We’re in a funny old place right now, venturing out more and attempting some sort of normality, but with more need than ever to social distance, wear face coverings, and limit our movements where we can.
Not only is it a legal requirement to wear face coverings in shops, on public transport and in other situations where social distancing isn’t possible, it’s also important for us to do whatever we can to reduce the risk of catching Coronavirus ourselves, or spreading it to others.
You might also have spotted the amount of single-use masks littered around the place. Not only are reusable masks better for the environment, they’re also better value and they look cooler!
Read on for where to buy the best Irish-made reusable face masks:
N.B. These masks are not medical grade. In fact, guidance suggests that medical-grade masks are best saved for front-line workers and those specifically advised to wear one. However, they can act as a barrier to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets, and help prevent you from touching your face. They are reusable (but should be washed between uses) and are made from quality materials like linen and cotton.
Hand made in Dublin, Cotton Craft masks are beautifully created with double-layered cotton or linen in a variety of colours and patterns. The masks even have adjustable elastic ear straps, making them some of the most comfortable masks around. Prices start at €8.
The gorgeous range of cotton masks from a little idea sell out quickly with each batch, but they’re worth the wait. Available in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes with prices starting at €12, there are plenty of fun and colourful fabrics to choose from. The elastic goes around the head rather than hooking over the ears, so they’re a great option when you’ll be wearing your mask for extended periods.
Great for glasses-wearers, Stable of Ireland’s masks have a nose wrap to help stop glasses fogging up, and to add extra protection against airborne droplets. Made from two layers of antimicrobial, anti-allergenic Irish linen, they’re reusable, sustainable sourced. All for €20.
Made by social enterprise The Textile Studio, We Make Good Ireland creates masks for adults and children. You can also buy a mask for yourself and for someone in Direct Provision for €25.
Irish Socksciety makes brilliant ‘Howya’ cotton masks for only €4, which are available in adult and child sizes.
Moon Mood usually designs and makes children’s bedding and accessories from their studio in Clare, and they’re now making a range of reusable cotton and linen masks for adults and children in gorgeous patterns. They are made with two layers of 100% cotton fabric and two elastic straps, with prices starting at €8.
Irish designer Bébhínn creates masks with two layers of 100% Irish linen, woven in Co. Wexford by Emblem Weavers, with 10 colours (and a few patchwork options) to choose from; all for €10. The patchwork ones are created by stitching little pieces of leftover linen that were too small to be used for garments.
Made by Dublin knitwear company Ireland’s Eye, Face It have already donated 1,000 masks to frontline workers, but they also offer reusable cotton face masks for sale in plain and patterned fabrics for €13 each, with a ‘weekly facemask pack’ available for €60.
Top tip: Some of these masks may sell out regularly due to high demand, but restocking or pre-order dates are often announced by individual designers on social media.
How to use a mask safely
It’s important to remember that facemasks can only be effective when used properly. Read on for the HSE’s advice on the proper use of face coverings:
- Wash your facemask after each use, and ensure it’s fully dry before reusing.
- Wash your hands properly before you put your mask on, and after removing it. Don’t touch your face while wearing it.
- Ensure your mask covers your nose and mouth. It should be tied securely, with no gaping.
- Carry unused face coverings in a sealable clean waterproof bag and keep a separate bag to put used face coverings in.
- Do not share face coverings.
- Do not lower your mask to speak, eat or smoke – if you need to uncover your nose or mouth, take the face-covering off and put it in the bag for used face coverings, then put on a clean mask.
- Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for reusable masks. Do not reuse single use masks.