purewow100 top reviews 2021 header1 Sofia Kraushaar

PureWow’s Top 10: The Absolute Best Things We Reviewed This Year

After being burned by Instagram ads vs. reality, and splurges that turned out to be so-so, we launched the PureWow100 review system—a 100-point scale for vetting products, so we could separate the must-haves from the marketing hype. As a result, we’ve become very protective of what earns a ranking of 95 or above. Whether we’re testing chocolate bars or leggings, the product has to exceed our expectations—and the brand’s claims—delivering on quality, value and functionality above all else. As we close out 2021, we decided to go through our top reviews, counting down the top 10 items to have on your radar. (Psst: Many make great holiday gifts—for you or for someone on your list.) From vibrators to lip balm, here’s what was deemed the best of the best.

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10. Nestig Crib

purewow100 top nestig Nestig 

  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20

TOTAL: 98/100

When you want a Scandi-chic minimalist crib—without running into a four-figure price tag—Nestig is the way to go. Looks aside, it exceeds the Consumer Product Safety Commission and ASTM International safety standards, and our reviewer’s baby started sleeping through the night at one month old (!), an achievement she attributes to the crib’s airy design and cocoon-like shape.

BUY IT ($599)

9. JuneShine Hard Kombucha

juneshine review 98  

  • Taste: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Value: 20/20
  • Smoothness: 20/20
  • Accessibility: 18/20

TOTAL: 98/100

Move over, White Claw. Boozy seltzer had its day, and our new obsession is hard kombucha—JuneShine, specifically. While our favorite flavor, Iced Tea Lemonade, isn’t sold right now, the others are every bit as crisp and refreshing. (Try the Midnight Painkiller if you prefer sweeter drinks; Honey Ginger Lemon if you want something drier.) Many are under 150 calories per serving, while delivering a comparable ABV as a beer (6 percent, in case you’re curious).

BUY IT ($45 FOR 12 CANS)

8. Honey Mama’s Chocolate

purewow100 top honey mama Honey Mama's 

  • Value: 18/20
  • Quality: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Texture: 20/20
  • Flavor: 20/20

TOTAL: 98/100

Even the most avowed chocolate purists couldn’t resist Honey Mama’s Cherry Hazelnut variety. It’s thoroughly studded with not-too-sugary Bing cherries and crunchy, toasty hazelnuts, giving it a depth of flavor that lingers with you well after the last bite. The chocolate itself is rich and creamy, without any of the chalkiness or grittiness some bars have. Cherry Hazelnut is a limited-edition release, so you’ll have to get on the waitlist to be notified of its return. In the meantime, we recommend trying two other editor faves: Coffee Nib Crunch and Coconut.

BUY IT ($34 for 12 BARS)

7. Mary’s Mixers Margarita Mix

purewow100 top marys mixers Mary's Mixers 

  • Value: 19/20
  • Quality: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Ingredients: 20/20
  • Taste: 19/20

TOTAL: 98/100

We know, we know: Margarita mix can never be as good as the real deal, right? Wrong. Mary’s Margarita Mix made us see the light, and we may never squeeze our own limes again. Seriously. The Oregon-made, preservative-free mixer consists of 78 percent juice, using four different concentrates to create a multidimensional flavor everyone at your next party will rave about. (There’s calamansi, a sour citrus, for pucker; lime, for obvious reasons; key lime, to add floral notes; and tangerine to curb the lime’s tartness without making it taste sugary.) It’s pricier than other brands but oh so worth it.

BUY IT ($13)

6. Womanizer Vibrator

purewow100 womanizer vibrator Ella Paradis 

  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Value: 19/20
  • Quality: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • *O-Factor*: 20/20

TOTAL: 99/100

Waterproof, virtually silent and boasting eight intensity levels, the Womanizer is a near-perfect sex toy—and the best one our reviewer has ever tried. “What I love about this toy is the stimulation feels so incredibly lifelike without overstimulating the clitoris,” she says, adding that it’s comfortably designed, feeling more like a “controlled extension of your own hand” than a pulsing gadget (as many competitors tend to be).

BUY IT ($176; $157)

5. Henne Organics Tinted Lip Balm

purewow100 resize Henne Organics 

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Accessibility: 20/20

TOTAL: 99/100

It’s no exaggeration to say our beauty director’s tested hundreds of lip balms over the years, and to this day, Henne Organics is her absolute favorite. Without question. There’s no scent to throw off your taste buds, the moisturizing combo of coconut, castor seed, jojoba and avocado oils keep your lips smooth for hours and there’s nothing sticky or waxy about it. Plus, it’s available in four shades, though Azalea—a whisper of pink—is our go-to.

BUY IT ($21)

4. Lululemon Align Pant

purewow100 top lululemon resize Lululemon 

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20

TOTAL: 99/100

Lululemon has become a fan favorite for its leggings, and for good reason—er, reasons: They’re ridiculously comfortable, durable and versatile enough to wear to a variety of workouts, whether you’re feeling like running, lifting, doing yoga or spinning on any given day. To date, two pairs of Lululemons have earned a 99 out of 100, but when it came to splitting threads, more editors ultimately sided with the Align pant for their fit and “buttery soft” feel.

BUY IT ($98)

3. Balega Enduro No-Show Socks

top purewow100 balega Amazon 

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality & Durability: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort & Fit: 20/20

TOTAL: 100/100

Behold, the first item to ever achieve a perfect score on the PureWow100 scale: no-show socks. Yes, socks. It sparked much debate within the PureWow Slack channels, but our fashion editor—and marathon runner—sold us on their merits. While a bit pricey, they’ve lasted five years (and three marathons) without wearing holes, they come in a variety of heights, colors and styles, and they prevented post-run soreness better than other brands we tested.

$13 AT AMAZON

2. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

ghirardelli purewow100 winner Ghirardelli/Katherine Gillen 

  • Value: 20/20
  • Quality: 20/20
  • Ease of Instructions: 20/20
  • Taste: 20/20
  • Texture: 20/20

TOTAL: 100/100

People rave about these fudgy, rich-but-not-cloying, crackly topped brownies. So much so that when you reveal it’s a mix, they swear it can’t be. Then they try it for themselves, and suddenly, they’re baking their famous “homemade” brownies for every potluck and cookout. (This actually happened to us. More than once.) Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate Brownie Mix is the best $2 you can spend at the grocery store, and it’s virtually foolproof, as long as you don’t forget about it in the oven.

BUY IT ($2)

1. Superfit Hero Pocket Leggings

purewow100 superfit1 Superfit 

  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Comfort: 20/20

TOTAL: 100/100

There are 1,239 reasons to love these leggings, but here’s what will stick with you: They’re chafe-free, available in sizes up to 7XL, and the waistband never rolls down, even when you’re on mile 21 of your run. (And if that didn’t sell you on them, check out ultramarathon runner Latoya Shauntay Snell’s review.)

BUY IT ($95)

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what's worth the spend—and what's total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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