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After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its face mask guidance last week, searches for new face coverings online rose drastically. The CDC now recommends universal masking for students, teachers, staff and visitors as schools reopen for in-person learning, regardless of vaccination status. As we reported, pediatricians said it might take trial and error to find the right mask for kids returning to school, and that normalizing face mask wearing before they get there is helpful. In response to growing concern about Covid variants, the CDC also advised fully vaccinated individuals to wear face masks indoors in areas of high rates of transmission. KN95 masks — for adults and kids — offer the most non-medical grade protection according to experts we spoke to, but some people opt for reusable cloth and disposable options, too.
In other shopping news, Sephora recently launched Clean + Planet Positive, a new category of brands focusing on climate commitments, sustainable sourcing, responsible packaging and environmental giving. The category currently includes brands like Youth to the People, Farmacy, Caudalie and more. To be included in the category, brands must meet Sephora’s Clean standards in addition to other sustainability standards, like eliminating single-use items from its packaging. Additionally, Amazon introduced Kindle Vella, a platform through which short stories are released one episode at a time: The first few episodes of every story are free — afterwards, you have to purchase Tokens and redeem them to unlock additional episodes.
Beyond recent shopping news, we’ve compiled new and notable launches from Shopping reader favorite brands and others we think you’ll want to know about.
1. Amazon introduces Smart Soap Dispenser (pre-order)
Amazon’s Smart Soap Dispenser features an automatic timer that lights up for 20 seconds, guiding you to scrub your hands for the minimum amount of time recommended by the CDC. After filling the dispenser with liquid soap, you can control how much soap you get by changing how far you place your hand underneath the nozzle. The soap dispenser can be paired with compatible Echo devices to create an Alexa Routine, automatically playing songs and other sounds while you wash your hands. The dispenser comes with a USB charger and is built with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to three months on a single charge.
The LEGO Ultraboost sneaker is the latest partnership between Adidas and LEGO. The shoe is available in Blue and Red, and it's decorated with a tactical brick texture inspired by LEGO blocks. Its rubber outsole grips surfaces while you’re walking or running, and the shoe’s foam Boost midsole supports feet. Additionally, the sneaker has a breathable Primeknit upper and a 4-way stretch heel. The LEGO Ultraboost is available in men’s sizes ranging from 7.5 to 11.
Using its BrewID technology, Keurig’s K-Supreme Plus Smart coffee maker automatically detects which K-Cup pod you’re using and adjusts brew settings accordingly. You can also customize brew settings manually, allowing you to choose from five cup sizes, five strength settings and six temperature settings. Since the brewer is Wi-Fi connected, you can control it using the Keurig app and schedule brews in advance. The machine also has a special iced coffee setting and works with tea and hot chocolate K-Cup pods in addition to those for coffee and reusable Keurig coffee filters.
CB2 launched its Fall collection, which features furniture, decor, rugs, bedding and more. Products highlight unique textures through the fabric and materials they’re made from, as well as color schemes like bold monochrome tones and mineral-inspired shades. Additionally, CB2 debuted its full Paul McCobb collection. It first launched pieces from this collection in April, making CB2 the first American company to produce McCobb’s designs in 50 years. The full collection now features 74 products, including desks, chairs, sofas, outdoor furniture, planters and more.
Parachute added two new men’s pieces to its Linen Loungewear collection: the Linen Top and the Linen Pant. Both items are constructed from 100 percent European flax and are machine washable. Men’s loungewear is available in two colors — Fawn and Coal — and comes in sizes ranging from Small to Extra Large. Parachute also launched the Linen House Dress, which the brand said is designed to be a gender neutral piece. It’s available in three colors — Bone, Clay and Coal — and comes in sizes ranging from Extra Small to Extra Large.
Troubadour released two new backpacks designed with the brand’s proprietary recycled fabric, which is made from reclaimed nylon production scraps and post-consumer plastic bottles. Both available in Black and Navy, the Pioneer Backpack opens from the front while the Aero Backpack has a 3D top pocket opening. The backpacks are water-resistant and made to fit in the overhead compartment on planes. They also have built-in shoe pouches with an antimicrobial lining, padded electronics pockets and trolley sleeves that allow you to attach the backpacks to rolling bags.
