We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trawling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including a bubble vase to brighten your day, the face masks a doctor recommends to all friends and family, and Rick Ross’s favorite deodorant.
Rick Ross’s favorite deodorant
“I don’t use anything else,” the rapper told us when we spoke to him about the stuff he can’t live without. “There’s just something about this deodorant. I feel fresher than a newborn baby when I wear it, and I smell powdery fresh, like money, all day.”
The face masks a doctor recommends to all friends and family
After months of testing and reporting on face masks for adults (and kids), we wanted to go even deeper into the topic by finding out what styles people who’ve always worn such protective gear — namely, medical professionals — are wearing. Among the 22 different styles that our senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson heard about is this set from Nordstrom that Baltimore-based internal-medicine doctor Vivek Cherian says he recommends to his nearest and dearest. “These masks are extremely comfortable, washable and reusable, adjustable, double-layered, and even have a built-in cotton filter pocket,” he says. We say: They’re actually nice looking to boot.
A sleep mask that ‘seals eyes from outside light’
Of all the things keeping us up at night these days, ambient light, at least, is within our control. Which is why our obsessive writer Rio Viera-Newton searched long and hard for an eye mask that provides “total darkness,” even from “the slightest ray of sun peeking through a curtain at 5 a.m.” After trying Slip’s silk style (“wasn’t great at blocking light”) and a more rigid mask recommended by Redditors (“uncomfortably tight”), her sister-in-law suggested she try this memory-foam mask from MZOO. Says Rio: “She told me that my brother’s insomnia and late-night Netflix habit had been ruining her sleep for years — and that no mask had helped until she found this. Just as a good memory-foam mattress forms to your body, this memory-foam eye mask forms perfectly to your eyes, sealing them from any outside light. It also happens to be thick, bouncy, and cushiony. So if you happen to sleep on your stomach, like me, it almost feels like resting your face on a mini-pillow.”
An $80 linen duvet cover
We’ve written enough about linen sheets to know that their perfectly lived-in look and softer-with-every-use feel doesn’t usually come cheap. Which is why we were genuinely surprised to learn about this attractive, under-$100 linen duvet cover when writer Lauren Ro recently asked a bunch of interior designers about their favorites. It seems readers found this find as delightful as we did, because some colors of the comforter have sold out in the days since we wrote about it, but this stately charcoal style remains and, according to the designer who recommended it, “spans the spectrum of design styles and can find a home anywhere.”
A sport watch with style cred
When confronted with the dilemma of keeping time on the rental bikes (with late fees) he now rides everywhere, our writer Louis Cheslaw remembered some advice he picked up from a watch expert he worked with years ago. “He once wrote that, for exercise or sport, there is nothing better than a cheap Casio.” While most Casio watches are generally affordable compared to other makers, this truly inexpensive style, with its large, legible face, “seemed just what I was looking for — and cheap enough not to care if it wasn’t,” writes Cheslaw. He continues: “After wearing it for a few weeks, I can confirm that it is: The display is super-easy to read with just a glance, and the almost-all-resin body makes it durable, not to mention waterproof.” But, he adds, “while I bought the watch as a timekeeping tool for my bike rides, I’ve quickly come to appreciate it for far more. When I wore my Casio to a meal with another Watch Guy, he mistook it for the brand’s far more covetable and expensive G-Shock Classic Core Watch, which earned me his respect (and my watch more of my own). And among its nifty practical features is an alarm that I’ve started to use so I can sleep with my phone further from my bed. Which means it hasn’t only kept me from dangerously looking at my screen while riding a bike but also from dangerously scrolling through my Twitter feed all night long.”
A bubble vase to brighten your day
Even without flowers, this sculptural vase featured in our latest installment of Don’t Dillydally would surely put a smile on the face of anyone who glimpses it. That’s one reason we think it’ll sell fast. Another: The handblown vase is part of a special West Elm collection of pieces from Brooklyn-based design studio Bower, the maker of home furnishings (like chandeliers and lamps) that many an interior designer recommends.
Rio’s new favorite sunscreen (that’s made by Frank Ocean’s mom)
“In the past, I haven’t had the best luck with mineral SPF,” Rio writes of the type of sunscreen that “is notorious for leaving an unflattering chalky white cast on the skin. (There’s a ghoulish photo of me on the internet, taken shortly after I packed on Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc at the beach a few years ago, that I wish could be taken down.)” But some folks, according to Rio, say mineral sunscreen is “gentler on sensitive skin,” which is why she decided to give it another go after a recent eczema flare-up. “After doing some window shopping on my phone, I came across a company called Unsun Cosmetics; it was, I noticed, founded by none other than Frank Ocean’s mother, Katonya Breaux. The consistency of this is admittedly a bit thicker than what I’m used to, but when it’s all absorbed, it truly gives one of the most hydrating and illuminating just-left-the-spa glows I’ve ever seen — and it actually smoothed out some of my existing dry patches. These days, I’ve been using Unsun’s mineral SPF in lieu of my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer — the dewy, glowy effect it has on my skin is just that good.”
A beach wagon that’s also a beach chair
In our latest edition of Something for Everyone, we delved deep into the world of beach wagons, canvassing experts, lifelong beachgoers, and Strategist editors (and readers) for their favorites. Of the ten vetted options we recommend, this one delights because of its double duty. “When locked into its wagon shape,” the brand says this wagon “‘easily rolls over grass, pavement, or sand’ thanks to its rugged wheels that can hold up to 100 pounds,” we write. “Once you’ve found your spot, the cart can be folded out into a lounge chair that has a built-in pillow headrest for added comfort and can support even more weight (as a chair, it can hold up to 225 pounds).”
And a status vinegar to dress your lunchtime salads
From the maker of a small-batch olive oil that some foodies say is all the rage comes this equally covetable (and elegantly packaged) balsamic vinegar, which is one of many that our writer Nikita Richardson says has sparked a renaissance of the pantry staple. Brightland is one of “five new vinegar brands, all launched in the last 18 months,” and, as Richardson notes, all packaged in “bottles you want to keep out on your counter,” thanks to their “squat vessels with rounded shoulders, wood-topped rubber corks, and attractive lettering.” Like its olive oil, Brightland’s balsamic vinegar is also small batch; according to the company’s founder, “We tried dozens and dozens of types of vinegars and producers and purveyors of all sizes and, ultimately, we went with a husband-and-wife team. They have blackberries on their farm, which they use to double ferment their balsamic.”
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.