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 romantic at-home baking class, an ultra-hydrating face wash, and Danny Trejo’s multipurpose machete.
The best sheet pan for churning out cookies
Home cooks know that the humble sheet pan is one of the most versatile tools in their arsenal, so kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman set out to find which sheet pans deserve to be named Best in Class. When it comes to making desserts and other treats, this Oxo sheet pan stands out because “it’s sturdy and nonstick and helps make sure sweets are evenly baked,” according to Kristen Tomlan, the founder and CEO of DŌ Cookie Dough Confections. Plus, the micro-texture on the bottom improves airflow, and the “light color of the sheet pan helps slowly transfer heat so the bottoms of your pastries don’t get too brown,” she says.
Silk pillowcases for better beauty sleep
Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton is an ardent proponent of silk pillowcases, which she has “long relied on … to ensure I’m not pissing off fragile locks and unpredictable pores as I sleep.” So when she stumbled upon this sub-$30 Zimasilk pillowcase, she decided to see if it would measure up to her $109 Parachute silk pillowcase — and the Zimasilk instantly won her over. “If the tags were removed, I truly do not think I’d be able to tell the difference … They feel just as smooth, cool, and soft on the skin as my high-end version, so much so they make me feel as though I’m sleeping at a luxurious hotel every night,” Viera-Newton writes. “I’m pleased to say that I now have four of these silk pillowcases on my bed at all times.”
Vera Wang’s dog’s personal pup-à-terre
Vera Wang’s Pomeranian Lola can’t live without this travel carrier, which Wang calls “her apartment.” Wang bought the carrier when she brought Lola “and her sister home … and they would hide treats in the bag, so she’d have a reserve supply.” Though Wang admits she thinks the bag is “kind of ugly,” Lola “loves it” and prefers it to better-looking alternatives. “I got my daughter’s dog a Louis Vuitton carrier,” Wang says, “and when I’ve tried to get Lola something else, she still just wants this nylon thing.” But, like all doting pet owners, she just wants Lola “to be happy, so if that’s what she wants, whatever.”
A candle to make your home smell nice …
We’ve rounded up the best Valentine’s Day gifts under $50, and this candle from Black-owned brand Harlem Candle Company is sure to set the mood. The “Speakeasy” scent features notes of bourbon, palo santo, and smoked incense and is a favorite of candle influencer Kudzi Chikumbu (@sircandleman). Chikumbu says “it feels and looks luxury, even from the box. It’s gorgeous and embossed and the glass is really nice. It’s the kind of candle you would want to have out.”
… and perfume to make you smell nice
Glossier recently restocked the solid version of its cult-favorite perfume You, an ambrox-and-musk-scented fragrance formulated to smell like “you but better.” Made from an alcohol-free wax base, the solid version is a bit softer and more subtle than the spray, perfect for throwing in your bag for touch-up applications throughout the day. The last time it was available, it sold out quickly, so if you’re a You enthusiast, don’t dillydally.
A perfectly slouchy cold-weather staple
If you’re looking for an easy layering piece that will fit under bulky insulating jackets but also hold its own alongside your favorite pair of jeans, look no further: Madewell’s essential long-sleeve tee features soft supima cotton, a high crew neck, and a slightly loose (but not baggy) fit. In addition, Madewell is currently offering an extra 30 percent off sale items using the code REALDEAL, which means this tee is discounted to just $17 — so you can stock up for the chilly days ahead.
The best face wash for fighting winter dryness
After testing dozens of face washes to find the Best in Class, Strategist writer Chloe Anello decided that the La Roche-Posay Toleriane cleanser is the best for dry, flaky skin. She writes that the formula contains multiple actives, including “ceramides, glycerin, and niacinamide” and also features the brand’s “famed thermal spring water, which hydrates and soothes irritated, dry skin thanks to its antioxidant properties.” Ami Dalal, a certified physician assistant with Schweiger Dermatology Group, is especially a fan of the glycerin ingredient because it “helps hydrate your skin without the overproduction of oil.”
A cute couple’s baking class
If you’re planning to keep it low-key this February 14 but still want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your partner, an online experience from our list of virtual Valentine’s gifts might be just the ticket. If you and your boo both have a sweet tooth, Williams Sonoma has partnered with Bake From Scratch magazine on a virtual baking school. Every week, Bake From Scratch editor-in-chief Brian Hart Hoffman and a guest baker will walk you through a different recipe, from French tarts to focaccia. The Valentine’s Day lesson is a sunken chocolate soufflé — a decadent way to spend a romantic afternoon.
A very Y2K pearl choker
Or if your valentine would prefer to receive something a little more traditional, you can’t go wrong with something sparkly from our guide to Black-owned jewelry brands. Tenisha Wilde’s line Ten Wilde features “many gold-plated and gold-filled designs” that are both easy on the eyes and easy on the wallet. This Anne Boleyn–esque pearl choker can be personalized with one or two pave letters to spell out your sweetie’s initials.
Danny Trejo’s iconic machete
When we asked actor and chef Danny Trejo what he can’t live without, he cited this machete as the ideal tool to “cut leaves and stuff in my backyard. This machete will take a branch in a minute.” But that’s not all he uses it for; whenever he makes a cooking video, “people always want me to use a machete to cut meat, so I’ve gotten very good at chopping carne asada with a machete.” In fact, he’s become so “associated with a machete now” that he “couldn’t even count how many machetes I’ve signed. People walk into my restaurant with a machete almost every day and ask me to sign it.”
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.