Over the past 18 months, the coronavirus pandemic highlighted vast gaps in healthcare and personal wellness. For many people, it was a time to reprioritize health and focus on positive lifestyle changes. Brands took note and in 2021 released a slew of new products to help people put wellness first. Standout products covered a range of areas, from sleep to hearing to nutrition and more. But, perhaps the most notable area of growth was in teaching — new courses designed to help you help yourself.
Game Changer: Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids
Battery Life: 56 hours per set of zinc-air batteries
Trial Period: 90 days, risk free
Times You'll Have to Scream "What?!": Way fewer
The vast majority of adults, somewhere in the vicinity of 3/4ths, have a device that improves their eyesight. From reading glasses to contacts, vision correction is a well-established part of everyday life.
But what about your ears? According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss, and millions never seek help at all. Bose is trying to bridge that gap with SoundControl.
Traditionally, acquiring hearing aids has been a costly and arduous experience of seeing an audiologist and buying custom-tuned aids at a cost of potentially thousands of dollars per year, often without the help of insurance. Alternatively, there's the option of trying your luck with cheaper one-size-fits all devices, the aural equivalent of drug-store reading glasses that will more likely than not leave you preferring to just yell "what?!" instead.
The primary innovation Bose hit on with SoundControl is a self-tuning process, which lets the user adjust the balance of their amplification precisely with an intuitive app. It may sound like an obvious solution, but it's a bigger deal than it sounds: to meet the industry first of FDA clearance, Bose had to prove with a clinical study that its "self-fitting" provides satisfaction on par with an audiologist's tuning for adults with mild to moderate loss.
And then, of course, there's the price. At $850, Bose SoundControl hearing aids aren't what you might call "cheap," but they're significantly affordable than many other options, while still boasting the discrete form-factor and all-day battery life that more earbud-style solutions just can't match.
At the end of the day, all this adds up to a product that could improve the lives of millions who have been "hard of hearing" for too long.
Masterclass: Joe Holder's Fitness and Wellness Fundamentals
Runtime: 158 mins
Includes: Lessons, workouts, how-tos
Why subscribe to overpriced nutrition plans and at-home workout classes when you can learn the foundations for a healthy lifestyle in one 12-part (two-and-a-half hours total) Masterclass series by Joe Holder, founder of fitness philosophy The Ocho System, a Nike Master Trainer and Hyperice Expert?
His philosophy, Ocho — or “One Can Help Others. Others Can Help One.” — addresses eight areas he considers the core components of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social, occupational and financial. In an episode about eating, for example, he equips viewers with the tools to make smarter decisions in the grocery store, but also once you’re at home, too. He emphasizes unprocessed foods over pre-packaged ones, lobbies for a handful of “food hacks” (no spoilers) over diet fads and even runs you through what he calls “exercise snacks,” quick workouts you can do without weights or machines.
What impressed most about Holder’s class, though, was his ability to distance himself from the toxicity of typical “wellness” content. He comes across as though he’s genuinely here to help. And, instead of merely leading you along a continuum of murderous HIIT workouts — although he hosts three workouts you can easily return to in this series — he holds your hand through everything else, too: recovering, reading up on the data you receive from smart fitness accessories and setting yourself up for future successes long after Holder’s class is no longer offered.
Fitbit Charge 5
Battery life: Up to seven days
Charge time: two hours
The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker was irrevocably blurred years ago — and the Fitbit Charge 5 lies firmly on it. The wearable has been completely redesigned from its predecessors so that it's thinner, lighter and just more comfortable to wear. Most importantly, the Charge 5 has a way bigger and better display that's always-on (so you can check your stats at a glance without raising a wrist) and shows color (instead of black-and-white) so it's easier to read. It's also jammed packed with all the sensors and fitness-tracking capabilities that you'd want in a high-end wearable. Don't want (or want to pay for) an Apple Watch? Get this Fitbit.
DB101 How to Microdose
Biggest Perk: Live group video support
Host: FlowState Micro Founder Adam Bramlage
In this class from independent psychedelics-focused print magazine DoubleBlind, Adam Bramlage, a microdosing coach and educator, will walk you through how to use psilocybin mushrooms or LSD for more than just a one-night trip, step by step. Bramlage, an industry veteran with thousands of clients registered for his private microdosing practice, Flow State Micro, from people on SSRIs with diagnosed depression to people looking to alter their relationship with alcohol, lose weight or just improve their mood, manages to relay a lot of information without overwhelming or coming across too heady.
For under $200 dollars, you’re given access to 14 classes, ranging in concentration from scientific studies supporting microdosing to risks and contradictions to consider. Double Blind trusted Bramlage to present the concept with an open mind, as it isn’t for everyone. But, research that supports its impactfulness for the right type of person is ever-growing: Scientists determined that mushrooms have the potential to benefit those impacted by autism or anxiety, PTSD and even addiction; they’ve been decriminalized in several states, too, and legalized for use in private therapeutic practices.
Surely, even if you’re uninterested right now, it’s best to get ahead of the growing industry. And there’s no better way to improve your understanding of it all than with Double Blind and Adam Bramlage. Plus, once you enroll you’re offered three live support sessions with Bramlage for questions, concerns and clear-cut answers to common questions.
Coway Airmega 250
Dimensions: 19 x 20 x 8 inches
Purifies: 930 square feet
Weight: 20 lbs
As you should with water you drink or bathe in, it’s important to check for pollutants or toxins in the air you breathe — and probably now more than ever. An air purification system for your home is a costly addition for anyone, but there are portable air purifiers aplenty that do the same work on a much smaller scale. Coway’s Airmega 250 is small, but its size-to-power ratio impresses. Capable of cleaning the air in a 960 square foot room, the device is just 18 inches tall and roughly 20 wide.
