18 Products That Changed Our Lives
As magazine editors, lots of products—from makeup and hair tools, to cleaning supplies and organizational products, to gardening gadgets and even toilet paper (yes, toilet paper!)—make their way across our desks. Some fall flat, others generate temporary buzz, and a select few become staples in our lives. And when we realized that some of these products have become items we simply cannot live without, we knew it was time to share the wealth with our loyal readers. Here, we present you with our editors’ all-time favorite items.
Kendra Scott Elisa Pendant Necklace
When you are totally stumped in the gifting department, don’t stress—this pretty piece is a lifesaver. It’s not only a favorite among celebrities like Taylor Swift and Simone Biles, but our assistant home editor Tamara Kraus swears the necklace is a sure bet. The eye-catching necklace comes in multiple colors (choose from colored stones, glass, mother-of-pearl, magnesite, onyx, or Kyocera opal) and various metals (the rose gold is Taylor Swift’s personal favorite).
To buy: From $60; nordstrom.com.
There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors before chillier weather creeps in. Pick up this compact blanket (it weighs less than four ounces and tucks into a convenient carrying case) before heading to your local park with a great book, or packing a picnic to bring to your family’s annual outing to the apple orchard. It’s made from rip-proof, waterproof nylon, and four attached metal stakes ensure it stays taut both in grass and sand.
To buy: $33; amazon.com.
Skechers Go Walk 3s
When your daily routine has you pounding the pavement, a solid pair of walking shoes is an absolute necessity. So when editor Brandi Broxson, a longtime sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, first moved to NYC, finding shoes with the right support was top priority. When she found the Sketchers Go Walk 3s, she knew she’d met her match. The shoes have a breathable mesh upper fabric to keep feet cool and dry, and memory foam padding that prevents stinky feet. Plus, she doesn’t have to sacrifice too much in the style department—the pair comes in colorful options to suit any style.
To buy: From $30; amazon.com.
The Happiness Project One Sentence Journal
How do you find the right present for the person who has everything? It’s an age-old dilemma that our former associate social media editor Priyanka Arabindi may have finally solved once and for all. She buys everyone she knows—from her friends to her family members—the same journal on their birthday. The thoughtful gift is fun, functional, and affordable. The journal follows a unique format: each dated page has five separate sets of lines—a space to write one line per day for five years. When completed, the personalized book serves as a sort of time capsule, documenting highs and lows of the past five years.
To buy: $15; amazon.com.
Flawless Finishing Touch
One thing pretty much anyone can agree on? Unwanted facial hair is a pain, both literally and figuratively. It’s a problem even our beauty director Heather Muir Maffei struggled with for years. She tried everything from at-home waxing kits, to depilatory creams, to questionable salon services—until she discovered this tiny gadget. The pocket-sized battery-operated razor swipes off peach fuzz in one swift motion—and the white and rose gold design makes an embarrassing beauty task feels somehow glamorous.
To buy: $20; amazon.com.
Dyson Cordless Vacuum
Sure, you can get a perfectly decent vacuum for a modest price—but certain situations (a home with pets or messy toddlers, for example) call for the big guns. Our food editor Ananda Eidelstein swears that splurging on the Dyson Cord-Free Vacuum was a game-changing investment that has helped her feel more comfortable in her space. The compact and flexible appliance ensures she can speed through household chores, without hunching over or sacrificing cleanliness.
To buy: $244; amazon.com.
Unlike your standard bath towel, this version is exceptionally soft and thick (like those you’d find in a spa!). Betsy Goldberg, our deputy editor, says they are durable, too, thanks to long-staple Turkish cotton and a special spinning process that ensures the towels are extra-absorbent and quick to dry. Choose from four neutral colors that pair perfectly with a serene bathroom.
To buy: From $9; parachutehome.com.
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
Sick and tired of struggling with a heavy blow dryer only to achieve mediocre results? Laura Schocker, Real Simple’s former digital director, has a solution: a brush and a hair dryer all in one. Hot air flows through the brush to tame strands in half the time—which means less heat damage for your hair, too.
To buy: $60; amazon.com.
Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine
When editor Brandi Broxson was having trouble drowning out the sound of the noisy city below her apartment, she turned to this sound machine to help her finally get some shut-eye. The small, but mighty gadget uses air to create a soothing whirring sound rather than loop a recording of white noise, rainforest sounds, or waves crashing.
To buy: $50; amazon.com.
Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner Mum
Real Simple’s beauty director Heather Muir definitely has her favorite cosmetics, but one thing she’s really coveting right now? A cleaning spray of all things. In a sweet-smelling lemon-verbena scent, the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner gets tough jobs done, but is formulated with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils to make cleaning safer (it’s free of chlorine bleach, ammonia, parabens, and phosphates).
To buy: $11 for three; amazon.com.
DERMAdoctor Kakadu C™ Brightening Daily Cleanser
If you’re like RealSimple.com’s former associate editor, Liz Steelman, you may be tempted to jump from beauty product to beauty product based on the current sticker price. But sometimes you find a product that’s too good to give up. This particular cleanser has Steelman hooked. She says it removes every last remnant of makeup, without over-drying. Plus, she can justify the price: A six-ounce bottle has lasted her nearly a year.
To buy: $36; ulta.com.
PNY Portable Charger
It’s not much of a secret that cell phones have become a lifeline of sorts—they not only serve as our main mode of communication, but they can also provide directions, entertain, and take and store precious photos. That’s why some of us, former Real Simple lifestyle editor Sarah Yang included, go into a bit of a tailspin when said phone is out of power. Yang’s personal solution to this problem is a slim, lightweight portable charger that gives her phone an extra jolt of juice to make it through the day.
To buy: $25; amazon.com.
Prana Indigena Natural Yoga Mat
A yoga mat is a tricky thing: You don’t want to spend too much money, but skimp and you’ll end up with a worn-through and pilling mat. Dawn Perry, Real Simple’s food director, has, luckily, found a happy medium. This moderately-priced mat has lasted her through 14 years of practice. Plus, it’s slim enough to fold up and tote in her backpack or carry-on luggage.
To buy: From $66; amazon.com.
Jabra Sport Coach Wireless Sports Earbuds
Working out doesn’t have to feel like such an insurmountable task—just ask Grace Elkus, our former associate food editor. These wireless earbuds (they connect to your phone via Bluetooth) have enabled Elkus to lunge across the room, perform sit-ups with ease, and do jump squats without getting tripped up in tangled cords. The comfortable pair lasts for up to 5.5 hours of continuous play, too.
To buy: $120; dell.com.
Vaseline Rosy Lip Therapy
Real Simple’s former social media manager, Rebecca Longshore, has a real affinity for rose-scented products. There’s something about the sweet, but not overly fragrant scent that has her hooked—she says it provides a necessary sense of relaxation. But rose-scented beauty products often come with a high price tag. Not this one. This petite jar of lip balm hydrates and softly tints lips, all while giving off that blissful rosy smell.
To buy: $2; target.com.
Wood Handle Action Hoe
Now that the weather has warmed in most of the country, gardening season is in full swing. Unfortunately that also means achy back season for avid gardeners—unless, of course, you’re Real Simple’s former executive managing editor, George Kimmerling. He has discovered a long-handled triangular weeder that gets deep enough into roots, but won’t disturb the soil above—plus, this particular tool requires no bending, crouching, or crawling.
To buy: $17; homedepot.com.
Scott Extra Soft Toilet Paper
Before you scoff at the idea of toilet paper being one of our absolute favorite things, consider what former contributing editor Elizabeth Passarella has to say about this utilitarian item. She praises the soft quilted rolls for being big (but not so big they can’t fit in a standard holder) and thick enough to only need a small square (but not so thick they aren’t pliable).
To buy: $60 for 36 double rolls; amazon.com.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser
When you’re late for work, but the dress you planned to wear is a wrinkled mess, waiting for the iron to heat up can really, well, put a wrinkle in your plans. Real Simple former deputy editor Brigitt Earley says this handy spray will save you those extra minutes. Simply spritz and smooth to get your garment ready to wear.
To buy: $10; amazon.com.