42 products Underscored editors tested and loved in September 2022

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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 September, we were introduced to a plethora of products, from stain-resistant rugs to pet Halloween costumes. 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 September, or look back at our August favorites.

$239.99 at Amazon or $249 at Apple

I didn’t think any pair of earbuds could dethrone my trusty Beats Fit Pro, but after testing out the new AirPods Pro, there’s no going back. The noise cancellation on Apple’s latest high-end buds really is that much better, reducing the constant (and very loud) construction noise I walk by every day to a blissful hum that lets me focus on my favorite music. Factor in the improved sound quality and incredibly useful new volume controls, and I don’t see the AirPods Pro 2 leaving my ears any time soon. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

$100 at Allbirds

Allbirds Canvas Pacers

Allbirds actually just came out with this sneaker style, and it’s now in regular rotation on my feet alongside my Nike Air Force 1s and Reebok Club Cs. The shoes are lightweight and comfy, like the brand’s other shoes, and this natural white hue truly goes with any outfit. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

$114 $98 at Wild One

Wild One Harness Walk Kit

After welcoming Teddy into my family nearly two years ago, I have slowly but surely built up my collection of Wild One harnesses. They are long-lasting, extremely easy to clean and fashion-forward. Let’s be real, if your pup is an aspiring style icon like mine, they’re going to need multiple colorways for different seasons and occasions, and luckily, Wild One offers one in pretty much every color of the rainbow. Nevertheless, Limeade is my favorite launch yet. It’s a vibrant lime-green shade and comes in the same signature harness style the pet brand is known for, but features a reimagined airy mesh fabric. I can tell it’s much more breathable than the other’s we’ve put on Teddy before, and it really makes a statement wherever we go. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

From $21.99 for 40 bags at HoldOn Bags

HoldOn Compostable Tall Kitchen Trash Bags

I’m game for anything that reduces plastic waste, which is why I’m super excited about these compostable trash bags. Yes, it and its contents are still going to a landfill, but this bag will decompose much faster than its plastic alternatives. And if you think about all the trash bags you use in a year, that’s a lot of plastic waste saved. They’re nearly as sturdy as your typical trash bag, so you’re not sacrificing much in terms of performance. It’s really such an easy switch that everyone should make! — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

$144.99 at Polaroid or $146.95 at Amazon

Polaroid Now Starter Set

This Polaroid Now i-Type Instant Camera is an amazing tool for the avid photographer or for someone who just wants a new way to create memories with friends. I ordered the camera for my wedding, and not only did our guests love it as a way to capture amazing moments on the night of, but it’s also become a fun addition to my camera collection. It’s durable (it held up through a full night of wedding festivities without a scratch!) and produces high-quality photos in seconds. It’s got the iconic Polaroid look, too, which in itself is a nice bookshelf decoration. Opt for the starter set bundle, which comes with the required film in both color and black and white. — Emily McNutt, senior travel editor

$69 $58.65 at Buffy

Buffy Wiggle Pillow

I’m no stranger to Buffy’s products — I’m loyal to the brand’s Breeze Comforter and sheets — so when I was looking for something cute and versatile for my bed, I went straight to the site. I wanted to read in bed without messing up my posture, as well as something plush to nap with anytime. The Wiggle Pillow fits the bill. It’s firm enough to offer support, but not so overfilled that you can’t tie it in a knot or bend it any which way. And it’s big. I noted the pillow’s dimensions before I clicked purchase, but nevertheless I was in for a very pleasant surprise when I opened the package. — Caroline Curran, associate editor

$46 at Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

I’ve tried countless makeup brands over the years, but nothing — I repeat, NOTHING — compares to the magic that is Charlotte Tilbury. The Hollywood Flawless Filter features an easy-to-use, doe-foot sponge applicator and a lightweight liquid formula that acts as a primer or can be layered over your usual makeup as a highlighter. It blends seamlessly into my skin and leaves me with a natural, dewy glow that’s never been achievable with ANY other makeup I’ve tried in the past. The real cherry on top, though, is that as the product’s name states, it’s legitimately a real-life Instagram filter. The formula features ultra-fine powders that seriously makes me look airbrushed, and diminishes any pore or line in sight. If you aren’t already convinced, this product comes in 12 shades and is currently back in stock. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$749.99 at Dyson

