Dad Helping Kid Put on Face Mask
SanyaSM/istockphoto

Masks and Accessories to Make Covering Your Face More Comfortable

View Slideshow
Dad Helping Kid Put on Face Mask
SanyaSM/istockphoto

We've Got You Covered

The CDC recommends most people wear face masks in places where it's not always possible to stay 6 feet from others, and some stores like Costco are even mandating that shoppers wear them. Still, comfort is key — after all, masks are far more effective if we're not tugging at them, or even worse, ripping them off and stuffing them in our pockets. We've rounded up some face masks that should help get the job done as comfortably as possible, plus a handful of accessories and do-it-yourself solutions that can make your average mask a lot less of a bother. (Still having trouble finding goods in the store these days? Here are 40 Products You Can Make at Home If You Can't Get Them.)

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Old Navy Cotton Face Masks, 5 ct.
Old Navy

Old Navy Cotton Face Masks, 5 ct.

Price: $12 from Old Navy
Buy It
One of the best ways to boost your chances of staying comfortable in your face mask: Buying the right fabric in the first place. All-cotton masks like Old Navy's offer the best combination of breathability and protection, experts say. They also come in kids' sizes.

DIY Face Mask
supermimicry/istockphoto

DIY Alternative: No-Sew Cotton Face Mask

Whether you don't want to spend money on a mask or need one in a pinch, it's possible to make one that's perfectly serviceable — even comfortable — with materials you already have: a bandana or some other sturdy cotton fabric; a twist tie or paperclip; and hair bands, ribbon, or shoe laces. The twist tie or paperclip allows for adjustments around the nose, while hair bands function like elastic ear loops. Ribbon or shoe laces allow for a tie-back design instead.

KimKaps Double-Sided Face Mask With Ties
Etsy

KimKaps Double-Sided Face Mask With Ties

Price: $12 from Etsy
Buy It
While plenty of masks feature elastic loops that go around the ears, masks like this one that tie behind the head allow for a more comfortable, customizable fit. Buyers agree, saying this kind of design saves them from constant ear irritation brought on by the elastic loops common on other masks.

Los Angeles Apparel Cotton Face Mask, 3 ct.
Los Angeles Apparel

Los Angeles Apparel Cotton Face Mask, 3 ct.

Price: $30 from Los Angeles Apparel
Buy It
Constantly fighting the temptation to pull your mask below your nose so that you don't feel like you're suffocating? Look for a mask with a built-in wire that will help reduce pressure on your nose, giving you a little more breathing room.

LuckyWoolf 3-D Multifunctional Face Mask
Etsy

LuckyWoolf 3-D Multifunctional Face Mask

Price: $10 from Etsy
Buy It
If a nose wire isn't enough to keep you comfortable, try a mask like this one, made with a 3-D pattern that allows it to sit a bit further off the face. Of course, all edges should still be flush against the skin to better contain germs.

The Purple Face Mask, 2 ct.
Purple

The Purple Face Mask, 2 ct.

Price: $20 from Purple
Buy It
Mattress companies are in the business of keeping us comfy for hours each night, so this moisture-wicking face mask made with ultra-stretchy comfort gel bands would be worth a try for those who prefer the convenience of ear loops.

A-Line Hawaii Face Mask
A-Line

A-Line Hawaii Face Mask

Price: $22 from A-Line
Buy It
A-Line isn't the only company making face masks in a variety of sizes, but it's among the makers we've seen with the largest range of sizes. There are five to choose from, suitable for everyone from preschoolers to larger men, which can obviously mean a more comfortable fit than the one-size-fits-all masks out there.

Mission Cooling Neck Gaiter
Amazon

Mission Cooling Neck Gaiter

Price: $20 from Amazon
Buy It
If you don't want to deal with straps of any kind, a versatile neck gaiter like this UPF 50 option may be worth a shot. One caveat: Most gaiters are made from synthetic fabrics, which experts acknowledge may retain more germs than cotton. Still, they're better than not covering your face at all.

