These Were Our Favorite Wellness Products in 2021
Perfect for gifting—or treating yourself in the new year
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As the editor of Well Spent, I’m always excited to see what products our writers pick as their favorite skincare, fitness tools, and gadgets throughout the year. Here, we’ve rounded them up for a quick gift guide. From a budget-friendly foam roller to a luxury face moisturizer, these were our seven go-to wellness buys in 2021.
LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller: Extra Firm ($9)
A good gift doesn’t have to be expensive—just ask digital managing director Abigail Wise. Even though owns six foam rollers, this simple model from LuxFit is the one she reaches for most often when troubled by kinks, cramps, and sore muscles from running. “Its dense EPP foam was made to smooth away aches and pains, and that’s exactly what it does. The roller is hard enough to apply some serious pressure to your problem spots, but not so hard that a rolling session becomes unbearable,” she writes.
Purple Royal Seat Cushion ($79)
While a little extra padding for a loved one’s at-home work setup might not be the sexiest of gifts, it will probably be the most appreciated. Dedicated work-from-homer Molly Mirhashem raves about this thick seat cushion from mattress company Purple, which is made from a “rubber—and yes, purple—gel webbing and features a zip-on cover with a no-slip grip on the bottom.” She credits the pad for helping relieve some pandemic-induced back and shoulder pain: “It successfully upgrades my rock-hard dining chair to at least the level of those comfy office chairs. At the end of a long workday, I no longer feel desperate to book a deep-tissue massage.”
Harry’s Face Wash ($21 for three)
This wash from Harry’s is great for people who might be looking to upgrade (or just begin) their daily skincare routine. That’s how senior editor Luke Whelan came to the product a couple of years ago: “for the first time in my life, I thought there might be something to all those grooming products out there. It felt good to take care of my skin at the end of a long day.” He especially liked the wash’s delicate scent, which he describes as “refreshing but not perfumy, with notes of hay and earth that I’d never smelled in a shower product.”
EVA Foam Mats ($1 per square foot)
Gear director Will Taylor had nothing but good things to say about this multi-purpose gift for the whole family. After outfitting his sunroom with these interlocking, 0.4-inch-thick foam mats, the space was transformed into a playroom for his daughter, a gym for himself and his wife, and nap pad for the cat. “Having a safe, comfortable space that’s ready for us at any time, save moving a few toys, means we utilize it that much more. And for two busy parents and one busier toddler, that’s been crucial to staying healthy and in shape,” he writes.
Skinnies Sungel (from $32)
Labeling a product the “first sunscreen I don’t hate,” may sound extreme, but Outside contributor Martin Fritz Huber is adamant about his disdain for most sunblock in his review of Skinnies Sungel, a concentrated sunscreen. Unlike other lotions that leave white streaks, the sungel is clear and easy to rub in. “In addition to its discreet application, it dries very quickly, so you don’t have to spend half an hour languishing in the shade while your friends prance around in their vitamin A-infused ecstasy,” he writes. While $32 for a 3.4-ounce tube might be pricey, Huber says it’s worth the cost: “because you really only need a tiny amount, those 3.4 ounces can go a long way.”
Coway Mighty Air Purifier ($230)
Another unsexy-yet-necessary gift: a home air purifier that can help filter dust, fur, wildfire smoke, and other particles. Copy editor Tasha Zemke loves her model from Coway, which quickly purified her home’s air and helped reduce her and her family’s allergy symptoms during pollen season. “This lightweight model completely turned around the respiratory situation in our household,” she writes. “When I plugged it in the first time, the intuitive air-quality light turned red—the most alarming of the three possible colors, indicating unhealthy levels of allergens. It stayed that way for several hours while the machine vigilantly worked its purifying magic.”
Youth to the People Superberry Overnight Mask ($48)
While assistant video producer Evan Grainger tended to lean towards a minimal grooming routine, his introduction to Youth to the People’s line of skincare changed all that. “‘Game changer’ doesn’t do this experience justice,” he wrote. “My skin felt cleaner than it had in months.” His favorite product from his revamp is the Supperberry Overnight mask, which is packed with moisturizing and redness-reducing ingredients. “It provides a rich, hydrating experience that leaves your skin feeling plump and nourished in the morning,” he writes. “Almost immediately after starting to use it, my skin tone was more even and my face less puffy.”