adjustable elastics, so you can wear this mask all day. With an insertable pocket for external filters, this mask can easily provide the recommended amount of protection you need from a mask. Users rave about the quality of materials, the fit, and Medium Rare’s customer service as well. Additionally, users with glasses are big fans of the Medium Rare facemask not causing their glasses fogging up.
- Comfortable, adjustable fit.
- Quality components.
- Does not fog up glasses.
- Additional sizing options would be beneficial.
Best stylish face mask
Frank and Oak
Montreal brand Frank & Oak’s set of two face masks have been extremely popular with Canadians throughout the pandemic – selling out multiple times. These masks are understated yet fashionable, being made from upcycled men’s shirts. The masks feature adjustable elastics on the ear and chin, a tunnel at the nose bridge so you can add a wire if you want, and an interior pouch to insert a filter to meet Canada’s face mask recommendations.
- Adjustable to fit to your liking.
- Very stylish.
- Additional sizing options would be beneficial.
Best face mask set
Encircle Cotton Face masks
For some, washing your facemask after every use is not the preferred option. Toronto based clothing brand Encircled offers an excellent set of 5 of their non-medical face masks, so you do not need to worry about washing your mask over and over again. Made from organic cotton and featuring elastic ear loops and adjustable nose wires, these masks are designed to fit you how you want. It seems to pay off, as users are big fans of how soft, breathable and snug these masks fit. This face mask set is great for those looking to buy masks for the family or who want to cut down on their laundry bill.
- Made from organic cotton.
- Good value.
- Only come in one color right now.
- It seems these masks are on the smaller side of things.
Best designer face mask
These vibrant face masks from Toronto designer Kaela Kay are sure to turn heads wherever you are. Featuring a wide range of colourful and expressive patterns, there is sure to be a mask that will make you look twice. Made from 100% cotton with a filter pocket so you can add extra protection. This mask features elastic ear loops, which may not be everyone’s fastening method of choice, but should provide a nice, snug fit. Additionally, Kaela Kay is donating one mask for every mask purchased.
- Gorgeous, colourful designs.
- 100% Cotton with a filter pocket.
- No option for nose wire.
- Only over ear elastic loops.
Best face mask with filter
Inex Gear has put a lot of work into their face mask design, to the extent we feel as if they have earned the moniker for it: “The Better Mask”. Designed to be highly breathable, moisture wicking and antimicrobial, the Better Mask is designed for both comfort and safety in mind. Inexshield, the embedded nanofiber filter Technology helps filter out potentially harmful particles in the air. To help you get through a long day in your mask, the Better Mask features adjustable pull toggles, a mouldable nose and a scalloped design, for a secure fit that does not sacrifice comfort. Available in 4 colours and a range of sizes, these masks are great masks for protecting the whole family.
- Excellently fitting mask.
- Built-in filter.
- US based, so product and shipping is more expensive.
Best mask for working out
This face mask from Under Armor is designed to be great for exercise, with a design to keep it off your face and mouth for extra breathability and comfort when you need it most. The waterproof exterior and anti-microbial outer layer makes it perfect for protecting yourself from both the elements and COVID-19. UnderArmor Iso-Chill fabric on interior lining & ear lops help you from overheating in the mask as well.
While some users love this mask for how comfortable it makes exercising safely during the pandemic, however, sizing with this mask is crucial to ensuring that it works appropriately for you. Another downside of this mask seems to be that fog up glasses if worn with this mask.
- Waterproof and anti-microbial exterior.
- IsoChill technology keeps certain parts of the mask cool.
- Some users’ have had issues with sizing.
- Fogs up glasses.
Best face shield
Safety Reusable Face Shield Canada Bonus (Pack of 2)
Face shields do not substitute the benefits that a face mask provide in protecting others, due to the large gaps around the mouth and nose that allow the passage of airborne particles, including moisture particles that could carry COVID-19. The CDC does not recommend using a face shield in lieu of a mask, but when worn with a mask, they can be used to help protect the eyes of a wearer. This multi-pack face shield features a screen with a large area of protection, anti-fogging properties and high-visual clarity. Users find this shield extremely comfortable, with soft foam padding and a high-quality elastic.
- Comfortable padding.
- Pack of 2.
- Face Shields are NOT a substitute for a mask.
Best filter insert for facemasks
HEPA Polypropylene Replacement Filter Sheets (pack of 5)
We have included many face masks on this list that only have a pocket designed for a face-mask filter, with no filter included. If you are looking for a filter to accompany your face mask so it meets the recommended amount of facial protection, our choice is these melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene filters. These filters are reusable (granted you follow the product’s instructions), hypoallergenic, non-toxic and non-irritating. Users enjoy the breathability and reusability of these facemasks, as well as the peace of mind it provides to protect yourself from the virus. The dimensions of these filters are 3.5 x 5.25” – perfectly fitting for most face masks.
- Made from meltblown non-woven polypropylene, which provides protection similar to blue surgical face masks.
- Cannot be cut and may be too big for some face masks.
How we picked
Ideally, a face mask should fit well, meet all the relevant recommendations regarding face masks, and look good to boot. It was super important face masks featured a 3-layer filtered design or had the capability to have a filter added. Additionally, we only considered masks with an average rating online of 4 stars or greater from verified customers.
Frequently asked questions about face masks
What is the best fabric for a face mask?
It is recommended that you wear a three-layer face mask with outer and inner layers featuring a tightly woven fabric, and an inner layer made from a filter-type fabric like melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene.
How to wash a face mask?
The WHO recommends that every time you take off a mask, you should store it in a clean plastic bag, and wash it after every use. If you wear a disposable face mask: just throw it out, it is designed for single use. Most facemasks otherwise should be machine washable or have manufacturer’s directions that let you know optimal cleaning methods.
Editor’s tip: Handwashing your facemask with warm or hot water and dish soap removes cosmetic stains from the mask interior.
Where to buy face masks in Canada?
At this point, you have probably seen face masks sold everywhere. Common places you can find face masks if you are looking for them include Amazon.ca, Old Navy and Walmart, but many independent designers and fashion companies are using their craft for good, and many are making donations for good causes for each facemask sold.
Are cloth masks effective?
A facemask should have at least one layer that can “filter” out moisture droplets effectively, whether through built-in filter layers of melt-blown polypropylene (best), or tightly woven, high-thread count cotton. Unless a cloth mask has a layer like this (or the capability to add a layer, as many mask makers are doing), then most likely it will be ineffective.
Are there face masks to avoid?
Any face mask with any large hole, like an exhalation valve, should be avoided. Your facemask should not let any air through, otherwise the facemask will be ineffective. Additionally, you will get sub optimal protection from masks that feature cotton inner layers below a 600-thread count, rayon face masks, and bandana/gaiter masks.
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