Editors’ picks: The 47 best products we tried and loved in March | CNN Underscored

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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 March, we were introduced to a plethora of products, from travel backpacks and air fryers to the perfect work pants. 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 March, or look back at our favorites in February.

We all know the Free People Hailee Sweater Set, and this month, I finally got my hands on one! Featuring thick but breathable fabric and an oversized fit, this set is cute, comfy and cozy — and my new work-from-home ‘fit. Beyond the fact that it’s just perfection when paired together, the pieces are very versatile and can be mixed and matched with quite literally anything you already have in your closet. If you’ve been on the fence about splurging on this set, you won’t regret it, trust me. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

This backpack does it all for me. Not only can it fit anything I might need for a quick weekend trip away, but I also use it to lug my belongings to the gym and beyond. It’s incredibly lightweight (less than 2 pounds when empty), plus it has two water bottle side pockets, two front compartments with organizational features and two hidden side pockets. While there’s a slip pocket in the main compartment that easily fits a laptop, one of the exterior hidden pockets is the perfect spot to store up to a 15-inch laptop. I love that the backpack is made from water-resistant, recycled materials, which makes it perfect for taking to the gym or exploring a new city when a rain shower comes along. As F.A.R. as backpacks go, this one does it all. — Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

I’m absolutely devoted to Baggu for all my bag needs, so when the brand collaborated with the iconic Laura Ashley to create this floral fanny pack, I couldn’t resist adding it to my ever-growing collection. It’s the perfect spring accessory, and I love that the strap extends to 45 inches, so it’s comfortable to wear as a crossbody. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

Previously known as Xiao Chi Jie (XCJ), this Seattle-based Chinese cuisine company recently rebranded to MìLà. It kept its same delicious recipes that make it easy to bring authentic Chinese flavors into your home. From soup dumplings that you can keep in your freezer to essential Chinese sauces that add flavor to any dish, everything is worth trying, but my current favorite are the Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles. They are simple yet super flavorful, and I love them as a more nutritious alternative to the instant ramen I usually grab at the bodega. Plus, they come together in 10 minutes, making them an easy weekday meal. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

I love drinking my coffee out of an insulated mug in the morning, because too often I get distracted by emails and other tasks and all of a sudden my coffee is cold. That’s why this mug from Klean Kanteen has found a permanent spot in my mug rotation. I really like its aesthetics and appreciate its extra-large handle for easy sipping. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor 

It’s surprisingly difficult to find a work bag that 1) fits a laptop, 2) has a zip top and 3) can be worn crossbody, but Cuyana has managed to nail all three requirements with its newly released Easy Zipper Tote. And on top of all that, the bag comes in three sizes, the leather is super smooth and you can choose from a range of great colors. I opted for the Small, and it still fits my computer, wallet, water bottle and more. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

I review earbuds for a living, and it takes a lot for a pair to impress me — especially if they’re cheap. But the Jabra Elite 4 help raise the bar for budget earbuds, offering sound quality, comfort and active noise cancellation that are nearly on par with rivals that cost twice the price. Most importantly, they just look really nice, something that gives them a big advantage over other budget buds like the EarFun Air Pro 3. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

I love my Ninja air fryer and honestly don’t know why I waited so long to buy one! Since purchasing this beauty, I’ve used it to make everything from seasoned fries to buffalo chicken wings. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and has an attractive design. The 4-quart size is perfect for my needs, and I love that this air fryer isn’t too bulky. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

I’ve never been one to transfer salt and pepper from their grocery store containers to cute shakers, but these just-launched Dusen Dusen Pattern Shakers changed all that. The wavy engraved beechwood shakers are enchanting and perfect for display on my countertop. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

Quince, my favorite site for affordable products that look a lot more expensive than they actually are, has the best silk shirt I’ve ever tried. If you’re busty, you know how difficult it can be to find a button-down, work-appropriate blouse, and I’m happy to say that with this stretch silk shirt I have found THE ONE. Not only does it feel extremely luxe, but it’s got enough stretch to feel like it’s moving with you throughout the day. Best of all though, it’s machine-washable. I honestly need to buy it in more colors now. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

Kérastase recently launched a line of dandruff products, and my scalp couldn’t be happier. While most anti-dandruff shampoos feel medicinal, this one is the exact opposite. It contains 1% zinc pyrithione, smells amazing, creates a rich lather and doesn’t strip my hair of its shine. I will note that the conditioner from the Symbiose line didn’t work for me (it left my hair feeling a bit drier than normal), but the shampoo is definitely worth a try for those who are tired of reaching for the Head and Shoulders. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Spring is coming fast and a good pair of sunglasses is absolutely essential. I’ve fallen in love with Goodr in the past few weeks, thanks to the brand’s stylish and cheap sunnies. I really like this round style, but there are tons of other shapes that will look good on any face. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor 