Inside, there’s a washable pre-filter, a Green True HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, a trio capable of clearing 99.999 percent of particles as small as 0.01 micrometers, which is smaller than most viruses and bacteria.
Country of Origin: China
Warranty: Two years
Sizes: Standard; king
Shopping for pillows is very much a Goldilocks-like search for the perfect firmness. But with the advent of adjustable pillows, that search is over. Marlow, a pillow brand from the cult-favorite bedding company Brooklinen, is here with an adjustable pillow that eschews removable fill or layers for an intuitive zipper system to adjust for firmness. If you need something firm, keep it zipped tight; if you need something softer, fully unzip it — those who are more fickle with their pillow can find the perfect firmness somewhere between zipped and unzipped.
Marlow's selling point is its adjustability, but it's the little details that push this pillow towards perfect-level status. Hot sleepers — aka those who overheat in their sleep — will appreciate Marlow's attempt to keep them cool at night. The fill is a combination of memory foam and polyester for breathability, which are encased in a mesh layer to further help with airflow. That means no waking up in the middle of the night in a puddle of your own head sweat. Its outer layer is crafted from buttery soft sateen — the same type its parent company uses for its much-loved sheets — so it's smooth against your face if for some odd reason you don't believe in pillowcases.
The pillow is backed by a two-year warranty, and those who are hesitant about buying a $65 pillow (you get a discount if you bundle up) have a full year to return it back to Marlow. So if you're not looking to make like Goldilocks in your search for the perfect pillow, Marlow is the way to go.
Size: 1.6 ml
Skin Tones: Six
Covers: Acne, blemishes, dark circles
It might've been Hims' Blur Stick (and its ad with A-Rod) that broke the men's makeup levee, but it was Mattias' Cover that impressed most this year. The easy-to-use pencil concealer for acne, dark circles or hyperpigmentation is fragrance-free and packed with Vitamin E, an incredible healer for dry or dull skin (and raging acne, too). It comes in six skin shades, pools on the foam tip with a few clicks and rubs in rather easily. Plus, through plenty of testing (damn maskne...), we found it always covered what we asked it to and never clogged pores.
It also opened the door to further makeup explorations. I’m not saying you should jump right into eyeshadow or a pinky lipstick, but concealer, toner and primers are not out of the question. Makeup has been taboo for most men for far too long — but hell, it’s important we remind you most formulas are gender-neutral. If you need reassuring, Mattias’ Cover is proudly for men. Treat it like a Tide-to-Go stick (but not like Tide Pods; don’t eat it). Turn to it whenever an angry pimple arises or you look a little splotchy. It’ll quickly conceal whatever it is you’re trying to cover up while healing the surface levels of your skin from within.
Moon Juice Ting
B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12
Other ingredients: Malic Acid, Organic Mango Flavor, Organic Monk Fruit Extract
Subscription: Save 20% on first order and 10% on others
Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon wanted to create a more accessible way to access the effects she felt when taking B12 shots. The result: Ting. A water-soluble B Complex extracted from organic Tulsi and Guava, it helps convert fat, protein, and carbs into energy. B vitamins can be found naturally in a variety of foods like grains, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and fresh vegetables, among other things. But deficiency of these vitamins can cause slow metabolism, fatigue and brain fog. This supplement boosts metabolism, supports normal serotonin production and helps with mood regulation.
Moon Juice combines an Organic B Complex from Southern India with Methylated B12 from Spain, ginseng from Canada and folate from Switzerland. The ginseng helps boost sustainable energy without crashes, unlike the boost from caffeine. It also includes the organic mango flavor and when mixed into water — the brand recommends .5 tsp in 16-ounces — tastes better than many supplements on the market.
The recommended daily allowance of B vitamins varies in each person, so you should consult your doctor to make sure the dosage is right for you. After at least two weeks, users will begin to notice numerous health benefits. B vitamins have also been shown to prevent the onset of various types of cancer, reduce the physiological response to stress and play a role in the prevention of Parkinson's disease. Ting comes in a 1.7-ounce package that can be distributed in 25 servings.
OffCourt + Dogpound Performance Body Spray
Volume: 3.4 ounces
Notes: Citrus, suede, vetiver, neroli
Formula: Aluminum-free, probiotic-heavy
Traditional roll-on deodorants can irritate the skin and, honestly, few work well enough to warrant enduring chemical burns to keep your pits dry (and BO-free). OffCourt, a new line of canned aerosol deodorants, fights odor-causing bacteria with prebiotics. The brand’s one of the first to package these ingredients in a spray, and with a designer fragrance to boot.
With notes of citrus, suede, vetiver and neroli, the deodorant goes on easily and lasts up to eight hours. Think of it as Axe ushered into the 21st century.
Lusso Cloud x MOPQ Pelli Slides
Inspired by: A photo of Justin Bieber in hotel slippers
Sizes: 5-15 (whole sizes)
Colors: Bone, Cactus, Sand
Lusso Cloud — the affordable, comfort-sneaker brand by legendary footwear designer Jon Buscemi and skateboarder-turned-entrepreneur Rob Dyrdek — teamed up with minimalist California brand Museum of Peace and Quiet to produce tonal versions of the brand's Pelli slides. The easy-on shoes feature waffle knit uppers made with recycled bamboo and memory foam and a super soft footbed consisting of perforated memory foam layered between an IPEVA outsole and a latex top sheet. A grosgrain pull-tab features MOPQ's logo and the style comes in three subtle colors: Sand, Cactus and Bone. Comfortable footwear has never looked so good.