Underscored editors share the 51 best products they tried in July 2023

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Editors’ Picks

Sometimes, everyday products our editors use don’t make it into our in-depth, long-form comparative pieces in which we vigorously test similar products head-to-head. That’s where our Editors’ Picks come in — where we highlight everyday products we personally stand by and use on a daily basis, and think you should, too.

In July, we were introduced to a plethora of products, from vacuums and standing desks to dog backpacks. Some were forgettable, while others left a lasting impression. Because we’re committed to spotlighting the best products out there, we’ve decided to curate roundups of our favorite products we try each month.

Keep reading to check out the products we tested and couldn’t get enough of in July, or look back at our favorites in June.

As an owner of two cats (I’m officially outnumbered), a house-wide deep clean was long overdue. I was influenced to buy the TikTok-viral Bissell Mini Green, and now my old and dusty carpets, velvet chairs and sofa cushions get a second chance at life. It was so satisfying — almost ASMR-like — to douse each surface with a mix of water and the included stain remover, and watch as the second tank filled up with all the dirt the device collected. It’s great not just for households with pets but stains of all sizes and intensities. — Marissa Miller, contributing editor

I was long overdue for a high-quality, practical cutting board that inspires me to cook at home and, most importantly, doesn’t slip. Enter: this sustainably made, BPA-free cutting board with silicone pop corners on all four edges. It seriously doesn’t budge — even on the slickest of countertops — and is a must-have for every level of cook (or should I say chopper?). — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

Even in the age where you can conveniently put everything on your phone, I still prefer the feeling of jotting things down by hand. July marked the final days of my 2023 planner and the dawn of this 2024 one. I’ve used Day Designer planners in the past and was pumped to see this mini version that takes up less space on my desk and in my bag but still has the daily to-do lists and hour-by-hour scheduling I’ve become accustomed to. It’s the perfect way to make sure I stay on top of my daily duties and plan ahead for special occasions and projects, too. — Jillian Tracy, associate editor

When you live with men (if you’re my boyfriend or dog, you didn’t read this), you need furniture and accessories that are easy to clean. So, I’ve officially turned to Revival, an affordable, machine-washable rug brand that’s really stood up to the test. After multiple washes as a result of tons of hallway foot traffic and questionable stains, my runner still looks as good as new, and most importantly, still feels as soft as when I first got it. I would recommend this brand to anyone and everyone looking for a new rug! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

After years of being subjected to New York City laundromats, my old bedding was dingy. And yes, as Underscored’s resident laundry expert, I could restore it to almost new, but I decided to go for actually new bedding in the form of Sijo’s gorgeous pink French linen duvet cover. Now I just need to get a set of matching shams. — Jolie Kerr, Underscored contributor

Life is much too short not to treat yourself to luxury hand soap. This celebrity-approved brand is made in a legit cauldron and comes to you in an elegant glass bottle. The smell will transport you to France, but the scent isn’t overpowering and smells like black tea with blackberry. Plus, it won’t leave your hands dry like many other soaps do. I also use it to clean my makeup brushes, and it seems to work much better than dish soap and makeup remover. A little goes a long way, and the bottle lasts for months. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Ettitude recently launched its Linen+ collection, and I honestly can’t recommend this sheet set enough. Firstly, the color is beautiful and regal and works perfectly with my room’s color scheme. The sheets wash nicely, are super soft and lightweight but not cheap feeling. And while these reimagined linen sheets are ideal for the summertime, they’re so nice that I plan on using mine year-round. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

I bought these mugs on a whim during Prime Day, but honestly, I’d buy them again at full price because they are gorgeous. Their nesting design makes them easy to store in a cabinet, but I’ve actually been keeping them stacked next to my Nespresso because of how attractive they are. My daily iced latte is that much more enjoyable now that I’m drinking it out of an aesthetic glass mug. I swear my lattes taste better, too. — Hayley Kinne, business development manager

When it comes to hand soaps, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit picky. I need something that smells good, is gentle on my hands and won’t strip them of moisture, and this hand soap from Puracy checks all those boxes. This soap smells just how I imagine a creamy lavender-and-vanilla smoothie would smell. I keep this in my kitchen by the sink and love how gentle this formula is. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

