Product Promotion Network

Health

Health

Three cold and flu remedies to avoid

There are stacks of products out there that claim to ease your cold and flu symptoms, but not all of them are what they’re cracked up to be. Here’s three that we think you should leave on the shelf.

1. Double action painkillers

These typically combine two common painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen) into one tablet, with famous double action painkiller brands including Nuromol and Combogesic.

Manufacturers claim that by combining both in one tablet, their double action pills can be more effective in relieving pain (up to 30%, according to Combogesic). But you pay a high price for the convenience of a two-in-one tablet. The cheapest product will set you back GBP3.99 compared with paracetamol and ibuprofen sold separately which can cost as low as 44p, almost nine times less than the cheapest combined product.

Find out more about choosing the most effective painkillers in our guide: best painkillers: paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen?[1]

2. Vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C supplements have long been a popular choice for people who are experiencing symptoms related to a cold or the flu. This has prompted a raft of vitamin C-only products hitting the market that claim to help prevent or cut short your cold.

However, studies have been unable to trace a strong enough link to suggest that a big increase in Vitamin C does anything to help combat cold and flu symptoms. ‘Megadoses’ of more than 1000mg, which is 25 times higher than your recommended daily allowance of 40mg have been shown to have negative side effects, with the NHS warning that negative symptoms such as stomach pain and diarrhoea. There are much tastier alternatives such as pineapples and oranges, which will be sure to give you all the vitamin C you need.

3.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a plant that has been used as a traditional herbal remedy that’s claimed to help various health conditions. In recent years, there has been a surge of echinacea-based products that claim to help relieve our cold and flu symptoms. However, most clinical studies have shown echinacea to have very little benefit in treating cold and flu symptoms, with a lot of perceived benefits being down to a simple placebo effect.

Herbal remedies such as echinacea have also been shown to cause side effects for some people such as headaches, dizziness or, in children, skin rashes. This has led to some concerned organisations, like the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issuing advice not give echinacea to children younger than 12 years old, and extending this recommendation to adults who have a cold.

How to find the best remedies for your cold or flu

Follow these tips when scrutinising over-the-counter remedies in a pharmacy:

  • Ask the pharmacist to explain the risks and benefits of products, or to suggest alternatives.
  • Check on the packaging what the key active ingredients are, and if other products do the same for a cheaperprice. This also means you won’t buy multiple products that look different, but are in effect exactly the same.
  • Look for cheaper versions of the same medicine.

    Each medicine product in a pharmacy has a marketing authorisation (‘product licence’ or ‘PL’) number. If this is the same on two products, they are the same medicine. This is an especially handy tactic when comparing branded and own-brand medicines.

  • Double-check the full ingredients list, especially if you’re on a restricted diet, so you’re aware of extras such as salt and sugar in medicines.

    If it’s not stated, ask the customer services of the company or your pharmacist.

Read more about health products you don’t need[2].

References

  1. ^ best painkillers: paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen? (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ health products you don’t need (www.which.co.uk)

Top five beard trimmer hacks for Decembeard

It’s beard trimmers at the ready as charity initiative Decembeard returns for its seventh year. To make sure you’re well prepared, we’ve just taken a first look at the newest beard trimmers from Babyliss, Braun, Panasonic, Philips, Remington and Wahl. If you’re taking part, read our top five tips on how to get the most out of your beard trimmer, and keep your bristles in good shape this Decembeard.

And why not take our Decembeard quiz[1] while you’re at it. Or go straight to our beard trimmer first look reviews[2] to see which is best to keep your chin fur stylishly groomed. Kick off Decembeard by taking our quiz and challenging yourself to identify as many celebs as you can, by their beards alone.

Can’t see the quiz? Click here[3].

1. Match your beard trimmer to your style

If you’re one of the thousands sporting a full beard for the first time to raise money and awareness for bowel cancer research, you’re going to need to choose a beard style. Whether you want to keep it neat with a classic short, boxed beard or sport a real showstopper in honour of Decembeard (exhibitionists should Google ‘old Dutch’ or ‘French fork’), it pays to know what you’ll need your beard trimmer to do.

