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Face masks to grilling: Popular products we covered last month

From face masks and yellow cake mixes to running shoes and sunscreen, these were the top items readers purchased last month.
One of the most popular products from recent coverage comes from our guidance to the best treatments for teen acne, which included La Roche Posay's gel facial wash. It and more than a dozen other favorites make up last month's popular recommendations.
One of the most popular products from recent coverage comes from our guidance to the best treatments for teen acne, which included La Roche Posay's gel facial wash. It and more than a dozen other favorites make up last month's popular recommendations.La Roche-Posay

Throughout May, NBC News Shopping readers maintained a healthy interest in self care wellness and wining and dining. Ongoing-though-relaxing stay-at-home orders saw readers heading outside for time with their pets, though for many, staying inside remained the norm. Some of our most-read articles last month included our shopping guides to reducing plastic use in the kitchen, how to shop for refurbished tech online at the largest retailers, which cake mixes are best for your pantry, why one of our writers favors a specific cast iron skillet above all others and our guide to the best Father’s Day gifts around.

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As you check out the shopping guides and recommendations above, we also wanted to be sure to share which of the wellness, kitchen and home products were most popular among readers last month. Below are the most purchased products we covered across these categories.

1. Misto Brushed Aluminum Oil Sprayer

NBC News Shopping readers are big fans of this small-but-significant kitchen accessory, which helps you oil food that won’t bode well from pouring. We’ve recommended in our guide to the best grilling accessories, a peripheral for your air fryer and in our gift guides for both Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day.

2. UV Mini Light Sanitizer

An ongoing favorite among readers and shoppers is this UV light sanitizer, which is currently on sale. We’ve recommended it in our guide to keeping your phone and other tech sanitized.

3. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Alarm Clock

For anyone looking to sleep better (or finding ways to help their dog do the same), sleeping products can be especially useful. The Philips SmartSleep, which connects to your home Wi-Fi, helps improve your sleep quality and helps you learn how the environment of your bedroom affects your rest. We’ve recommended it in our guide to sleep aids, as well in our recent guide to Mother’s Day gifts.

4. La Roche Posay, Effaclar Gel Facial Wash

In NBC BETTER’s guidance to the best treatments for teen acne, Washington Square Dermatology founder Samer Jaber, MD, recommended CeraVe’s option: “Foam based cleansers are better for those with oily skin,” Jaber said. “Cleansers with ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be very helpful for those with acne, but be careful as they can be irritating and drying.”

5. Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix

Jonathan Bender, author of cookbooks like "Cookies & Beer" and "Stock, Broth & Bowl,” considers this yellow cake mix one of the best cake mix additions to your pantry given its versatility. “The sweet dense base can be turned into dinner rolls, coffee cake or chocolate chip bundt cake,” Bender writes. “The right cake mix is subjective, really: It's the one that makes the amount of cake you need with the flavors you want and the ingredients that match your diet.”

6. Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

In NBC BETTER’s previously reported guide to the best sunscreen for kids, Sheel Desai Solomon, MD, a dermatologist in Raleigh/Durham, Solomon cites Aveeno as one of her go-to brands when looking for a good kids’ sunscreen. “This mineral sunscreen has a mild, hypoallergenic formula that won’t cause irritation or stinging, and it’s water resistant for 80 minutes,” reports NBC BETTER.

7. Weber Grill Lighter Cubes

In our guide to the best grilling accessories, Jonathan Bender writes that “cooking on charcoal requires a little more effort” than with gas grills. Angela Davis, a recipe developer at The Kitchenista Diaries, Bender noted, suggests using lighter cubes: Weber’s Lighter Cubes are made of paraffin wax — they can light when wet and won’t create ash or add off flavors to whatever you’re grilling.

8. Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker Half Sheet

In that same grilling guide from Bender, he notes that Judith Fertig, author of “The Gardener and The Grill,” is partial to partial to Nodic Ware’s sheet. “Everything goes out to the grill at once, and cooked and raw foods stay separate,” Fertig told Bender, adding she carries two stacked sheet pans out to the grill. The top pan has the raw, seasoned meat or vegetables. The bottom pan is a safe landing spot for everything when it’s done.

9. Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

In the last few years, Instant Pots have become the go-to small kitchen appliance for home cooks, NBC BETTER previously reported, explaining what to know if you’re shopping for an Instant Pot. With the Duo, which on sale right now on Amazon, you’re getting what the brand dubs its “best selling model,” complete with the essential functions — from sautee to slow cook — and handling up to six quarts of your next meal.

10. Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment

The same Samer Jaber, MD, who consulted NBC BETTER on its previous teen acne shopping guide is back with advice for its previously reported guide to handling dry or cracked heels. Jabr told NBC BETTER that Eucerin’s “formula contains a high percentage of urea and exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid, which are great at removing dead skin cells so the moisturizing components of the formula, like sunflower oil rich in vitamins A and E, can seep in to heal skin.”

11. Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip

Tripp Lite’s surge protectors are some of the best for the price you pay, write Whitson Gordon in our guide to the best surge protectors and power strips. “Their 8-outlet surge protector is a bit bigger than most standard power strips, but it has enough space to fit a couple larger power bricks without covering up the other outlets — which can be a big plus if you’ve got multiple laptop blocks connected to it,” he noted.

12. New Balance 860v10 Running Shoes

This stable-first shoe from New Balance can be identified by the medial side of the shoe where you see the marbleizing, NBC BETTER previously reported. Cindi Binder, a footwear expert at Healthy Feet at Canyon Ranch, told BETTER she loves the shoe since it provides more comfort than typical walking shoes due to the additional cushioning.

13. HomeSoap (pre-order)

In our guide to UV light sanitizing products for your smartphone and other tech, we cover the suite of HomeSoap products that we first wrote about in January. Built-in USB ports allow you to charge your devices up while it cleans them, and it has an on/off switch, giving you more control over the process. For any family whose many hands come together from different places, the HomeSoap can act as a gatekeeper to reduce germs and bacteria in the house. Its delayed shipping date as been trudging along at least since February so you might want to consider getting in line sooner than later.

The most purchased face masks

So far, we’ve covered the basics of buying face masks, how to shop for face masks with filters and found face masks at the biggest retailers out there. Throughout our coverage, we’ve kept to only recommending those face masks whose listed features both adhered to the CDC’s guidelines and to the guidance we got from medical experts. Below are the most popular face masks among those we covered:

15. Face Mask | VIDA

Each protective mask is made of two layers of 100-percent cotton, with adjustable straps and a multi-layer filter. Masks are sold individually or in a multi-pack.

16. Outdoor Voices Face Mask (sold out)

The athletic brand is selling packs of five reusable masks, made with their signature Textured Compression material.

17. Buck Mason Anti-Microbial Face Mask

Available in packs of five, Buck Mason's masks are designed to last up to 30 wash cycles.

18. Reformation Face Mask

Reformation’s cloth masks are reusable with ties and come in different prints.

19. Onzie Mindful Masks

The company is creating non-medical, reusable face masks using up-cycled fabrics.

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