A standing desk that isn’t hideous to look at. That’s what I’ve been searching for for so long, and this Effydesk fit the brief exactly. With a solid, gorgeous walnut top and a low-profile frame, it not only looks good but does all the things a standing desk should. There are touch buttons on the top that silently move the desk up and down, and there’s even a built-in wireless charger hidden within the wood. It’s held up beautifully to heavy monitors and speakers, and it blends into the room so incredibly well. It’s a splurge for sure, but a piece that comes with a 10-year warranty for a reason. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

This month was my first time using products from Lèlior de Paris, and I was not disappointed. The vanilla-and-rose reed diffuser is intoxicating and fills any room it’s placed in with a beautiful floral scent. In addition to reed diffusers, this home fragrance brand offers everything from room sprays (Ultra Violette is another gorgeous floral scent) to home diffusers. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

After three-plus years of living in my apartment, I’m in my home refresh era — again. One subtle change I made this month was adding in a new rotation of artwork to my blank, white walls, and it’s changed everything in the best way possible. I was particularly drawn to this piece and was captured by Los Angeles artist Danny Lane. This black-and-white, moody piece is the perfect addition to any room, including mine! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I recently went to the backcountry outside of Moab, Utah, to test a rooftop tent, among tons of other gear, and one of my new favorite pieces is this simple table from REI. It’s a breeze to set up, surprisingly stable and packs small enough to stash in your car. Over are the days of placing my stove on the ground, because this table is coming on every camping trip from now on. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

My dog Miso has been wearing a Fi smart dog collar for over a month now, and I absolutely love it. It helps keep track of her steps and strain, so we know when she meets her daily step goal or if she plays too hard and needs to rest. While the activity tracking is nice, my favorite feature of the Fi by far is its location tracking. We go on a lot of off-leash hikes, and if the day ever came when she ran off, the Fi gives us the ability to track her down to make sure she’s safe and sound. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

As many of my Underscored colleagues know, my French bulldog, Marie, isn’t a big fan of sitting still — or being quiet. That’s why I’ve been loving this Outward Hound puzzle toy I snagged on Prime Day, which keeps her busy trying to uncover the treats hidden within while I finally catch up on my TV shows and enjoy some Marvel Snap in silence. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

Dog backpacks can be useful if you have a small dog that can’t walk as long as you can, or if you have a new puppy like me and you want to socialize them before they have all their vaccines, it’s an easy way to expose them to new environments while keeping them off the ground. If you’re looking for a dog bag to wear around town, I would actually recommend the K9 Sport Sack Air 2, because the added bag on the Plus 2 felt pretty useless to me. However, it’s important to note that these backpacks aren’t super supportive, and if you’re carrying a heavier dog, it will probably start getting uncomfortable after an hour or so. If you’re looking to take your dog on hikes or longer excursions, splurge for the Knavigate, which has a lot more support. The Plus 2 wasn’t perfect, but it was super useful in getting my new puppy Dashi socialized. Plus, it’s so incredibly cute that the pictures I got make the bag totally worth it in my mind. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

Why have a cat if you can’t spoil it? My cat now has not one but two of these hammocks and naps in them for at least 6 hours every day. So many cat hammocks are unsightly — some are made with literal cardboard — but this one is modern, plush and is actually quite nice to look at when she’s not even sitting in it. But of course it’s a lot cuter when she is. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

The Hide-A-Squirrel plush toy has quickly become one of her favorites. The tiny squirrels have squeakers in them to really get her prey drive going, and sometimes we even stuff her meals in the toy so she has to pull the squirrels out to get her food. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

This sustainable and versatile bag has quickly become a favorite daily grab-and-go purse. Its stain-resistant material is knitted from upcycled 100% Global Recycle Standard-certified landfill plastic. With the adjustable strap, you can convert it from a shoulder bag to a cross-body look depending on your outfit. And if you’re looking for a roomier option than this small silhouette, it also comes in medium and oversized styles. — Lauren Levy, Underscored contributor

As someone who works in front of a phone and computer all day long, I rely on blue light glasses to get me through the day without a screen-induced headache. This month, I’ve been (very) enthusiastically wearing this versatile, tortoiseshell pair from Eyebobs, and so far, it truly seems to be blocking the light all while keeping me looking fashionable! They come in a small or wide size, but I went with the wide size and absolutely love the way the frames look on my face. — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

