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Every now and then someone (usually a random person on the internet) turns me onto a product that is so useful it turns my whole world upside-down. When these tiny treasures end up being cheap, the feeling's even better; it's like you've been let into a secret club.
Here are five products that have two things in common: they're ten dollars or less and I can't imagine living without them. From one random person on the internet to another, please allow me to show you a whole new world of essential knick-knacks to obsess over.
1. A tongue brush to clean your disgusting tongue
I've got some bad news: your tongue is disgusting. No, seriously—it's a squishy bed of bacteria and dead cells. If you're not convinced, go take a look at it sometime (perhaps after you've had a bunch of coffee). Do you see that gross, discolored layer of grime? That's the thing that's mostly responsible for bad breath, and all of it can be gone with a proper clean.
Basic tongue scrapers are fine, I suppose, but I prefer removing the heinous filth from my tongue with this cleaner from Orabrush. It's like flying first class, except instead of being in an airplane drinking a mimosa, you're gently peeling away a membrane of stinky goo off a muscular organ in your face.
Oh sure, you could delegate this task to your toothbrush, but that's like telling your mechanic to also be your hair stylist. A toothbrush is built for the outer contours of a tooth and the Orabrush is designed to infiltrate all of the little hills and valleys on the surface of your tongue. If you incorporate tongue-scraping into your usual routine, I guarantee that you'll never go back.
Buy these pan scrapers for $7.35 on Amazon
2. Scrapers for getting food unstuck from your cast iron pan
As long as we're talking about scraping things, let's talk about that cast iron pan of yours. Here at Reviewed, we love cast iron pans. Like any cast iron enthusiast, we recommend keeping it seasoned and not scrubbing the heck out of it with the rest of your dishes.
So how do you maintain your pan while still treating it with the respect it deserves? For three bucks, you can pick up two of these pan scrapers from Lodge and take care of hard-to-remove leftover foodstuffs with ease.
The scrapers are made from polycarbonate and are tough enough to break up even the heaviest residue without damaging your precious pan. As someone who pretty much refuses to get soap and water anywhere near my beloved cast iron, I reach for these scrapers nearly every time I cook. They've single-handedly allowed me to reap the benefits of properly-seasoned cast iron cookware without worrying about complicated clean-up.
Buy these pan scrapers for $3.00 (2-pack) on Amazon
3. Jojoba oil for skin and hair care
After having been introduced to jojoba oil several years back, I started using it for everything: pre-shave oil, aftershave oil, basic moisturizing, and even hair care.
Jojoba oil is a liquid wax that comes from a desert shrub. Its make-up is remarkably similar to sebum, the oily stuff your skin produces that can cause acne and blemishes. While it might seem counterproductive to apply an oily substance to oily skin, jojoba oil actually regulates your skin's production of sebum, which can help prevent common skin ailments.
Jojoba oil is also a fantastic hair moisturizer—I use it in conjunction with shampoo and sometimes add a small amount after showering to give my hair some texture without weighing it down with heavier hair products. Some people even swear by the stuff for keeping dandruff in check. It's odorless, hypoallergenic, completely natural, and incredibly versatile. What's not to like?
Buy this Jojoba oil for $8.34 (2 fl. oz.) on Amazon
4. Le Saunier De Camargue fleur de sel sea salt
I know, I know—this is currently seven cents over ten bucks. But you honestly haven't experienced a properly-seasoned meal until you've used fleur de sel sea salt; there's a reason we included it in a round-up of some of the best salts you can buy.
When added to a finished dish, fleur de sel provides a subtle crunch and sparkly visual flare to whatever you happen to be serving. Its steep price can be attributed to its labor-intensive harvesting process, but don't let the cost sway you—if used efficiently, a single canister can last you several months. Hell, it took me over a year to polish off my first order and I use the stuff regularly.
Buy this 4.4 oz. can of sea salt for $10.07 on Amazon
5. Borax 20 Mule Team for washing laundry, cleaning surfaces, and killin' pests
As far as household game-changers go, Borax is in the top tier. Adding half a cup to your washing machine before a load of laundry helps soften hard water, deodorizes particularly smelly fabrics, and makes for a nice alternative to color-safe bleach.
Not impressed yet? Borax can also be used to clean surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen, or wherever you need to do some scrubbing. You can use it alongside soap to clean dishware, it's great at getting rid of soap scum in the shower, and although I've not yet tested it this way, I've heard countless accounts of people using it to kill household pests like ants and fleas.
Don't let the vintage packaging fool you—there's a good reason this stuff's been on the shelves for a while.
Buy this (76 oz.) package of borax for $3.97 at Walmart