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What Readers Are Buying: Star Projectors, Moisturisers, and Henry Hoovers

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Welcome to Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist U.K. readers, bought in droves. Think of this as the TL;DR of the Strategist U.K.: If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to as well.

Like August’s, September’s most-bought list features several toys and gifts for little ones. But most surprisingly, our top-selling product has only been in our monthly roundup since June, which is no mean feat given that the top two spots are typically dominated by the gel-moisturiser and mister (don’t worry, those items still make an appearance). There’s only one new entry this month — but it is appropriately charming.

We were surprised to see this star projector top our list this month — after all, it has only been among our most-bought twice, first in June, and then again in August. But the inexpensive, easy-to-carry item would make an excellent gift for little ones. In fact, we first featured it in our guide to the best gifts for 1-year-olds. “At an age when children are learning to sleep independently, this twinkling projector will help them drift off peacefully,” says Siobhan Freegard, founder of It is cordless and easy to transport, so you can keep your child’s bedtime routine consistent when you’re away from home.

This month’s list is the 18th to feature Neutrogena’s gel-like moisturiser, which has come recommended by experts and Strategist staff alike. It’s suitable for dry-skin types, the rosacea-prone, and even pregnant women and contains both glycerin and hyaluronic acid, meaning it can hydrate skin without the need for emollients (which can make skin feel heavy).

We thought we might have seen the last of the notorious plant mister last month, after it fell several places to ninth. But it’s now back to fourth place, making this the 17th month it has stayed in our top ten. The bottle comes recommended by experts for misting your plants — though we have lots of other options in our guide to the best plant misters.

This classic kids book debuted at No. 8 last month and has gone up three places to No. 5. Freegard says that when choosing a gift for a little one, asking the child’s parents if they can remember what books they enjoyed reading when they were little will bring memories flooding back and make story time more enjoyable for grown-ups. This fun tale by the Ahlbergs is also a firm favourite with contributor Ellen Wallwork’s 1-year-old, who often picks up the story of the “dark dark house” and plonks himself on a knee to be read to.

Olaplex’s hair-repairing mask was on a hot streak — it was in our most-bought for nine months in a row before disappearing altogether in June (perhaps because we started returning to our hairdressers en masse?). After a brief absence, it has now returned in sixth place this month. As well as coming recommended by stylists, author Shon Faye told us it had been a “life-saver” as she has grown her hair out from her shorter, pandemic-era bleach-blonde look. “I have come to enjoy the ritual of slicking it over my hair and leaving it for so many hours that my hair and the product dries out, as it repairs the bonds in the structure of my hair. Then I relish the satisfaction of getting to wash it out and letting it air-dry into a boosted shine”.

These chewable stacking blocks have now been in our most bought for four months. Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs and communications at the British Toy and Hobby Association, recommended interlinking tactile cubes for little ones at this age, but also said that soft toys are an important consideration, since 1-year-olds are still very much in the teething zone.

Making its most-bought debut this month is the charming Henry hoover. It was the most-recommended vacuum cleaner by the ten experts we spoke to — four of them chose this model specifically. Wendy Iveson, owner of zero-waste shop the Green Stores in Hertfordshire, says she uses hers both in the store and at home. Iveson, who has four kids, says it’s “just so reliable” and points out that its “industrial nature means it’s suitable for both the workplace and domestic spaces.”

The Baby Einstein piano has been on our most-bought list for six months now. Experts recommended it to us as a great gift for 1-year-olds thanks to the magic-touch technology, but it works well for older toddlers, too — staff writer Chris Mandle says his 2-year-old niece is fond of smashing the keys on hers while watching Hey Duggee. Thankfully, it also has a dial for controlling the volume should little ones start to enjoy it a little too much.

CeraVe Moisturising Cream

Though Cerave’s foaming cleanser has disappeared from our top ten (after an impressive 14-month streak), this hydrating moisturiser has made a reappearance. We haven’t seen it in our most-bought since May 2020 (though a smaller tube of the same product appeared in April of this year), but it’s a favourite of contributor Daniela Morosini and several dermatologists we spoke to. Dr. Susan Binder says “it has a high lipid content, which really helps repair dry, cracked skin.” In fact, she says that no matter the reason for your dry skin — whether it’s dry in winter, dry year round, or dry because of aging — this is a universally good choice.

Likewise, La Roche-Posay’s mat moisturiser has dipped in and out – it last appeared in May, and before that, it hadn’t been seen since October 2020. It was first brought to our attention by Hadley King, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. King says it uses “sebulyse technology” to target excess oil, “the brand’s proprietary new anti-sebum ingredient” (sebum being the substance secreted by your body’s oil-producing glands). It features in our look at expert-approved moisturisers for oily skin, along with a couple of other Strategist favourites.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

What Readers Are Buying: Moisturisers, and Henry Hoovers