Do Face Masks or Face Shields Better Protect You Against Coronavirus?

As coronavirus virus continues to rage across the U.S., face coverings are increasingly a part of our everyday wardrobes. While they’re a must-have item for adults and children alike, finding the most effective covering is critical for achieving ultimate protection. Since COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another, about six feet, wearing one is essential to helping stop the spread of the disease.

In addition to the more common and readily available cloth coverings available, there are other options such as face shields. While these typically cover more area of the face, don’t be misguided into thinking they offer enhanced protection.

According to recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there’s no evidence to prove face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC also does not recommend their use for everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. If, however, they are used, they should wrap around the sides of the face and extend below the chin area for maximum protection. Disposable shields should only be worn for single use, and those that are reusable should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Watch on FN

Clear face coverings are not to be confused with face shields. These are clear versions of cloth face masks and should cover the nose and wrap securely around the face. The CDC acknowledges clear face masks are acceptable in select situations such as for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those who care for or interact with such a person. In addition, they are acceptable for those engaged in activities that may cause the cloth to become wet. Some people may also choose to wear them when sustained close contact with others is expected.

Cloth face coverings, noted the CDC, are the suggested option as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth covering either coughs, sneezes or simply talks.

Keep in mind, however, while wearing a clothing face covering is critical, they should never be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has issues breathing or is unable to remove the mask without outside assistance.

For those shopping for a face covering, the Mayo Clinic suggests they can be made from common materials, such as sheets of tightly woven cotton. However, cloth masks should always include multiple layers of fabric. Do-it-yourselfers can even create no-sew masks from bandanas and T-shirts.

Wearing a face mask is just the beginning of staying protected. Always wash hands before putting on and removing the face mask, and make sure it covers the mouth and nose. Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the machine, and remember to place in a sealable bag until it can be washed. And, remember to avoid touching the mask while wearing it to avoid coming in contact with the soiled fabric.

There’s no excuse to go without a face covering of any kind, since they are affordable and easily found in brick-and-mortar stores today as well as online. Shop a range of face masks and shields below.

Siero 5-Pack Decorative Face Masks

This contoured style is designed with double layers of fabric, adjustable ear bands and nose clip for a more secure, personalized fit. They’re suitable for both men and women.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Medi+Sons Supply 3-Pack Face Coverings

These all-cotton masks allow for maximum breathability, while making a style statement with their novelty prints for a range of wearing occasions.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

ABG Accessories 3-Pack Adjustable Masks

These colorful styles are made of soft polyester microfiber and cotton jersey linings. They also include stretch ear loops for a more precise fit and are quick drying after washing.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Unik Multi-Variety 3-Pack Fabric Face Mask

This two-layer design is lightweight, made of cotton and cotton-blend fabrics. The novelty prints coordinate with a range of everyday wear.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Veco 5-Pack Cotton Fabric Masks

This three-layer defense system is made of breathable cotton fabric that’s comfortable for extended wear, while a nano silver cloth lining helps keep the mask fresh and clean.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Banana Republic Leopard Stretch Mask

This one-size-fits-all scarf-inspired face mask is made of stretch jersey for a more comfortable fit. It can easily be pulled down around the neck when not in active use.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Banana Republic

Redbubble Artist Face Masks

These decorative themed masks are created by independent artists and made of washable two-layer soft polyester. They’re available in both adult and teen sizes for a more precise fit. Buy four and get 20% off.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Redbubble

Old Navy Variety 5-Pack Triple Layer Face Masks

This set of five adult masks is done in 3-ply woven cotton for comfort and comes in a range of novelty patterns and solids for added self-expression.

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Old Navy face masks.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Old Navy

True Snap 10-Pack Face Masks

These reusable, lightweight shields are designed with a soft sponge forehead strip for added comfort. The shield is treated with an anti-fog coating for maximum visibility.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Splash 2-Pack Face Shield

The raised design on the nasal bridge of this style holds the shield comfortably away from the face, allowing room for a pair of thin frame glasses. It features a wrap-around design for maximum coverage.

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Dynatomy 5-Pack Face Shields

Made in the U.S., these shields are 9 inches long to better protect from direct splatter to the face. For added comfort, they feature a foam headband hold and elastic web band for a secure fit.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

KlearStand 2-Pack Reusable Face Shield

Designed with a think neoprene rubber head cushion that helps prevent sweat from absorbing into the material, these made-in-the-U.S. face shields are also anti-fog under extended use.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Sunzel Set of 10 Face Shields and Reusable Glasses

This 10-piece set comes with five pairs of reusable acrylic glasses that can easily fit over most traditional eyeglasses. They are extra large in length for more enhanced protection from the eyebrows to the chin area.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Wetshield Vision Clear Face Shield

This foam-free design helps prevent absorption and perspiration that can harbor dirt and microbes for enhanced protection.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

TheLifeShield Protective Face Shield

This face shield is made with an adjusting head band to comfortably fit a wide range of wearers. A protective film layer must be removed before first use.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn commission and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. 

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