Dyson V15 Detect

I’ve been a Dyson devotee for quite some time, but the V15 Detect is a complete game changer thanks to its Laser Slim Fluffy head, which uses laser technology to make even the smallest dust particles visible on your floor while you clean, ensuring you won’t miss anything. I’m now obsessed with scanning my entire floor with this laser — it’s both astoundingly disgusting and satisfying. Not to mention, this model automatically adapts power based on how dirty your floor is, another pretty incredible innovation from these vacuum geniuses. — Chelsea Stone, senior editor

$27.86 $19.59 at Amazon

Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook

I recently picked up my second Leuchtturm1917 notebook and I’m so excited to crack it open. I had used my previous one as a bullet journal and to-do list catchall. They are such high-quality notebooks, come in fun colors and I love the flexibility of having dotted pages rather than lines or grids (even though the brand does make those versions, if that’s your jam). While it’s available on Amazon, getting an embossed one directly through Leuchtturm1917 also makes a lovely gift. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$98 at Spanx

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

I’ve been a diehard Spanx fan ever since I had the opportunity to test several items from the brand’s vast shapewear collection for our TikTok channel —  maybe this video will convince you that they’re the best on the market — but it wasn’t until recently that I tried the viral faux leather leggings. Available in sizes XS to 3X, this sleek style features a smoothing faux leather fabric that legitimately look as real as other genuine leather in my wardrobe, a contoured Power Waistband that comfortably compresses and shapes your waist, and a center-free seam that make camel toes a thing of the past. According to the 5,000+ 5-star reviews, I’m not the only one who loves them and I can’t wait to dress these up and down all fall and winter long. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$36.99 at Amazon

Souper Cubes

These are amazing for freezing and reheating food in any portion size. I hate when I freeze sauce and have to heat up the entire thing even if I only want to use a little bit. They have tons of different sizes and it’s perfect for leftovers or to meal prep. — Hannah Lauson, digital content strategist

$20.53 at Amazon

Bocce Bakery Seasonal Treat Bundle

As a first-time dog mom, it is very important to me to feed Teddy dog treats that are made with no-nonsense ingredients. After testing out a ton of different popular pet food brands over the last few years, Bocce Bakery has become the one I reach for over and over again — and probably the one he would reach for too … if he could! These all-natural, b-shaped treats are extra crunchy and are baked with a mix of *real* ingredients like oat flour, peanut butter, apples and honey, and pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon and coconut oil. The brand also offers endless flavors and seasonal options like this Halloween-inspired bundle. It’s not even October, but as someone who looks forward to fall all-year-long, I just simply couldn’t wait to tear them open. Teddy’s pretty much gone through both bags, so after I finish writing this, I will absolutely be ordering more. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$219 $197 at Ruggable

Ruggable Quadra Teal Rug

As a clumsy person who loves hot sauce, red wine and greasy food, all of the furniture in my house needs to be basically stain-resistant — my rug included. An Underscored favorite, Ruggable rugs can be thrown right into the washing machine, and I’ve found them to be incredibly easy to spot treat for smaller stains too. Most importantly of all though, they’re available in so many gorgeous patterns that it’s hard to pick just one. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$50 at Beekman 1802

Beekman 1802 I Burn For You Candle

My favorite candle this month is this Beekman 1802 beauty that pays homage to one of my favorite Netflix series, “Bridgerton.” The quote, “I burn for you” not only plays as a nice pun for a burning candle but is also an iconic quote said from the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset. This candle is layered with a variety of scents, including notes of lemon and vanilla. Every time I light the candle, my apartment is filled with a different inviting aroma. I’ve burnt this candle for hours this month and the wax is still almost to the top. If you are a candle lover like me or maybe a fan of “Bridgerton,” I highly recommend adding this candle to your space. — Sarai Thompson, social coordinator

$59.99 at Amazon

BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve

I got this compact, lightweight special effects projector for my teen son, but so far, it’s been moved around to all different rooms in our apartment. We love the 360-degree galaxy effect for relaxing and entertaining, and it’s always on during the boys’ video game sessions. Not only can you customize colors and lighting effects on the BlissHome app, but you can also put it on a timer and use voice control with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. And at $59.99, it’s also great for gifting. — Tobey Grumet, contributing editor

$150 at Dermstore

Angela Caglia Skincare Daily Botanical Serum

I’ve been practicing gua sha every day for a couple weeks now and have been using this serum to help the tool glide on my face and neck easier. It has the consistency of a face oil, but sinks in a bit quicker. It’s made with sunflower seed oil, shea butter, rosehip seed extract, sea buckthorn extract and a bunch of other nourishing ingredients. Since I have combination skin and don’t want to look too oily, I’ll blot away the excess serum after doing gua sha and it keeps my skin soft and hydrated all day. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$150 at Courant

