Up Close and Personal
Remington True-to-Light Deluxe Lighted Make-Up Mirror $29.99(*)
We were surprised at the variety and price range ($24.99 to $99) of makeup mirrors available in stores and through catalogs. When we asked a panel of women to evaluate them for design, lighting, cost, magnification, added features, and clarity of image, this model was the clear winner in all categories. Panelists liked the adjustable side mirrors, the 4 light settings (day, office-fluorescent, evening, and home), and the price. The swivel magnifying mirror gives you an actual-size or magnified view for applying makeup and tweezing eyebrows.
Model Number: LM-8
This mirror contains an electrical outlet in the base. When plugging in appliances, be sure they use less than 1,500 watts.
Revlon Quiet Power 1875 $24.95
A powerful blow-dryer does the job quickly-but it also sounds like a jet taking off in your bathroom! The good news: Noise levels on some of the newest high-watt blow-dryers have been significantly reduced, so you’ll still get quick results without breaking the sound barrier. When our Engineering Lab measured the decibel levels of 3 popular dryers that tout quiet operation, we found this model came in quietest-a mere 75 decibels compared with the 84 of most 1,875-watt dryers. Another great feature: The lint filter is easily removable, which makes regular cleaning simple-a good practice to prevent overheating.
Model Number:. RV495
Maniquick Professional’s Manicure/Pedicure Set at Hammacher Schlemmer $139.95
How much do you spend annually getting your nails done? If the cost is steep, here’s a good investment. This manicure/pedicure kit can be used corded or cordless and comes with 6 stainless-steel attachments: a fine-grain disk for shaping nails, 2 rough-grain cones to eliminate corns and calluses, a fine-grain cone for corns and bunions, a file to remove dead skin around nails, and a felt cone to buff nail edges. To prevent skin damage, the attachments stop revolving if too much pressure is applied.
Revlon Perfect Heat Styling Iron $14.99
A good curling iron can cure a bad-hair day fast, and this model has a whopping 20 heat settings, compared to the usual 12 or fewer. Multiple settings give you lots of flexibility, regardless of your hair type; those with straight or delicate hair require less heat for good results, whereas higher, hotter temperatures work better for coarse or curly hair. The rapid 60-second warm-up can save you some time-most irons take several minutes to get hot. Additional features include a built-in safety stand and a 60-minute automatic shutoff.
Model Number. RV050
Shown Here: 1 1/2-inch barrel; also available in 3/4-inch and 1-inch barrel sizes for tighter curls.
Curling and straightening irons are not required to have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) plugs, a common safety feature on blow-dryers. So be sure to plug your curting iron only into outlets that are GFCI-protected to safeguard against electrical shocks around sinks and tubs.
Remington Smooth & Silky Contour Shower for Women $49.99
Tired of nicking yourself with a disposable? The dual microscreens of this razor prevent cuts while allowing for a close, clean shave. The nonslip handle makes the shaver easy to maneuver around tricky areas like knees and underarms. It can be used on either wet or dry skin, so it’s a good choice in the shower or for a quick touchup on your way out the door. And because the trimmers move to 3 positions, you can adeptly shave short and long hair.
Model Number: WDF-5(000) (available October 1999)
Conair Straight Styles Steam Straightener $24.99
Any styling tool that uses heat can dry out hair, and straightening irons are no exception. But this model uses steam to add moisture while simultaneously applying heat, which keeps hair from becoming brittle. To achieve today’s trendy, superstraight look, hair is placed between the 2 heated metal plates and pulled taut by a removable comb. Water can be added to a reservoir in the handle, and steam is released each time you press the plates together.