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What Strategist Readers Are Buying: Shiatsu Massagers and Top-Ranked Pens

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist readers, 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.

With eight returning favorites, this week’s list was a tough one for new products to crack. Two did manage, though: a lavender-smelling hand soap we found on sale ranks fourth and a shiatsu massager we recommended as a Valentine’s Day gift for guys debuts in seventh place. A new pimple-healing cream that Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton introduced us to last month moves up from second to first place, while a fancy lube inches up from fourth to second just in time for Valentine’s Day. Two of our top 100 pens — the highest-rated felt pen and our overall winner — hit the list in third and sixth place, respectively. In the bedding department, an anxiety-soothing weighted blanket finishes in fifth place while a pillow just for side-sleepers rounds out the list in tenth. Finally, a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses (last week’s fifth-place finisher) drops to ninth, and a powerful cordless vacuum that’s been off the list since last July reappears at number eight.

From pimple patches to snail serum, Rio Viera-Newton hasn’t let us down when it comes to recommendations from Korean beauty brand Cosrx, and her latest pick is no exception. This blemish-healing cream — along with the brand’s new acne patches — uses centella asiatica–leaf water, an antibacterial herb, to minimize pimple scars. Rio says, “It’s small, it’s mighty, and if you’re a picker like me, it’ll save you over and over.” After making its first appearance on our last list in second place, it moves up to the top spot this week.

In preparation for Valentine’s Day this year, we updated our story on the best lubes, and this very elegant-looking one still tops the list. Samantha Bard, co-owner of the sex-positive shop Shag in Williamsburg, says it’s “one of the highest-quality silicone lubes out there,” and Emily Morse, doctor of human sexuality and host of Sex With Emily on SiriusXM, is impressed that it has only two ingredients: “pure silicone with a trace of Vitamin E.”

Third overall in our ranking of 100 pens, these fine-line marker pens were the highest-ranking felt pens. Our tester said, “Of all the pens I tried, it feels the closest to an extension of my natural hand gestures and it makes my handwriting look easygoing and legible.” Plus, there wasn’t any smudging or bleed-through. They’re in third place on our best-seller list for the second time in a row.

While we’re intrigued by expensive status hand soaps, we know that sometimes you just need one that’ll get the job done. Which is why we were especially excited to see this trio of lavender-scented Mrs. Meyer’s soap deeply discounted as part of an Amazon Super Bowl promotion. Unfortunately the sale is now over, but for $10 you can still get three bottles of soap to stock your kitchen or bathroom with.

Designed to relieve anxiety and improve sleep quality, weighted blankets were a runaway-hit gift this holiday season — and are apparently here to stay. When Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson went in search of the best one to give, she tested a handful out and concluded, “Baloo’s thoughtful design makes it the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing one of the bunch.” After being sold out for weeks during the holidays, the blankets are now back in stock.

While the results of our ranking of 100 pens were hotly debated on Twitter and in our comments section, our number-one pen ended up being a best seller among readers. Two pens got perfect scores based on our criteria, but the elegant Baron Fig rollerball ultimately came out on top in a final, head-to-head showdown. In his review, Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen said, “I love this pen. It practically dances across the page, and the ink comes through with command and a real presence.”

In our roundup of Valentine’s Day gifts for guys, we offered this suggestion for the especially hard-to-shop-for men in your life: “If you don’t know what to get a man, you can’t go wrong with a back- and neck-massager.” A lot of you took the hint, and propelled this heated massager onto the list at number seven.

Last seen on our best-seller list back in July of last year, this tiny but mighty cordless vacuum now returns to the top ten. According to one Amazon reviewer, it’s “very powerful for a hand vac. With three young kids and a very messy cat, we’ve used this vac to pick up spilled cereal (wet and dry), cat food, cat litter, cat hair on furniture, drywall dust (fixing holes the kids made), and every kind of spilled food imaginable with young kids. Never had a problem … it is easy to empty. You can either take the front off and dump it or take the back off (for cleaning the filter) and empty it that way. Finally, it is easy to clean the filter.”

We’re sure that many of our readers, like us, spend most of their days staring at screens, so it makes sense that you’ve also been curious about blue-light-blocking glasses, designed to filter out the type of light that causes eyestrain and disrupts sleep. Strategist writer Maxine Builder did a deep dive on the subject and found that these orange-hued glasses have been shown to improve sleep. This ninth-place finish marks the glasses’ third consecutive appearance on the list.

Like the Black & Decker vacuum, this pillow is another blast from the past. First hitting the list over a year ago, this is its first appearance since November. We discovered it when our deputy editor Jason Chen tested out a wide selection of side-sleeper pillows and concluded that the Wamsutta Extra-Firm was the most comfortable and supportive of all: “Unlike other pillows that mistake plushness or fluffiness for support, the WEF didn’t sink as soon as I rested my head. Instead, it had a firm, satisfying spring — it’s a different sensation, but one I took to right away. And even though I didn’t do any measuring, my head felt more propped up from the mattress and sheets than with any other pillow.”

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: Massagers and Pens