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What Readers Are Buying: Baby Books, Solar Fountains, and Azelaic Acid

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.

As usual, this month sees a few changes to our most-bought list. Notably, there’s an absence of board games, perhaps due to relaxed rules on outdoor socialising taking effect across the U.K. In fact, April 2021 is the first time there hasn’t been a board game in our most-bought since April 2020. There are also two new entries, several non-movers, and some unexpected entries — such as a piano for 1-year-olds last seen here in March 2020.

After a couple of months away from the top spot, Neutrogena’s light and cooling moisturiser has returned to No. 1. Now in its 13th month in our most-bought, 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). 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. It’s free of both alcohol and oil, too. 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.

Photo: retailer

Marking its second month in our most-bought, and moving up three places, 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,” she wrote. A snoop on the Gardeners’ World forums soon led to Malone 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. Mandle bought this for his mum’s birthday this month and said she delightedly sends videos of the fountain to the family WhatsApp group (we have lots of other ideas for patio and balcony décor, should you be preparing for a spring zhuzh).

The Flairosol spray bottle is a non-mover since last month, but it is now spending its 12th month in the Strategist’s most-bought. Lisa Muñoz, interior plant designer and founder of Leaf and June, said 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.

Down one place from last month is an azelaic acid that came recommended to us by dermatologists when we looked into the best products to treat acne scars. Our experts told us that this works by inhibiting the formation of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which in turn stops the mechanism that produces skin-darkening melanin. It is also featured in our best-of-brand story on the Ordinary, so if you’re looking to get into the company, we’ve combed through our archive to find the best products as recommended by experts.


This foaming cleanser by CeraVe is the fifth-best-selling product this month, up one place from March. 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 said it’s a gentle product that is suitable for all skin types.

Photo: retailer

Last month, this Renpho massager did the unthinkable: It made its most-bought debut at No. 1. This is a tricky feat when our best sellers have stuck around for so long, but sadly it was short-lived. Now, the Renpho has dropped five places to No. 6 (though it has been on sale this month, so if you’re thinking of investing, now might be a good time). We first featured this item 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.

Our first of two new entries this month is this charming personalised birthday book. It was featured in our look at the best gifts for 1-year-olds and came recommended by Siobhan Freegard, founder of, who said children love hearing stories about themselves, so this is a fun way to make story time more personal.

Speaking of gifts for little ones, this attractive wooden piano makes an appearance after being featured in our top ten way back in March 2020. Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs and communications at the British Toy & Hobby Association, said it “is great for little fingers with the innovative feature of magic-touch technology — no buttons or keys needed.” Thankfully, it does come with one button, for controlling the volume.

9. Olaplex Hair Perfector

This expert-recommended hair-repairing mask by Olaplex had been out of our top ten for several months but is now in its second month at No. 9. Stylist Ash Fritzler said she has 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. If you are still struggling to get an appointment with your hairdresser, this could be worth investing in.

Our second new entry this month is a moisturising cream from CeraVe. We first featured it in our guide to the best moisturisers for dry skin, but it was also featured in a skin-care-themed edition of the Strategist UK newsletter earlier this month (you can sign up here). Dr. Susan Binder told us this moisturiser “has a high lipid content, which really helps repair dry, cracked skin,” and she noted that this is one of her preferred moisturisers.

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: Baby Books and Azelaic Acid