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What Strategist Readers Bought in February: Cat Food, Beard Trimmers, and More Masks

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.

Even as mask mandates are lifting, it appears shoppers are still being cautious. Masks made up five of the ten best sellers this month, which is a slight decline from January (when eight of ten spots were occupied by face coverings). Continued COVID-19 vigilance (and the anxiety-induced teeth grinding associated with it) might also have something to do with the reappearance of a Strategist-favorite mouth guard. But there’s one glimmer of optimism: The number of grooming products on the list — including moisturizers, beard trimmers, and exfoliating washcloths — suggests that people are gearing up to show more of their faces in the weeks to come.

$15 for 10

The Powecom KN95 mask takes the top spot for the second month in a row. A snug fit prevents it from shifting when you’re talking, and while such a tight seal might lead you to expect discomfort, it proved to be “soft on the skin” in our investigation of the best disposable masks. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo calls it her “go-to mask for wearing alone or layering with a fabric mask on top.”

The Harley KN95 improved its position significantly, moving up from its previous ninth-place ranking. This mask is made of three layers of nonwoven material, including a melt-blown inner-filter layer. We reported that the manufacturer has recently updated the design while still offering filter efficiency over 95 percent.

A first-time best seller, this affordable Purina formula comes highly recommended by veterinarians for its quality. “Purina uses real, whole meat as its first ingredient and provides high protein, moderate fat, and plenty of healthy fiber,” says Valerie Parker, associate professor of small-animal internal medicine and nutrition at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Cat owners can rest assured that this affordable food (just over $1 per can) will meet the nutritional needs of most adult cats.

Though it dropped down two places from last month, this children’s KN95 managed to hold onto a top-five spot. Aaron Collins, a mechanical engineer with a background in aerosol science who has tested hundreds of masks, included it in his widely circulated Google spreadsheet of face masks for kids. In his testing, he found this mask to have a filtration efficiency of 97.3 percent and best for children ages 7 to 12, depending on face size.

With nine previous appearances, this budget-friendly moisturizer has proven itself to be one of our most consistent best sellers. The thick cream is suitable for hydrating a wide range of skin types including, normal, dry, aging, and eczema-prone. And if you’re sensitive to fragrance, you’ll appreciate that the formula is fragrance-free.

While this marks the official debut of the Series 7000 beard trimmer, an earlier model appeared on the best-seller list an impressive 13 times. Users love its long battery life and large assortment of blades. Unlike the older model, which came with only four attachments, this one includes 23 that work for body and head hair, in addition to face.

No stranger to the best-seller list, this Oral-B Scope guard made its debut in March 2019 and has appeared regularly ever since. Those who suffer from jaw pain caused by teeth grinding can find relief with this microwavable mouth guard. The molding process takes only a few minutes and fits on upper or lower teeth (unlike the many other guards that only work with lower). Dr. Rashmi Ambewadikar of Astoria Smiles Pediatric Dentistry praises its sturdiness and thinness, which prevent discomfort.

This disposable face mask from Ecoguard is celebrating its ninth mention on the best-seller list. In a Strategist investigation of best disposable masks, reviewers praised the fit for the lack of adjustment required to sit “very comfortably.” It also passed the lighter test: “​​No matter how hard we tried to blow out the flame … it wouldn’t even budge.”

Brand-new to the best-seller list, this skin-transforming washcloth will leave you smoother than a marine animal. Strategist writer Kitty Guo doesn’t just bathe — she “scours [herself] like a stainless steel skillet coated with years of cooked-on grease stains,” using this blend of nylon and polyester. The level of exfoliation “is not for the faint of heart,” Guo warns, but if you desire the same “silky slipperiness as a dolphin,” this product may be for you.

Readers with kids have contributed to keeping this children’s mask on the best-seller list for two consecutive months. An additional Collins recommendation, it is best suited for ages 7 to 13, but the bendable nose wire can help adjust fit for younger kids. Vida stands out from other manufacturers by offering prepaid envelopes to ship back and recycle used masks.

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 Readers Are Buying: Cat Food, Beard Trimmers, and Masks