Jaanuu Antimicrobial Face Mask, 5 ct.
Jaanuu

Jaanuu Antimicrobial Face Mask, 5 ct.

Price: $25 from Jaanuu
Buy It
Again, while cotton is usually best for face masks, Jaanuu's synthetic masks could be worth a try because they're not only antimicrobial, but moisture-wicking, which may make them more practical as temperatures rise. The material is the same stuff the company uses to make medical scrubs.

Avocado Organic Cotton Face Mask, 4 ct.
Avocado

Avocado Organic Cotton Face Mask, 4 ct.

Price: $30 from Avocado
Buy It
Also from a mattress maker, this mask would be a good pick for anyone who wants to keep things as natural as possible. It's made from two layers of certified 100% organic cotton canvas, and it features ties instead of elastic loops.

SwaddleDesigns Cotton Face Mask
SwaddleDesigns

SwaddleDesigns Cotton Face Mask

Price: $10 from SwaddleDesigns
Buy It
Who better than a nurse who makes baby blankets to design a face mask that's truly comfortable? Available in soft, two-layer cotton flannel, the masks have elastic ear loops as well as a head loop for a snug fit. The company also sells cotton chambray masks that have adjustable nose pieces.

Plazala Silicone Cord Locks, 50 ct.
Amazon

Plazala Silicone Cord Locks, 50 ct.

Price: $10 from Amazon
Buy It
If your mask is too loose, you'll be touching it constantly to keep it in place, defeating the purpose of wearing it. These small silicone tubes can shorten and tighten mask straps for a more custom fit.

Tekcians Mask Extenders, 10 ct.
Amazon

Tekcians Mask Extenders, 10 ct.

Price: $13 from Amazon
Buy It
Also known as ear savers, mask extenders are usually made of flexible pieces of plastic or silicone. They attach to a mask's elastic loops, helping take the pressure off your ears and providing a closer, more comfortable fit.

Fabric, Buttons, and Scissors
FabioBalbi/istockphoto

DIY Alternative: Fabric Mask Extenders

Got some leftover fabric, buttons, and a little sewing knowhow? If so, you can make your own mask extender instead of buying one. And if you don't sew, you can even use a paperclip in a pinch.

Optix 55 Anti-Fog Spray
Amazon

Optix 55 Anti-Fog Spray

Price: $13 from Amazon
Buy It
Glasses and face masks aren't a great combination. Mask wearers who want fog-free specs may want to invest in anti-fog spray that can nip that problem in the bud. This Optix spray can be smeared on with your finger and goes to work immediately.

Senior wearing face mask and glasses
Lubo Ivanko/istockphoto

DIY Alternative: Soap and Water or Medical Tape

For a temporary fix, you can also stop your lenses from fogging with water and a smear of soap. Why? Because the two "act like a cloak" that prevents water molecules from your breath from clustering to closely, according to CNN. Another quick-fix solution: Use athletic or medical tape to better seal the top of your mask to your nose.

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Face Lotion
Amazon

Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Face Lotion

Price: $12 from Amazon
Buy It
If you have dry skin, a face mask is going to be annoying at best and excruciatingly uncomfortable at worst. Keep that delicate skin around the nose and ears well-hydrated to stave off irritation.

Solimo Petroleum Jelly
Amazon

Solimo Petroleum Jelly

Price: $3.50 from Amazon
Buy It
Already suffering from mask-induced chafing? Go old school and use petroleum jelly to form a protective barrier on the skin in spots where you experience rubbing.

DIY Petroleum Jelly
ajaxouch/istockphoto

DIY Alternative: Non-Petroleum Jelly

Prefer to go the natural route? Make your own skin soother with beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil. It's easy to make and will relieve irritated skin for up to a year.

Face Mask with Valve
dolgachov/istockphoto

Don't Buy These: Masks With Valves

At first, masks with valves seem like a great way to stay more comfortable, keeping you protected while allowing your breath to escape more easily. But while they may well be less stifling, wearing one would allow your unfiltered breath to potentially infect others. Remember, face masks are most effective at helping to prevent you from spreading germs to someone else, not vice versa.