The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly forced people across the world to focus, rather quickly, on their health. While countless brands created everyday face masks, we found a winner in 686’s Archetype design. Other companies launched products to support long-term health like Ritual’s multivitamins, Colgate’s smart toothbrush and Amazon’s fitness tracker. But it's the brands that prioritize science-based products — like Elysium and Madefor — that are setting a new standard for the industry.
Serving Size: 2 pills per day
Ingredients: B-vitamin complex, omega-3 fatty acids, bilberry anthocyanins
Development Partner: University of Oxford
Price: $60 (per bottle)
Elysium Health's newest supplement, Matter, targets the effects of aging in the brain. "We are beginning to see the benefits of decades of aging research translated into products that can help people support their health and wellness with methods that go beyond diet and exercise, but that still require a healthy lifestyle," says Elysium CEO Eric Marcotulli.
Matter, which was developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, slows the atrophy in the brain that is associated with memory decline in older people. "Even healthy people lose up to twenty percent of their brain volume throughout their lifetimes — and this loss begins in our thirties," Marcotulli says. "Matter contains a specific B-vitamin complex that was clinically proven and patented to slow grey-matter atrophy associated with memory decline in older people by up to eighty-six percent."
The B-vitamin complex is enhanced by EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids that are up to four times more bioavailable than fish oil capsules. And, Matter also includes bilberry extract which provides strong antioxidant support, proven to support cognitive health.
Matter is certified for safety and quality and third-party tested during and after manufacturing. “We encourage people to be skeptical of everything they put in and on their bodies," Marcotulli says. "And by setting new standards internally — through our commitments to human clinical research, third-party testing for purity and quality, and third-party seals like NSF for Sport certification and the Good Housekeeping seal for Innovation — we are working to establish new standards for the entire industry as well.
Duration: 10 months
Availability: U.S. only
Advisory Board: Stanford neuroscientist, UC Irvine psychiatrist, National Institutes of Health chronobiologist
Price: $95 (per month)
After being diagnosed with mild depression in 2017, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie sought out experts in the field of mental health to implement professional insights into his everyday life. "It worked so well I wanted to share this with others and help people bring their best to the world," he says. So he founded wellness program Madefor to help people change habits to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
Madefor utilizes evidence-based research on neuroplasticity — the brain's ability to form new connections — to help people make practical changes in areas like gratitude, movement, clarity, breath and rest. The 10-month wellness program costs $95 per month or $750 as a one-time payment, and customers receive booklets and tools delivered monthly that focus on one specific theme. "By giving people the essential science, tools, steps and support, we help them make gradual but lasting positive shifts in their behaviors and mindset," Mycoskie says.
Unlike other app-based wellness programs, Madefor is completely analog: booklets of reading material come with an hourglass timer and other objects designed to engage the customer and form habits (for instance, a glass water bottle includes a beaded tracker to tally fluid consumption). And while many apps require subscriptions for continued use, Madefor gives people tools and techniques but doesn't require a lifelong buy-in.
"Products have a role to play and can serve as accelerants to progressing towards one’s goals, but it’s important to never lose sight of the fact that you have everything you need inside of you to live well," Mycoskie says. "If you know where to direct your attention and effort, you can unlock far greater benefits than any product on the market can give you."
District Vision Keiichi Calm-Tech Sunglasses
Weight: 22 grams
Hardware: Titanium screws
Adjustable Components: Hypoallergenic rubber nose and temple tips
District Vision focuses on teaching people meditation to maximize their workouts, train smarter and exercise in a way that is best for an individual's body. The brand also offers high-performance sunglasses to support those pursuits. "Humans need little rewards along the way," says Max Vallot, cofounder of District Vision. "If you go and torture yourself through a marathon, it goes a long way to get your special running shoes for the marathon, or your special eyewear, or whatever it is."
This year, the brand updated its perennial-favorite Keiichi frame with the world’s first porous, anti-fog lenses, Calm-Tech. "Lens condensation is the major issue in sport optics mainly because it’s impossible to control the temperature of your face, the environment and the lens," says brand cofounder Tom Daly. The Calm-Tech material, originally developed for car screens in Japan but never available to the public, is a membrane that absorbs moisture to remain clear.
"We develop custom-lens programs by playing with three variables to reduce eye strain: light transmission, tints and protection [against UVA/B/IR]," Daly says. "It’s essentially an experiment for us at District Vision to mix these in different ways with the hypothesis that relaxed eyes and facial muscles improve the eye health and mental clarity of the runner."
The Calm-Tech lenses were designed for athletes who wear sunglasses for hours at a time or in challenging performance situations, like marathon runners, cyclists, climbers and skiers. These athletes can't repeatedly break to wipe foggy lenses and shouldn't have to strain to see clearly. In the past, eyewear companies tried to create anti-fog lenses with chemical coatings or special venting, but now, the magic's in the material.