Courant Mag:2

My worst habit is forgetting to charge my phone while I’m at my desk working all day, so this charger has basically changed my everyday life. With two charging pads so I can charge my phone and AirPods simultaneously, it’s not only actually kind of beautiful, but charges super quickly. I love that it can sit on my desk so if I get a call I can answer it right away and not have to run to wherever my other charging cord is too. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$75 at Material Kitchen

Material Kitchen The 8-Inch Knife

I’ve never known anything about “proper” chef knives until I had the opportunity to try the 8″ Knife from Material Kitchen this past month — and now I get it. The blade is incredibly sharp (which is great for chopping things but bad for you if you’re clumsy so be careful) and features Japanese stainless steel and a comfortable, easy-to-hold grip. The weight is evenly proportioned and the sage green color is gorgeous and perfect for fall. Truthfully, I haven’t ordered Doordash since I got this knife because I have been so eager to get in the kitchen! — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$14.99 $7.99 at Amazon

Esinam Sponge Holders, 2-Pack

This is one of the most practical purchases of the month for me, and I absolutely love it. I was getting sick of staring at my sponge on the counter and wanted a solution that kept my sponge dry, clean and out of sight. These do the trick. They come with a sticky pad that you just place right on the back and affix onto the sink. Despite plenty of wear and tear already, it hasn’t budged. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$52 at Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Kit

As one does these days, I first discovered this product on TikTok — and it’s everything I could have dreamed of and more. I’m someone who frequently touches up their lips (the girls that get it, get it) and this lipstick and liner duo helps to maintain a naturally plump, full pout in between my treatments. My favorite shade is the iconic pink-nuede Pillow Talk and the *actually* waterproof, ultra-hydrating formula applies flawlessly to lips. After being on Accutane for a year, my lips have become incredibly chapped and I can confidently say this lipstick never wears off (it lasts up to 10 hours) or dries up. This is TRULY the holy grail of lipsticks and liners, and it’s currently available as a bundle online. Don’t walk, RUN! — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$24.99 $20.99 at Amazon

Huoto Portable Apple Watch Charger

I love that I can finally charge my Apple Watch on the go because I use it so frequently and often run out of power. I leave this on my keychain and throw it in my purse or backpack so it’s always with me. It’s also so easy to charge the charger because it plugs right into an iPhone charging block! — Hannah Lauson, digital content strategist

From $999 at Apple

iPhone 14 Pro

I bought the iPhone 14 Pro due to my previous iPhone being on its last legs, and I’m so glad I did. The new Dynamic Island module makes the display look that much sleeker, and provides easy access to things like music playback and driving directions. And then there’s the stellar 48-megapixel camera with some especially great zoom, which I’ve already got tons of mileage out of at sporting events and concerts. The iPhone 14 Pro feels like a truly meaningful upgrade — especially if you’ve held off for the past few years — and I’m already looking forward to making it my main camera for a fall that’s packed with events. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

$11.99 at Target

Kristen Ess Leave-In Conditioner

Kristen Ess’ Leave-In Conditioner has *very* quickly become a staple in my low-maintenance hair care routine. I spritz the cruelty-free, color-safe and lightweight formula throughout the middle-ends of my blonde strands after showering and not only does the sandalwood-infused fragrance smell incredible, but it leaves my hair looking and feeling soft, smooth and shiny. Without this product, my hair usually dries tangled, stick straight and frizzy, but this do-it-all, under-$10 hair product has completely changed that. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$16 at Skin Gym

Skin Gym Cleanie Puffs

I am impressed at how effective these reusable makeup removing pads are and how simple it is to use them. You just have to get them wet, and then they’ll take off every bit of makeup, including longwearing mascara. Before, I would do a double cleanse and use an oil-based cleanser to wash away more stubborn makeup, but even then I’d find myself endlessly rubbing at my eyes, trying to get my mascara to wash off completely. With the Cleanie Puffs, I can remove the eye makeup easily and then continue with my double cleanse to make sure my skin is extra clean and prepped for my other skin care. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$22 at Bask Suncare

