best neck gaiters snoods women

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22 best neck gaiters you can buy now as an alternative to cloth face masks

Also, find out if neck gaiters, snoods and balaclavas are safe to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Karen Silas

Now that wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus are a normal part of our daily public lives, it’s time to think about which type of face covering works for you. Many are opting for alternatives to traditional fabric masks, including neck gaiters and balaclavas. But are neck gaiters – also called snoods or neck warmers – safe? And what are the best ones to buy?

Find the answers to all of your questions and we'll tell you where to shop a variety of neck gaiters, whether with filter pockets, sporty, floral, designer or at a bargain for under £10. 

RELATED: 9 sporty face masks to work out in

What is a neck gaiter?

A neck gaiter is a fabric scarf that slips over your head and then covers your neck, mouth and nose. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, lightweight neck gaiters have been used as an alternative face covering to a standard face mask. 

etsy neck gaiter with filter pocket

If you want to ensure your gaiter is as safe as possible, you can choose one with a built-in pocket for a filter and ear loops

Neck gaiter with filter pocket, £18.50/$19.90, Etsy


Neck gaiters have in the past been most commonly used in winter, for sports, running or riding motorcycles, and are often made of fleece, wool or synthetic materials.

What is a balaclava?

Balaclavas are a face and head covering that leaves only the eyes exposed, the full coverage differentiating them from snoods. While neck gaiters don't necessarily cover your head, tube-shaped snoods can be adjusted to do so. Like neck gaiters and face masks, you can purchase balaclavas with filters for extra protection.

balaclava with 2 filter

For winter, many are searching for head-covering balaclavas, usually reserved for skiing or other cold weather sports

Evershop balaclava with 2 filters, from £14.99/$19.99, Amazon


Why do people choose to wear a neck gaiter as a face covering?

As more people find themselves having to wear a face mask for the first time, some have found that the standard mask is uncomfortable or they have problems staying cool underneath so prefer a neck gaiter because of breathability.

leopard print neck gaiter snood face covering

As face coverings become a main staple in our wardrobe, there are increasingly fashionable styles out there – like this two-tone reversible snood in leopard print, that you can find in the chic Oliver Bonas line of neck gaiters

Animal print jersey snood, £16, Oliver Bonas


Others may simply like how a neck gaiter looks – and as a result, like silk or muslin scarves, neck gaiters have become a popular option when it comes to face coverings.

cute womens neck gaiter snood

Lele Sadoughi face masks are a favourite with celebrities thanks to the brand's chic styles – check out this gaiter with faux pearls

Lele Sadoughi Jet Pearl Embellished Gaiter, £47.33, Shopbop


RELATED: Face masks for men, from XXL sizes to masks for beards

Are neck gaiters effective to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

The general rule has been that any face covering is better than no covering. Any fabric which filters nose and mouth droplets that could potentially carry the virus is helpful, although effectiveness at preventing the spread ranges quite widely.

For example, wearing a silk bandana provides a minimum of protection, versus a cloth face mask with a filter which is a much more efficient barrier.  

accessorize snood antibacterial face covering gaiter

A soft tube snood with ear holes to keep it comfortably in place

Anti-bacterial snood face covering, also in grey, £15/$22, Accessorize


After an August 2020 study sparked alarming headlines that snoods could be worse than no protection, Science News reviewed the report and concluded you "shouldn’t trash your neck gaiter". "The headline that neck gaiters can be worse is totally inaccurate,” University of California San Francisco infectious diseases specialist Monica Gandhi, told the magazine, adding that such headlines also "can turn people off of mask wearing, which we know can protect both the individual wearing the mask and those around them."

silk face bandana with ear loops

If you have maskne or sensitive skin, try a silk gaiter, like this one with adjustable ear loops for a better fit

Silk face bandana, £29.99/$32.80, Etsy


According to the University of California at Berkeley, fabrics used for neck gaiters or snoods are often thinner than materials used for standard cloth face masks. This means you will have improved breathability but a decreased ability to contain droplets that may spread the virus. 

snood mask combination uv 50 waterproof

With ear loops and a head tie, this gaiter has a face mask effect – it also has UV protection and is waterproof

Maskana UV50 Waterproof Gaiter Face Mask, £40, Wolf & Badger


It is recommended that if you wear a neck gaiter, you layer the fabric, or wear a standard protective face mask underneath. There are also snoods made from antibacterial fabric, and even with filter pockets built in so you can add a disposable filter for extra protection.


Many prefer snoods to face masks because of comfort and breathability, like this warm but lightweight bamboo design

Bamboo handyband, £12.95, Seasalt


Of course, face masks offering the highest protection are N95 masks, which should be reserved for medical personnel or those who come in direct contact with people who are showing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Face masks for eyeglasses wearers: Tips and tricks

Shop neck gaiters and snoods with a filter pocket

snoods with filter pocket amazon

This pack of snoods comes with 20 PM2.5 filters, which will block pollution and add some additional protection against COVID-19

Pack of four snoods with filter pocket + PM2.5 filters, from £17.99, Amazon


Shop neck gaiters and snoods for under £10

neck gaiter snood coronavirus amazon

An Amazon bestseller

Rockjock Multifunctional neck gaiter, available in 17 colours, £8.99 for pack of 6, Amazon


bandana neck gaiter

This face mask is Amazon's #1 in the Women's Multifunctional Outdoor Headwear category

Arkim Unisex neck gaiter, £7.99/$9.99, Amazon



This neck gaiter is made from fleece, and will keep your whole face warm.

iets Frans neck gaiter, was £16, NOW £4, Urban Outfitters


asos soft pink snood neck gaiter

One of the more stylish snoods out there, this jersey look in powder pink or mint green is from the popular ASOS Design line

ASOS DESIGN jersey funnel snood, was £10, NOW £6.80, ASOS


snood best neck gaiter ebay

If you're looking for a good deal on snoods and neck gaiters, eBay is a great place to find bargains on face coverings

Unisex ice silk face covering, more colours available, from £4.96, eBay



Shop print and floral neck gaiters

best snood gaiter women star oliver bonas

Another fashionable offering from Oliver Bonas, this time in a star print

Star print jersey snood, £16, Oliver Bonas


floral neck gaiters snood

Yes, you can even embrace the floral trend with your snood!

Imekis loral print neck gaiters, set of 4, from £12.74, Amazon


floral neck gaiter

A soft and lightweight handmade snood you can find on Etsy

 Floral Neck Gaiter, £13.99/$22.99, Etsy


tropical print etsy gaiter

Etsy has a host of fashionable neck gaiters, like this vibrant tropical print

Tropical print neck gaiter, £23.10/from $21.49, Etsy


Shop sporty neck gaiters

nike neck gaiter

A soft fleece snood for workouts, made from sweat-wicking fabric. It also has a toggle tie at the back for a perfect fit

Nike Strike Winter Warrior snood, £16.95/$20, Nike



This popular neck gaiter has earned a five-star rating from shoppers

Windblock neck gaiter, £9.99, Decathalon


Shop luxury designer neck gaiters

burberry snood gaiter neck circle scarf

A cosy snood by the quintessentially British fashion house

Burberry Vintage Check Snood, £190/$240, Burberry


luxury silk snood neck gaiter

For the luxury fashionista, a high-end silk designer look

Takahiromiyashita The Soloist silk snood, £985/$914, Farfetch


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