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What Readers Are Buying: Tower Fans, Desk Fans, and a La Mer Dupe

Photo-Illustration: retailers

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

This month, it’s apparent that there was a July heat wave in the U.K. No fewer than three fans made the top ten (as well as a paddling pool and a portable barbecue). The usual best sellers also take on a cooling slant — perhaps the ever-popular spray bottle was used to mist faces (as well as plants), and a gel moisturiser that you can keep in fridge is an obvious attraction. Keep an eye out for a newcomer or two though (including a standout product from our recent Dupes Week).

This cooling gel moisturiser has now spent 16 months in the top ten. Readers bought it in droves in July, perhaps due to staff writer Chris Mandle’s hot-weather tip (he keeps his in the fridge). The light and cooling moisturiser comes recommended by experts for dry-skin types, the rosacea prone, and even pregnant women.

Contributor Vicky Spratt was devoted to Creme de la Mer to help soothe her “untreatable acne,” but the cost was unsustainable: £130 every three to four weeks. In search of an alternative, a comment on an article from 2015 led Vicky to Mario Badescu’s Seaweed Night Cream. It was significantly cheaper than La Mer, and it worked just as well. She wrote, “I woke up looking fresh and dewy. It kept my spots at bay. I still had a ‘rich-person glow,’ but I was no longer spending like one.” Her review was so glowing that this seaweed night cream became the month’s second most-bought product in under a week.


This cleanser rolls into its 13th month in the top ten — it hasn’t even moved position from last month. It was first featured in our roundup of the best face washes for oily skin, where it was called a gentle product, suitable for all skin types. In fact, Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder and director of the Adonia Medical Clinic recommends it especially for pregnant women. “CeraVe Foaming Cleanser is good for normal to oily skin, and the addition of ceramides means it pulls moisture back into the skin,” she explained. As a mum of three (her youngest is just 4 months old), she found that her skin was quite dry during pregnancy, and so she gravitated toward products that could offer hydration while still battling the hormonal oiliness. “The ceramides in this are really hydrating and moisturising, which I found I needed far more than usual during pregnancy, and the niacinamide is a wonderful antioxidant,” she added.

The first fan in our most-bought is this inexpensive desk fan, which moves up six places from last month. It was featured in our guide to the best fans on Amazon. One music producer, who needed a fan that wouldn’t interfere with the noise levels in his studio, said it was a strong fan that didn’t make excess noise, and 30 reviewers said they were able to sleep through the night while this fan was on. This fan can be wall-mounted and has three settings, which impressed reviewers — one said he was pleasantly surprised with how good this fan was.

This tower fan (which also featured in our guide to the best-rated fans on Amazon) moves up four places from last month. It’s especially quiet: Over 200 customers mentioned the barely perceptible noise levels in their reviews. One five-star review said the sound was so unobtrusive they could watch TV with this fan on in the background, while another said that even on the highest power setting, the fan was nice and quiet. Just over 100 reviewers also mentioned the remote control, which makes zero noise when being used, allowing for the settings to be changed during the night without waking your partner up.

This charming, personalised book has been in our top ten since April but begins its descent this month: It’s dropped one spot to No. 6. Siobhan Freegard, founder of, recommend it to us as part of our guide to the best gifts for 1-year-olds.

Another perennial (it’s in its 15th month in the most-bought) is this Flairosol spray bottle. And though two experts recommended it to us as a plant mister, it’s actually a generic-looking hair salon staple. Rebecca Bullene, owner of plant store Greenery, told us that she likes the incredibly fine mist this bottle creates: “The problem with a lot of traditional misters is the droplet size is actually fairly large. The goal isn’t to wet the leaves or wet the stems; it’s to change the air quality around the plant, so a finer mist is really what it’s all about.” (And if you want plants to mist, read our beginner guide here).

Experts told us this makes a great gift for 1-year-olds, thanks to the magic-touch technology, and it also (crucially) has a dial for controlling the volume. It’s tied in 7th place with the mister and moves down one rung from last month.

The final fan in our most-bought is a new entry. The Ansio tower fan was the best-rated fan in our guide, but it was not the quietest on the list (the Honeywell at No. 5 won that category). Though there were 337 positive reviews that said the fan was quiet, particularly when compared to propeller-style fans, some said it was still noisy.

9. Uten Barbecue Grill

The final two most-bought products this month are particularly indicative of July’s temperatures. This small charcoal barbecue was featured in our guide to the best portable barbecues. Reviewers love the ease that the BBQ offers, with 16 saying that it is a doddle to assemble and a further 36 calling it equally as easy to clean. Reviewers reported a whole menu of meals that they’d prepared with the grill, from hot dogs and pizzas to a whole chicken.

Meanwhile, this large paddling pool (reviewers say it can comfortably fit three adults) rounds out our top ten. It was featured in our guide to the best-rated paddling pools on Amazon. A total of 165 reviewers said it was really easy to set up, including a parent who was looking for a way to entertain his kids after COVID-19 scuppered their holiday plans. Customers’ claims on how long it took to fill varied — those who filled it all the way to the top said it took just over three hours, while some said as little as one hour.

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: Tower Fans and a La Mer Dupe