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What Strategist Readers Bought in August: Plush Pillows and Pet Beds

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 fall approaching and back to school/the office in full swing, our August best-seller list reveals that Strategist readers are shopping accordingly. In addition to some masks for kids (and adults) that have seldom budged from this roundup, we’ve seen folks stocking up on expert-recommended water flossers, silk pillowcases (along with the most affordable pillows to pair with them), as well as a beloved facial sunscreen. And a doughnut-shaped dog bed approved by current and former Strategist staffers inspired many of you to treat your pup to softer snoozes this month.

$12 for 10

The Powecom KN95 is yet again our best-selling product, making this the seventh time it’s held that honor (in every month besides March) this year. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo rated it the top pick in our guide to the best disposable face masks, thanks to its filtration efficiency of 97.3 percent and comfortable fit. “I have worn them on the subway, on Metro-North, at the airport, and to countless doctors appointments, and they remain my go-to masks,” Corsillo writes.

Photo: retailer

Holding on to second place again this month, the ZimaSilk pillowcase is still proving to be a favorite among Strategist readers and staff. Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst says sleeping on silk is known for reducing irritation, frizz, and wrinkles. This pillowcase is made from high-quality mulberry silk that comes in a wide range of colors and even a few prints to add a little flair to any bedding. At under $25, it’s also the perfect dupe for the pricier Parachute pillowcase, Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says.

These Beckham Hotel pillows are consistently a hit among Strategist readers, and for good reason: With a breathable cotton cover and plush down-alternative fill, these allergen- and chemical-free pillows are the best budget-friendly pillow you can buy — and if you’re still not convinced, they’re backed by more than 150,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Plus, the entire pillow can be popped into the washing machine for easy cleaning.


In July, many Strategist readers purchased this discounted Waterpik Aquarius water flosser during Prime Day — and this month, it’s still a hit. When researching the very best water flossers, our writers found that the Waterpik was recommended the most for its durability and reliability. Pia Lieb, founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC, says this Aquarius model contains “the strongest engine on the market.” It also offers water-control buttons on the handle, seven different tips, 360-degree rotation of the tip, and a significantly large water tank, says Dr. Irina Sinensky, founder of Dental House. The different tips include ones specifically designed for people with braces, periodontal pockets, and other hardware that can be hard to reach.

If you travel regularly, this cordless Waterpik model is a highly packable option. It happens to be our top pick for the best cord-free water flosser for its rechargeable battery, four tip options, and under-a-pound weight. Dental surgeon Dr. Greg Grobmyer says that “its battery life is one of the best on the market, and the design is great,” while Dr. Inna Chern, owner of New York General Dentistry, recommends this model to teens with braces, elderly people, and people who don’t have room for a bulkier countertop model.

This microwavable Oral-B guard previously appeared on our list of best sellers a few times throughout the pandemic. This month, we’re seeing it climb to the sixth spot. Recommended to us by three experts — one being Dr. Brijesh Chandwani, a dentist specializing in facial pain and jaw-joint disorders — this guard comes with a microwave-safe case to place it in while you nuke it and for storing after each use. It’s also flavored, so you can enjoy a fresh minty taste all night.

Strategist writer Lauren Ro takes the guesswork out of choosing a mask for your school-age child with her guide to face masks for kids. Ro bought these “U&I” masks for her almost-3-year-old son after hearing about them from a parent at his school who sourced a bunch of different KF94 masks directly from a Korean importer. According to the friend, these masks were the clear winner among the many they tried. “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.

For its overall feel, absorbency, and value, we named this super-plush Brooklinen set the best bath towels. Described as “more robe than towel” by architectural designer Madelynn Ringo, this towel is made from 100 percent zero-twist Turkish cotton, which means it’s ridiculously soft. It also comes in 13 colors, including mossy gray, cream, goldenrod, and the pictured marled black colorway.

A longtime Strategist favorite, EltaMD UV Clear is also a top pick among the dermatologists we spoke with about facial sunscreens. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Laser Dermatology appreciates that it’s “lightweight and oil-free, so it won’t clog pores,” and Dendy Engelman of Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery says the lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin and regulates sebum buildup, keeping breakouts at bay.

Finally, many Strategist shoppers decided to upgrade their furry friend’s pet bed with this doughnut-shaped “cuddler.” “It’s great for warm snuggling and cuddling and provides just enough support and security for smaller body types,” says certified professional animal behaviorist Jessica Gore. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo says her dog Uli spends hours snoozing in this bed each day, and she even uses it “as a kind of toy, digging into it and flipping it over on top of her ball so she can then look for the ball and flip the bed again.” Former Strategist senior editor Casey Lewis also vouches that the larger sizes (up to XL) are just as suitable for bigger dogs like her pit bull–boxer mix.

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: Plush Pillows and Pet Beds