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 the surprisingly simple shirts one chef wears every day, Candyland-esque plates for picky eaters, and a blow-dryer brush that one contributor has been repurchasing since the eighth grade. (If you like this sort of look into our brains, you might also like our new newsletter The Strategist Beauty Brief, which launched this past week as well. It’s a place where our beauty writers share their must-tries, can-skips, and can’t-live-withouts — and you can subscribe here.)
A Biologique Recherche dupe (for a fifth of the price)
On her hunt to find a serum to soothe her rosacea-prone skin, freelancer Zhenya Tsenzharyk tested out more than a half-dozen brands before stumbling across this option from K-beauty brand Purito. She saw a difference after just a week of use: “My rosacea is calmer too, and when I do get flare-ups (too much coffee or wine, too little sleep), the serum helps to restore it back to normal.” Plus, she learned from an interview with a cosmetic chemist that this centella serum has all of the same peptides as a $76 serum from Biologique Recherche — even though it’s a fifth of the price. Tsenzharyk says she feels like she’s scamming Purito, since the only thing better than a good skin day is feeling like you’re getting a really good deal.
The black T-shirt Eric Ripert buys in multiples
Many of our own staffers, who are notoriously picky shoppers, were impressed with Eric Ripert’s fastidious list of favorite things. The chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin (and author of the new cookbook Seafood Simple) owns 24 of the same chef’s coat, prefers a label-less backpack for his walks to work, and spends 25 minutes each morning drinking his coffee and eating two squares of dark chocolate. His day-to-day uniform is jeans and a black T-shirt — specifically this one from Uniqlo. “If you sweat a little bit, it doesn’t show. If you stain it a little bit, it doesn’t show. I go to Uniqlo down the street from Le Bernardin or order 24 T-shirts online, and I wear them until they start to have holes.”
A budget-friendly blow-dryer brush that beats Dyson’s
Given the meteoric rise of the Revlon One-Step and Dyson Airwrap, you might think that the all-in-one hair-dryer brush is a relatively new invention — but writer and podcast host Katie Dalebout told us about this slightly strange-looking brush and blow-dryer combo that she’s been repurchasing since she was in eighth grade, over 20 years ago. She learned about it from her Aunt Sally, “who had dreamy straight hair and nightmare arthritis,” and used it to give herself “Cheri-level blowouts.” And it holds its own against more modern entrants to the space. Unlike the Dyson or even the Amika blow-dryer brush, “the Conair’s round brush can get close enough to my scalp to straighten the particularly curly pieces near my temples,” says Dalebout. “The hair dryer has traveled all over the world with me, from Canada to Spain (it comes with a handy carrying case), and if it’s ever discontinued, my nightmare of waking up back in middle school will come true.”
Greet trick-or-treaters with a giant inflatable spider doughnut …
A few weeks ago, we highlighted the season’s most popular Halloween decorations — and in this week’s installment of Don’t Dillydally, we learned about a new one: a six-foot-tall inflatable doughnut with a spider in the middle, from Dunkin’. (It’s modeled exactly after its iconic Halloween treat.) We think it poses some stiff competition with Home Depot’s 12-foot skeleton, so consider grabbing one for your yard before they sell out.
… and stave off a sugar rush with Candyland-like plates for kids
Trying to convince a stubborn toddler to eat something they don’t want — like, say, vegetables — can feel like a losing game. But parent Julie Vick told us about these Candyland-like path plates that helped her two kids try food beyond dino nuggets (and they still ask to use them now that they’re 9 and 11, respectively). She thinks the plates worked because “they offered small portions that didn’t feel overwhelming to my selective eaters, and perhaps more importantly, the different sections didn’t violate the first rule of the picky-kid eating club: You do not eat different food items that touch each other.” But they’re also cute — themed with dinosaurs, pirates, and superheroes — and having dessert as a prize at the end certainly doesn’t hurt.
A superfast chiller for near-instant iced coffee
After speaking with more than 100 chefs and industry insiders to write Eater’s debut cookbook, Hillary Dixler Canavan, the site’s restaurant editor, bought this Coldwave pitcher on the recommendation of Yez Plz Coffee founder Sumi Ali. “Coldwave takes piping hot, freshly brewed hot coffee and chills it in just 90 seconds,” she explains, which is not only amazingly convenient but also makes a better-tasting, more nuanced cup of iced coffee.
A best-selling smart plug that’s half off for Prime Day
If you somehow missed July’s Prime Day deals, we’ve got good news: Amazon is doing it all over again, starting on Tuesday, October 10, and running through Wednesday, October 11. Our deals editor, Sam Daly, pulled together a little primer explaining what Prime Big Deal Days is. And if you’re already ready to shop, she’s got a list of all the early Prime Day sales, including this half-off smart plug that’ll turn any outlet into a smart, voice-controlled one. But if you’re looking for something a little less techy, she also found a laundry hamper from Yamazaki Home, a pumpkin-shaped Staub cocotte, and lots of vacuums — here.
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.