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1 year ago
15 ACTUALLY Life-Changing Products for the New Year

1/16 ,
 

The phrase "New Year, New You" has been so overused, it's as cliché as quinoa at a foodie's dinner party. So we übervetted every product in this story by asking one simple question: will this really change your life? All the "yeses," right here.

2/16 ,
Athletic Propulsion Labs Windchill Running Shoes

These cute kicks put a spring in your step—literally. Designed for runners, they contain six compressed springs that help push you forward and upward. Our staff testers could actually feel the bounce beneath them; in fact, the sneaks give you so much extra momentum that the NBA has banned them, stating: "Under league rules, players may not wear any shoe during a game that creates an undue competitive advantage (e.g., to increase a player's vertical leap)." But for us? Fair game. Eat our dust, LeBron.

$150, aplrunning.com

3/16 ,
Lyve Home

Ditching film for digital snaps was a big leap forward—except now we're too lazy to print and frame our pics. Enter this smart white box. It copies and stores your photos and videos from your phone, tablet, laptop, and even old USB drives and SD cards so you can display them on its five-inch touchscreen. Plus, you can access your entire library from any device via the Lyve app (without eating up your storage).

$299, mylyve.com

4/16 ,
Parrot Zik 2.0 Headphones

If your headphones simply transport music to your ears, you're about a decade behind. Parrot's latest wireless head-boppers—a.k.a. the most tricked-out pair we've seen yet—let you control your beats (and incoming phone calls) by swiping a panel on the outside of the right earpiece. A sound-processing algorithm filters environmental noise with opposing sound waves, so you can listen at peak quality wherever you are. Switch to Street Mode in busy intersections, though, and you'll be able to hear the hustle and bustle around you—and avoid a close call. Safety first, people!

$399, parrot.com

5/16 ,
Gillette Venus Swirl

Hairy knees: effing annoying! No matter how carefully you run that razor over your bony caps, there's always the random stray or bloody nick. Finally, a fix—in the form of five contoured blades, a water-activated moisture serum, and one little round ball. The blades and the serum are trusted enhancements from previous razor designs, but the FlexiBall handle is brand-spankin'...and genius. The ball allows the head to swivel and shift seamlessly over your every dip and curve. It's similar to the technology that a certain vacuum company uses to ensure squeaky-clean floors, no matter how many sharp corners you have in your home. But the benefits of this application are much more attractive: so-smooth gams.

$12.59 for razor and three blade cartridges, at drugstores

6/16 ,
Athos Apparel

It's about time our gym clothes made us look slimmer and helped us work out smarter. This game-changing gear, developed by two students from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, is embedded with electromyography (EMG) and muscle output sensors in the biceps, triceps, and quadriceps areas that can track your muscle activity, heart rate, cadence, exertion, and other metrics as you exercise. This info is relayed back to your smartphone (through the Athos Core chip) in real time so you can push harder to get more out of every workout.

Athos Core, $199, Athos Women's Shirt and Capris, $99 each, available for preorder at liveathos.com

7/16 ,
Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Kit

Numerous studies prove it: Colored lighting gives off different energy that can impact your mood. Pink, for instance, often has a calming effect, while blue may make you hungrier. This kit takes just a little bit of setup—you'll have to connect Wi-Fi—but then allows you to control the color, brightness, and timers on the lighting in your home via smartphone. Choose one of its existing settings for relaxing, concentrating, energizing, or reading, or customize the color to make your own kind of home therapy.

$200, store.apple.com

8/16 ,
Lelo Ora 2

Sex toys have officially gone from being bedmate fill-ins to nearly replacing them. Just kidding, honey...but seriously: This vibrator features a rotating nub underneath its soft, silicone exterior that closely simulates the swirls and flicks of your partner's tongue during oral sex. Plus, its SenseTouch technology reacts automatically to the amount of pressure you apply. Translation? Press the toy harder into you and the vibrations intensify automatically—no additional button-pushing necessary. Excuse us, we'll be up in our rooms for a bit...

