The coronavirus pandemic has meant that face masks and coverings will become part of daily life.
The UK government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have both advised wearing face coverings in a bid to reduce the infection transmission of Covid-19.
As well as on public transport, face coverings are now mandatory in all shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, banks, transport hubs and post offices in England. Since 22 September , people who don't wear one will face an increased fine of £200, apart from people with medical conditions and children under 11.
These rules also extend to indoor settings where you're likely to come into contact with people you don't normally meet, including cinemas, museums, galleries and places of worship. If you're picking up a takeaway coffee or food in England, you'll also have to wear a mask, but this rule doesn't apply to sit-in meals.
On 13 August, Boris Johnson announced that tougher penalties would be enforced for those who repeatedly fail to wear face coverings in public places. Fines will double each time someone is found to breach the rules, up to a maximum of £3,200.
In Scotland, secondary school students will be obliged to wear a face covering in corridors, communal areas and on buses from Monday 31 August.
From 1 September in England, staff and pupils in secondary schools in local lockdown areas like Manchester and Birmingham will be required to wear face coverings when moving around the building and in communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain, while for other parts of the country, masks will not be obligatory, but schools will have the discretion to make them mandatory in communal areas should they feel it is necessary.
Wales is currently reviewing its policy on mandatory face masks for pupils ahead of schools reopening.
When choosing your face covering, you’ll want a fabric that’s soft enough to sit on your skin without any discomfort. The more uncomfortable you are, the more likely it is you will touch your face or fiddle with it.
Additionally, because masks are fitted to your face, moisture from breathing while wearing one can become trapped on the skin, increasing humidity.
Dr Adil Sheraz, consultant dermatologist and British skin foundation spokesperson says can this can cause breakouts:“The act of constantly adjusting and touching the mask and thus touching your face will transfer oil, dirt and irritants to the skin.“
To minimise all of this, he recommends a custom-fitted mask, but if that's not possible, stick to breathable material such as silk, or silk lined masks.
He goes on to say: “A silk mask with multiple layers would be ideal for sensitive acne-prone skin.”
With a week left until the vast majority of the population in England will be required to wear masks in many places outside of your home, we’ve rounded up the silk masks available to shop now.
As silk universally tends to be more expensive than cotton, often you will be expected to spend a little more too.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Known for its high-quality silk eye masks and pillows that protect your skin and hair as you sleep, this luxury brand has turned its hand to face coverings (Space NK, £39).
Available in four designs – black, leopard print, blush pink and lip print – the mask is crafted from 100 per cent mulberry silk.
It features adjustable ear straps which make for a comfier fit, and an adjustable nose wire inside to keep the covering secure.
They are pricey, but you're paying for the premium materials which will make these masks last.
Independent online retailer Wolf & Badger champions ethically and sustainably sourced brands across fashion, accessories, jewellery and homewares.
We love this two-sided black and purple silk face mask (Wolf & Badger, £20) that’s double-layered, lightweight and breathable.
It has two elasticated ear loops and you can wear it using either side as long as it's clean. The lilac shade is the perfect summer colour.
Handmade site Etsy has a wide and varied range of face coverings available, from kids to transparent styles specifically to help people who rely on lip-reading to communicate.
Its silk mask section is full of choice too, and our favourite is this double-layered silk satin face mask (Etsy, £9.50).
Washable, reusable and made with silk satin and silk polyester, it’s soft and comfortable on the skin.
We would also suggest this silk face mask with 100 per cent cotton outer layer (Etsy, £12.29) which also has a filter pocket and adjustable tie straps.
Womenswear brand Rixo is well loved for its clashing prints, patterned midi dresses and on-trend pieces.
It’s also recently created these hope floral-print silk-blend face covering (Selfridges, £26) adorned with its signature florals in a 70 per cent silk, 30 per cent cotton blend.
Soft and breathable, with adjustable ties made from the same material, it’s fashionable and functional.
Silk specialist Gingerlily typically makes nightwear, bedding and accessories, but since the pandemic has also introduced its silk face mask (Gingerlily, £25).
Available in blush, charcoal and sand shades, they’re made with three layers of 100 per cent Mulberry silk and have elastic straps to keep it in place.
Boutique retailer Coco Rose London is the creator of the foldable shoe, a design to help women have comfortable footwear without compromising on style.
Its new silk face mask with filter pocket (Coco Rose London, £14.99) is double-layered and is designed with providing the same comfort in mind.
They’re cut on an angle to follow the contours of your nose which gives a snug fit and if you’re a glasses wearer can help to reduce your lenses steaming up form your trapped breath.
You can also use it with an added filter if you wish, thanks to the filter pocket.
Coco Rose London is also donating all products from its face mask to a children’s mental health charity, Honeypot which provides respite breaks and outreach support to young carers, aged 5 to 12 as well as helpring with the effect the pandemic has had on young people’s lives.
Luxury apparel brand Valle & Wik uses folk art and Scandinavian style as inspiration for many of its silk pieces.
It has also recently launched a range of face coverings, we’d recommend this silk mask ville planter deep blue (Valle & Vik, £35).
They’re double layered with an internal pocket for a filter, cotton poplin lining and silk-covered elastic straps. Each mask comes with a matching silk drawstring bag too.
The brand will be donating a percentage of proceeds from sales to NHS charities also.