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 sculpting Skims bodysuit, ingeniously-designed tweezers, and the decaf coffee Annaleigh Ashford makes sure to stock up on.
A clarifying mud mask for banishing breakouts
After Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla suffered through a spate of nasty breakouts, her mom introduced her to this vintage mud mask, which “she’d once used to help with the same problem more than 30 years ago.” The mask contains ingredients such as “bentonite clay to clear clogged pores, almond oil to help with texture, and hydrating hyaluronic acid.” Pardilla is happy to report that, once she rinses it off, “the pores on my nose are less noticeable, there’s generally much less oiliness slicking my face, and I only have to deal with the occasional stress-induced pimple rather than a full-on breakout.”
Precise, pinch-proof tweezers
Strategist junior writer Arielle Avila recently tested a bunch of different tweezers to figure out which ones should be named Best in Class. This Tweezerman pair topped the list because it “can perform almost any hair-plucking job,” Avila writes. “The slanted tip is ideal for lifting hair from the skin before you pull out the strand.” Rebecca Hoffman, owner of Bespoke Brows NYC, also praises the Tweezerman’s slanted design for its ability to prevent any accidental pinching of the skin. “You can also angle it to just use the pointy edge of the tool for really stubborn hairs,” Hoffman says.
Hot sauce to spice up any curry
In our latest installment of Steal My Vacation, art critic Antwaun Sargent recalled the restorative trip to Barbados he took last year. In between sunbathing on the beach and sailing on the water, Sargent couldn’t get enough of the local curry, which he swears “tastes amazing. I’m the kind of person who can eat the same thing over and over again, and on this vacation, I got curry everywhere.” His favorite way to add extra kick to the meal was this Aunt May’s hot sauce, which “you can get it anywhere now, I’m sure even on Instacart in Brooklyn, but I’m the sort of person where, if I have something on vacation in a place, I like to leave it there,” Sargent says.
Lifting and lengthening mascara
We dubbed Milk Makeup’s best-selling Kush mascara the best vegan mascara, so we were excited to see that the brand recently released another mascara called Rise. Featuring a curved brush that’s designed to grip each individual lash, this mascara promises to lift and separate your lashes while helping them hold a curl. Plus, the formula is infused with monoi oil and marigold extract to make it both strengthening and conditioning. If you want to test it out before committing to the full size, it comes in a mini-tube — but don’t dillydally, because we anticipate that Rise will become as much of a cult favorite as Kush.
A washcloth with the texture of sandpaper — in a good way
Strategist junior writer Kitty Guo is an exfoliation enthusiast who “needs to scour [her]self like [she’s] a stainless-steel skillet coated with years of cooked-on grease stains.” The tool she uses for the task is a Japanese washcloth called the Salux, which is so popular that it has its own Wikipedia page. Made from a blend of polyester and nylon, the washcloth’s texture so rough that it “doesn’t just scrape away at the superficial top layer of skin but will disinter months of accumulated epidermal debris,” she writes — but that’s what elevates the Salux from “merely a bath accessory” to “an agent of metamorphosis.”
The best beginner’s yoga mat
If you’re seeking a remedy for all your WFH aches and pains, yoga might be just the ticket — but you’ll need a good yoga mat to ensure you don’t slip and fall during downward dog. Senior writer Karen Adelson researched the best yoga mats on the market, and Jade’s Level 1 mat came recommended as a “lightweight” option that “rolls up easily, making it particularly storable if you’re using it to practice at home (and ideal for carrying it to the studio),” Adelson writes. Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan, co-founders of New York’s Sky Ting yoga studio, are fans; they say that this high-quality mat has “the best traction for your hands and feet, so no slipping.”
Annaleigh Ashford’s actually good decaf coffee
Actress Annaleigh Ashford can’t live without this decaf blend from Dark Matter Coffee, which she says is “so delicious and super-flavorful.” She switched to decaf coffee when she gave birth to her son, but quickly realized that “not all decaf coffee is created equal … when decaf is bad, it’s undrinkable, almost like garbage water.” But that’s not the case with Dark Matter’s version; whenever she and her husband visit Chicago, they immediately take an Uber to “the Dark Matter Roasters headquarters [to] buy coffee for ourselves and everybody we know.”
A size-inclusive bodysuit for smoothing things out …
Strategist writer Chloe Anello went looking for the very best shapewear, and concluded that this Skims bodysuit is a solid (and budget-friendly) option. “It has a very wide size range — from XXS to 5X — and nine different skin-tone shades,” Anello writes. “It looks as though you’re wearing a skin-colored leotard, not some torturous contraption.” As for how well it fits, she says it “contours and sculpts your shape yet remains comfortable … the backside features a high-cut leg and sheer pockets to lift and enhance instead of flattening.”
… and a perfectly worn hoodie for hanging out
While hunting for the best deals on the internet, we uncovered this super cozy Magic Rinse hoodie from J.Crew, discounted to the wildly low price of just $23 dollars. The brand’s special (and secret) four-step Magic Rinse process gives this garment the same impossibly soft, worn-in look and feel as real vintage sweatshirts — but it won’t come with any of the stains or imperfections of actual secondhand clothing. If you’re looking to upgrade your old, ratty loungewear to something more elevated (but still comfortable), act fast; at this price, they’ll be gone in no time.
The mildew-phobe’s dream towel
Strategist junior writer Sanibel Chai impulse-bought this Bathing Culture towel from an Instagram ad, solely for its high-impact appearance, but realized soon after that it was “the answer to [her] mildew woes.” She had searched far and wide for a towel that was “thick and fluffy,” with the same plushness as a hotel towel, but also wouldn’t take “forever to dry.” With a staggered checkerboard pattern, this towel “simulates thickness, but dries quickly enough for me to take my customary two showers a day because water is only being absorbed into half as much fabric,” Chai writes. “I can’t say enough good things about its unique fabric distribution that makes it deceptively lightweight and unexpectedly luxurious.”
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.