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What Strategist Readers Bought in July: Silk Pillowcases and Swedish Dishcloths

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.

With Prime Day taking place during July, we saw several Strategist-recommended hits make their way to this month’s best-seller list, including dentist-approved water-flossers and whitening strips, better-than-Brawny Swedish dishcloths, and a moisturizing makeup remover. Readers were also eager to upgrade their sleeping situation, as a beloved set of pillows and a wallet-friendly silk pillowcase were both popular purchases this month. Of course, we can’t forget the ever-present masks — and it seems, with a return to school on the horizon, that masks for kids in particular are making a resurgence.

$12 for 10

Once again, the Powecom KN95 mask took the No. 1 spot, marking its sixth month as the top item bought by Strategist shoppers in 2022. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo deemed it the best KN95 mask because it has a filtration efficiency of 97.3 percent, according to Aaron Collins, a mechanical engineer with a background in aerosol science who has spent the pandemic testing hundreds of masks he purchased online. It has a close fit that collapses around your cheeks when you breathe, which means no air enters through the sides, and it fogs Corsillo’s glasses “less than other masks [she’s] tried.”

Photo: retailer

This ZimaSilk silk pillowcase has been a longtime Strategist favorite, and for good reason: Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst crowned it the best overall silk pillowcase because it’s made from “high-quality 6A mulberry silk” and comes in a wide range of color options, “from white to soft pink to cobalt blue,” as well as patterned options, “in case you’d like something with a little more flair.” And the best part is that it’s available at an incredibly affordable price — beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says she truly can’t tell “the difference between the $25 ZimaSilk pillowcases and my fancy $109 pillowcase.”

This Conair steamer made an impressive leap to third place, from sixth place, last month; clearly lots of Strategist readers have struggled with unwrinkling their garments, just like Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla. She found that the Turbo, however, packs such a punch that even “practically un-steamable items surrender,” she writes. “Its steaming power rivals that of the highly efficient Jiffy-esque standing steamers I used as an Anthropologie sales associate — the benchmark by which I judge others.” There’s even a built-in creaser — a feature you don’t often see in handheld steamers of this size — to give pleats “a sharp, professional effect.”

4. Waterpik Aquarius Water-Flosser
From $69
From $69

Many Strategist readers took advantage of a discounted price on this Waterpik Aquarius water-flosser during Prime Day. Of the 29 dentists our reporters spoke to when researching the very best water-flossers, 23 recommended Waterpik for its durability and reliability. The Aquarius model boasts “the strongest engine on the market,” according to Pia Lieb, founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC. “You want really strong water power to push as much food and debris off of the tooth structure as possible.” It also comes with different tips, including ones specifically for people with braces, periodontal pockets, and other hardware that can be hard to clean around, making it a great option for anyone with dental work.

5. DII Swedish-Dishcloth Set
From $15 for 3
From $15 for 3

These Swedish dishcloths were another Prime Day favorite, and enough shoppers picked up a set that the towels are appearing on the best-sellers list for the second time — they first debuted on this list when Strategist contributor Ashlea Halpern wrote about them in 2019. Reusable and ecofriendly, they helped her “cut down on [her] paper-towel consumption by at least 80 percent,” Halpern writes. “I use Swedish dishcloths to do nearly everything I once did with a paper towel: wipe down our granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and streak-prone cooktop. I use them to dust our vintage dressers, desks, lowboys, bookcases, and butcher-block dining-room table. When I repot plants, I use the rags to sweep away the dirt that spills out.” As a bonus, they come in tons of fun prints and patterns, including these cheerful sunshine-yellow lemons.

These BOTN KF94 masks dropped down one place from last month, but they’re still selling in droves ever since they were first featured on our list of the best disposable face masks. When trying them on, Corsillo right away “noticed how light the masks are — far lighter than a Powecom KN95 or even other KF94s I have tried.” Once adjusted, the mask fit her well and created “a tight seal all the way around the edge.” Corsillo adds that “the inner layer is comfortable against my skin, but I would describe it as smooth, rather than soft, another reason why I think this would be a great warm-weather mask,” she writes.

This Bioderma micellar water has already made several appearances on this list, so we’re not surprised that readers flocked to stock up while it was on sale during Prime Day. Viera-Newton doesn’t know what it is about this product, but “not only does it take all of my makeup off, it actually does a great job of soothing my skin, especially after a night out,” she says. Though she used to double-cleanse her face using both an oil and a foam cleanser, she found that it was causing her skin to feel dry, tight, and dehydrated; after incorporating the micellar water into her routine, her skin “has felt even more supple and rejuvenated.”

These best-selling Beckham Hotel pillows are consistently a hit among Strategist readers and regularly grace this roundup. With a breathable cotton cover and cushy down-alternative fill, they’re the best budget-friendly pillow you can buy — and if you’re still not convinced, they’re vouched for by over 100,000 five-star reviewers on Amazon. Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio, who recently purchased a pair, calls them the “epitome of plush yet supportive,” and writer Arielle Avila also found that “they really do live up to all the hype. I’ve been waking up more comfortable and refreshed as ever.”

With school back in session in just a few short weeks, it makes sense that people are buying masks for kids who are returning to the classroom. These “U&I” masks are perfect for fussy preschoolers — Strategist writer Lauren Ro bought them for her almost-3-year-old son after hearing about them through a parent at his school who sourced a bunch of different KF94 masks directly from a Korean importer and tried them all. According to the friend, this mask was the clear winner. “The XXS are perfectly suited for 2-to-3-year-olds, and they actually stay on my son’s face. He doesn’t seem to mind them as much as other masks and keeps them on instead of constantly pulling them down under his nose and chin,” Ro says. “He’s worn them on cross-country flights, all day at school, even outside, without complaining about them.”

And finally, many Strategist shoppers decided to polish up their pearly whites during Prime Day — these Crest Whitestrips were recommended by four different experts for those looking to brighten their smile. We included them in our guide to the very best teeth-whitening kits because they have the ADA seal of acceptance, which means they have been evaluated for their safety and efficacy. “Many of my patients have used this product and gotten good results from personal experience,” says Ben El Chami, the co-founder and chief dental officer at Dntl Bar, and Marie Jackson, the founder of Stellar Smile Center, agrees: “Usually we’ll recommend using it every day for a week or two weeks, and you will see a difference in the shade if used as recommended on the back of the box,” she says.

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: Silk Pillowcases and Swedish Cloths