$169, lelo.com

9/16 ,
Apple Watch

You've heard all the hype, so we're here to warn you: It's totally warranted. The wearable device—which hits the market in March—delivers many of your smartphone essentials (such as incoming calls and texts, calendar updates, apps, and, duh, the time) in one classically old-school accessory. Raise your wrist and the screen springs to life; navigate and select apps using the "digital crown" located on the side of the watch. Improvements over your iPhone: The watch lightly taps your wrist to alert you to incoming calls or messages (instead of vibrating madly) and tracks your heart rate and physical activity via sensors in its back. Somewhere, Dick Tracy is incredibly jelly.

Starting at $350, coming to apple.com in early 2015

10/16 ,
Bang Bang Tents

You're down with roughing it in the great outdoors (or at least a music festival). But wouldn't it be nice to keep your phone...or a lamp...or maybe even your flatiron going, just in case? Lucky girl, Bang Bang Tents are equipped with a solar panel and lithium storage battery that you can tap to charge any low-voltage device using only the rays of the sun. Big enough to fit you and three friends (and sturdy enough to withstand downpours), this eco-friendly tent is just the thing for glam-pers.

$304, bangbangtents.com

11/16 ,
Vidal Sassoon Salonist Permanent At-Home Hair Color

The biggest problem with D.I.Y. dye jobs? Your roots will likely come out a different shade than the rest of your hair. That's because strands at the scalp have a vastly different structure than the ends, which have been subject to previous colorings, daily styling, sun damage...all kinds of torture. This nifty solution evens things out. After applying color to roots only, mix the leftover dye with the diluting serum to help avoid oversaturation everywhere else. Bam! A profesh-style coloring session at an amateur price.

$14; at Walmart and vidalsassoon.com

12/16 ,
Zackee's Turn Signal Gloves

Shine bright like a...blinker? That's what these gloves allow nighttime cyclists and runners to do. When hanging a right or left, simply throw up your hand and press the two metal sensors on your thumb and index finger together to switch on a blinking arrow that lets drivers behind you know where you're headed. Founder (and cycling enthusiast) Zach Vorhies designed the gloves with an ambient-light sensor, so the bright LED lights are impressively visible day or night.

$85, zackees.com

13/16 ,
Neutrogena Cooldry Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

The official overachiever of the sunscreen world, this non-sticky formula helps keep you cool—like, for reals—during workouts under the midday sun. (We tried it during a particularly brutal humid spell in NYC.) Its MicroMesh technology (a mix of secret ingredients) forms a breathable film of SPF that lets sweat evaporate from your skin so you stay protected and don't feel as if you're roasting.

$9, at drugstores

14/16 ,
Prepara Herb Savor 2.0

Before: Basil, parsley, cilantro, or mint leaves lasted in your fridge drawer for, what, two days? Now: Store your herbs in this futuristic-looking pod and they stay fresh for up to three weeks. The handy gadget keeps the stems of your greens chillaxin' in a healthy amount of water—but the top, edible leaves dry, so they don't wither and die. In our at-home test, all we had to do was change the water every three to five days, and our herbs lived on...and on. (Next up: a version that keeps flowers from your man alive?)

$15, prepara.com

15/16 ,
Knix Wear Athletic Moisture Wicking Bikini

You work your butt off in the gym, sweating like a pig to look like a fox. You deserve a medal—but in this case, silver trumps gold. These underwear have silver fibers embedded into the fabric of the crotch region that make stink, moisture, and—most important—bacteria go poof. "When the vaginal area stays wet or sweaty from tight exercise clothing, you can get a yeast infection," says gynecologist Mache Seibel, M.D. (And we're after beast mode here, not yeast mode.) Recent research out of the University of Arizona found that fabric that's threaded with silver can kill most common germs within four hours of contact. No more freaking if you forget to pack a fresh pair of undies in your gym bag.

$23, knixwear.com

16/16 ,
Scio

This little scanner seems like something out of The Terminator: Point it at most things and it can detect the chemical makeup of those objects, from an avocado to a soda and even your birth control pill. Instant readings—including nutritional info, insights on the ripeness of fruits, and the precise compounds in medications—are sent directly to your smartphone. These devices have been used in professional labs for years—and were so massive, they practically were the lab. But this product puts the crazy-cool technology in the palm of your hands, where it can, among dozens of other uses, help you count calories more accurately, assess the potency of your vitamins, and check if trendy beauty potions contain active ingredients.

$249, available for preorder at consumerphysics.com

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