25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

iStock
iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

10 Lotions and Balms Perfect for Your Chapped Hands

These lotions and balms can help revitalize your dry, cracked hands.
These lotions and balms can help revitalize your dry, cracked hands.
Duke Cannon/Dr. PawPaw/Bliss/Amazon

Chapped, cracked hands are one of those little annoyances that can turn into a big headache after dealing with them for a few days, but after a long winter, and with all the hand-washing everyone is doing due to coronavirus concerns, it’s nearly unavoidable. To give your skin a sigh of relief, we’ve rounded up our favorite lotions, creams, and balms that will heal your raw palms and have your knuckles feeling soft and smooth in no time. Check them out below.

1. WOW ALOE VERA MOISTURIZING BODY LOTION; $12


BUYWOW/Amazon

With all-natural ingredients that work for every skin type, this aloe vera body lotion is particularly useful for putting some life back into your hands. This lotion is fast-absorbing, quickly creating a barrier between your skin and the outside elements. And since it's not greasy, you won’t have to wait for your hands to dry (or wash them all over again) before you can get your day started.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dr. PAWPAW MULTIPURPOSE BALM; $8-$20 (Sizes vary)

Dr. PawPaw hand cream.
Dr. PawPaw/Amazon

Your hands will feel like they’ve entered a tropical oasis after applying this soothing balm. Made from papaya (or pawpaw), a fruit that’s known for its natural healing properties, this balm also contains aloe vera and olive oil to give dry skin a natural glow. And it’s not just for helping your palms and knuckles—this balm can also be used on your lips, nails, and cuticles, and as a tool to tame flyaways or stray brows. It’s the multipurpose secret weapon that’s a must-have for any bathroom cabinet.

Buy it: Ulta, Amazon

3. DUKE CANNON BLOODY KNUCKLES HAND REPAIR BALM; $31 (Pack of 2)

Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles balm.
Duke Cannon/Amazon

Even if you’re not throwing punches in the ring, you might feel like you’re in a boxing match with your raw and red hands. But Duke Cannon’s repair balm will reverse your skin damage and have you feeling like a champion once again. Best used for extensive chapping, this balm is unscented and completely free of fragrances, dyes, and other artificial ingredients.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 2-IN-1 BODY LOTION CANDLE; $29.00

Candle and skin lotion from UncommonGoods.
UncommonGoods

Not all lotions come in a tube. Try this amazing body lotion candle, which melts at a comfortable temperature so you can safely use the “wax” as a warm lotion on your skin. These 10-ounce candles are packed with coconut oil, botanical oils, and vitamins A, K, and E to instantly moisturize your hands. Scented with fresh figs, amber, and floral notes, this unique candle makes skincare feel like a spa experience.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

5. L’OCCITANE SHEA BUTTER HAND CREAM; $29

L’occitane hand cream.
L’occitane/Amazon

Applying this hand cream is like easing yourself into soft, cozy slippers after a long day. Made with 20-percent shea butter, honey, almond extracts, and coconut oil, it has a creamy feel that instantly protects and nourishes your skin as it repairs. It’s also rich in fatty acids, doing double duty to prevent wrinkles along with any cracking.

Buy it: Amazon

6. O’KEEFE’S WORKING HANDS; $8

O’Keefe's Working Hands on Amazon.
O’Keefe's/Amazon

With nearly 18,000 4.5-star reviews on Amazon, this concentrated hand cream is a true miracle that instantly repairs any cracks or dryness on your skin. And it also works to prevent future damage, creating a barrier that locks moisture in and keeps dryness out. Even if the most you’re doing with your hands involves a keyboard, O’Keefe’s will still work around the clock to keep them looking—and feeling—their best.

Buy it: Amazon

7. PALMER’S COCONUT OIL HAND CREAM; $3

Palmer's Cocoa Oil on Amazon.
Palmer's/Amazon

This affordable hand cream works for 24 hours, so it can go for as long as you do. Made from shea and cocoa butter, with a boost of hydrating vitamin E, Palmer’s uses natural, raw ingredients to create “glove-like” protection to keep your skin feeling soft all day long. And its coconut oil is fair-trade certified, so you can feel even better every time you use it.

Buy it: Amazon

8. J.R. WATKINS ALOE & GREEN TEA HAND CREAM; $8

J.R. Watkins hand lotion on Amazon.
J.R. Watkins/Amazon

Aloe isn’t just for sunburns; it’s great for use on cracked hands, too. That’s why this hand cream from J.R. Watkins, enhanced with the healing power of aloe and green tea, is your best friend when it comes to dry skin. J.R. Watkins uses plant-based ingredients from ethical sources, making it a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin. And its products are recyclable, allowing you to go green while restoring your skin at the same time.

Buy it: Amazon

9. BLISS LEMON & SAGE BODY BUTTER; $10

Bliss hand lotion on Amazon.
Bliss/Amazon

PETA-certified and free of harsh chemicals, Bliss uses a special combination of natural plant-based emollients, humectants, and extracts for hydration that lasts all day. And its bright lemon and sage scent will make you feel more energized and refreshed—the perfect stand-in for a dehydrating cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

10. AQUAPHOR HEALING OINTMENT; $9

Aquaphor hand ointment.
Aquaphor/Amazon

Aquaphor is an oldie but a goodie. A drug store favorite, this multipurpose ointment works to shield skin from the elements to restore it to its natural condition, and it can be used on everything from your hands to your lips to your feet. It can even help heal burns. Preservative- and fragrance-free, it’s the powerful little tube that will never let you down.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

These Scented Prank Candles Turn From Sweet Fruits to Sour Farts

The blissful peace of someone who has not yet sniffed a Prank Candles product.
The blissful peace of someone who has not yet sniffed a Prank Candles product.
RL Productions/iStock via Getty Images

When someone lights a scented candle—maybe before meditating, taking a bath, or enjoying a romantic dinner—the last thing they expect to smell is a fart. That's what makes this product from Prank Candles so brilliant. As the wax melts, the aroma transitions from sweet apple pie to noxious flatulence, fouling the smeller's mood and home air quality.

In terms of appearance, the gag gift resembles a normal candle in every way. The label calls to mind the warm scents of apple pie in autumn, and when the jar is first opened, it has the smell to match. But after about an hour or so—just as the victim has gotten used to the pleasant fragrance—it changes.

Apple pie fart-scented prank candle.
Turns out receiving this scented gift isn't so sweet.
Prank Candles

Prank Candles writes in the product description, "Often—our customers will report that their victims will initially thank them because it's 'the best candle they've ever burned.' Because of this, they're even less likely to blame the candle when they think, 'WTF is that smell?'"

In addition to the apple pie scent, the company sells nasty candles disguised as fresh roses, balsam and cedar, and vanilla. The apple pie and vanilla varieties are currently back-ordered, with shipping estimated for April 15. Whether you're already planning for April Fools' Day 2021 or the birthday of a frenemy, you can order yours today for $23.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER