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What Strategist Readers Bought in January: Pimple Patches and Protein Powder

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Welcome back to “Your Shopping Cart,” where we break out the top 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.

January brings a fresh start and the opportunity to put New Year’s resolutions to the test. We found ways to get organized, get active (with a cannabinoid kick), redecorate, upgrade our workout wardrobes, and more. With so many upgrades going on (and purchases to match), we took a closer look at which products and posts our readers were most excited about, from celebrity recommendations to self-care, and a few surprising new additions.

What were our top sellers in January?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are our best sellers by the number of items sold (rather than the total amount of money spent):

Our best overall silk pillowcase, originally discovered by Strategist beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton, easily maintained the top spot for the fifth consecutive month — that’s since September 2022 — so it’s safe to say readers still fancy the luxe (and wallet-friendly) Zimasilk. Overall, pillows seem to be a common thread, with two picks from our guide to the best bed pillows: the Coop Home Goods pillow, our top-rated choice, and the Beckham Hotel gel pillow, which is our best affordable option. And if you’re on the road more than you’re at home, our favorite travel pillow, the adjustable and packable Trtl, also made the list.

Returners included several products in the self-care category: CeraVe’s moisturizing cream, named the best moisturizer available at the drugstore (and for mature skin); RoC’s under-eye retinol, which is the best less expensive choice in our review of the best eye creams; and Essence False Lash Effect, our favorite mascara.

But we also saw a unique group of newcomers, such as the dermatologist-approved Mighty Patch, our No. 1 solution for blemishes; the Aquabliss shower filter, which Danny Lipford, the host of the TV and radio show Today’s Homeowner, says “has a special feature to infuse vitamin C and other skin-friendly minerals into the shower’s water supply”; and World’s Best, our best overall cat litter made from corn kernels for odorless clumping.

What was the Strategist’s most read story?

We recently launched our “My Week With” column, and to our delight, our most-read article was Strategist contributor Annie Hamilton’s seven-day trial of Ourself’s lip filler, a $145 treatment that claims to plump lips without injections. To enhance her self-described thin lips (and deal with unrequited love), Hamilton applied the serum multiple times daily, according to the usage directions. While the formula is pricey and causes a stinging feeling as it absorbs, Hamilton says it did made her lips rosier, livelier, and more noticeable. “My lips do look bigger,” she says. “My top lip can probably be seen from far away. I can’t believe it.”

Who was the hardest-to-shop-for valentine?

$36 for 2

If you’re struggling to shop for the man in your life, you’re not alone in your pursuit — and maybe you joined other readers in consulting our list of 63 Strategist-approved ideas for him ahead of the most romantic holiday of the year. The top-purchased product from the roundup was this black-and-white disposable camera, which can be found in our guide to the best gifts for photographers. Edith Young, photo editor and author of Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes, says it’s “ideal for scenarios when you’d like to be shooting film but would rather not risk toting your camera around (i.e., if you’re on a boat, if you’re a couple to several margaritas deep, if you are venturing into pickpocket-heavy terrain, etc.).”

Was there a cleaning device that resembles a toothbrush?

Sonic Scrubber

Yes, yes there was. Strategist writer Rachael Griffiths turned to this electric-toothbrush-looking scrubber with four detachable nylon heads to annihilate the mold, grime, and stubborn hard-water stains in her London flat. Two brush attachments “are small and round,” which makes them “great for taps, sinks, shower trays,” Griffiths says, while the tapered head is ideal “for scrubbing tight spaces like in between tiles,” and the largest is best for more significant tasks like cleaning a kitchen backsplash. “What would normally take about an hour of manual scrubbing was blitzed by the brush in around ten minutes,” she says.

What about a (celebrity-approved) supplement that doubles as a cocktail mixer?

Our top-performing post in our “What I Can’t Live Without” series was actress Julie Bowen’s list of favorite things, and readers were particularly interested in the powdered magnesium supplement she drinks before bed or as a cocktail mixer. “It’s got a citrusy fizz that goes well with a little tequila and soda. Why not?” Bowen says.

Which Best in Class story was … the best in class?

Small changes like going to bed earlier and drinking more water often go a long way in making us feel renewed — and so can recommitting to your hair care, apparently: Our “Best in Class” guide to shampoo was the best-performing story in that category. The most purchased pick, Malin + Goetz’s Moisturizing Shampoo, is our best all-around choice and comes recommended by Masami Hosono, creative director of Vacancy Project. They say it works well for all hair textures, “curly to straight, thick or thin,” and despite it being sulfate-free, it’s still very foamy.

Following the same self-improvement theme is our second-highest-performing “Best in Class” guide to protein powder. Interestingly, the most sold item wasn’t one of our three best overall picks; instead, readers settled on the best chocolate-flavored whey-protein powder, which, according to Trainer Taj Felix Felix, appeals to many because it “doesn’t have a ton of ingredients, which can make people nervous.” It also mixes smoothly, tastes “very good,” and is never chalky, he 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: Pimple Patches and Protein Powder