Bask SPF 50 Lotion

I’m practically religious about applying sunscreen to my face, but I won’t lie — sometimes I neglect to protect the rest of my body from UV rays. Fortunately, I found a solution that makes me actually want to apply sunscreen: Bask’s SPF smells exactly like summer, rubs on invisible and dries quickly, meaning I don’t have to worry about getting my clothes oily or discolored. Plus, the cute bottle doesn’t hurt, either. — Caroline Curran, associate editor

$10 at Target

Hide & Eek Boutique Skeleton Glow Hoodie Dog and Cat Costume

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: When I get to shamelessly dress my cat into something very embarrassing for her … for a mere couple of seconds. As you can see here, she’s been a bumblebee and a bat for previous Halloweens. This year she’s a skeleton. (Phoebe Bridgers who?) But really, while this outfit is now her nemesis, it is incredibly cute, relatively easy to slip on and for pictures like this, I can’t say I regret it at all. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$275 at MZ Wallace

MZ Wallace Black Quilted Small Madison Shopper

If you’ve been a long time CNN Underscored reader, you’ve probably seen my MZ Wallace tote recs before. I’ve spent years building up my collection and my newest addition is the Madison Shopper. It comes in both small and large sizes — I took the small, which actually feels more like a medium — and features a black quilt pattern and leather detailing. This style is so timeless and the material itself is durable and extremely easy to clean. If you’re like me and store your whole life in your purse, you’ll also love that it comes with endless pockets — 6 interior and 3 exterior to be exact — as well as metal zippers and snap-closure for extra security. I could seriously go on and on about this bag, but ever since I snagged it this month, I haven’t used anything else. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$129 at Logitech

Logitech Brio 500

The Logitech Brio 500 is the company’s latest high-end webcam, packing neat features like auto framing and a Show Mode that lets you easily spotlight what’s happening on your desk for true hands-on presentations. It’s also made me appear crisp and clear on my daily video calls, thanks to sharp 1080p video capture and a wide 90-degree field of view. But my favorite thing about it is simply how it looks, with a cylindrical white design (you can also get it in pink and graphite) that’s a lot more fun to stare at than the more utilitarian C920 that usually sits atop my monitor. — Mike Andronico, senior tech writer

$28 at Twenty/Twenty & $42 at Twenty/Twenty

Twenty/Twenty Beauty Clean Sweep Mascara & Easy on the Eyes Calming Face Mist

Two things that don’t always go well together are mascara and contacts. Luckily, Twenty/Twenty Beauty is changing that. The brand was developed by an ophthalmologist and the mascara has contact-wearers in mind. This has become my new favorite mascara and beyond not irritating my eyes, it makes my lashes look so long. I also am obsessed with the brand’s Calming Face Mist which is an amazing anti-inflammatory spray for face and eyes. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

$27 at Yellow the Label

Neutral Happy Pack Socks

Yes, I caved and bought these socks off an Instagram ad. But I can tell you now, on the other side of that purchase, that it was a good decision. These socks are soft and snug, and they’re thick enough for maximum comfort but thin enough to wear with your favorite shoes. Plus, I like that they add a whimsical touch while staying in line with the neutral tones of my wardrobe. (The neutral pack is sold out right now, but you can grab the equally-cute pastel set instead.) — Caroline Curran, associate editor

$198 at Lunya & $198 at Lunya

Lunya Silksweats Pocket Sweatshirt & Jogger

With some fall travel plans already, I really wanted to get the perfect plane outfit. I wanted it to be cozy, cute and make me feel a little more like a human being than I usually do while going through security. This set has been a complete lifesaver already. I’ve lounged in it like 6 of the past 7 days (don’t judge me, I work from home) and it’s actually the most comfortable outfit I now own … by a lot. I cannot wait until the next time I fly and I get to feel like I’m walking around in some super-chic pajamas — because I actually will be. — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$75 at Branch Basics

Branch Basics Starter Kit

I’ve recently become obsessed with switching over my cleaning products to natural options and after a ton of research, I turned to Branch Basics. After giving the products a go this month, there’s nothing I don’t like. The starter kit comes with a multi-purpose concentrate and all you need to do is add some to each bottle, dilute it with a little water and that’s it. For just $55 a concentrate, you can legitimately replace five cleaning products. Overall, it’s less waste, as you only need to refill the concentrate when you run out and best of all, it *actually* works just as good as Windex or Meyers — without the harmful chemicals and ingredients. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$149 at Sola Wave

