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 Chris Black’s lesser-known replacement for the North Face Nuptse, a dupe for Dior’s Nail Glow that’s half the price, and not one, but three countertop appliances that each ring up under $150.
A pair of spring-loaded orthopedic sandals for better posture and less pain
“I bought Z-Coils in the midst of an existential crisis,” says Strategist writer Erin Schwartz, who, when they started transitioning, switched to sneakers because of “a sense of obligation to dress masc.” But because they missed the height of heels, Schwartz tested the amorphous-looking orthopedic footwear and says that, right out of the box, the cushy sole cradled their foot into a gently angled posture. A few days into the trial, Schwartz began to realize that Z-Coils are not only the perfect party shoe, but that their previous flat-shoes-only rule was a delusion. “I felt obligated to make an effort to dress like a man, but no one is asking for that or even knows what that means,” they say. And after a week of wear, they concluded, “My body feels better after a day in Z-Coils than it does after one in my running shoes.”
One writer’s perfect red lipstick
Strategist contributor Mbiye Kasonga, who spent a decade experimenting with skin tints, made it her mission to find a lipstick that looked like a true red (not pink or orange) on her skin tone. After failed attempts with Nars, Pat McGrath Labs, and M.A.C’s Ruby Woo, her odyssey eventually led her to M.A.C Dance With Me, which has deep cranberry undertones and staying power even without a lip liner, Kasonga says. “I’ve since recommended this lipstick to everyone I know, and in my opinion, it looks great across skin tones,” she says, adding that she hasn’t used another red since finding this one.
A beginner-friendly drugstore liquid eyeliner …
For many folks, the thought of wielding a liquid eyeliner can feel intimidating — which is why we asked a dozen beauty experts to share their drugstore favorites, like this one from L’Oréal. Our top pick for beginners, it comes recommended by makeup artists Sarah Uslan and Lucky Bromhead because the precision brush tip and attachable stencil make it easier to achieve a wing even if you have non-surgeon hands. The smudge-resistant formula is also great for a bolder line look, makeup artist Sean Harris says.
… and the microcurrent device our beauty experts call the best of the best
From interviewing skin-care experts to decoding ingredient lists, and even testing some formulations ourselves, we’ve searched for solutions that will help you look and feel your best. The result is the Strategist Beauty 100, a collection of staples that includes a Danish serum that regrows thinning hair, the best-selling snail goo we’ve been recommending since 2017, and this acne-fighting wand favored by Ally Maki. The red-light tool not only minimizes breakouts and fine lines but also has a calming sensation, “so when you close your eyes it feels like a little heating pad all over your skin,” Maki says.
The giftable glassware Hailee Steinfeld bought to make spicy margaritas
“I’ve recently been working on my house, and I finally got to my bar area,” says Hailee Steinfeld, who counts these stemless glasses among her favorite things. Steinfeld says she loves spicy margaritas, especially in the summer, and wanted to blow guests away by serving some of her favorite cocktails in these lightweight, wide-rim glasses. “I feel like it’s such a great gift to give as well,” Steinfeld says of the set. (Other shapes from the brand also come highly touted in our guide to the best drinking glasses.)
The multiuse appliance Kelis calls a “kitchen hack”
We’ve heard about the set-it-and-forget-it convenience of the Instant Pot before: It appears on our Best in Class guides to pressure cookers and rice cookers. Singer-songwriter Kelis is also a fan and says every kitchen should have one because the appliance speeds up dishes that would otherwise require a whole day to prepare. “It takes things that Grandma used to make for nine hours and it cuts it to like an hour or two, like oxtail or pretty much braised anything,” Kelis says.
An affordable dehydrator for DIYing pineapple rings and jerky
As seen in our guide to the best food dehydrators, this Gourmia model is our budget-friendly pick and comes recommended by Strategist contributor and chef Stella Totino for its user-friendly design and transparent door. Six movable trays can also be rearranged to fit everything into one batch, and its catchall bottom tray makes cleaning effortless, Totino says.
An inexpensive electric griddle for crispy, diner-style eggs and hash browns
“If you’re thinking of cooking for the whole family, a small griddle isn’t going to be much better than a standard skillet,” says Mike East of Griddle King, who recommends the low-profile Presto as an affordable option. It’s a straightforward electric griddle that offers 218 inches of cooking real estate and fits in most cabinets, which is “a lot of griddle in a very wallet-friendly package,” East says. Pro tip: The best companion for a new griddle is a new griddle press; our kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman recommends Made In’s for smashing burgers, searing steak, and more.
A Chris Black–approved North Face Nuptse alt
The latest edition of Chris Black’s column sees him answering a reader question about alternatives to the popular North Face Nuptse puffer. To switch things up, Black suggests this Rab Electron jacket that has a water-resistant nylon exterior and European goose down for insulation. “It comes in several colors, will keep you warm, and feels appropriate for most situations in the city or traversing the outdoors,” Black says. For more coat ideas, consult our list of the best men’s parkas, which start at $150.
A dupe for Dior’s Nail Glow that conceals yellowness and actively strengthens
As a longtime fan of Nail Glow, Strategist beauty contributor Rio Viera-Newton decided to search for an alternative in light of Dior’s recent reformulation. Thanks to a close friend, Viera-Newton uncovered this dupe from Butter London, which leaves a sheer, jammy pink that makes your nails look just as healthy as the original, she says. And unlike Nail Glow, it contains strengthening ingredients — including vitamin E, hydrolyzed keratin, calcium, and bamboo extract — to combat brittleness. “If you’re someone who, like me, fluctuates between natural nails and extensions, this polish is the perfect way to nurture your nails back to health while ensuring you still have a neat, barely there manicure,” 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.