year in review

What Strategist Readers Bought: The 25 Top-Selling Things of 2018

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

Welcome to the year-end megaedition of Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top products that you, devoted Strategist readers, all bought in droves. Because it’s the end of the year, we’re blowing this out with 25 of the best-selling products that you bought in 2018. Skin care, bedding, and towels make a strong showing, as do kids’ toys both classic (the Radio Flyer wagon) and trendy (Hatchimals), and more. Several of these items (like the beard trimmer, bathrobe, and blender) would even make great holiday gifts.

1. The Google Doc I Send to People Who Ask About My Skin

Considering that they’ve appeared on our readers’ best-seller list 21 times in 2018, were the number-one best-sellers 5 of those times, and are currently the top seller at our holiday pop-up store, we can confidently say that these pimple-zapping patches — which come recommended by Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton — were our readers’ favorite product of the year.

2. The 14 Products I Use for My Chronic Raccoon Eyes

Another of Rio’s favorites (and another five-time number-one best-seller this year), these patches get rid of dark under-eye circles and bags, fast. Rio says they’re also helpful for wrinkles and dry skin.

3. What’s the Best Beard Trimmer?

After writer Kurt Soller’s rave review of this vacuum-powered beard trimmer (he calls it “a godsend”), it went on to become a staple on our best-seller list, appearing 12 times this year.

4. The ‘Most Painful Mask Ever’ Is Like a Dyson for My Pores

Known among beauty YouTubers as “the “most painful mask ever,” this pore-suctioning peel-off mask intrigued writer Garrett Munce. “My pores become microscopic, like I’ve taken a Dyson to them,” he said of using the mask, and our readers were sold.

5. The 14 Best Lesser-Known Korean-Beauty Skin-Care Products on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Strategist writer Lori Keong unearthed this hidden gem during our Made in Korea week. An aesthetician Amazon reviewer says it’s “nearly identical in texture and performance” to the much pricier, and beauty editor-beloved, SkinCeuticals vitamin C serum.

6. What Is the Best Lube?

As part of our Things We Don’t Talk About series, Strategist writer Maxine Builder asked sex-positive retailers, sex educators and advocates, and sex workers for their lube recommendations. This fancy-looking one, chosen by Samantha Bard, co-owner of Shag in Williamsburg, came out on top — and it went on to make our best-seller list five times this year.

Mellanni Bed Sheet Set
From $33

7. The 11 Best Bed Sheets on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Like a lot of products on this list, these Mellanni sheets were also a 2017 best-seller. We uncovered them thanks to their now 47,000-plus Amazon reviews. As one buyer says, “It’s honestly what I would imagine lying on a cloud would feel like.”

8. The 10 Best Towels on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Another home basic hitting the annual best-seller list two years in a row, these plush bath towels were also an Amazon find. This very enthusiastic review won us over: “Comparable to a single-malt scotch, a dry-aged steak, or a Cuban cigar, these towels are one of life’s great pleasures.”

9. The Unlikely Tale of an $89 Amazon Coat That’s Taken Over the Upper East Side

Last winter, Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider wrote about this expensive-looking but actually very cheap coat that was appearing on fashionable women all over the Upper East Side. The craze has since spread throughout the city — and certainly among our readers.

10. The 15 Best Comforters on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

If you’re looking for the best duvet to pair with those new Mellanni sheets, you can’t do much better than this Amazon best-seller with more than 6,000 reviews. One reviewer said it best: “BIG, FLUFFY, HUGE, CLOUD-LIKE.”

11. What’s the Best White T-shirt for Women?

We love a classic white T-shirt, and this one from Everlane has achieved holy-grail status. Recommended by Elizabeth Rose of Café Gitane, who’s a fan of the brand’s ethical transparency and the shirt’s deep V-neck, it’s been on our best-seller list 12 times this year.

12. The 21 Holiday Toys to Buy Now Before They Sell Out, According to Trend Forecasters

As one trend forecaster told Strategist writer/editor Liza Corsillo: “The huge trends right now are collectible toys and unboxing toys,” and these surprise-gender Hatchimal toys are on the top of kids’ holiday wish lists for the third year running. Plus, they took over our last two reader best-seller lists of the year.

13. What’s the Best Bathrobe?

Writer Amanda FitzSimons says this bathrobe, from the makers of our favorite linen sheets, has “been something of a viral hit: At its peak, Parachute’s waiting list for the bathrobe was 1,900 people long.” It’s also taken off among our readers, making the best-seller list for its past three installments. You can pick one up now from our holiday pop-up shop.

14. What’s the Best Weighted Blanket to Gift?

Designed for managing anxiety and insomnia, it’s not surprising that weighted blankets have been hugely popular in this high-stress year. Ideal for those who sleep hot, Joe Auer, founder of sleep product review site Mattress Clarity, says the ZonLi is “one of the cooler-sleeping weighted blankets.”

15. The Best Weighted Blankets on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

A favorite among both experts and Amazon reviewers, the YnM weighted blanket comes in a variety of weights (choose one that’s around 10 percent of your body-weight) and color options.

16. For the One-Year Anniversary of My Skin-Care Google Doc, I Updated It

Back to beauty products: This snail mucin essence has stood the test of time, appearing on Rio’s original Google doc, and on her updated version this year. She says, “This product will improve your skin’s overall health and radiancy.”

17. What’s the Best Pillow for Side Sleepers?

Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen tested out a bunch of pillows experts recommended for side-sleepers. The winner? This surprisingly affordable one that strikes the perfect balance between plush and firm. Readers agree — it’s made our list seven times this year.

18. The Best Hand Creams on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

A top pick of Amazon reviewers — one said, “I do believe that this product is the best hand cream that could be made on earth” — this cream is your best bet for beating winter dryness.

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

We’re calling it: 2018 is the year of the metal straw. In the past 12 months, the New York City Council introduced legislation to ban plastic straws, Starbucks pledged to eliminate them by 2020, and this set popped up on our best-seller list four times this summer. Looks like lots of you are taking steps to make your daily iced-coffee routine a little more eco-friendly.

20. This Padded Foot Sling Makes Economy Feel Like First Class

Flying economy is notoriously uncomfortable, so when writer Alyse Whitney said this footrest gave her “the closest thing to a first-class experience,” we understood why the $20 solution leapt to the top of our best-seller list that week.

21. The Best Coffee Grinders, According to Baristas and Coffee Roasters

Coffee lovers put a lot of thought into their brewing machines and, as Strategist writer Maxine Builder learned in talking to baristas, roasters, and coffee-shop owners, choosing a quality coffee bean grinder is just as important. This affordable option came recommended by Paul Schlader, co-founder and head roaster of Birch Coffee. He likes that it “allows home brewers to adjust the coarseness from superfine for espresso to extra coarse for a French press.”

22. What Is the Best Work Bag for Women?

Strategist writer Lori Keong went out in search of the perfect work bag, and this one, recommended by graphic designer Meagan Sapashe, ended up being a hit among our readers.  “All the other bags were either very large or not big enough, but Madewell’s medium transport tote is quite literally the perfect medium,” says Sapashe.


23. The Best Blenders for Smoothies, According to Chefs and Smoothie Fanatics

While chefs love the pricey Vitamix blenders for making smoothies, this far more affordable option is a favorite among our staff (Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff loves hers, and writer Maxine Builder recommends it), Amazon reviewers, and our readers, as well.

24. The Best Gifts for a 1-Year-Old, According to a Child Development Expert

It doesn’t get much more classic than the red Radio Flyer wagon. Child development expert Dr. Sarah Roseberry Lytle, director of outreach and education at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, says it’s a great gift for a 1-year-old learning how to walk: “When they’re up and walking, they’re most interested in toys that might support them but can also be part of their playtime.”

25. Our Fashion Editor at Large Buys This Lip Stain in Bulk

The last item on our list is a lip stain that New York’s fashion editor at large, Amy Larocca, can’t stop buying. “I buy endless tubes and stick them in all my purses, coat pockets, medicine cabinets, and desk drawers,” she says. “Black honey is perfect — why mess with that?

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.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

What Strategist Readers Bought: The 25 Top-Sellers of 2018