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What Strategist Readers Bought in May: Mosquito-Repelling Incense and Foot Massagers

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 as well.

Judging by how many gifts for Mom dominated this month’s best-seller list, all we have to say is you did good — especially those of you who showed up for Mother’s Day brunch having ordered her a citrus tree. Outside of May’s major holiday, Strategist readers stocked up on pre-summer staples like the very popular sunscreen and moisturizer we’ve had on our list since March. Meanwhile, another seasonal pick — a set of nice-smelling, insect-repellent incense sticks — made a telling debut.

What were our top sellers in May?

Below, we’ve ranked each chart-topping item by the total quantity sold (as opposed to the amount of money spent).

Last month, Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio purchased an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to degunk her dirty eyeglasses, and it appears many of our readers were also interested in buying miniature hot tubs for their specs — this item burst onto the best-seller list in the No. 1 spot. The runner-up is our favorite travel pillow, the adjustable and packable Trtl, which hasn’t appeared here since February; chalk it up to vacation plans that made it out of the group chat. Some other consistent best sellers are sprinkled throughout: EltaMD UV Clear, our favorite facial sunscreen; the affordable Beckham Hotel pillows; our best all-around dental guard from Oral-B; and the CeraVe cream we like for dry and mature skin.

Mother’s Day boosted a few giftable items to the top as well, like Kodak’s pocket-size photo printer and a heated foot massager. And finally, missing ninth place by only four purchases, we have a tiny book full of color combinations made by artist Sanzo Wada. (FYI, these would all make equally delightful Father’s Day presents.)

The newcomer to the top-ten bunch is a bundle of mosquito-repelling incense sticks made by Murphy’s Naturals, which are a sweeter-smelling (and nonsticky) alternative to bug spray. Strategist contributor Steven John says they’re easy to use (just stake them in the ground and burn), pleasant to be around, and, while they won’t deter all pests, they will “make the outdoors livable again even in mosquito season.”

How did readers cement their favorite-child status on Mother’s Day?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

While we can’t say for certain whom your mom likes best, we do have faith in our gift ideas — and so did the shoppers who leaned heavily on our Mother’s Day roundup for every type of mom. Of the 44 selects on the list, this Kodak wireless photo printer was the most purchased product. Given that the device lets you instantly print iPhone shots from several devices, we have further evidence that you shouldn’t underestimate your elders’ tech savvy.

What about a more unexpected Mother’s Day gift?

Photo-Illustration: Strategist; Photos: Getty, Retailers

Although the above mini-printer was a favorite from our Mother’s Day gift guides, the next top-seller was this calamondin tree, which produces a hybrid fruit described as half mandarin orange and half kumquat. If that isn’t enough to impress mom, Via Citrus also sells Meyer-lemon, Key-lime, Buddha’s-hand, and other citrus trees.

Did any tiny white T-shirts turn one Strategist contributor into “an outrageously confident tiny–white–T-shirt queer woman”?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Sophie Kemp

As a matter of fact, they did. After observing that the “most confident lesbians and enbies always seem to own tight white T-shirts by the pack,” Strategist contributor Sophie Kemp says she too wanted that same brand of self-assurance. Following some testing, she opted for this Hanes style for little boys, which she describes as very soft and extremely versatile — they pair well with everything from “a bright-red Comme des Garçons miniskirt” to “bike shorts and a pair of Merrells.” Because these tops come in a five-pack, Kemp says she considers them wallet friendly, so “when you spill coffee on yourself because you have diagnosably bad hand-eye coordination, you have four other shirts in the pack.”

Was there a Hayley Williams–approved pimple patch?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Julia Cox

Yes — and it’s star shaped. When we spoke to the Paramore front woman about her favorite things, she told us about these pimple patches, which she uses to treat her adult acne. Williams says she wears the fluorescent stickers everywhere and regularly shares with her bandmates: “not just Zac and Taylor but even the extended live band, like Joey, our bass player, and some of the other guys.” While her breakouts are less frequent as an adult, Williams says these patches would have made her adolescent skin issues feel more fun and made her less lonely.

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 Bought: Insect Incense and Foot Massagers