Act+Acre just launched its curl line earlier this month, and I’ve become addicted to the Cold Processed Curl Spray for refreshing my newly chopped curly bangs every morning and throughout the day. The brand’s Curl Cleanse Shampoo and Soft Curl Lotion are also winners in my book! — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

After experiencing the powerful results of red light therapy as a result of my monthly Heyday facials, I knew I wanted to incorporate the device into my skin care and wellness routine, since I still have a lot of work to do on my post-Accutane skin. The panel — which is most definitely a splurge — is specifically designed to target inflammation, enhance collagen production, improve sleep, reverse oxidative stress and improve overall efficiency of the body. Although noticeable improvement typically takes around 10 to 14 weeks, after consistent, daily use this month, my acne scars have nearly all disappeared and my energy levels and sleep have drastically improved. I’m so excited to see what other improvements I experience in the next few months. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

I’m a big fan of jewelry and after seeing these minimalist chunky hoops on Mejuri’s website, I just knew that I had to have them. They have such a chic look to them, are comfortable to wear (they have a good weight to them but aren’t too heavy) and pair well with my other jewelry pieces. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

These are the perfect spring pants because they’re so versatile. I can wear them to work or dinner with friends and I always receive compliments. They also come in so many cute neutral colors so they match everything! — Hannah Lauson, senior digital content strategist

The latest drop from Glow Recipe, the Blur Drops double as both a serum and a primer. The smoothing effect is definitely noticeable, and since I can’t bear putting foundation on my face as the weather heats up, I forsee this product become a major staple in my routine over the next few months. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

This is my new favorite lightweight puffy jacket by far. Instead of using a synthetic or down insulation, this jacket from Ibex uses merino wool, which creates one of the lightest and warmest jackets I’ve ever worn. I’ve been wearing this basically every day for almost a month and it’s always kept me warm and comfortable, whether it’s been on days that are 50 degrees and sunny or during a 25-degree snowstorm. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor 

I like to bring packed lunches into the office and this cute, insulated lunch bag is what I’ve been putting them in. The interior is spacious enough to hold my salad container and snacks, while the outside pockets provide me with space to store my water bottle and any additional snacks I may have. The material makes this bag really easy to clean (just give it a wipe) and the drawstring closure makes the bag easy to close up. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

Finally jumped in on the trend and got a Nespresso coffee machine for my house. It’s like having your own personal barista at home. All you have to do is pop in a coffee pod, press a button and voila, delicious coffee instantly. Plus, there’s no need to worry about measuring coffee grounds or cleaning up a messy coffee maker. It’s convenient and easy to use, and produces cafe-level coffee. Been making a cup for myself and my mom every day since we got it! — Jessie Chen, Underscored intern

The best thing about Kristin Ess’ The One Conditioner is that I hardly need to wear any perfume after I use it — it smells that strong and that good. And to top it off, it’s reduced my hair’s untameable frizziness; it feels softer than ever after I switched to it about a month ago. I decided that I wanted to start stepping up my hair-care game and find a sulfate-free conditioner that rinsed out well and gave my hair a smooth texture, but I wanted to avoid breaking the bank. With this one, it more than does the job and a little goes a long way, so if you’re on a budget and want a product that will last you, this is an excellent option. — Morgan Pryor, Underscored intern

I really adore these shorts from Prana. They’re super comfortable, stylish and rugged enough for any outdoor adventure. The adjustable waistband means you never have to wear a belt again, while tons of pockets and extra breathability make it the perfect hiking short. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor

This mug is such a cute little gem! I’m someone who relies on her daily cup of joe; drinking coffee is a huge part of my day and I look forward to those first few sips each morning. Enter: this automatic self-stirring mug. I just pour my cream and sugar in, press the button and watch it swirl. It leaves my coffee looking frothy and tasting delicious. It’s so fun and such a simple pleasure added to my mornings — I’ve gotten a few friends hooked on it already. Plus, it comes with a lid so I can carry it with me on my walk breaks and is rechargeable so it’s always ready to go as I tackle my daily tasks. — Madison Yerke, social strategist

This shower organizer has been a game changer for my bathroom. It looks great in the shower and thanks to the strong adhesive strips, it attaches to the wall securely, so you don’t have to worry about your products dropping on the floor. I love that I’m able to fit everything I need in these organizers and can hang my shower cap on the hook. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator

