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What Readers Are Buying: Solar Fountains, Handheld Massagers, and Hair Masks

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 sees a few changes in our most-bought list. Not only are there two new entries and a new item at No. 1, but this month sees the fewest number of board games in your shopping carts since October. Perhaps it’s timed to the lifting of certain lockdown restrictions, or perhaps it’s the incoming sunny weather (one item suggests balcony decor is on a lot of our minds right now). But rest assured, some familiar favourites have continued to sell well on the Strategist (we’re looking at you, plant mister).

Photo: retailer

Last month, the Renpho handheld massager made its debut in our most-bought, entering at No. 9. Since then it’s made an impressive jump right to the top spot (we saw several people extolling its virtues on Twitter this month, including writer and podcaster Bella Mackie, who said she heard about it from the Strategist UK). The Renpho massager first featured in our look at the best massagers on Amazon, where it took the top spot, thanks to over 26,000 reviews. One customer likened it to a “magic wand” after it alleviated 20 years of back pain. Another reviewer, who said their chiropractor used the same model, described feeling as light as a feather after using this on their muscles. The massager comes with five different screw-on heads to offer different kinds of treatments, with the deep-tissue setting singled out as the best in 204 reviews.

This month, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost gel moisturiser has made Strategist UK history – it’s now been in our top-ten most-bought for a whole year. Over the past 12 months, this inexpensive (expert-recommended) moisturiser has sold pretty consistently (in fact, for six of those months it was the No. 1 most-bought product on the Strategist). It converted staff writer Chris Mandle, who orders a jar every month and has been known to keep it in the fridge when it’s hot outside. The moisturiser has been recommended by experts for dry-skin types, the rosacea-prone, and even pregnant women. It contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid, meaning it can hydrate skin without the need for emollients, which can make skin feel heavy. And it’s both alcohol- and oil-free, too.

The Flairosol spray bottle has fallen two places since February, where it was our most-bought item, but it is now spending its 11th month in the Strategist’s most-bought. Lisa Muñoz, interior plant designer and founder of Leaf and June, says this bottle is “typically something you’d see in salons,” but it’s her favourite mister for plants. “It’s small and lightweight, even when full of water, and it creates a gentle, steady mist.” You can find more plant misters (all recommended by experts) in our comprehensive guide.

Our first new entry this month is a product that came recommended to us by dermatologists when we looked into the best products to treat acne scars. Our experts told us that azelaic acids work by inhibiting the formation of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which in turn stops the mechanism that produces skin-darkening melanin. Dermatologist Natalie Moulton-Levy recommended this affordable and effective azelaic acid treatment from the Ordinary.

Photo: retailer

Our second new entry this month is a solar fountain that Strategist UK editor Ailbhe Malone said “turns my garden into a veritable North London Versailles.” “For as long as I can remember, I have lusted for a water feature. However, a succession of gardenless rented flats and an aversion to anything that fell under the descriptor ‘trickling rock sculpture’ meant that this dream was put on the long finger until I had a garden of my own,” she wrote. A snoop on the Gardeners World forums soon led to Ailbhe ordering an inexpensive model off Amazon, which she said was easy to assemble and happiest bobbing in a bucket of water. “The burble and gurgle is incredibly soothing,” she said.


This foaming cleanser by CeraVe is a non-mover this month. It first featured in our roundup of the best face washes for oily skin, where it was deemed the best overall by a number of our experts. Dr. Michelle Park of Washington Square Dermatology says it’s a gentle product that’s suitable for all skin types.

Board games are definitely on the decline this month (perhaps everyone is outdoors, enjoying their new solar fountains) but Codenames has stayed in the top ten nonetheless. It’s incredibly easy to play but offers excellent replay value: Players must make associations between words as they cooperate to identify targets with a limited number of guesses. If you’re fed up with Codenames, we have a comprehensive guide to other two-player board games (and some options for kids, too).

8. Patchwork

Like Codenames, Patchwork has held strong this month — it’s now been in our most-bought for five months in a row — though this month, it’s gone down five places from No. 3. It first came recommended to us by four experts when we looked into the best board games for two players. The game challenges players to strategically collect different pieces to create a quilt. Greg May, owner of The Uncommons and Hex & Company, calls it “the perfect game for couples” that is sure to delight “fans of Blokus or Tetris.”

9. Olaplex Hair Perfector

This expert-recommended hair-repairing mask by Olaplex has been out of our top ten for several months (it last appeared in November). Stylist Ash Fritzler said she’s seen the transformation this formula can bring to her clients with once-a-week use. “It’s so versatile, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who feels like their hair is compromised in any way,” she said. Since hairdressers are not open for a few more weeks, this could be worth investing in.

First appearing last month, where it was also in tenth place, is this silk pillowcase that contributor Natalya Lobanova wrote about for the Strategist’s Sleep Week in February. She bought them to help keep her hair “frizz-free,” and found them on Amazon after being unimpressed with cheaper ones on the market. “These pillowcases are a dream to sleep on, and they’re machine washable (though only on the delicate setting, of course),” she said. “I have washed them at least a dozen times, and the silk is still very shiny and luxurious-looking, and there are no signs of any seams fraying. I’ve had them for about four months, and even with regular machine washes, they’re still as lustrous as ever.”

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: Solar Fountains and Hair Masks