Finding a well-made, comfortable everyday face mask can be a chore — especially if you have to worry about lens fog and headaches. Here are our picks for the best face masks for people who wear glasses, so that you can stay safe and also, you know, see.
Face masks are vital to keeping ourselves and our fellow humans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re part of our daily lives now, so it’s advantageous to find options that are as protective, breathable, and comfortable as possible.
But for people who wear glasses, finding a good mask is really hard! A face mask that doesn’t fit snugly can lead to foggy lenses, making it difficult to see. Ear straps put pressure on your frames, prompting headaches. And (this is our biggest pet peeve) if your face mask isn’t secured tightly around the nose, your glasses can slide off your face when you look down. Not great.
Luckily, face masks’ sheer ubiquity means there are some really solid options for glasses wearers out there. We’ve included our picks below, but here are some general guidelines about what you should look for.
Why do my glasses fog up when I wear a mask?
You probably need your glasses to, you know, look at stuff. So it’s frustrating when wearing a face mask turns them into a foggy mess. What’s happening here is condensation: When your mask doesn’t lie flush with your face, your hot breath escapes and travels up onto your glasses. Basically, warm air hits a cooler surface.
Then, the air you’ve exhaled undergoes a phase change… into a view-obstructing liquid. Thanks a lot, science.
How can I stop my glasses from fogging up?
To solve the fog issues, you’ll need to keep air from escaping through the mask’s top. A tight seal will do a lot of this work, so consider a face mask with an adjustable metal nose wire along the top — it’ll help you mold the mask to your nose, creating a tight seal and protecting your glasses from foggy doom. (If you’re making your own mask with nose wire, we recommend sewing a pipe cleaner into the fabric.)
Even if you’re not a glasses wearer, you want your mask to be as snug as possible. Why? The tighter the seal, the lower the chance that unwanted droplets will make their way inside (or outside).
In a slightly riskier move, you can also use soap to create a makeshift “barrier” that will slow the fogging process. Cleveland Clinic explains in their blog post on the subject:
With this technique, you simply wash your lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess liquid. You can allow your lenses to air dry or gently wipe them off with a soft cloth before wearing your glasses again. Why does this method work? The soap leaves behind a thin film that acts as a fog barrier.
Of course, if your glasses have a special lens coating of any kind, it’s best to check with your eye care provider before washing them with regular soap.
What about masks with valves?
Do not wear masks with valves. According to the CDC, they do not prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Sure, your glasses might be less foggy, but potentially harmful droplets will be able to exit through the valve, negating everything the mask is supposed to accomplish. Not worth it!
OK, but I’m having issues other than fogging.
Ugh! Well, you still need to wear a mask. It’s possible to remedy the situation, though.
If your mask’s ear loops push against your glasses and give you a headache (or sore ears): Consider a mask with straps or loops on the top and bottom, rather than the sides. If you don’t want to go the horizontal straps route, any mask with adjustable ear loops is worth a shot. We’ve included a few options below.
If your glasses slide down your mask and off your face: This may be an issue with your glasses — have you tightened the screws recently? If the problem persists, we’ve had success putting our mask on first, then hooking the temples of our glasses into the ear loops to create a secure hold. Sometimes our glasses end up a bit crooked, but it gets the job done.
No matter what, though, you’ll want a secure, safe face mask that allows you to see. It’s really not too much to ask! Here are our picks for the best face masks for glasses wearers.
Please note that none of these picks are medical-grade, and that you should continue to refer to the CDC for updated recommendations and information about COVID-19.
“I have been looking for a mask that fits and does not fog up my glasses,” reviewer Janice writes. “These masks do both. I highly recommend these masks.” (We love a straightforward review like Janice’s.)
These are pricier than other options, but you’re paying for handmade construction. It’s the Etsy way!
Here’s a take from Amazon reviewer Jill:
I like the wire for the nose (I wear glasses). This mask never hurts my ears. They are two-layered and breathable – my boyfriend has a hard time wearing them in the hot warehouse he works at, but I like them a lot as I am indoors in cold AC. I wash my mask every night – I have even put them in the washer and then dryer and they hold up great. I think overall this is a good buy. I bought one for all of my family members.
Hope this helps!
(We wouldn’t necessarily recommend putting these in the dryer, but if they accidentally go through a cycle, it probably won’t be the end of the world.)
BENWINEWIN Face MasksThese double-layer face masks from Etsy fit snugly, have a helpful built-in nose wire, and come in a ton of prints.
Polyester (outer layer), cotton (inner layer)
Hand wash or machine wash on gentle, air dry
Plus, they come in a truly staggering array of prints, including paisleys, geometrics, animals, and this really incredible cat. Check out the seller page for even more variety than what we’ve linked here — chances are, if you’re envisioning a pattern, it’s there.
“Comfy, fashionable, and feels like really safe protection, too. Good seal on the sides and fit over nose,” writes one reviewer who ordered a peacock design. Other reviewers mentioned the pretty metallic bag each mask comes in — a must if you want to carry an extra mask on the go.
Note: When you’re ordering, be sure to select the print code you actually want! It may not be in the first photo featured. Click through the images to find the code you need.
Parachute Face Masks (Pack of 5)For every set of masks purchased, Parachute will donate a set. And if elastic ear loops give you headaches, the tie closures on these are a godsend.
100% cotton or utility fabric / polyester
Machine wash on gentle, tumble dry low
Or at least in some cases. The material varies by face mask, so you could end up with a 100% cotton face mask or one that’s made with utility fabric with a polyester liner. (Reviewers prefer the cotton option, praising them as softer and more comfortable, but both varieties have fans in the comments.)
Glasses wearers will likely appreciate the side ties, which won’t interfere too much with your frames. To secure your glasses even more, you might even consider tying the ribbons over your glasses. This should keep them from slipping.
For each pack of masks purchased, Parachute will donate a pack through partnerships with Get Us PPE and Safe Place for Youth.
Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Masks (Pack of 5)Put one of these masks from Athleta in every bag you own. The only downside: they may take a while to ship.
Polyester (outer layer), cotton (inner layer)
Machine wash, lay flat to dry
If you’re cool with polyester, though, reviewers do say the masks are quite breathable, comfortable, and adhere well to the face, keeping glasses on successfully. Plus, the muted range of colors will go well with any outfit. (Yes, mask fashion is secondary to to function, but it never hurts to look good.)
One caveat: Several reviewers pointed out that the masks took longer to ship than they expected — weeks, in some cases — so if you need masks in a pinch, better to opt for something else. If you’re looking to beef up your current collection, though, these are a great way to do it.
In particular, reviewers like these masks for their breathability. One customer writes:
They are so light weight & I LOVE that you can adjust the ears. I bought a 5 pack & me & my husband can share them this way. He has a smaller face than me & with the adjustment, these work for both of us. I feel like these are some of the easiest to breath [sic] through – again, releasing the ear piece gives some room too.
The fabric on these masks (100% cotton) is stiff enough that glasses slippage (term we just invented) should stay at a minimum. Still, they do not have a nose wire — if you want that extra structure, we recommend going with another option.
The ear loops are also adjustable, so keeping the fit tight shouldn’t be a problem.