There are an overwhelming number of water bottle options out there — and I’ve found my new favorite. Not only is the Ocean Bottle an ideal option for drinking — and easy cleaning — as it’s got both a smaller drinking mouth and a larger mouth for bigger gulps and adding ice, but I’ve also found the bottle to keep my cooler drinks ice-cold for hours on end and it serves a dual purpose to keep warm items like soup and tea hot. Not only do I love the forest green color that is sweat-free (say goodbye to wet surfaces!), but it’s also dishwasher-safe. Best of all? Each Ocean Bottle purchase pays for 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles to be collected by local coastal communities before they reach the sea. It’s a purchase you can feel good about. — Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

I’m a bit late to the nap dress game, but I’m so glad I’ve arrived. This ultra-comfy, 100% cotton dress is a dream for lounging around the house and even dressing up with a pair of heels and nice necklace. I have to say too I was so happy with the fit — it just seemed to hit in all the right places. It’s so stretchy that I’d definitely recommend ordering your regular size or actually one size down, especially if you have narrow shoulders, since the neckline is so wide. Speaking of neckline, it hits perfectly so I can actually wear a bra with it — and yup, it’s got pockets! — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

I recently got the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, and it’s a game-changer! It’s a balm that warms up and melts away my makeup instantly and lathers into a cleansing milk that removes any impurities from my skin. After using this, my skin always feels soft and nourished. Its unique blend of natural oils and ingredients makes it gentle enough for all skin types, and it has a lovely relaxing fragrance that makes it feel like a spa treatment at home. The rose one smells like a European rose garden! — Jessie Chen, Underscored intern

The perfect basics are hard to come by, which is exactly why you should stock up at women-owned clothing brand LNA. Whether you’re looking for spring essentials that you can pair with just about anything or you’re building up your capsule collection, this gorgeous tank should be added to everyone’s arsenal. Featuring a flattering squared scoop neck and cloud-like, soft ribbed fabric, this top comes in six neutral colors, so if you, like me, can’t take it off, here’s your excuse to buy one in every color! — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

Perfect during this “Is it winter? Is it spring?” time of year, these shoes are a hybrid between clogs and rainboots that I can (and do) wear anywhere. I’ll slip them on for my walk to yoga or wear them with jeans for a low-key weekend outfit. They’re super sturdy and comfortable, with a classic crunchy look. — Caroline Curran, associate editor

Working out is not fun, which is why I always look for activewear that makes me happy! Enter: The Terez TLC Bodysuit which shines head-to-toe and features the most comfortable, pill-proof fabric on earth. This piece is perfect for all types of low-impact workouts and lounging, and I truly never want to take it off. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

This cream is so thick and moisturizing I’m in love! I regularly use their Magic Cream for face so I was so excited to test this new product. I would definitely recommend it, especially if your skin gets really dry in the winter like mine does. — Hannah Lauson, senior digital content strategist

The one skin care staple I can’t live without is eye cream and I’ve been loving testing out SkinCeuticals’ highly-rated Eye Balm this month. Formulated with plant-based ingredients, this product targets lines and wrinkles and reduces the appearance of puffiness and darkness (love this for me). Although I’ve found the formula to be super gentle and nourishing, it’s definitely just as powerful. My undereyes have significantly improved and they’ve been looking glowier, smoother and brighter than ever before. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

Like the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 before it, this new take on Resident Evil 4 sees Capcom completely rebuild its survival horror classic — and one of the best games of all time — into a modern cinematic masterpiece. But while the incredible visuals, rich atmosphere and more mature tone are all great, I love that the Resident Evil 4 remake doesn’t lose sight of the goofy, over-the-top action that made the original so endearing. Roundhouse-kicking infected villagers and blowing up big-headed monsters feels as great now as it did in 2005 — except now it’s all in glorious 4K, and controls a heck of a lot better. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

My friend got me this special set of wall hooks for Christmas, and I finally got around to hanging them last month. The English language doesn’t contain the vocabulary to express how much I love these cute little guys. When you’re not hanging something on them, you can arrange the wooden donuts on the wall or spin them to connect like waves. — Caroline Curran, associate editor

I just started using Murad’s Retinal ReSculpt Overnight Treatment and am already blown away by the results I’m seeing. My skin is smoother, and I swear some of my fine lines look a little less extreme. I love this product because it’s equally good for preventative measures and mature skin alike. I’ve been dying to add a retinal to my routine and am so happy that I found this — especially since it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. I’m excited to keep using it to see more results. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

I’m only 31, but I literally use my mom’s favorite skin care line now because it’s that good. This moisturizer from Dr. Loretta is light and nourishing, and keeps my skin moisturized all day and throughout the night. I’m prone to breakouts still and this has actually helped minimize the appearance of past acne — along with not making me break out at all either. The brand’s Intense Replenishing Serum is a total dream too. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

