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What Strategist Readers Bought in October: Play Forts and Water Flossers

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.

To kick off holiday-shopping season, Strategist readers went hard on Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale earlier this month, which led to some familiar Strategist beauty hits edging their way onto our best-sellers list alongside the top-notch STEM toy Crazy Forts. Other consistent performers include silk pillowcases, expert-recommended water flossers, and our favorite teeth-whitening strips, further suggesting that party-circuit prep has already begun.

For the second consecutive month, this Zimasilk pillowcase is back in the winning position. The high-quality material makes it our best overall silk pillowcase with Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton saying it makes her feel as if she’s sleeping “at a luxurious hotel every night.” At under $25, it’s also a serious dupe for the pricier Parachute pillowcase, she says, because it doesn’t have “that odd, sticky feeling that some cheap silk pillowcases have; it’s thick and substantial.”

Many Strategist shoppers decided to up their lip care during October’s Prime event. Backed by celebrities Storm Reid and Delilah Belle Hamlin, the Laneige sleep mask is also our best mask for very dry lips. Containing vitamin C and other antioxidants along with hyaluronic acid, it wraps lips in a deeply moisturizing film that sinks in and repairs overnight.

As seen in our guide to the very best teeth-whitening kits, these easy-to-use whitening strips secured the bronze. Along with four expert recommendations, they also have the ADA seal of approval, 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 chief dental officer and co-founder at Dntl Bar. 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 Waterpik water flosser has climbed to fourth place after coming in at No. 10 last month. With “the strongest engine on the market,” says Pia Lieb, the founder of Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC, the Aquarius has been recommended to us by six sources. It’s a great option for anyone with dental work, as the different tips include ones specifically for people with braces, periodontal pockets, and other hardware that can be hard to clean. Plus its 22-ounce tank holds enough water to run for 90 seconds, and a built-in timer counts down the recommended one-minute cleaning time.

A steady performer is this microwavable, dental-expert-recommended mouth guard that has appeared in several past top-seller lists. The molding process takes only a few minutes, and while the guard is thin enough to remain comfortable, Dr. Rashmi Ambewadikar of Astoria Smiles Pediatric Dentistry says it’s not lacking in sturdiness.

A powerhouse for saving damaged hair, Olaplex No. 3 — along with the brand’s No. 4 and No. 5 formulas — sold very well this month, especially during the Prime Early Access sale. It’s been mentioned many times in our archives for its ability to revive strands of all types, from double-processed platinum blondes to high-porosity hair, which is why it’s also our best overall hair mask. According to Jessica O’Keeffe, a stylist at Hawthorne Studio, it works on “natural textures that tend to feel coarse or dry and even perfectly healthy hair that is seeing a seasonal change in hair health.”

Strategist readers weren’t just shopping for themselves this month — many were looking to upgrade their pets’ beds with this doughnut-shaped “cuddler.” Certified professional animal behaviorist Jessica Gore says this dog bed is great for “warm snuggling and cuddling and provides just enough support and security for smaller body types.” While it’s a comforting choice for small breeds, it’s also available for bigger dogs. Former Strategist senior editor Casey Lewis vouches that the larger sizes (up to XL) accommodate pups like her pit bull–boxer mix.

One of our top sellers from the Prime Early Access sale, this 69-piece set comes with 44 rods and 25 connecting balls that let kids construct almost anything their imaginations can think up. (Instructions for making a puppet theater, a Mars space station, a locomotive, and a circus tent are included.)

In our guide to the best dry shampoos, we named Klorane’s the top pick. Hairstylist Benjamin Talbott says “the oat milk in this formula works as an astringent to dry up excess oil while also adding a softness to hair.” It’s also a favorite of former Strategist writer Leah Muncy, who says that, unlike most other dry shampoos, it has a “really pleasant, light scent.”

And finally, this $5 favorite — and the best overall pick in our roundup of the best mascaras — comes recommended by countless experts including Strategist contributor Jinnie Lee, our friends at the Cut, and more than 160,000 five-star Amazon reviewers. Not only is it affordable, but according to Lee, “it lengthens, volumizes, lifts, and curls each tiny hair” to create a false-eyelash effect.

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: Play Forts and Water Flossers