Welcome to the second installment of our new feature, Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top-five products that you, devoted Strategist readers, all bought in droves. We decided to do this for several reasons: It’s interesting, just anthropologically, but also because we write about so many things, and this is a nice way to zoom in on some of the things that seem particularly noteworthy; think of this as the tl;dr of the Strategist. Plus, if your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to, too.
This week, the cult Japanese exfoliator Cure Natural Aqua Gel edged out our previous No. 1, the facial razors — which fell to second place — and the seamless, celebrity-beloved tank top held on strong in fifth place. We were surprised to see wild card Calorie Mate make it onto the list at a very respectable No. 4.
1. My Friends Call Me ‘Babyface’ Thanks to This Japanese Exfoliator
For our Made in Japan week, writer Jinnie Lee introduced us to the joys of this Japanese facial exfoliator. The most satisfying part of using it, she says, is when “the gel will start to shed … much like the way pencil erasers leave those squiggly rubbings behind (it’s similar to a foot peel in that way).” Ever since using it, she says, her “skin has felt softer, fresher, and even more youthful — never dried out or tight.”
2. The Best Facial-Hair Remover Is This Tiny Japanese Razor
According to the Cut’s beauty editor, Kathleen Hou, “They’re small enough to fit under your chin, with enough of an edge to remove peach fuzz, yet not so sharp that they’ll nick you. And the fear that shaving your chin hair will make it grow back with a vengeance is unfounded. Japanese celebrity makeup artist Munemi Imai claims it’s been a long-held beauty secret in her country. ‘In Japan, we do shave our face,’ she says. ‘It brightens it up and makes it much easier to apply makeup.’ If Imai hasn’t convinced you, the Real Housewives and Bachelor contestants swear by the technique, too.”
3. Sweetbitter Author Stephanie Danler Keeps This Glowy Skin Cream in Her Bedroom, Car, and Purse
Danler says that it was a makeup artist with luminous skin who first introduced her to the joys of this skin cream, which she uses constantly. “Nary a chemical in sight, it’s sunflower-seed oil, avocado oil, and pansy extract, and nurtures as it dissolves into your skin. I’ve used it to heal scrapes and burns while camping; to calm frizzy hair; and to spot-treat cuticles, elbows, and heels. On a recent trip to an arid, high altitude, I slathered it on my face day and night.”
4. The Better-Than-Soylent Japanese Meal Replacement
Another one from Made in Japan Week. Molly Young says it was the packaging that initially drew her to Calorie Mate. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” she wondered, “to open your pantry and see nothing but rows and rows of these squat, glossy boxes, each containing a preportioned, foil-wrapped nutritive ingot?” It tastes, she says, “like a buttery shortbread cookie.” And the ingredients “are mainly wheat flour, margarine, sugar, and a thousand vitamins, plus whatever mild flavor note has been added to your choice. Is it healthy? No, but that’s not the point of Calorie Mate. The point of Calorie Mate is to fill you up for many hours, without requiring you to spend time or money preparing a meal. You don’t even need utensils to eat it. You barely need a napkin. It’s the ‘friends with benefits’ of foods: satiating and reliable, without being overly stimulating.”
5. The Smoothing Tank Top Oscar Winners Keep Stealing From Me
Costume-designer-slash-writer Alison Freer explains: “I put them on every single actress I dress. Since this tank top has absolutely no seams, it doesn’t create extra lumps under thin garments, like a cashmere-blend sweater. It’s also a godsend for clothes with strange cutouts or open-weave sweaters that would otherwise expose your bra to the whole world. The shirt is a perfect length: not so long so that it hangs out beneath shirts, but not so short that your guts are left exposed (it comes in plus sizes, too).”