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Where to buy face masks online after CDC updates COVID Omicron variant guidelines

mother and daughter wearing masks
With face mask mandates returning in some parts of the country, now's the time to stock up on new masks. Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current recommendation is that fully vaccinated Americans in parts of the country with "substantial or high transmission" of COVID-19 should wear face masks indoors. And right now, with the number of COVID cases hitting new record highs nationwide amid the Omicron variant, more than 99.5% of all U.S. counties fall into the red "high transmission" tier. (You can check the community transmission status of your own county at the CDC COVID Data Tracker website.)

In some places, such as New York and California, wearing masks indoors is again mandatory. The CDC says, in its most recent update on the omicron variant, that vaccination is the best step the public can take to protect against severe illness and slow the emergence of new variants. But, the agency notes, "masks offer protection against all variants."

Where can you get these important, protective face masks? The Biden administration recently announced it would make 400 million free N95 face masks available to the American public. There are some important catches to this deal, though: You'll need to pick the free masks up at your local pharmacy or community health center (availability starts late next week), and quantities will likely be limited per person. If you need a steady supply of masks, buying your own N95s online or in stores is still your best bet.

The CDC further recommends face masks that have multiple layers of material. For extra protection, a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask is recommended (double masking). Wash your cloth masks between uses, and be sure to only wear disposable masks once. The CDC recommends against single-layer masks, and masks that do not form a proper leak-free fit over your mouth and nose. For optimal protection, you'll want to look for an N95 mask, designed to filter at least 95% of all airborne particles. KN95 masks offer a similar level of protection, but be careful when buying -- the CDC warns that roughly 60% of KN95 masks being offered for sale are counterfeit.

You can check out our guide to N95 face masks for more information on these masks, including where to purchase them. We also have information about KN95 and KF94 face masks for kids, and information about how to avoid buying a counterfeit N95 and KN95 mask.

There are plenty of face mask options available for purchase online for adults and children alike from AmazonNordstrom and more, including N95s. And many are available at big discounts. Here are some mask options you can shop right now.

Madewell assorted adjustable adult face masks (3 pack)

3-Pack Assorted Adjustable Adult Face Masks
Nordstrom

Pick up these face masks from Madewell, currently on deep discount at Nordstrom. These cotton masks feature three-layer construction with a filter and adjustable ear loops. They're also available in another color and print combination. 

Madewell assorted adjustable adult face masks (3 pack), $9.90 (reduced from $24)


Caraa printed universal adult masks (4 pack)

Caraa printed universal adult masks
Caraa

These dual-layer pastel masks from Caraa come in a cheery confetti print. They're washable, have a nose wire and can be used with a filter. There are other prints available too. 

Caraa printed universal adult masks (4 pack), $25


3M Aura N95 particulate respirator (10 pack)

3m-aura-n95-face-mask.jpg
3M via Amazon

These NIOSH-approved N95 face masks manufactured by 3M feature a three-panel design to accommadate facial movement and a chin tab for easy positioning. They're rated 4.5 stars by Amazon reviewers.

3M Aura N95 particulate respirator (10 pack), $21


Honeywell surgical N95 respirator (20 pack)

Honeywell Surgical N95 Respirator
Amazon

This flexible and lightweight N95 option minimizes pressure points and has a spacious breathing chamber. Find it in a pack of 20.

Honeywell surgical N95 respirator (20 pack), $26


Under Armour Sportsmask

Under Armour Sportsmask
Amazon

The moldable, washable Under Armour Sportsmask (available in multiple sizes) offers breathing room between your mouth and the mask surface, so you're not constantly inhaling mask fabric while trying to exercise. Made with a three-layer construction.

Under Armour Sportsmask, $24 and up


Lululemon ear loop face mask (3 pack)

lululemon Ear Loop Face Mask
Lululemon

These sweat-wicking masks from Lululemon, available in nine colorways, are a comfortable-to-wear choice for working out. While this mask is designed for exercise, note that it is not a medical-grade mask and is not ideal for day-to-day use.

Lululemon ear loop face mask (3 pack), $38


Nordstrom adult face masks (4 pack)

Yellow face mask from Nordstrom
Nordstrom

These washable, double-layer masks from Nordstrom, made out of jersey cotton, feature a tie dye print and a built-in cotton filter pocket. Adjustable ear loops with sliding straps help secure it in place on your face.

The four pack of masks is currently 76% off -- that's less than $1.50 per mask. For each package of masks purchased, Nordstrom will donate a mask to "help protect kids and families in our communities."

Assorted adult face masks (4 pack), $5.90 (reduced from $25)


Herschel classic fitted face mask

Herschel classic fitted face mask
Herschel

These Herschel masks, available in eight colors and prints, currently have a buy one, get one free discount. They're made with three layers and have a sleeve that fits an air filter. They have an adjustable nose bridge and ear loops. They also come with a connection lock that you can wrap around your head and attach to both loops to ease the pressure of the loops on your ears.

Herschel classic fitted face mask, $15 (buy one get one free)


Brookwood Medical kids disposable face masks (30 pack)

Kids Disposable Face Masks
Brookwood Medical

Choose from all sorts of kid-friendly prints in this disposable, four-layer face mask. The mask's design prevents gaping and it won't cling to their mouths. Recommended for kids ages 3 through 12.

Brookwood Medical kids disposable face masks (30 pack), $41


Oakley MSK3 anti-fog face mask

Oakley MSK3 anti-fog face mask
Oakley

If you struggle with your glasses or sunglasses fogging up when you wear a face mask, try this no-slip Oakley mask, which promises to solve this issue. It fits snugly on the face and has adjustable straps. It has an aluminum nose bridge that allows for easy adjustments around your glasses, and a semi-rigid mask body that promises to keep the mask slightly off your face for improved breathability. (Replacement filters are available for purchase.)

Oakley MSK3 anti-fog face mask, $58


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