In the UK face masks are now the norm, and it's clear that we're all going to have to get used to wearing face masks as part of our everyday lives. Especially as we're about to enter a "very challenging winter period," according to Prof Chris Whitty. That's why we've put together the best UK face masks below – from bright patterns to medically-certified face coverings to face masks ideal for glasses wearers to people who need to lip read.
Wearing a face mask is no longer a question of choice, either. In England, Scotland and Wales, it's now mandatory for people to wear face masks on all public transport, in all shops, plus banks, supermarkets and corner shops, post offices and indoor shopping centres, cinemas, museums and libraries. This excludes people with a medical condition or children under 11 years old (see a full list of exemptions here). People repeatedly not wearing face masks in designated areas will face increasing fines of up to £3,200.
- Jump to when and where should you wear a face mask in the UK
- Jump to will a face mask stop me from getting coronavirus?
Of course, UK face masks is not an issue limited to adults. The UK government now says that schools and colleges can require students to wear face masks when social distancing isn't possible at their discretion. For more on that, see our post on where to buy the best kids face masks.
Below, you'll find a range of trusted online retailers who can provide you with the exact face mask you want, delivered to your door. If you're based in the US, head over to where to buy a face mask. And if you're feeling particularly creative, check out our how to make a face mask article, which details four simple ways to make a face mask at home.
Where to buy UK face masks: quick links
- Amazon - A huge array of face masks delivered to you quick
- HYPE – get three face masks for £24.99 with 100% of profits to the NHS
- Etsy – stylish face masks from just £3.99
- ASOS – fashionable designs at low prices
- Adidas – pack of 3 for just £14.95
- Vistaprint – quality, stylish face masks for kids and adults from £13
- Ebay.co.uk – washable face masks at a bargain price
- Medisave – quality medical-grade face masks available in bulk
- Samuel Johnston – Adult and kids' face masks for £6.99
- Wowcher – A mixture of kid and adult designs at super-low prices
- Prezzybox – Fun, patterned face masks
Where to buy UK face masks now
The best disposable face masks | From £2.99 at Wowcher
Wowcher has a range of deals, and there are plenty of different types of face masks available. If you want a cheap, bulk order of face masks, you can get 10 disposable face masks for £3.99, and 100 for just £25.99.
The largest range of masks | Cloth, medical, PPE at Amazon
Amazon has started a UK face masks-specific store, and as you'd imagine there's all sorts to pick from. Choose from general use, reusable cloth, medical and PPE.
The best luxury face mask | £13 from Vistaprint
When it comes to quality, comfort and stylish designs, you'll be hard pushed to find better than the Vistaprint's face masks. The CB team now has a selection of these, for both adults and kids, and they're the best we've tried so far. Plus, delivery is free.
The best antimicrobial face masks | £6.99 from Samuel Johnson
The comfortable Noordi face masks designs for adults and children are fitted and reusable. Silver Ion antimicrobial technology stops the growth of micro-organisms and maintains hygiene.
Reusable cloth face masks | From £2.49 on eBay
While we can't vouch for the quality of every face mask on eBay (and a search for 'face masks' brings up a ton of creams – add the word 'washable' to narrow it down), there are lots of cloth masks available.
The best face mask patterns | £15.99 at Prezzybox
If you're looking for a standout face mask design, look no further than Prezzybox. The great selection of animal, nature and patterned prints come complete with two filters.
The wildest face mask styles | From £3 on Etsy
This range of UK face masks is great if you want something bespoke. There are loads of handmade options available on Etsy's UK store, plus a range of filtered face masks.
Best face mask if you wear glasses | £20 from Wolf & Badger
If you wear glasses, you'll want a face mask that minimise the amount of lens fog, i.e. one which is contoured and has nose wire. This Wolf & Badger is a good option for glasses wearers, as is this multilayer toggle mask with filters on Etsy.
The best budget face masks | 3 for £12.95 from Adidas
If you're on a bit of a budget, you'll be hard pushed to find a better deal than these quality Adidas face masks. Three in a pack, theses 40% recycled material designs work out at less than £4.50 a mask, with £2 from every pack being donated to charity.
The most fashionable face masks | £10 for two at ASOS
If you're looking for fashionable and affordable designs, head over to ASOS. You'll find animal print patterns as well as camouflage, baroque and slogan prints. And at just £10 for two, they're a bargain to boot!
The most playful kids' face masks | £12 from Wild Things
If you want your kids to wear a face mask without any drama, you should definitely check out these incredible animal designs from Wild Things over on Not On The High Street. They're made from 100% cotton and are suitable for children over the age of 3.
The best face mask for lip reading | £10.50 from Etsy
While a face mask can help prevent the spread of germs, it's a nightmare for those dependent on lip reading. This best-selling design on Etsy includes a clear panel so the mouth is always visible.
The best face mask multipack | 3 for £24.99 from HYPE
With this deal from HYPE, you can support keyworkers and NHS staff as well as keeping yourself covered in style. Not only do 100% of the profits go to the NHS, but for every sale, HYPE will donate a mask to the NHS, a care home or a keyworker.
Quality Buff face coverings | £24.75 from Go Outdoors
Buff's face coverings have a tubular design, allowing them to double as a scarf (or even a beanie) when not being used to cover the face. The great thing about these is that you can also use them for hiking or cycling. Sold out? Try Cotswold Outdoor.
When and where should you wear a face mask in the UK?
Guidance on wearing a face mask in the UK has recently become more clear. On 15 June 2020, wearing a face mask in the UK on public transport became mandatory, with anyone not doing so liable to a fine or refusal to board. Aside from public transport, UK government guidelines for face masks have a long list of places where face masks are mandatory, including hair salons, shopping centres and shops. Not wearing face masks in designated areas risks increasing fines of up to £3,200.
Will a face mask stop me from getting coronavirus?
Wearing a face mask primarily will reduce the chance of you giving a virus to anyone else, not necessarily from you catching it. Wearing a face mask when you have the virus – whether you know you do or not – will reduce the chance of you spreading it.
But there is some conflicting opinion on the matter. As with the idea that wearing a cycle helmet will result in some people being more daring, even dangerous, in their cycling, some view the wearing of face masks as leading to people being less disciplined in social situations. Our advice? Wear a face mask and observe social distancing rules.