As we start out the year with our smiles hiding coyly behind our face coverings, it’s hard to remember a time before they became the norm. Few could have predicted what the most coveted accessory of 2020 would become, but the variety of face masks is now huge – ranging from the high-end designer-made that can be washed, re-worn and coordinated to your outfit, to the cheap and disposable that come with a rather unhappy downside… angry skin and the now-dubbed ‘mask-ne’. If you – like us – have found yourself on the hunt for a mask that will keep you safe and your complexion happy without a hefty price tag, allow us to share our wisdom. Here are our five top anti-acne face masks…

If you have to wear a face covering, it may as well be luxurious – and Slip has just the thing. Anyone who has ever laid their cheek on one of their 100% mulberry silk pillowcases will attest to the buttery softness of the fabric, so we were (very) happy to hear that their reusable face masks come crafted in three layers of the same glorious material. It’s hypoallergenic and naturally cooling; ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or who is keen to avoid a post-mask flare-up. 

Their signature Slipsilk™ fabric has been ten years in the making, as they refined and re-refined it to ensure the perfect shine, smoothness and durability. Their silk pillowcases are praised for creating less ‘sleep creases’ (read: wrinkles!) on your face overnight and for absorbing less of your precious moisturisers and beauty products, and you can expect the same from their masks too. 

The adjustable ear straps and nose wire will keep your slip face-covering comfortable and secure with minimal fiddling required. And they tick the box for style as well as safety too, with a choice of masks in a chic black, rose gold or pretty pale pink hue, as well as a selection of jazzy prints for a more eye-catching look. All are made using non-toxic dyes and can be machine-washed for added convenience.

Coco Rose 
Calling our fellow four-eyed friends! All of us who wear glasses are likely to have experienced the frustration of your eyewear steaming up as a result of your mask – but there’s a solution. Coco Rose face masks have a unique angled design that’s shaped to follow the natural contours of your face so you’ll be able to see and breathe at the same time… something we really didn’t expect to become a novelty this year! 

Depending on the sensitivity of your skin or simply your personal preference, you can opt for a Coco Rose mask in one of two fabrics: 100% silk or 100% cotton. Both come in a wide range of colours and patterns (we love the silk one in sage green, and the soft cotton mask with a colourful poppy print) and include a matching pouch to store your mask too.

What about safety? The fit is snug and secure over the mouth and nose, and all their masks are double-layered for effective filtration. If you would like to add an extra layer of protection, you’ll be happy to hear that they also include a built-in filter pocket which are quick and easy to change. Even better? The brand has partnered with Honeypot Children’s Charity to donate the profits from all of their face masks to provide support to young carers. 

What actually causes the horror that is mask-ne? The friction between the mask and the skin’s surface results in irritation, clogged pores and a big hello to unsightly pimples. Cheaper fabrics are less breathable too, so heat and moisture build-up on the skin, allowing bacteria to thrive.  

Enter the Anti-Acne Face Mask from MDAcne. Its name may not be the most imaginative, but it’s easily the most qualified of all the affordable face coverings out there. 

Tested and approved by dermatologists, the breathable and non-toxic cotton-rayon blend is anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, and contains two secret additions that set MDAcne masks on a protective pedestal high above the rest: nanoparticles of copper and silver.

Why? Well, it turns out that copper oxide is an anti-microbial agent that’s been shown to help prevent breakouts by killing bacteria, fungi and viruses on the skin before they can cause any acne anguish (hurrah!). It’s also useful in aiding air filtration, thereby reducing the risk of virus transmission. As for silver, in addition to looking rather nice as earrings, necklaces and bracelets, this precious metal actually has a long history in helping to fight air-borne pathogens and infections and was even used in hospital bedsheets as it’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral. 

If that wasn’t already enough to have you placing an order, these science-backed masks – that come in a pack of three – are sustainably made and free from polyester and other synthetic fibres known to cause acne. 

There’s no denying that disposable masks are more than a little unfriendly to the planet as well as wreaking havoc on our skin, so if you’re looking to upgrade your mask game with a wardrobe full of vibrant reusable face coverings, head straight to Pacamask.

Their face masks – made with silver ion technology – are shown to kill 99% bacteria for up to 50 washes. They’re antibacterial as well as anti-germ, anti-dust and anti-pollen, making them a great choice for people with allergies and/or acne-prone skin. The silk fabric absorbs less moisture than cotton too, so it won’t dry out your skin like their cheaper counterparts, and the elasticated ear loops are adjustable for a snug, personalised fit that’s comfortable to wear even for longer periods.

As for how they look, a quick scroll through the Pacamask website reveals colours, patterns and prints to suit all personalities. They have options specifically made for men, women and children too, making this your one-stop-shop for the entire family’s face-wear. And don’t forget your mask case! After you’ve stepped out of the shop or off the train and can safely free your face, pop your covering in a Pacamask case made from silver ion-treated material, protecting it from all the nasties in your pocket or handbag until you need it next.  

Terra Dea
Earlier last year, sustainable swimwear designer Terra Dea turned their talented hand to face masks. Their eco-luxe face coverings are crafted from a triple-layered bamboo vegan silk that’s kind to your complexion, delicate to the touch and antibacterial too. Inside is a soft, breathable lining made from 100% organic cotton that sits smooth and comfortable against your skin. 

Each mask comes with an adjustable nose wire and scrunchie-style elasticated ear straps for maximum comfort and comes with a smooth matte or soft satin finish in white, black, pink or olive green. Our favourite though has got to be the Vintage Silk Face Mask. It’s crafted from a piece of repurposed vintage silk fabric and has a beautiful ombre green hue that – depending on the light – can range from delicate mint to vibrant turquoise to deep teal, making it truly one of a kind.
Whichever you choose, these face masks will do more than just look lovely and protect you from Covid-19, as 10% of every purchase is donated to the World Wildlife Fund.

In case you haven’t heard of Terra Dea, this homegrown, ethically-minded brand is known for their high-quality regenerated nylon fabric that sees ocean and landfill waste transformed into beautiful, super flattering (and reversible!) bikinis. Everything – including their new face masks – is made in their artisan studio in the Cotswolds and shipped out in eco-friendly packaging to their happy customers around the UK. 

words by Zoe Louise Lagesse

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