We write about hundreds of products every week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked some of our recent favorites: expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and very good deals we uncovered while trawling the vast online-shopping universe — including a face mask infused with snail slime, a gentle nail file for tiny fingers, and a no-frills phone that won’t suck you in for hours.
A jewelry cleaner that de-gunks glasses
In our roundup of what Strategist staffers bought in April, senior editor Jen Trolio wrote that this ultrasonic jewelry cleaner has been a “tremendous help” in keeping her glasses clean: “I wear glasses daily, and they are always, always filthy. No matter how often I wash them with dish soap and water, or spray them with cleaner and polish the lenses with a microfiber cloth, smudges and fingerprints seem to instantly reappear.” The woman at her eyeglass place advised her to try an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, and the results were immediately convincing. “A drop of blue Dawn mixed into some lukewarm water leaves them practically sparkling after a three-minute cycle,” she says.
Tiny white T-shirts for cool queers
Strategist contributor Sophie Kemp noticed that “the hottest, most confident lesbians and enbies always seem to own tight white T-shirts by the pack,” and decided that she, too, “wanted to be an outrageously confident tiny-white-T-shirt queer woman.” After some trial and error, she settled on this Hanes style for little boys; according to Kemp, the shirts are very soft and versatile, pairing well with everything from “a bright red Comme des Garçons miniskirt” to “bike shorts and a pair of Merrells.” Since they come in a five-pack, they’re also easy on the wallet, so that “when you spill coffee on yourself because you have diagnosably bad hand-eye coordination, you have four other shirts in the pack,” Kemp writes.
A molluscan facial mask
Snail mucin in skin care can improve hydration, stimulate collagen production, and aid in skin regeneration, says Dr. Karan Lal, a double board-certified dermatologist. We consulted a panel of experts to find the best snail-mucin products, and this mask comes recommended by Ashley Branch, an advertising director who’s been using snail mucin regularly for the past 12 years. She applies it two to three times a week and says it’s helped reduce inflammation, clear blemishes, and improve brightness.
A pop-up tent for lounging on the shore …
Baggu has unveiled a summer collection full of warm-weather staples like water-bottle slings, cooler bags, and picnic blankets featuring sky-blue and grass-green prints. What most caught our eye, however, was this pop-up tent, which provides UPF 30+ sun protection and flattens into a wearable pouch for easy transport. We’re sure everyone at the Rockaways will be lounging under these tents come June, so if you want to snag one for yourself, don’t dillydally.
… and waterproof SPF for venturing into the water
Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst recently took a three-day trip to the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) — the setting of her debut novel and a huge part of her childhood. Now she visits at least “a dozen times a year, whether it’s for a grandmother’s birthday or a friend’s cookout.” On this trip, she and her fiancée, Connay, lunched at luxe restaurant Lyle, browsed records at Birdland, and strolled through Fort Washington Park. Denton-Hurst made sure to bring along her Black Girl Sunscreen, which she uses “every day without fail. It keeps my skin protected and gives it a glowy finish, but isn’t the least bit greasy,” she says.
Ally Maki’s at-home matcha-making kit
When we asked Ally Maki what she can’t live without, she told us that this Ippodo matcha kit has revolutionized her morning routine. “I was the person who would go to Starbucks every day and buy a matcha latte. And I realized, Oh, that’s probably not something I should be doing every day for the rest of my life,” she says. Now, the ritual of “whipping it with the chasen and pouring it into this beautiful porcelain bowl and using the strainer to make sure there’s no clumps” has become an indispensable part of her day, whether she’s making an “iced matcha or a hot one with almond milk.”
A non-scary nail trimmer for babies
Strategist contributor Adriane Quinlan used to be terrified to cut her infant son’s nails: “First, there’s the physical challenge of holding a baby still (not possible), the moral challenge of considering yourself a good person through baby screams (not possible), and finally, the high stakes,” Quinlan writes. “When you miss, you are dealing with tears and blood.” But this electric nail file drill, which has an adjustable speed, an LED light, and a file head that’s “as gentle as a dry sponge,” made the task much more tolerable — and less traumatic. After a few passes, she acquired “a certain feel for the snag of a nail edge” and could finish filing one hand in 90 seconds.
Michelle Williams’s Crocs from Showing Up
We tracked down all the schlumpy-chic artist costumes in Showing Up, Kelly Reichardt’s new film starring Michelle Williams as Lizzy, a sculptor living in Portland, Oregon. “It was important for Kelly that the artists all look contemporary, which is why I had the idea of putting Crocs in there,” says the film’s costume designer, April Napier. “Even if Lizzy is wearing weird wrap skirts, oversize men’s shirts, and vintage clothes, those Crocs really ground us.” Napier also happens to be a fan of white Crocs, as she’s been wearing them “for years — since the pre-pandemic days.”
An extremely unfancy phone
Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon often finds himself losing hours to his screens, whether he’s scrolling his FYP or winning matches in Marvel Snap. Though he tried all sorts of apps and strategies to curb his screen time, he still found himself “wishing I spent more time logged off.” Eventually, he picked up the Punkt MP02, which looks like a pocket calculator and is designed “to help you detach.” It allows you to read messages, place calls, and check the time, but has no way to browse Instagram or TikTok, allowing McMahon to feel “less tethered to the online world and more able to observe and admire my surroundings.”
Excellent wool socks for travel
Jenny Olson, a freelance brand marketer, decided to join her photographer boyfriend on a six-month photography project through South America along the Pan-American Highway. After making their way through Peru and Bolivia, the pair crossed into northern Argentina, where they spent a week road-tripping from Salta to Mendoza. Along the way they went on a leisurely horseback ride; sampled wines at local vineyards; and camped along an idyllic river bank, where they “swam in the crystal-clear water and took in the neon sunset,” Olson told us. During the trip she kept Bombas’s merino-wool socks close at hand: “They’re hands down my favorite to have while traveling,” Olson said. “They are supersoft and keep my feet warm and cozy while hiking.”
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.