Looking for a face mask? These are the best scarves to cover your face

Can't get your hands on a face mask? These scarves are the best option for protecting yourself when you leave the house

face mask
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for face mask alternatives? With the government likely to announce that we should cover our faces when we go out, getting your hands on face masks is only going to get more tricky. Not to mention more expensive, as demand drives prices upwards. 

However, there are other options that you can use to stay as safe as possible (and protect others) when you leave the house, with scarves amongst the most popular. Chances are you already have on at hand, and if not there are plenty in stock for you to order online. You just need something that is breathable but made of a tightly woven fabric which can be layered up if required (find more advice on choosing the best covering at the end of this article). We have rounded up the best picks below, but for more DIY face mask ideas head to our feature. 

For more health-related advice, visit our hub page.

Face coverings

These face coverings will help limit the spread of droplets from coughing or sneezing that could carry the virus. Note that none are medical grade and as always we advise that anyone with symptoms self isolates.

Buff Coolnet UV+® Buff | From £9.99 on Wiggle
This Buff scarf can be worn as a headband, hairband, scarf, bandana or in this case, a face mask. The material is lightweight and breathable, so perfect for the warmer weather. Plus, it has UV protection so great for sun protection, too.View Deal

Manumar Loop Scarf | £12.95 at Amazon
Made from 70% polyester, 30% viscose, this neutral scarf offers plenty of fabric layers and could we worn across the face to protect the nose and mouth while out and about.View Deal

Liberty of London Handmade Silk Crepe Infinity Scarf | £35 at Etsy
Made from a gorgeous silk fabric, this infinity scarf might be an option for those with particularly sensitive skinView Deal

Toddler Infinity Scarves | £6.89 at Etsy
Designed to be smaller in size, these toddler infinity scarves are a much more appealing option if you're looking for easy ways to protect a little one. Not to mention that they're super sweet.View Deal

Infinity Scarf Vita Loop Scarf with Hidden Zipper Pocket | £8.49 at Amazon
Another great option for those seeking an infinity scarf, this option can be folded over to achieve the multiple layers of fabric we're all encouraged to look for when creating a DIY face mask. Plus, it also has a hidden pocket for storing essentials.View Deal

Infinity scarves | From £2.09 on Amazon

Choose from a huge range of colours and prints – with lots of stock available ASAP – on Amazon. Check the materials with a closer knit to offer better protection.


View Deal

Plain Infinity Multifunctional Neck Warmer Snood | £6.99 at Amazon
Available in a variety of colours, this neck warmer snood pulls over the face with ease to provide a layer of protection.View Deal

Buff Camino de Santiago Coolnet UV+® Buff | £12.74 - £13.46 at Wiggle
Another option for those looking for a breathable fabric buff that can also double as a protective face mask, this is super lightweight, protects against UV and can be folded over to achieve plenty of protective layers.View Deal

Cotton Paisley Bandana 3 pack | £3.49 at Amazon

Buying a multipack of bandanas is a good idea so you have spares while you hot wash the rest. These paisley ones remind us are a classic look that can be paired with a number of looks – just incase you were worried about your lewk.View Deal

Kids and Adult Cotton Face Mask | £6.00 at Etsy
Suitable for adults and children, these patterned face masks are reusable – simply wash between uses – and boast some super adorable patterns that we simply can't get enough of.View Deal

Organic Cotton Face Masks | £8.95 at Etsy
A great option for those with sensitive skin, or who are concerned about the environmental impact of single-use face masks, these organic cotton face masks can be washed between uses and boast beautiful patterned finishes.

Please note: we totally understand that single use masks are essential for many at this time and whole-heartedly support the use of disposable face masks for those who need to protect themselves, we're simply seeking to offer a more sustainable alternative to those who want it and for whom it's a suitable solution. View Deal

Choosing the best scarves to use as face coverings

Remember if you are using a scarf as a face mask it is recommended for the most effective results that:

  • It should fit snugly to your face, covering nose and mouth with no large gaps
  • It should have multiple layers of fabric
  • It should be made from a tightly woven natural fabric like cotton or silk 
  • You should still be able to breathe normally 
  • It should be machine washable as you will need to wash it on a hot wash after each use

It's also worth noting that these scarves have not been designed specifically for coronavirus and the best advice is still to stay indoors, away from others not in your family group, to maintain social distancing when you have to go out, to avoid touching your face, and to always wash your hands when you get back. And, of course, if you're displaying symptoms, you should self-isolate for seven days; or for 14 days if someone in your household has started displaying symptoms. 

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