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What Strategist Readers Bought in May: Socks, Sunscreen, and Shiatsu Massagers

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, 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.

Strategist readers are gearing up for warmer weather as evidenced by two widely beloved sunscreens snagging a spot among our May best sellers. Masks remain predictably present, but they’re joined by some surprising new inclusions like a pricey hair oil that’ll give your locks “Fawcett-esque volume.” And it appears men in particular are looking to stock up on wardrobe basics, as men’s socks and boxer briefs from Uniqlo both made the list for the first time. We also saw the welcome return of some familiar faces including hotel-quality gel pillows and a Shiatsu foot massager for soothing sore arches after strenuous summer hikes.

1. Powecom KN95 Face Mask
$11 for 10
$11 for 10

The Powecom KN95 mask retained its top spot from April; except for a brief dip to fourth place in March, it has been the best-selling product on the Strategist website for the entirety of 2022. It’s a top pick in our guide to the best disposable face masks thanks to its high filtration efficiency and comfortable fit. Dr. Stacy De-Lin, a family medicine specialist in New York City, stresses the importance of fit when it comes to KN95 masks, and these fulfill her requirements, collapsing around the cheeks when you breathe to create a tight seal.

With summer on the horizon, this EltaMD sunscreen jumped up from ninth place in April all the way up to second place in May. It was recommended by six experts in our roundup of the best sunscreens, and we even crowned it the best overall facial sunscreen. The “serumlike” formula contains a combination of mineral and chemical sunscreen and is especially friendly for acne-prone skin because “it contains actives like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and lactic acid, which are great at fighting acne while conserving moisture,” according to aesthetician and founder of SkinByAsk Andrew Kelly.

Photo: Retailer

When Strategist tech writer Jordan Bowman went looking for the best-in-class men’s socks, he declared this style from Uniqlo to be the top overall. “Whenever I walk into a Uniqlo, I’m inevitably drawn to the giant wall of socks,” Bowman writes. “The brand’s crew-height color socks come in more than 40 different hues, can easily be worn with any type of footwear, and at $4 a pair, are super-inexpensive.” They have a snug but not-too-tight fit, and they’re durable enough to last you years. Nicolás Lazaro, a community specialist at menswear-resale site Grailed, says he has been wearing his Uniqlo socks for “more than a decade now,” noting that they’re “cheap without sacrificing quality or fit.”

$24 for 10

These BOTN KF94 masks dropped down one place from last month, but they’re still highly favored by Strategist readers, perhaps because they’re one of the best masks to wear on an airplane. Since they’re designed to open up like an envelope and sit slightly off the face, they may be more comfortable for those who find the fit of other mask styles to be too restrictive. They’re Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo’s favorite spring and summer mask because they’re very lightweight and the “inner layer is comfortable against my skin,” Corsillo writes.

$130

The Miko Shiatsu foot massager was one of the Strategist’s top-selling items in 2019, but it hasn’t returned to the best-sellers list since. It recently made a comeback this month after appearing in our guide to the best Father’s Day gifts for every type of dad. Of course, this relaxing massager can be enjoyed by everyone in the family; varsity tennis player Jack, who was 17 when we spoke to him, likes to go get “body and foot massages whenever I can” but coveted an electric massager like the Miko because “if I had one, I would use it at home a lot.”

Another popular sunscreen among Strategist readers, this Neutrogena formula topped our list of the best sunscreens because it’s “been around forever (time-tested), it’s relatively inexpensive (so you can stock up and not worry about generously slathering it on every two hours), and you can buy it pretty much anywhere.” Cosmetic dermatologist Sonam Yadav and dermatologist Yoram Harth recommend it for its lightweight, matte-ify-ing quality that won’t make you feel sticky or clog your pores.

This month marks the 12th time these Beckham Hotel pillows have made our monthly best-sellers list. It’s been a little while since we saw them pop up in readers’ shopping carts — the last time was in November 2021. But we suspect buyers will be pleased with their purchase; the pillows have 20,000 five-star reviews on Amazon with reviewers calling them “the best pillow I’ve ever had” and praising their “quality, support, and comfort all in one.” One enthusiastic reviewer who typically takes a short 30-minute nap in the afternoon fell asleep on these pillows and “let the dark take me” for four hours, suggesting they’re “made by the clouds of the heavens” and noting, “I’m not entirely convinced this pillow isn’t laced with anesthesia.”

Bowman investigated the best men’s underwear, and Uniqlo came up once again as the makers of the very best boxer briefs. Simple, comfortable, and affordable, they’re vouched for by lots of cool and stylish people including photographer Sam Schmieg and Elliott Foos, the former director of coffee at Daymoves. Schmieg says they’re “soft, breathable, and keep their shape well even after many washes,” and Foos adds, “Uniqlo’s basics are unrivaled.” He says he’s “been into these for three-plus years (I’ve been reupping, don’t stress), and I still love them.”

This True Botanicals Shine & Protect hair cream is making its debut on the best-seller list thanks to Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla’s glowing review. “The effect was something akin to what I would get in a salon chair: smooth, bouncy, and impossibly shiny,” Pardilla writes. A couple drops was enough to cover her entire head of shoulder-length hair, and after working the product in, it left behind “an incredibly natural finish … It goes on with a verdant scent that’s not overly saccharine or chemical, and it dissipates completely once the blowout’s done.”

This retinol-infused RoC anti-aging cream dropped down to tenth place in May from sixth place in April — but it’s a perpetual Strategist reader favorite as it’s making its 13th appearance on this list. Our pick for the best drugstore wrinkle cream, it contains enough retinol to address fine lines and wrinkles but isn’t so strong that it will cause the same level of irritation as retinoids, its prescription-strength cousin. Dermatologist Noelani E. Gonzalez advises starting slow at first and applying a pea-size amount a few times a week, then working up from there.

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: Socks, Sunscreen, Shiatsu Massagers