We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favourites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trawling the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including alcohol-free sparkling wine, an expert-recommended baby monitor, and a giftable home coffee maker.
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A cleanser designed for Black skin
“My wife berated me for my skin care; I’d use the most basic, £1 face washes from Boots, and I’d even use body lotion on my face,” says designer Charlie Casely-Hayford. This was until he incorporated a cleanser from Buttah into his skin-care routine: The relatively new brand is a Black-owned business, and their products are designed specifically for Black skin. The cleanser contains gentle AHA and citric acid exfoliants to slough away dirt and dead skin cells. “It smells really beautiful and contains coconut oil and lavender extract,” Casley-Hayford adds. “Some of the other extracts are from Ghana, which is where my dad’s originally from. It’s nice feeling connected to my heritage in some way.”
A serum that’s an insider secret
As selecting the right Vitamin C serum is notoriously tricky, we did some thorough research — from asking skin-care experts to scouring pages of reviews — to demystify the process. Our top pick overall was this inexpensive option from Timeless beauty. It was brought to our attention by beauty journalist Rhea Cartwright, who explained it’s known as an “insider secret” dupe for cult (and five-times-more expensive) serums on the market. As well as having a 20 percent L-ascorbic-acid content (the most active form of vitamin C), the serum contains a supergroup of ingredients that promote an overall brighter complexion. It also comes packaged with an airtight seal, which prevents the serum from oxidising (as vitamin C products tend to do) — a feature that many of its more expensive peers lack.
A nipple-shielding white tee
“I don’t wear a bra, so if I’m wearing a white tee with no jacket, I prefer heavier cotton, which shows less nipple action,” says Lotte Jeffs, author of How to Be a Gentlewoman. “This fit isn’t super-loose, so it can be tucked — but it’s still a flattering shape if worn loose. The round high neck is parallel stitched, which is a nice detail.” If you’re someone that does wear a bra but doesn’t want the straps to be seen, this is also a great option. For more picks of the best white T-shirts for women, read here.
A handsome ceramic coffee maker
To create a list of the best home coffee makers — from espresso machines to cafetières — we sorted through our (extensive) coffee reporting as well as consulted baristas and coffee experts. Tobias Tripp, former marketing manager at Ozone coffee, told us “the Hario V60 produces filter coffee in its most simple form. It’s arguably the easiest way to brew great coffee at home”. Pour-over coffee makers work using gravity — as opposed to pressure. You can position the V60 over your mug to make a single serving or place it over a jug to make a batch large enough for four. As well as being a great option for coffee at home, Howard Gill, head roaster at Grind, recommends it as a lovely yet-affordable gift for any coffee lover
A toast-worthy, alcohol-free wine
“When I gave up drinking, I was especially worried about what I’d drink during rosé season,” says Fiona May, a PR director working in the food and drink sector. Luckily, she discovered this alcohol-free sparkling rosé from Richard Juhlin. “It has the key rosé features — it’s dry, peachy, has subtle notes of sweet berry, citrus, and apple,” says May, “but it’s complex enough to handle the ‘Champagne moments’ you might need it for, too.” For more nonalcoholic picks, from seltzers to aperitifs, read here.
An expert-recommended baby monitor
If you’re anxious to track down a baby monitor that’s right for you and your little one, we reached out to some experts for guidance. Mallory Reynolds-Trout, show manager at the Baby Show, is a fan of the CrySensor technology featured on this Tommee Tippee monitor, “which responds to your baby’s cries by automatically playing lullabies or music to soothe your baby back to sleep.” It also has a night-vision camera with a 360-degree swivel, resulting in a clear picture of your baby on the portable monitor. The monitor also features a soft nightlight, meaning you won’t have to disturb your little one’s slumber with the big light.
And some truly convincing temporary tattoos
Strategist writer Rachael Griffiths took a long time to choose the perfect tattoo — and she road tested the placement of each idea with a fake, temporary option from InkBox. “It feels silly to say, but living with a temporary tattoo for two full weeks gives a far more realistic idea of how you’ll feel about your tattoo day-to-day,” she says. From cutesy doodles to elaborate designs, their range included “nothing like the rubbish temporary tattoos from my childhood” says Griffiths. They’re convincing, too. When sporting the styles on outings with friends, Griffiths often gets asked questions such as “When did you get that?” or “Wow — did it hurt?”
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.