The wellness industry is growing at full speed these days with new brands being born every day. New products from industry leaders drop faster than ever. All this growth is great news for the health of individuals, families and the planet, but, as an editor, curating down a meaningful edit can be a challenge.
Some of my favorite brands and products have been obvious wins right from the start. The launch of brands like ILIA, Seed, Necessaire, Parachute, Merit, Our Place, and Cuyana, for example, were all received with an immediate yes from our team. Others, like the products listed below, weren’t as obvious.
With that in mind, I gathered this list of incredible products that I now love, but first gathered dust in the beauty closet or were almost gifted away before I caught on to just how great they were and ended up being total hits…
7 Wellness Products I Didn’t Expect To Like
– But Am Now Obsessed With
Gua Sha stones | Just on the heels of the jade roller trend, which was huge for our clean-beauty loving readers — and our team! — for a couple of years, brands started promoting gua sha stones too. Our first, un-educated impressions ranged from flat to unimpressed — couldn’t we just use own hands for anything a flat rock could do?
Fast-forward to just before the pandemic and brands like Wildling and Lanshin began walking us through the video tutorials necessary to understand the transformative power of this ancient beauty protocol for toning and sculpting the face. An eye cream could never.
an nad serum in a syringe | I think it was the syringe-like bottle that threw me.
I received a package from Singapore-based Invity because I was interested in their NMN (a cutting edge longevity supplement to keep tabs on!) The brand also sent a few of their NAD-based skincare products, but I let the oddly-packaged serum sit to this side for months until I rifled through samples one night last week and decided to give this one a try.
Within ten minutes after applying the cosmeceutical grade serum over my brow and cheekbones, I experienced an unmistakable lifting and tightening that lasted well into the next day. While the serum contains a patent-pending hyaluronic acid combination and NAD+, I suspect that rhizobian and acacia gum are the cause of the instant lift. The effect doesn’t actually change the health of your skin, but — then again, neither do any of the popular “fillers”. Without longer-term use, I can’t verify any of the products other claims, but the serum does contain a ton of other promising and deeply hydrating ingredients too.
The $1k PEMF Mat | I was already a big fan of Higher Dose’s Infrared Sauna Blanket when I received the PEMF mat to try. At first I wondered if I was ‘overdoing it’. Was the thousand dollar price point on this mat really worth it? Though admittedly a wellness luxury, the PEMF mat — with four ‘PEMF’ settings plus adjustable infrared heat, gives a sense of well-being and recovery that is truly unique.
In brief, PEMF frequencies ground us, which is why astronauts often use the tech on return from flight. When I reported my enthusiastic review to the founders, they piped back that A-type women always reacted in the same way — the stress-fighting sense of well-being the frequencies provide are so unique. You can find my full interview with the women behind the mat here.
Scarlett Johansson’s Cleanser | The celebrity beauty launches lately are never-ending. We approach each one with a healthy dose of skepticism, however the skincare pros enlisted in these projects are often of note. Scarlett Johansson’s new minimal, clean skincare line didn’t promise to be anything of note, but after receiving the line, I ended up doing a full review. Truth be told, among all the cleansers I have at my fingertips, I still find myself using The Outset’s Gentle Micellar Antioxidant Cleanser and recently noticed a clean beauty devotee I trust doing the same.
Bellway Super Fiber | This psyllium-based fiber powder brand is now a great brand partner and the basis of a near life-changing protocol for many of our staff and readers, but there was a learning curve on this one, to be sure.
Fiber supplementation couldn’t be a less sexy topic (insert the smiling poop emoji here). It took us a minute to try the stuff. An almost single-ingredient product, I now consider Bellway a key gut-health and detoxification pantry staple. One scoop of this stuff provides a powerful digestive cleanse that is natural, safe, gentle and highly beneficial when used correctly. You can scratch the word “bloat” from your vocabulary.
Odacite Shampoo Bar | Bar soap has quickly come back in fashion as it is a largely low-waste option. That said, my expectations for a solid bar of shampoo were very low. I had some faith in this brand (Odacite’s skincare masks and serums are fantastic), so I gave their bar a try and was pleasantly surprised at both the experience and the results. With the aesthetic of my bathroom in mind, the idea of a minimal, bottle-free shower shelf also became incredibly appealing. Read our initial review, inspired by Hilary Duff.
Hanacure all-in-one facial | When this culty skincare product first hit years ago, it went viral thanks to celebs like Drew Barrymore who demonstrated the mask’s super-weird skin tightening effects in selfies. There was something about all the hype and fish-mouthed selfies that just averted my gaze. Then, just a few months back, I finally gave the mask a try and am now on my second box of gels. The circulation-boosting and lifting effect of these masks will outlast the gimmick and deserve a spot in your date night beauty drawer.