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What Strategist Readers Are Buying: Foot Slings and Aromatherapy Balms

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist readers, all bought in droves. Think of this as the tl;dr of the Strategist: If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to, too.

Among the many newcomers on the list this week are the products in the top two spots, which are designed to help you fall asleep — an airplane footrest that makes economy seats feel surprisingly luxurious, and a soothing lavender-scented balm that helped a new mom doze off. Two skin-care recommendations from our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton are also on the list — the longtime best-selling pimple patches that she first raved about in her Google doc, and a new vitamin C serum that she alerted us about in this summer’s updated version of the story. Also in the beauty sphere, Dermstore’s anniversary sale boosted a universally flattering red lipstick back onto the list in ninth place, and a cult-favorite exfoliating serum onto the list for the first time in eighth. Additional new faces include blue-light-blocking glasses designed to filter out the light from screens that cause eyestrain in fourth place, and a power tool that does double duty as a muscle massager in seventh. Finally, two old favorites return — ecofriendly stainless-steel straws in fifth, and a classic white V-neck T-shirt closing out the list in tenth place.

1. This Padded Foot Sling Makes Economy Feel Like First Class (New Entry)

Writer Alyse Whitney usually has trouble sleeping on planes, so she decided to try out this $20 footrest for her 20-hour flight to Singapore and Hong Kong, and it turned out to be a huge success. “I had zero pain, pressure, or swelling, and was able to sleep for four to six hours at a time,” she wrote. “It was the closest thing to a first-class experience that I could get in economy.”

2. This Lavender-Scented Stick Is Like Ambien Without the Side Effects (New Entry)

This aromatherapy balm helped writer Sara Gaynes Levy calm her racing mind and get some sleep after her daughter was born. She reported that it worked even when nothing else — including wine, deep-breathing exercises, and relaxing podcasts — seemed to help. “I read for maybe five minutes before falling asleep. I did the same thing the next night, and it knocked me out again,” she said.

3. The Google Doc I Send to People Who Ask About My Skin (2)

A perennial favorite, these pimple-eliminating patches stick on the list another week, sitting pretty at No. 3. Strat beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton introduced us to the now-famous patches last year in her epic skin-care Google-doc post: “[T]he Holy Grail. Drop everything and buy them. Not even going to explain, will just say if you pop or pick a zit, put this on immediately afterward, go to bed, and in the morning you’ll see what I’m talking about and thank me.”

4. Do Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses Actually Do Anything? (New Entry)

Since we spend most of our time looking at screens, it’s not surprising that we’ve been curious about blue-light-blocking glasses designed to filter out the active blue light that cause eyestrain. Strat writer Maxine Builder did a deep dive on the subject and found that these affordable, orange-hued glasses are the ones used in scientific studies and have been shown to improve sleep.

5. I Sip My Iced Coffee From These Stylish (Ecofriendly) Straws (6)

With the New York City Council introducing legislation to ban plastic straws, and Starbucks pledging to eliminate them by 2020, we’re on the lookout for a sustainable alternative. This set, from SipWell, is proving to be a strong contender, making the list yet another week. As one Amazon reviewer said, “They are very close in size to the disposable ones and have a nice bend to them.” Lots of you also opted for Strat writer Bethany Blakeman’s favorite metal straws from Greens Steel. If you’re not into metal, writer Lauren Levy prefers these soft silicone ones that are also biodegradable.

6. For the One-Year Anniversary of My Skin-Care Google Doc, I Updated It (New Entry)

In the updated version of her legendary Google-doc skin-care story, Rio Viera-Newton recommended this vitamin C serum that “brightens your skin and fades dark spots.” More affordable than other much-hyped serums, it’s won a permanent spot in her skin-care routine and, apparently, our readers’ as well.

7. Massage Sore Muscles With This … Black & Decker Power Tool? (New Entry)

Although it’s intended for polishing cars and boats, this power tool has a following for its surprising off-label use as a body massager. Writer Maggie Coughlan discovered that “it simultaneously spins and vibrates, creating a friction that’s got an unbelievable way of soothing tired muscles, releasing tension and warming the body.” It also got a shout-out from Tim Herrera of the New York Times, who said “it works like a dream.” And at a fraction of the cost of the NBA player–approved TheraGun massager, it’s a cheap way to powerfully work out kinks and knots.

8. There Are Lots of Strategist Favorites at Dermstore’s Anniversary Sale (New Entry)

When this rarely-on-sale cult-favorite exfoliating serum went on sale at Dermstore earlier this month, lots of you leaped at the chance to give its brightening, skin-clearing power a shot without having the triple-digit price tag. It’s a big hit among the skin-care addicts of Reddit and beauty editors alike.

9. There Are Lots of Strategist Favorites at Dermstore’s Anniversary Sale (Off Last List)

One of our all-time favorites, we first learned about this berry-red lipstick from writer Alice Gregory who said, “The brick but still bright color is freakishly flattering, and the semi-sheer coverage makes it look especially good on an otherwise bare face.” She also clued us in that Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy wore this very shade. It’s been on the list before — as recently as last month — and makes a comeback this week thanks to the Dermstore sale.

10. What’s the Best White T-shirt for Women? (8)

A wardrobe staple, this perfect white T-shirt closes out the list this week. Elizabeth Rose, a server at Cafe Gitane, tipped us off to this top when we went on the hunt for the best white T-shirt for women: “I like the Everlane V-neck because of the company’s transparency. It’s an ethical issue — I like to know where the clothing is made. And I like this specific shirt because I wear a lot of necklaces, so the depth of this V shows them.”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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What Strategist Readers Are Buying: Footrests and Lipstick