Otherwise you could end up paying more than you need to for unnecessary functions and attachments. Some beard trimmers have an impressive-sounding number of length settings, but the longest of these is often just 10mm; great for short beards and stubble but not so much for longer growth. Other trimmers with fewer settings can reach lengths of up to 25mm, which would be better suited for those sporting longer beards.

So figure out how long and how tailored you want your beard to be before you begin assessing the different specs on each model.

2. Weigh up key features

Remington claims its Endurance Groomer can hold 70% of its battery charge over 12 months

A beard trimmer with a lot of power can potentially trim more whiskers in one pass, meaning less work and less time spent grooming. The Wahl SPL Stainless Steel 4-in-1 Multigroomer[4] has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that Wahl claims will provide double the power of a standard trimmer.

But power alone isn’t a sure-fire indicator of top-notch cutting performance. Battery performance is another key consideration. Remington claims its MB4200 Endurance Groomer can hold 70% of its battery charge over 12 months.

It also boasts a low-battery indicator and a five-minute quick charge function, which should also help you avoid getting caught without power. But is it any good at the really important task of trimming hairs evenly and comfortably? Read our first look review of the Remington MB4200 Endurance Groomer[5] to find.

A firm advocate of ‘convenience is king’? Then you might want to check out the Philips Series 7000 BT7202[6], which has a mini-vacuum that sucks up the trimmings as you shave. It draws them into a chamber at the front of the beard trimmer, which you can then detach and empty into a bin.

3.

Go laser for sharp lines

If sharp lines along the neck or jaw are key to your look, you might be interested in the Philips BT9280 Beard Trimmer with Laser. This unique model projects a laser line onto the face, which shows you exactly where you’re shaving, and is intended to help you achieve a more precise shave. It’s also waterproof, so it can be rinsed under the tap for easy cleaning.

But these extra features come at a cost, and this beard trimmer is one of the most expensive models we’ve looked at. Find out what we made of it by reading our first look review of the Philips BT9280 Beard Trimmer with Laser[7].

4. Clean your beard trimmer

The Panasonic ER-GB42 has a washable cutting head

Get in the habit of cleaning your trimmer after every use, as a build-up of hair can damage the blades and also seriously impair the life of your beard trimmer.

Some models, such as the Panasonic ER-GB42[8], are fully washable, allowing them to be run under the tap for a bit of an easier clean. Even if you have one of these waterproof beard trimmers, it’s still useful to open it up occasionally and give it a brush out, to make sure it’s clear of any build-up. Another useful habit to get into is oiling the blades of your trimmer.

This will help protect the delicate parts and keep the blades working smoothly. Just a couple of small drops are needed, but always make sure you clean the trimmer first. Philips claims the blades on the Series 5000 BT5200/13[9] are self-sharpening and don’t need to be oiled.

Useful additions like this can take the hassle out of maintenance tasks.

5. Master your Decembeard technique

The difficulty in achieving that perfect Decembeard style will vary depending on how complex the look you want. But there are some basic tips that will help you get the most out of your beard trimmer:

  • Wash and dry your beard.

    It will make it easier to trim and will leave it looking fresh.

  • Comb the beard so all hairs are lying flat and in the same direction.
  • Tidy up the neck line and then move to the cheek line. Work slowly, checking as you go. It’s easy to take off too much.
  • Decide on your length, and set the trimmer or attach the appropriate guard.
  • Follow the contours of your face working from below the chin upwards toward the cheek bones.

Read more about Decembeard[10] for how to take part and what the money you raise from your beard will be helping.

Beard trimmer first look reviews

Below are all the beard trimmers we’ve just looked at.

Follow the links to read our reviews:

Prices correct as of 29 November 2017.

