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What Readers Bought in November: Hair Towels and Hot-Air Brushes

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: 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.

November is one of the busiest months here at the Strategist, as we focus on sifting through the vast e-commerce landscape to ferret out all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Now that the frenzy has mostly subsided, we took some time to analyze which deals and discounts our readers gravitated toward the most during Cyber Week — and came up with some surprising (and some not-so-surprising) results.

Glossier’s status-y lip balm and some aesthetically appealing string lights, both of which made the Black Friday best sellers last year, were back for another round this year. But some new arrivals also topped the list, including a mini-broom for tidying up electronics and Emma Chamberlain’s favorite post-shower hair towels. Readers also picked up a hot-air brush that’s big on TikTok and some tearproof tights that half the Strategist team swears by. (Although many of these items were on discount during Cyber Week, keep in mind that most — though not all — have returned to full price.)

Making its first appearance in readers’ carts, these Turbie Twist hair towels are “not like a regular towel,” claims YouTuber (and teen-girl idol) Emma Chamberlain. “It’s super-thin and -light — you twist your hair in it then button it in the back.” We also included it in our roundup of the best gifts for teen girls, since anything Emma Chamberlain approved is destined to be a surefire hit.

Shoppers stocked up on Glossier’s cult-favorite Balm Dotcom for the third Black Friday in a row — the best-selling balm also made the list in 2020 and 2019. That comes as no surprise, as it has been recommended by everyone from Who What Wear co-founder Katherine Power to Gen Z singer Grace VanderWaal to actress and model Molly Sims. Plus it’s a favorite of our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton, who uses it as a highlighter to give her skin “that extra shine.”

Strategist readers’ friends and families have a high chance of discovering this Oxo electronics cleaning brush in their stockings this year, after we included it on our list of the best stocking stuffers under $25. Its soft, double-sided bristles gently sweep away dust and crumbs on keyboards, phone screens, and camera lenses — and at less than $10, it’s the perfect gift for the person you don’t know what to get.

Revlon’s viral hot-air brush has popped up on our site many times, but this is the first time that it has made our best-sellers list, as shoppers rushed to capitalize on its discounted Black Friday price. An inexpensive dupe for the Dyson Airwrap, the brush “changed my entire life,” according to TikTokker Kate Bartlett, whose video about the product has racked up nearly 120,000 likes. It’s also a favorite of Foodgod (a.k.a. Jonathan Cheban), who loves it “so much that I have one with different plugs for Europe … Now when I have to use a regular brush, I can’t even deal with it.”

This is the second month in a row that this Lasko space heater made an appearance on this list, likely because of the plummeting temperatures. It capped our list of the best space heaters on Amazon, with reviewers attesting to its durability and surprisingly powerful capacity: “This little devil is the best purchase you can make. Inexpensive and lasts a looong time,” one writes, and another claims this “little Lasko is … VERY compact, but puts out a LOT of heat. I’m thrilled with this little guy.”

Only one mask cropped up on the list this month — the black WeCare disposable masks, which we last saw in August and first identified as an official trend all the way back in December 2020. The chic black surgical mask “feels less medical while still delivering the benefits of being medical,” says Laura Naparstek, a product marketing manager at Braze. She calls it “simple, safe, and self-explanatory” and likes how it manages to signal that “you’re going to follow the rules and protect other people and yourself, but you’re not that precious about it.”


After making its debut on this list last month, this kid-friendly board game is back for the second month in a row, thanks to its top spot on our gift guide for 5-year-olds. Strategist contributor Steven John bought this game for his 5-and-a-half-year-old, who doesn’t let “a single day go by without … requesting at least one round,” he says. The gameplay is fairly straightforward — “you uncover a series of clues and a group of suspects, zeroing in on the guilty fox through a process of elimination” — but making these choices allows children to develop their “critical thinking, planning, and teamwork” skills.

$54 for 2

This is the 11th month that these Beckham gel pillows have shown up in readers’ carts. It’s an impressive feat that we’re not at all surprised by, if the nearly 18,000 five-star Amazon reviews are any indication. One reviewer, who calls their boyfriend “the pickiest man I know,” reports that he rated this pillow “a 10 out of 10, which says a lot considering he’d find a flaw in just about any product.” They swear that these pillows help them “sleep much better throughout the night.”

The last time these Magnoloran photo lights made an appearance on this list was in January 2020, but string lights are a tried-and-true Christmas gift that are sure to delight the teen girl in your life year after year. In our 2019 teen-girl poll, Sydney, one of the high-schoolers we surveyed, said she liked these lights because they gave her room a “calming and soft aesthetic.”


So many readers took advantage of Sheertex’s Black Friday sale that their near-indestructible tights made this list for the first time ever. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo extolled the virtues of the Instagram-friendly brand, writing, “If you’ve seen ads for Sheertex on Instagram and wondered, Is it really that good?, the answer is yes.” They’re made from a military-grade material that’s “typically reserved for ballistics and climbing equipment.” But they’re not just function over fashion — they also “come in a ton of cute patterns and colors and sizes up to 3XL and have a 30-day no-tear guarantee,” she writes.

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.

What Strategist Readers Bought in November