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What Strategist Readers Bought in August: Neck Fans and Eye Masks

Photo: Retailers

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, where 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.

This August, much like real life, there was not much new going on in our readers’ shopping carts. Six of the items on this list are regulars, and the four new items are, for the most part, new variations of our Strategist readers’ staples. For example, in at No. 1 is the Vistaprint face mask we tested, which is currently on a three-month streak, and at No. 2 debuted a set of disposable surgical masks — similar, but different. A more exciting face-covering variation — a face shield — also made the list for the first time, along with a literally cool neck fan and cushy eye mask. But plenty of the usual suspects are on the list again, like a back massager, which is back on the list for the eighth time; an all-sleeper-friendly, hypoallergenic pillow; blue-light-blocking glasses; a mouth guard; and a moisturizer so popular you probably already know which one it is.

A fabric face mask might never not top this list for the foreseeable future. For the third month in a row these Vistaprint face masks have taken the No. 1 spot. We tested them and found that the adjustable ear loops, bendable wire nose strip, stretchy fabric, and an added lower section that hugs your chin makes this mask super comfortable, and month after month, our readers have grown to love it, too. This dotted version is the most popular, but several people also bought this daisy-printed one.

In at No. 2, making the list for the first time, is this disposable, surgical-type face mask. Last month, two essential workers told us that a surgical face mask is their go-to when in a potentially crowded, unpredictable space like a subway. It’s important that we leave PPE to those who need it most, but we totally get it, and so does Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. He told us, “If you’re going to have to be in a high-risk environment, something like the subway, with lots of other people in a relatively closely confined area, perhaps for a prolonged period of time, then mask effectiveness might really play a difference in protecting you.” Strategist writer Louis Cheslaw also bought himself a set of these masks, noting they are thin, but that’s exactly what he wanted as he tried to beat the heat. Maybe these will continue to fly off the shelves as we head into the dog days of summer.

This massager has made the best-seller list eight times since its debut in February 2019. And given that these are extremely stressful times, it’s no surprise that a Shiatsu massager that relieves back pain with heat and kneading would be a popular purchase. Not only do our readers love it, but it’s the best-rated back massager on Amazon. We anticipate that as more and more people perfect their work-from-home setup, tacking this massager to their new desk chair will become even more popular for our readers, so this little machine is probably here to stay.

We talked to infectious-disease experts in July to figure out the deal with face shields. Ravina Kullar, an infectious-disease specialist, epidemiologist, and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told us that face shields offer extra protection because they block particles from entering your eyes, and make it less likely that you’ll touch your face with unwashed hands, but that they should still be worn with a face mask to protect others from your germs. This particular one, making the list for the first time, is a good pick because it covers your entire face, has an elastic band for a snug fit, and even has a cushioned section in the front for comfort. As more and more people start to outdoor dine (while the weather permits) maybe face shields will become more popular, because they still offer you and your tablemates some protection while still enjoying a meal together.