If you’re a dude and aren’t spending your summer rocking the shortest shorts imaginable, what are you even doing? I found myself in need of a few extra pairs of such shorts for the sweltering weeks ahead and figured this cheap Amazon pair was a low-risk option I could always send back. The second I threw them on and noticed how comfortable they were — and how perfectly they fit — I ordered an extra two pairs almost immediately. These soft drawstring shorts are cozy enough for lounging around on the couch and classy enough for a casual night out, which is really all I could want from such a garment. Here’s to showing more thigh and wearing fewer belts. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

This summer, I refuse to burn my bare feet, so I picked up these pair of waterproof sandals from Hari Mari to help me accomplish just that. I got mine in Sea Glass, though they’re available in so many different colors, and they come with an ultra-supportive, slip-on cushion, memory foam-lined straps and sturdy rubber soles for extra traction during all water-bound activities (let’s hear it for never slipping on the boat again)! These have been my go-to’s this season and, after lots of use, still look as good as new! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I am not a runner. I had to give that up a while ago when my knees made it clear things had changed. But I do love to work out — which means everything from lifting weights to dance to boxing to cross-training. Thankfully, these Nike Free Metcon 5 training shoes cover all my bases. They’re cute (especially in this blush color), give me tons of room to wiggle my toes without being too wide for my narrow foot, a wide heel for stability when I’m lifting and a higher collar ringed with foam for more comfort. In a world full of running shoes, I am thrilled to have found these good-looking, comfortable, securely fitting sneakers that I can throw on for just about anything. Except running, that is. And that’s totally OK. — Tobey Grumet, reviews editor

Whether I’m hiking or running errands around town, these stylish and durable shorts have quickly become one of my favorite pairs. They feel light but can still take a beating if you end up hiking through thick brush or scrambling over rocks. The sizing is a tiny bit big, but it has a nifty draw cord to help get the perfect fit. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

For hot-weather days and intense workouts, Alo Yoga’s Warrior Compression Short keeps me comfortable and dry. The moisture-wicking, odor-resistant nylon jersey spandex is all about the stretch and moves with me (but not where it annoyingly rides up my legs like some brands do). It also has an adjustable drawcord waistband and flat seams to keep things smooth whether you’re layering these under shorts or wearing them on their own. — Lauren Levy, Underscored contributor

When the sun is shining (and sometimes, even when it’s not) I am rarely without a pair of sunglasses. And though I have a collection of swankier pairs for everyday, I save my Costa Loretos for more active endeavors. And this summer, these stylish aviator glasses with fully polarized lenses have been a lifesaver for my more intense pursuits. Whether I’m going for a hike, for a long walk, to do outdoor yoga or even heading out on a boat, these shades not only look great and feel super comfy but they stay put. And really, sometimes that’s half the battle. — Tobey Grumet, reviews editor

If you’ve heard of Laneige before, then you’re probably familiar with their much loved lip mask, and this water sleeping mask is essentially the face companion for it. I don’t fall hard and fast for too many skin care products, but as someone with skin that can tend to run a little dry, I’ve loved using this once or twice a week as part of my nighttime routine. During the summer, it’s especially great after a day where your face has had more time in the sun and might need a little extra love. And while I like using heavier products like Aquaphor for the areas that really need repair, this sleeping mask lets me nourish and hydrate my whole face without that overwhelming slick or gooey feeling. Plus, a little of this mask goes a long way, so I never feel bad treating my skin to an extra night of hydration if need be. — Jillian Tracy, associate editor

I recently dealt with the dreaded purge after a skin care treatment mishap, and I religiously used this Rescue Balm to help speed up the post-pimple healing process. Typically, my marks linger for weeks — even months — on end, and no product can lighten them like a laser does (until now). This ultra-hydrating balm instantly resolved my dark marks, thanks to myriad replenishing ingredients, and I’m officially never turning to anything else again. Don’t walk, run to get a tube or two if you deal with acne! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I’m a sun baby. I was born in August, and I feel that it’s my birthright, in a way, to bask in the sunshine like a lizard. So it’s actually amazing that it took me so long to move to a place where there’s sunshine year-round, but now that I have, I’ve created what I call ghe Sunscreen Bar: I have a range of brands, formulas and SPFs ranging from oil (SPF 15) to this Hawaiian Tropic Everyday Active Clear Spray in SPF 50 that’s quickly become my go-to. — Jolie Kerr, Underscored contributor

Vertra’s newest product is a coconut-and-vanilla-scented sunscreen spray, and I can’t get over how amazing it smells. Infused with ingredients like avocado oil and aloe, this spray protects my skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays while making me smell like a tropical dessert. It has a lightweight and nongreasy formula and gives your skin a beautiful, healthy glow. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

There is no shortage of vibrant-colored Billie razors in my bathroom, and the latest addition to the collection is Primary. This razor is a multi-award-winning razor — it was voted our best overall razor for women in 2023 — and comes with built-in charcoal soap for easy lubrication and an ergonomic handle with a rubbery grip for slip-proof shaving. It’s hands-down the quickest, most comfortable shaving experience ever! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I’ve been using this hydrator mist several times a day since I got it a few weeks ago, and I can safely say I’m obsessed. Not only is it the perfect way to cool down in this scorching and humid weather but it provides some serious beauty benefits, too. It acts as a primer, a hydrator, a skin-barrier protector and a moisturizer through ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. The scent is so lovely I hope the brand releases it in a perfume. — Marissa Miller, contributing editor

From the first spritz, I knew that this body spray from Michelle Pfeiffer’s fine fragrance brand was one that I would keep reaching for. Bold, sweet and sophisticated, this fragrance’s floral and fruity notes come together perfectly. While this body spray is the perfect summertime fragrance, I am excited to wear it all year. I love that I can spray this scent on in the morning and still smell it at the end of the day, and I also appreciate that this perfume is cruelty-free, paraben-free and hypoallergenic. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

It’s sorta embarrassing how fast I’ve gone through a tube of this viral lip butter balm, but hey, that’s how I know it’s worth all the TikTok hype! Featuring a truly intoxicating vanilla flavor and cruelty-free ingredients, this lip balm is lightweight and hydrating at once. I stopped wearing lip gloss because I refuse to go a second without it smeared all over my lips! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I love doing my nails at home, but I can’t stand nail polishes that take forever to dry because, like many of us, I’ve just got other things to do. While I would normally think paying in the double digits for a nail polish is ridiculous, these Essie Expressie Quick-Dry polishes might have made me a convert. They come in a nice range of colors and provide solid coverage on just one coat (though I still double up). As the name suggests, they also dry within just a few minutes, and the small rectangular shape of the bottle fits nicely in my travel cosmetics bag, so I can carry it with me for on-the-go touch-ups. — Jillian Tracy, associate editor

I don’t have a ton of extra time (or patience) to spend perfecting my eyeliner in the morning or on touch-ups throughout the day. But Urban Decay’s new 24/7 Inks has me feeling like an eyeliner pro with each quick swipe. Like a paintbrush, this vegan eyeliner has a distinct ergonomic grip that helps give me control as I apply my smooth lines. It comes in nine metallic and matte shades and, according to the brand, is water- and smudge-resistant, which I can attest to, for 24 hours. — Lauren Levy, Underscored contributor

I have learned my lesson in these dog days of 100-degree-Fahrenheit heat. I do not walk out of the house without sunscreen. So I’m always on the lookout for any beauty product that includes a good SPF. These OneKind Solar Drops are kind of the opposite. This is a sunscreen that happens to be a brightening primer as well. The mineral-based, pearlized serum not only protects my skin with zinc oxide but gives me a golden glow when I smooth it on. It feels light on my skin and goes easily under other makeup should I choose to layer. — Tobey Grumet, reviews editor

I’m not the biggest fan of over-ear headphones, but the new Beats Studio Pro are some of the best I’ve ever tested. Their compact, foldable design makes them much easier to take on the road than most competitors, and they just look nice — especially in the gorgeous Sandstone color I’ve been testing out. And at $350, these cans are a killer AirPods Max alternative that get you some of Apple’s best audio features (not to mention better Android support) for hundreds of dollars less. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

