CDC now recommends double-masking: TPG’s 9 favorite face masks and where to buy them

Feb 16, 2021

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We’ve learned a lot about the novel coronavirus during the past year. In the beginning, scientists weren’t even sure of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But today, we understand a lot more about how the disease is transmitted and how to mitigate the risk: Practice social distancing (keep at least 6 feet between you and others), wash your hands with soap and water often, use hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to soap and water, limit in-door activities with people outside of your “pod” and wear a face mask.

These days, wearing a face mask in public is mandatory in many destinations. But, even if it isn’t required in your area, it’s wise to wear one whenever you’re outside your home and in close contact with others.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted research that proves wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask could reduce COVID-19 exposure by 96.4% (when both the infected and noninfected individuals were fitted with double masks). If you’re not already double-masking, it might be time to think about it — especially when traveling through crowded spaces such as airports or when on board an aircraft or train.

The travel industry has gone to great lengths to adopt face mask requirements. U.S. airlines now require passengers to wear face masks, with Spirit having the strictest policy in place. And, several airlines such as American, United and Delta will ban flyers for not complying with their rules. Hotel chains, including Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG and others, also require that guests wear face masks in public areas of their properties in the U.S. and Canada.

Since it seems we’ll all be wearing face masks for a little while longer, it’s important to find one that’s comfortable and appropriate for you. To help you narrow down the list, we’re highlighting a few of the products TPG staffers are using right now.

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(Photo courtesy of Kenny Flowers)
(Photo courtesy of Kenny Flowers)

If you ask The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, what brand of mask he loves, he’ll tell you about Kenny Flowers. These masks are made of soft, colorful fabrics, so they’re comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They are non-medical grade masks you can easily machine-wash. Masks cost $10, while a mask and shirt combo is $89.

Citizens of Humanity cotton mask

(Photo courtesy of Citizens of Humanity)
(Photo courtesy of Citizens of Humanity)

This popular denim label has repurposed its sewing facility to make face masks for front-line responders and health care workers, among others. The company also sells its washable masks with tie straps to the public. You can buy a set of five for $25. Brian Kelly also loves this brand and has worn his mask on several flights.


Several TPGers, including editor-at-large Zach Honig, prefer to wear a vented N95 mask paired with a surgical mask. These products provide top-of-the-line protection for both you and those around you.

Keep in mind that health care workers and medical first responders need surgical masks and N95 respirators, which remain in short supply. These face masks should be reserved for the medical community.

Also, be aware that there are two types of N95 masks: vented and unvented. The unvented (medical grade) masks are the type health care workers regularly use — although they can also use a vented (non-medical grade) mask paired with a surgical mask over it.

When wearing a vented mask, you are not protecting those around you — just yourself. So, if you do buy a vented mask, be sure to also layer on a surgical mask to ensure both you and people nearby are protected from the potential spread of any pathogen.

Honig shows how easy it is to wear this combination of masks for 30 minutes with no change in blood oxygen levels. You can buy vented N95 masks at places like Home Depot and Loews or on Amazon.

OLD NAVY 100% Cotton Face Masks

(Photo courtesy of Old Navy)
(Photo courtesy of Old Navy)

Many TPG staffers use Old Navy’s 100% cotton, non-medical face masks for themselves and their families. They’re available in both adult and kid sizes and in a variety of colors and prints. We appreciate that these pleated, three-ply masks made of cotton poplin are cool and breathable. Each mask has elastic over-the-ear straps and can be machine washed and dried. Originally priced at five masks for $12.50, you can now buy that pack for just $5.


(Photo courtesy of Marine Layer)
(Photo courtesy of Marine Layer)

What we love about Marine Layer masks is the fact that they’ve got adjustable fabric loops or ties, depending on the version you buy, instead of a one-size-fits-all elastic. This makes it super easy to customize the fit for anyone in your family. Made from soft fabric, these masks are comfortable and breathable, so you can wear them for extended periods when necessary. Spend $25 to buy three Adjustable Sport masks (with adjustable over-the-ear loops) or five Signature Tie masks (with fabric ties).

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(Photo courtesy of Sweaty Bands)
(Photo courtesy of Sweaty Bands)

There’s a Sweaty Bands mask for just about everyone since the company makes some with elastic ear loops, adjustable ties and fabric loops. Teens gravitate to these masks but they’re available in various sizes ranging from youth to adult extra-large. Masks are made with a stretchy fabric that’s 88% polyester and 12% spandex. Prices vary, starting from $9.99 for a three-pack.

Disney face masks

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

While we can’t go to Disney parks for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean the magic has completely disappeared. Grab one of Disney’s new face masks, featuring your favorite characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Anna, Elsa and more. Whether you have kids or just want to embrace your inner child, these masks are sure to put a smile on your face. You can order a four-pack for $19.99 on Disney’s website.


(Photo courtesy of Jill Zarin)
(Photo courtesy of Jill Zarin)

If you’re looking for a comfortable fabric in beautiful colors — or just a simple neutral mask — look no further than Jill Zarin Home. We especially love their tie-dye-style fabrics. These three-ply masks are made of a cotton and polyester blend with a filter. Each mask is hand-dyed with non-toxic dyes. The Basic Bundle of three plain masks (white, beige and black) goes for $24, while the dyed masks retail for $25 each. The company gives a mask to a front-line worker for every mask sold.


(Photo courtesy of The Points Guy)
(Photo courtesy of The Points Guy)

And, finally, if you want to show your allegiance to the travel industry, pick a mask sporting an aircraft or beach scene. The Points Guy is selling these durable two-layer fabric masks, constructed from a blend of cotton and polyester, for $12 each. The masks feature adjustable elastic ear loops that customize the fit. And, there’s a nose clip that helps prevent your glasses from fogging up.

Featured image by EugeneEdge/Shutterstock

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