686 Polygiene ViralOff Archetype Face Mask
Fabric: Wool-polyester blend, polyester-Spandex blend
Fit: Head-tie Closure
Properties: Anti-microbial, UPF 50 sun-protection, washable
COVID-19 had reached pandemic status before the first quarter of 2020 was finished, and it changed our lives almost overnight. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention along with the World Health Organization gave people guidelines on how to protect themselves from the deadly and highly contagious virus, and eventually, it became clear that face masks were critical in slowing transmission rates.
While countless brands make reusable face covers, 686’s mask tackles multiple protection issues at once. It’s made with four layers of fabric to reduce air flow, but it's still breathable thanks to the two inner merino wool layers. Those layers are helpful when wearing the mask for extended periods or during intense activities because they wick away moisture, preventing the mask from becoming too humid. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial, but 686 also added ViralOff antimicrobial coatings — a technology that attracts and disables microbes with silver ions — to three layers of the mask.
Four layers of fabric are already double what most face masks have, and 686's mask has a dedicated filtration layer to help further reduce the spread of moisture droplets and viruses.The mask includes a filter pocket so people can insert yet another layer of protection if desired. Its stretchy fabric and long ties also provide a superior fit on a wide range of face shapes.
Though there are plenty of face masks available now — each of which is better than not wearing a face mask at all — there might not be one better than this.
Ritual Essential for Men
Serving Size: 2 pills per day
Suggested Age: 18 - 49
Free from: Animal products, gluten, GMOs, artificial colors
Who said taking a multivitamin has to be an unpleasant experience? Ritual’s Essential vitamins deliver 10 micronutrients (tested for purity by a third-party lab) in delayed-response capsules that are gentle on an empty stomach. The pills are designed to support heart health, brain health, muscle function and immune function. And each bottle includes a mint tab to keep the goods fresh, so staying healthy is as easy as popping a Tic Tac.
Colgate Plaqless Pro
Connectivity: Colgate Connect App via Bluetooth
Power: Rechargeable battery
App Features: Brushing feedback, personalized data, coaching and oral care tips
The next step in dental hygiene is Colgate’s Plaqless Pro, a smart toothbrush that helps you brush better in real time. In tandem with a fully-featured phone app, the Plaqless Pro monitors your brushing with built-in sensors in the handle that detect biofilm buildup to let you know where to steer the brush, for how long and when to move on. Those clever sensors also form a map of your mouth and track your unique movements to give you comprehensive data on your personal brushing routine and how to improve it.
Plus CBDRelief 1:1 Pomegranate
Serving Size: 1 piece
Calories: 5 per serving
Container Size: 20 pieces
In recent years, CBD products that claim to treat pain have proliferated in the U.S., but many doctors speculate that more effective pain relievers combine both CBD and THC. For available markets, Plus makes a gummy that balances 5mg of THC with 5mg of CBD to combat inflammation, stress, muscle tension and pain. Flavored with California pomegranates, each gummy delivers tangible relief in an easy-to-swallow package.
Light Source: Adjustable hue LED lights
Connectivity: Companion app via Bluetooth
Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.75 x 5.75
The Hatch Restore swaddles, guides and lulls you into sleep, then keeps you there until you’re ready to be ushered back into the waking world. With the accompanying app, you can customize the entire sleep process from the wind-down to the wake-up. Whether your path to dreamland involves a good book with soft lighting, a guided meditation or a gentle wall of ambient sounds, Restore can get you there.
Sizes: Small, medium, large
Colors: Black, pink, silver
Membership Fee: $4 per month (plus tax)
Amazon’s understated fitness tracker offers an affordable way to improve your health. The $100 screen-free wristband monitors body composition, tone of voice, sleep and activity, and connects to an easy-to-use app on your phone. On the app, users can access science-backed health challenges from Lifesum, Headspace, Sweat and the American Heart Association and other sources, to implement small changes into daily routines and track measurable results. Also, Halo will never sell health data that ties directly to you, and you can download or delete your data at any time.
Joovv Go 2.0
Wavelengths: Red and near-infared
App Features: Recovery+ mode, ambient mode, alarm clock
Accessories: Eyewear, charger, travel case
Light therapy is clinically proven to help with pain and inflammation and has the potential to help with both mental and hormonal health. This updated handheld device delivers red and near-infrared wavelengths to help optimize your body’s cellular function. While many like devices are cumbersome and rudimentary, the Go 2.0 is designed for travel and works with the Joovv app for customizable treatments. This makes a tool once only accessible to professional trainers much more portable, affordable and user-friendly.