References

  1. ^ Decembeard quiz (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ beard trimmer first look reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Click here (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Wahl SPL Stainless Steel 4-in-1 Multigroomer (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Remington MB4200 Endurance Groomer (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Philips Series 7000 BT7202 (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Philips BT9280 Beard Trimmer with Laser (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Panasonic ER-GB42 (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Series 5000 BT5200/13 (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ Decembeard (www.decembeard.org)

Movember: top five tips for using electric shavers

Charity initiative Movember[1] is back again, with men around the world sporting neatly groomed top-lip topiary. The aim is to raise money and awareness for a range of male health issues, including prostate cancer and suicide prevention. If you’re taking part, read our top five tips to help you keep your electric shaver in good working order, and maintain the perfect moustache this Movember.

Or go straight to our electric shaver reviews[2] to see which one will help you showcase fantastic facial hair.

1. Electric shaver maintenance is key

Get into the habit of cleaning your shaver after every use. A build-up of hair can damage the blades and also seriously impair the life of your electric shaver.

The blades on most electric shavers are easy to detach and rinse under the tap. You’ll also get a handy, narrow brush to help clean out tricky areas. Our guide on how to clean and maintain an electric shaver[3] can help you get the most out of yours.

Some higher-end models, such as the Philips S9000 s9031/26[4], also include a dock that cleans the blades while the shaver charges.

2. Avoid skin irritation

To really showcase your moustache this Movember, you’ll have to be diligent about shaving the rest of your face every day. This could be an issue if you have sensitive skin, but there are ways to avoid unnecessary irritation.

One tip is to tackle the most sensitive areas, such as the neck, first – before the blades build up the operational heat that could cause your skin problems. You should also focus on your technique, so you don’t have to apply unnecessary pressure by going over the same area too many times. Some models have features designed to help tackle sensitive-skin issues.

The Braun CoolTec CT2s[5] has a cooling element which is meant to keep skin calm throughout each shave. The world’s first internet-connected shaver, the Philips Smart Shaver Series 7000[6], has been specifically designed to reduce irritation and shaving-related skin complaints for people with sensitive skin.

The Philips Smart Shaver Series 7000 is designed to help reduce shaving-related skin issues

3. Get the best battery

One of the key selling points of an electric shaver is how convenient it is.

But that goes right out of the window if you reach for your shaver in the morning and find it without power. We test the battery performance of every shaver we review. We’ve found a Best Buy with a battery that lasts for a whopping 26 shaves, meaning you could take it away on a three-week holiday fully charged and wouldn’t have to carry the charger with you.

But there are others that will give you only around eight shaves per full charge. Compare our electric shaver reviews[7] to see which is best for battery life.

4. Minimise Movember moans

A moustache can be divisive.

Some people love them; others absolutely hate them. Even during Movember, when it’s all for a good cause, a moustache can test the patience of the most understanding partner. The last thing you want to be adding in on top of any potential discord is the sleep-disrupting whir of an overly loud electric shaver first thing in the morning.

Our electric shaver tests include an assessment of noise, and we’ve found some surprising results. Some expensive models, costing well over ?100, only got two stars out of five for noise, while there are very quiet electric shavers available for less than ?30.

5. Nail your shaver technique

Feedback from Which? members shows that most still feel a wet razor blade gives a closer shave than an electric shaver.

But you can certainly narrow the gap by focusing on proper technique.

  • Don’t wash your face before you shave. Unlike with wet shaving, you ideally want the hairs to be dry and stiff so the blades of your electric shaver can catch and cut them more easily.
  • Let the shaver do the work. If you’re keeping your electric shaver well maintained, then you should be able to get a close shave by working the blades over your skin lightly and slowly.

For more tips on shaving technique, and other expert advice, check out our guide on how to buy the best electric shaver[8].

Read more about Movember[9] for how to take part and what the money you raise from your moustache will be helping.

References

  1. ^ Movember (uk.movember.com)
  2. ^ electric shaver reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ how to clean and maintain an electric shaver (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Philips S9000 s9031/26 (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Braun CoolTec CT2s (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Philips Smart Shaver Series 7000 (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ electric shaver reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ how to buy the best electric shaver (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Movember (uk.movember.com)