I was recently in a wedding and was looking for nails to match my dress. I always reach for Kiss imPress nails, and when I saw the brand did a collab with one of my favorite clothing brands, LoveShackFancy, I knew I had to try them. I received so many compliments and no one believed me when I say they only cost $10 and were press-on nails. They lasted a full week even with swimming and opening soda cans. I’m definitely going to buy some of the other designs now. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

This duo is a dream for my dry skin. The H.A. Intensifier actually keeps my skin hydrated and glowing throughout the day. The mask is a perfect addition to my nighttime routine because it’s gentle and gives my skin that dewy look. — Hannah Lauson, senior digital content strategist

Vacation sunscreen products are my absolute favorite. Aside from the innovative packaging, the products are fun to use and make sun safety something I look forward to. I was so excited when the brand introduced the Super Spritz SPF 50 face mist sunscreen and it’s just as incredible as the brand’s previous products. The fine mist spray works well over makeup and is reef-safe and refreshing. The bottle is the perfect size to throw in a bag for when you’re on the go. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

I’ve been lighting candles from clean beauty brand Skylar for years, but have only recently discovered their clean fragrances. When I tell you I will never be this obsessed with another eau de parfum again, I am not being dramatic. It’s the perfect peachy scent without feeling overly candy-sweet thanks to notes of sandalwood, and it’s been instrumental in getting me out of those last few weeks of seasonal depression. A little goes a long way so I’m excited to smell this peachy keen for years to come. — Marissa Miller, contributing editor

I have a soft spot for those Women of a Certain Age, especially now that I’m moving closer to them myself. And not only do I love using Lip Whip by Kari Gran because it’s super moisturizing and makes my lips feel soft all day long, but these buildable balms also add a hint of natural color. The Golden Girls Duo comes with Rose Gold and Cora Gold whips (a lighter and darker pink, perfect for spring) and a portable brush for easy application. But, like most great things, this won’t last, so you may want to grab the limited-edition Duo before it’s gone. — Tobey Grumet, reviews editor

I’m a massive fan of Wonder Valley olive oil, so it was only natural that I tried out the brand’s skin care line, and it did not disappoint. This TSA-approved mini set of the brand’s bestsellers is the luxury your skin deserves. I am truly amazed at how beautiful my skin looks after using these products regularly. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Native is one of my favorite bath brands and I have accumulated a large collection of the brand’s products. When I saw there was a Candy Shop line — which includes a shampoo, conditioner and body wash — I knew I had to stock up. Native products are free of harsh chemicals and are so affordable and you get so much product for the price. These smell exactly like the candy and you’ll literally never want to leave the shower. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

Even though I love wearing perfume, I often forget to put it on when I’m rushing out the door. But with By Far’s fragrance bag charm, I don’t have to worry about leaving my favorite scent at home. The handy clip contains a little bottle of perfume that you can spritz on whenever you need it. Mine came as a set with the fresh and floral jasmine-based Daydream of a Splash fragrance, but the brand has six other scents to choose from. You can completely customize your fragrance and charm duo, choosing the color of the charm, the type of strap and the refillable perfume. It’s so chic and practical, I love it. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

I’m always looking for eco-friendly alternatives to products I buy. One place I was struggling with though was household cleaners. Nothing seemed to work well, and I was getting tired of the constant headaches from using chemicals. I recently discovered Branch Basics and am obsessed with the brand! The non-toxic cleanser does the job without harsh chemicals and leaves me headache-free. From dirt and grime to laundry, it’s amazing how one product really can do it all without the use of toxic cleaners. I also love using the Oxygen Boost to clean my bathroom. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

While some skin care products add SPF, you may not be getting the full protection you need. Instead, this SPF 30 starts with the UVA/UVB broad spectrum defense and adds in skin care benefits, so you get the highest efficacy of all its elements. It’s pricey, but it’s a treatment, moisturizer and sunscreen all in one, and it simplified my daytime skin care routine since I started using it. It’s also one of the most refined mineral sunscreens I’ve tried (thanks to new technology developed by founder Sophie Bai), with completely sheer coverage that feels like it sinks into the skin, rather than creating a chalky layer on top. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

Once I started considering my summer vacation plans, I quickly realized my beach bag needed an upgrade. After some serious online scouring, I found this gorgeous Sidney Baron Suncatcher Tote, which is crafted from sustainable, natural jute. I chose the navy and white version, which comes lined with a soft, navy terry cloth — which seems ingenious. Not only can this hold all my essentials, like sunscreen, lip balm, Amazon Kindle and Pro Kadima paddles, but it’s also big enough to tote my kids’ crud, like Nerf balls and goggles. An easy-close drawstring keeps everything from falling out and the side zippered pocket can keep valuables out of sight. But my favorite part? The exterior straps will securely hold my big, floppy hat so I don’t have to fold it up and stuff it inside the bag. — Tobey Grumet, reviews editor

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