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The most innovative personal care products of 2021

Our second year of making the most of too-much time spent at home has yielded countless products that promise to sooth our stressed minds and bodies. But the marketing around such spaces—cosmetics, skin- and haircare, and fitness, to name a few—is a minefield of meaningless buzzwords and pseudoscientific solutions. Our Personal Care winners represent some of our favorite exceptions to that woeful rule: These products harness everything from space-age physics to basic magnetism to offer genuinely innovative improvements to everyday life.

Sound familiar? In 2019, we awarded Mirror for ushering in a new era of at-home fitness, with its luxe, reflective workout screen and the promise of personal training via its built-in camera. In 2020, we spotlighted the Tempo Studio mirror-and-weights system for fulfilling that potential first—providing targeted, AI-driven strength training for folks stuck at home. In 2021, Tempo slid the needle forward yet again with Move, a weight-training setup with a footprint small enough to be practical in even wee domiciles. Move replaces a pricey mirror with the LIDAR in the front-facing cameras of any iPhone equipped with FaceID. A cradle hooks up your phone up to your TV via HDMI, so you can see your body and weight movements in real time. The Move comes with enough plates to make each of its two dumbbells a 25 pounder, and the system recognizes how much you’re lifting to tweak your workout accordingly. Coupled with data from an included heart-rate monitor, the Move’s tracking capabilities, price, and form factor put strength training within reach for anyone with enough space for a yoga mat.

Many mascaras promise to lengthen lashes with the help of buildable dark goop, and eyelash curlers aim to shape those hairs by physically crimping them upright. They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara does both—with the power of physics. A magnet-embedded wand swipes iron-oxide-rich pigment along lashes, tapping a mechanism called ferromagnetism to evenly carry the makeup where you want it to go. The result is a clump-less lash coated for big volume and gently hoisted upward for maximum length and curl.

When the engineers behind Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer arrived at a photoshoot in 2018, they thought they were in big trouble. The model’s hair was damaged and frizzy. A stylist on set, though, gave them an idea: He held the model’s hair taught with a brush while blowing the nozzle of the blowdryer downward just so, and her flyaways slipped beneath longer strands. Replicating that process became a pet project of the engineers. The resulting Flyaway attachment harnesses a quirk of airflow called the coanda effect: the tendency for jets of air to stay attached to curved surfaces once they come into contact with them. In this case, the attachment’s nozzle slides down the hair shaft and draws strands toward it, which creates a downward flow that pushes frizzy bits below the main tress. The result is a smooth finish that even amateur hands can master.

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