12 lightweight and breathable face masks to wear in any weather

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  • The CDC recommends that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear a face mask in public.
  • Face masks can be uncomfortable to wear in heat, so we rounded up 12 lightweight, breathable masks.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.

Despite previous CDC guidance that said fully vaccinated people could go indoors without masks, the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused recommendations to change once more. Now, it is recommended that everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks while indoors. Most businesses and public places will require you to wear a face mask for entry or service, so you’ll still need a few reliable options.

Although summer has come to an end, many people prefer wearing lightweight masks year-round for comfort and breathability. Whether you’re considering a mask to wear in a hot climate or you simply prefer a more breathable design, we’ve got you covered. Below, we rounded up 12 lightweight and breathable face masks.

It’s worth noting that none of the masks included are medical-grade, and the manufacturers, whether they be small sellers on Etsy or well-known brands, cannot make medical claims.

Check out our favorite lightweight and breathable face masks to wear:

Lightweight Face Mask by OVABling

Lightweight Face Mask (small)

Made from organic cotton, OVABling’s masks are incredibly soft and lightweight. The two-layer design is protective, yet breathable enough for comfortable wear in warmer weather. The large variety of colors is another major benefit if you like to color coordinate with your outfits. 

Filter insert: Yes

Filter included: No

Adjustable nose wire: Yes

Linen Face Mask by BalticBloom

Linen Face Mask (small)

Made from stonewashed linen, BalticBlooms face masks are lighter and softer than standard cotton. With nearly 30 color choices and the option to add a monogram, this is also one of the most customizable masks. 

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Buck Mason M2 All-Day Anti-Microbial Face Mask

M2 All-Day Anti-Microbial Face Mask 5-Pack (small)

As the name suggests, Buck Mason’s M2 All-Day masks are comfortable enough to be worn all day. They’re made from a soft and lightweight supima cotton to help with breathability. Although you won’t find an adjustable nose bridge, the mask is designed to channel air downward to keep glasses from fogging up. As someone who wears glasses daily, nose bridges are usually a must for me, but Buck Mason’s design works just as well without it.

Filter insert: Yes

Filter included: No

Adjustable nose wire: Yes

Uniqlo Airism Face Mask

AIRism Face Mask 3-Pack (small)

The Uniqlo Airism Face Mask, which first gained popularity in Japan, is breathable and comfortable — as well as being relatively inexpensive. It also features a washable built-in filter which eliminates the need to buy filters separately and constantly replace them (you can just throw this one in the wash after wearing and you’ll be good to go).

Read our full review here.

Filter insert: Yes

Filter included: Yes

Adjustable nose wire: No

Vida face masks

Protective Mask (small)Protective Mask (2 Pack) (small)Protective Mask (5 Pack) (small)

Vida’s mask has two layers of 100% cotton, plus adjustable straps and a metal nose-piece for a snug, personalized fit. Each mask has a pocket for a filter and comes with one PM2.5 activated carbon filter which the company says effectively blocks airborne contaminants. They also come in a variety of colors.

According to Vida, 10% of the profits are donated to SF-Marin Food Bank & Food Bank NYC.

Read our full review here.

Filter insert: Yes

Filter included: Yes

Adjustable nose wire: Yes

Linen face mask by HeyJanuary

Linen face mask, $9.99

Whether you’re shopping for lightweight sheets or shirts, linen is a quality option and that goes for face masks too. HeyJanuary’s linen masks were specifically designed to have added breathability over regular masks during the summer. The seller has over 33,000 total sales, a 4.5-star rating, and more than 3,000 customer reviews for the linen masks alone.

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Summer Face Mask by FortunaCreation

Kids’ Breathable Face Mask (small)

FortunaCreation’s masks are cut from a stretchy and silky material made for comfort. They’re also very lightweight, which makes them a solid choice for anyone who prefers a more breathable material in the summer when heat can be a problem. They’re available for adults and kids and come in plenty of fun colors and patterns.

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Old Navy face masks

Triple-Layer Face Masks 5-Pack (small)

Old Navy is one of the best places to buy cloth masks if you’re looking for ones to match your style. The brand offers a variety of colors and patterns and they’re all affordably priced. You can buy a 5-pack for $12.50, which is less than some individual masks on the market. And since they’re available in adult and kid sizing, the whole family can find a mask they like.

You can also check out Old Navy’s parent company, Gap, for more patterns and colors.

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Cotton face mask by BKBTailoring

Multi-Layer Face Mask (small)

BKBTailoring’s mask is made from 100% cotton and is designed to be lightweight and comfortable, yet protective. With elastic straps and a one-size-fits-all construction, this one should work for most adults. You’ll also save when you buy in bulk.

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Buttonsmith cotton face masks

Adult Cotton Face Mask (small)

Made from a stretchy cotton T-shirt material, Buttonsmith’s masks are a good choice if your main concern is comfort. The brand offers them in black and white colors, but it’s worth noting that the white version is cut slightly smaller to accommodate smaller faces. 

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: No

Rent the Runway face masks

Reusable Face Mask 5-Pack (small)

Rent the Runway is making non-medical washable, reusable cotton masks out of scraps that have been salvaged from its earlier production runs or purchased as unused surplus from textile mills. They also have a wire insert for shaping at the nose. 

For each five-pack sold, RTR says it will give a five-pack to a community in need through a partnership with Project Renewal, a New York-based nonprofit organization founded to end homelessness.

Filter insert: No

Adjustable nose wire: Yes

Madewell face masks

Face Masks 3-Pack (small)

Madewell’s non-medical cotton masks have elastic ear straps, a three-layer construction that includes a filter, and come coated in an antimicrobial and water-repellant finish that should last for up to 20 washes. Madewell and J.Crew also donated 75,000 single-use face masks to Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Filter insert: Yes

Filter included: Yes

Adjustable nose wire: No

Why is it important to wear a face mask?

Cloth face masks may prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. If everyone wears a cloth face covering when out in public, everyone’s overall risk of exposure can be reduced. It’s important to remember that you’re not only wearing a mask for yourself, you’re wearing it for others around you.

“If everyone wears a mask when in public, the ones who have illness in them, whether symptomatic or not, will not contaminate the environment,” Chris Ziebell, an emergency medical director for US Acute Care Solutions, previously told Insider.

If you prefer to wear a surgical mask, it’s still a great idea to wear a cloth face mask as an additional layer. Not only will it keep your single-use mask from getting contaminated and help it to last longer, but it can also improve the effectiveness. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doubling up on face masks is a good idea and “makes common sense.”

While previous CDC guidance stated that fully vaccinated people could go in public places without masks, the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused the CDC to implement new mask recommendations. It’s recommended that everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks indoors now.

It’s worth noting that you’re not fully vaccinated unless it has been more two weeks since your single-dose shot or second dose of a two-dose vaccine. 

The CDC recommends that face masks have the following features:

    • A snug fit that sits comfortably against the side of the face
    • Ties or ear loops that keep it secure
    • Multiple layers of fabric
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • The ability to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
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