The new MYX II and MYX II Plus bikes have adjustable seats and handlebars, and they come equipped with rotating touchscreens featuring built-in 20W speakers and Sony 8 megapixel cameras. A heart rate monitor is included with the bikes, and the MYX II Plus comes with fitness equipment like dumbbells, an exercise mat and more. The bikes can pair with Apple Watches and they have sensors that provide cadence, speed and distance metrics while you’re riding. The bikes also offer fitness classes, workout programs and personal training through Beachbody on Demand and Openfit. They are available in two colors: Deep Charcoal and Natural White.
Hydros’ new 40-ounce slim pitcher is the brand’s first glass carafe. Its spout is designed to eliminate drips and spills while you’re pouring, and it’s dishwasher-safe. The pitcher comes with one Hydros Fast-Flo Filter, which helps remove chlorine and sediment from water. Filters — which you can purchase separately — need to be replaced every 40 gallons or every two months, and you can recycle them for free through TerraCycle.
Misen’s 7-quart Dutch oven features a wide base, giving you a large surface to braise, sear and cook food. Its wide handles also make it easy to grip when you’re moving it. The Dutch oven comes with your choice of a traditional oven lid or a grill lid, which you can use as an indoor grill. The Dutch oven features four coats of enamel and is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also dishwasher-safe and available in five colors: Blue, Black and Red (available now), as well as Grey and Green (coming in late August).
Nest Bedding relaunched its bestselling Easy Breather Memory Foam Pillow with new features. It’s now wrapped in Blended Adaptive Cooling fabric, which is designed to regulate body temperature, evenly disperse heat and act as a moisture wicking barrier. The pillow comes overstuffed with shredded memory foam filling held in place by an interior cotton pouch, and the zipper on the pillow’s side allows you to remove filling, customizing its feel. You can machine-wash the pillow after taking off its cover, and it’s available in Standard, Queen, King and Side Sleeper sizes. The pillow comes in a version filled with shredded latex, too.
Brooklyn Bedding’s new Deep Pocket Bamboo Cotton Sheets accommodate higher profile mattresses up to 17-inches thick. Due to the thermal regulating properties of rayon fibers, which are derived from bamboo, the sheets help maintain ideal body temperature throughout the night. Cotton makes the sheets breathable and moisture-wicking, too. Sheets come in three shades: White, Khaki and Silver. They’re available in sizes ranging from Twin to California King.
St. Ives range of acne solutions includes four products: a cleanser, spot treatment, toner and SPF moisturizer. Items are specifically designed for acne and blemish-prone skin. They’re formulated with witch hazel and tea tree extract to keep skin clear between breakouts, as well as 2 percent salicylic acid to help reduce pimple size, redness and swelling. Products also have a green tea and citrus scent. The spot treatment, toner and SPF moisturizer and newest launches. Products are currently available at Target and will be released at other retailers like Walmart at the end of August.
More shopping news and launches
- Caraway relaunched its Marigold color, and you can purchase cookware as a set or individually in the yellow shade for a limited-time.
- Cool Coffee Clique, a Black women-owned brand, launched two new loose leaf tea flavors: Make a MANgo Wild and Kiss Me PASSIONately.
- Dagne Dover released its Vida Cotton Tote Bag and Skye Organic Cotton Essentials Pouch in a limited-edition color: Hot Sauce.
- JCPenney introduced a new kid’s apparel brand, Thereabouts. It offers clothing in sizes ranging from 2T to 22, as well as plus, husky and adaptive wear.
- SCULPD and Wool and the Gang launched a new kit that guides you through how to make a macrame hanging clay planter.
- Sperry partnered with Netflix to debut a new shoe collection based on the show “Outer Banks.” The collection features a limited edition Black women’s Crest Vibe sneaker as well as boat shoes and slip-on sneakers for men and women.
- United Airlines announced that passengers can now preorder food and drinks through its app or website before flights to select destinations.