Sola Wave Advanced Skincare Wand

I will try any viral beauty trend at least once and I was so curious about the SolaWave wand. I’ve been using it almost every day for a month for about 5-10 minutes and I’ve seen incredible results. It makes my skin look so much softer and smoother and de-puffs as well. I also get fewer hormonal breakouts. It’s so relaxing to use and easy to incorporate into your routine. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

$14.99 at Amazon

JETech Case for iPad

My boyfriend was kind enough to buy me an iPad for our anniversary, and almost immediately what I got most excited about was finding a cute and durable case. I’m already a huge fan of this one, which clicked right on and has already saved it from a few drops. It folds up to make a stand and I just can’t get over the color. Plus, it’s under $15! — Rachel Lubitz, senior lifestyle editor

$18.99 at Amazon

Nando's Perinaise Original Tangy & Spicy Mayonnaise, 3-Pack

It’s a crime against humanity that Nando’s is only in four locations across the United States. Thankfully, the iconic restaurant now sells its Perinaise Original Tangy & Spicy Mayonnaise across US grocery stores. I will put this on just about everything and it completely elevates every boring sandwich and pairs perfectly with chips as a dip. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

$185 at Eauso Vert

Eauso Vert Sintra

If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen me test the trendy new fragrance brand Eauso Vert a few weeks ago. (Oh, and if you don’t follow us you must!) But since you’re here, you can probably guess that I loved the scent Sintra so much. It’s a genderless fragrance formulated with clean ingredients that looks just as good as it smells. It features notes of sandalwood, bergamot, Italian lemon (just to name a few) and stays on for HOURS. At $185, it’s definitely an investment that’s well worth it, and if you’re into the environment, you must also know that the bottle is 98% biodegradable. This has hands-down become my go-to fragrance this fall — and should be yours too. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$97 at Year of Ours & $65 at Year of Ours

Year of Ours Ribbed High High Leggings & Ribbed Bralette 2.0

There’s just nothing quite like a vibrant pistachio-colored set to get you in the mood to be active. Available in sizes XS to 2X — I took XS, as I’ve found the brand runs a bit large — the super-soft ribbed material is breathable, comfortable and flattering — in part thanks to the ultra-high waist and spandex-nylon blend, which really sucks everything in and instantly dries up any excess moisture. It also never rolls down, which is a huge plus. Whether I’m walking my pup, running errands or (begrudgingly) working out, you’ll find me wearing this set. — Stephanie Griffin, social lead

$50 at Short Story

Short Story Personal Styling Service

As much as I love fashion, finding the right pieces to add to my closet can be challenge, especially as a petite woman. My jeans are almost always too long for my height and my shirt sleeves often go way past my hands. So I was overjoyed when introduced to Short Story. This styling service is all about pairing petite women with items that match their aesthetic and actually fit their body. First, I took their style quiz and then they sent a box full clothing. Everything fit me perfectly. This was one of the first times I could put on an item and not have to run to a tailor. However, if there is an item I didn’t like, I could send it back free of charge and only pay for the looks that I want to keep. Life just got 10x easier. — Sarai Thompson, social coordinator

$56 at Skinn

Skinn Eau de Parfum

A versatile unisex fragrance, this citrus-forward scent is great for those who love bright, vibrant fragrances. I like to layer it with other refreshing perfumes, because once it settles into your skin, it has a warmth from notes of amber, oud and cedarwood that complement other light fragrances. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$85 $68 at Prismatic Plants

Prismatic Plants Melt Tension Serum

The Prismatic Plants Melt Tension Serum absorbs super quickly and smells great. But most importantly, it actually works to ease tension. I get really bad temple headaches and instead of constantly reaching for Ibuprofen, I’ve been rubbing in a couple pumps of this, and it’s been a lifesaver as the effects are almost instant. I also love using it on the back of my neck. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor

$49 at Vibrant

Vibrant Tank Top

Vibrant’s undergarments are buttery soft and made with fabric that is certified free from potentially harmful substances like pesticides, chlorine bleach and carcinogenic or allergy-causing dyes. The tank top so comfy to lounge around in and is also great for keeping cool overnight. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor

$58 at Ryu

Ryu Waist Bag

I know everyone is obsessed with their Lululemon Belt Bag, but may I introduce you to the RYU Waist Bag? While I own both bags, I tend to grab this one more often because it’s roomier and there are a variety of inner pockets. I also love that there is an open back panel pocket that easily fits my phone. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor