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As COVID-19 cases continue to necessitate the use of face masks, it's time to take a look at some of the best options available.

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We’re past the stage of questioning the importance of masks during a global pandemic. The results are in: cloth face masks work as an effective barrier between you and potential COVID-19 carrying particles. Melburnians have now adopted them as a social norm, and the rest of Australia are predominantly investing in reusable masks.

On a global scale coronavirus cases continue to rise, now at 21.7 million according to the Johns Hopkins University tally, while the global death toll has passed 776,000. Nationally things are much better. While health experts have warned Victoria to brace for more heartbreaking daily COVID-19 death tolls, Australia’s other states and territories are thankfully recording new cases in the single digits.

According to the Australian National Centre for Disease Control (CDC), cloth covering masks are most effective when they fit snugly against the sides of the face, have secure ties or ear loops, allow for unrestricted breathing and are able to be washed and machine dried without damaging.

Looking for face masks for yourself or your loved ones? Here are our top picks when it comes to CDC guidelines, supporting local businesses, and style for readers who want to express their personality.

EN ES Neoprene Guard Red Face Mask

Whether you currently live in a hotspot or not, it’s in your best interest to mask up. Culture Kings, the Melbourne-based global mecca when it comes to streetwear, have a vast range of face masks in different colours, styles, materials and brands. Name your persuasion and we can guarantee Culture Kings can cater to it.

One of the stand out pieces in the range is the EN ES Neoprene Guard Face Mask in Red. It’s unisex, it’s warm and water resistant, it has a perforated front for breathability, and with a visible seam down the front, it catches your attention. The structured look also puts a high-fashion spin on what is actually less compromising when it comes to face protection.

Culture Kings Goat Crew Fuck 2020 Face Mask Black

If there was ever a more perfect time capsule product to show future generations the year that was… this would be it. It’s a simple design, but it says so much more than just “Fuck 2020”, it’s the ultimate F U to all the awful global news this year has brought us.

This mask is the pinnacle of socially conscious fashion as we navigate the new normal the best we can. Plus, this cotton jersey material mask is a worldwide exclusive, available only at Culture Kings.

Neuw Denim Face Mask – Indigo

Melbourne-based company Neuw Denim was launched almost a decade ago by three friends who bonded over their love for denim and alternative music. It makes sense that their efforts during COVID-19 are ripe for denim-loving rock’n’roll enthusiasts.

Made from 100% cotton and designed, developed and handmade in Melbourne, the Indigo mask provides wide coverage during what the brand is calling the #NEUWNORMAL.

Ilka The Label Face Mask – Cotton Embroidery

If organic materials are important to you, you can’t go past Ilka The Label. The ethically sourced and locally made Cotton Embroidery Face mask is made from their 3D Zorb Organic Cotton fabrication. This means it’s super absorbent and infused with the brand’s SILVADUR™ antimicrobial silver ions to inhibit bacterial growth.

Triple lined and re-usable, this mask offers a great opportunity to support and spend local during the pandemic.

Sample Room Face Mask – Rainbow

While the Sample Room Rainbow mask isn’t a medical grade mask, it is made specifically to guidelines set by the World Health Organisations. We could tell you we’re a fan of this mask because of its three layer weave of hydrophobic fabric which repels bacteria droplets and water, but we’d be lying. We do love that it’s designed to prevent air-gaps, but we mostly love rainbow print. Why not support an Australian ethically accredited business and let your colours fly at the same time?

Second Stitch Fabric Face Mask

Australian company, Second Stitch has created reusable face masks designed to help you reduce touching your face. Having to move a slipping mask up and down while you’re out and about is unfortunately quite dangerous, but these masks come with two elastic pieces all set for you to tie a knot for the perfect fit.

Machine washable and made from 100% NEW Cotton with a cotton lining, these masks are great on the conscience too; second Stitch is a not-for-profit social enterprise run by refugee and migrant women.

Tribal Temple Clear Communication Mask

55% of communication is visual. So if the only thing that bugs you about having to wear a mask is the fact no one can see your smile, Tribal Temple Merch has the solution. With TGA approved, Australian owned and manufactured reusable PET Plastic, it’s any wonder this particular mask is a best seller for the brand.

The mouldable, galvanised nose wire is encased with signature honeycomb embroidery stitch. Think beekeeper chic with the added benefit of humanising your communication and allowing for natural visual cues.