In my ongoing journey to trick out my Meta Quest 2 for the ultimate VR gaming and workout experience, I stumbled on this affordable and highly rated head strap from Kiwi. This accessory replaces the Quest 2’s default fabric strap with a sturdy plastic band and plush head cushion, creating a fit that’s more comfortable, more stable and easier to adjust on the fly. And like this Quest 2 face cover I recently picked up, Kiwi’s faux-leather head strap is easy to wipe down after a sweaty Supernatural session — something I’m especially thankful for considering how gross my fabric strap was getting. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

Whenever I embark on an overnight or long-weekend trip, one thing’s for sure: I never leave my Dagne Dover Carryall behind, and this month, I added the Heather Gray hue to my travel bag collection. It’s large enough that it fits everything I need for a short trip but compact enough that it still fits underneath the seat of a plane or overhead in the storage compartment. It comes with a thick strap so it’s easy to carry around and also features a laptop sleeve and shoe dust bag to keep my things organized and dirt-free. If you, like me, are a frequent traveler, I cannot recommend this bag enough! — Stephanie Griffin, director of social

I’ve gone camping and bounced around between hotels and Airbnbs a lot this past month, and I’ve loved how easy and convenient this hanging toiletry bag has been. It isn’t massive but has enough internal space to stash the essentials, and it folds out to hang in the bathroom for easy access. Plus, it’s got a tiny mirror that becomes super useful in the backcountry. — Kai Burkhardt, outdoors and sustainability editor

Food & drink

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for packaging, and Brightland’s olive oil bottles are stunning. The olive oil is equally stunning as a standard dressing for salad or on its own for dipping bread. — Jolie Kerr, Underscored contributor

I’ve heard a ton of positive things about Cometeer coffee and was so excited to finally try the brand myself. This flash-frozen coffee melts into hot water and tastes as if you just brewed it. Or, if you’re like me, you can defrost it and mix with cold water (or your choice of milk) for the tastiest iced coffee. I really love the Klatch roaster. The variety is smooth and never bitter. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

I enjoy having a glass of wine sometimes, and this month, I popped open this bottle of white wine. With notes of apple and pear, this wine is nice on its own or in a tasty white wine sangria. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

I’m late to the Dot’s pretzels movement but I think I’ve caught up by eating my weight in them this month. I’ve never met a pretzel I didn’t like, but these must be the absolute best-tasting pretzels I’ve ever eaten and may be my favorite snack of all time. I can easily make my way through the entire bag in just one or two sittings if I’m not careful. If you don’t want to take my word for it, the brand has 5 stars and thousands of positive ratings. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Due to some severe lactose intolerance, I’m always on the lookout for new dairy alternatives. This month, I was introduced to WhatIF Food’s Barista made from the [bambara groundnut] grown in West Africa. It’s the perfect coffee creamer, and you can even froth and steam it like any other milk. The one issue I tend to have with nut milks is that the taste overpowers whatever I use it with — which is never great for coffee. This one, on the other hand, doesn’t do that. I also love the brand’s Airy selection, which is perfect with cereal and other food. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Momofuku noodles make for a quick-and-easy meal option. The brand’s spicy soy noodles are delicious, filling and, yes, actually spicy. They cook in three minutes, come individually packaged and get their flavor from the included sauce packets. Plus, the brand offers a variety of different options, like its Tingly Chili Wavy Noodles and its Soy & Scallion noodles, so you won’t get bored. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of nonalcoholic drinks that still feel fancy. Ghia’s Apéritif not only comes in a gorgeous bottle that you’ll want to show off to everyone but the taste won’t have you missing alcohol. It’s akin to an Italian amaro and mixes well with seltzer or juice. The options are endless, and a little bit goes a long way because it’s super concentrated. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a big fan of beverages. For summer, I try to reach for something more refreshing than soda that isn’t plain water. I recently discovered Ruby organic sparkling hibiscus water, and it’s my new go-to. The flavors are out-of-this-world delicious without being full of sugar and empty calories. Since they are quite a treat, I do like mixing them with unflavored seltzer for a more muted taste, and it can make a whole can last a lot longer. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

I eat an English muffin just about every morning and sometimes get tired of using jelly or peanut butter. I’ve been reaching for Pika Pika’s Calamansi Marmalade and Coconut Spread for a taste of the Philippines. The coconut option is indulgent and creamy for those who like sweetness in the morning. The marmalade is tart and citrusy if you prefer a fruity flavor. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor



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