Trader Joe's spin off #2
July 21, 2010 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Trader Joe's "Non-Food" items. What to get?

A new Trader Joe's just opened in my neighborhood last week. I know what food stuffs to try from previously but I'm curious about their non-food items such as health, beauty supplies, cleaning products, etc. Help me break my dependency of Duane Reade. Any suggestions?
posted by cazoo to Shopping (48 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I really really like their Tea Tree Oil bar soap, so much that I'd probably buy a bunch if I moved to a location without a Trader Joe's. It's nice, mild, and has a minimal-but-pleasing scent, but then I'm a bar soap kind of guy. I moved to it after getting tired of over-scented Irish Spring.

Also I have to say their baked beans are the best (canned) ones I've ever had. mmmmmm
posted by 6550 at 11:01 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Fennel toothpaste is the best, although tastes weird at first. Mango shaving cream is not bad, lemon verbena soap is nice. That's all I got..
posted by rainy at 11:01 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

We really dig their laundry detergent and the tea tree soap bars.
posted by gnutron at 11:02 AM on July 21, 2010

I like the desert essence soap They also have their own line of shampoo and conditioner which is pretty good. I use the nourish spa for conditioner washing or to mix in with henna. They also have canned cat food that my cats like.
posted by mokeydraws at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2010

The mango-honey shaving lotion is total amazingness.
posted by dayintoday at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I swear by the mango honey shave lotion. I stockpile it.
posted by telegraph at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2010

The citrus body wash is really nice, and less than half as expensive as some I've bought.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:08 AM on July 21, 2010

I import the mango honey shave lotion to Poland through an army of friends and family. You will never go back to anything else.
posted by mdonley at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, man. Don't get me started.

I like the Nourish Spa shampoo and conditioner - cheap, not tested on animals, and the ingredients seems very reasonable.

This orange blossom honey soap is pricey, but smells amazing.

My husband and I both use their Moisturizing Cream Extra Dry Formula. Good lotion, unscented. We also both use the Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF 15 every day.

They have packs of those sponges that get bigger in water, as well as plastic-y scrubby sponges, that are quite nice.

They usually have a good prices on boxes of Emergen-C. I like the joint health ones.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2010

Nthing the shave lotion (it's basically Alba, at a fraction of the cost per tube).

I go through the Desert Essence jojoba oil like crazy, and TJ's has it as cheap as I've ever seen it, outside of buying it by the gallon at a real hippie store. I also love the lavender-sea salt scrub.

Always have a bunch of the little yellow sponges, the kind that expand in water, under my sink.

The dish detergent's okay (I like the lavender tea tree flavor).
posted by padraigin at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

N-thing the mango-honey shave stuff; it's also good for people with sensitive-little-bitch skin. Their fresh flowers are generally cheaper than anywhere else, too. And their makeup remover towelettes (I believe the brand is Comodyne's) are pretty swell.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:16 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thirding sponges. They have a good price on them.
posted by xueexueg at 11:17 AM on July 21, 2010

I love the Cedar and Sage Cleaning Spray. I don't shop at Trader Joe's very often, but I go there to pick this up whenever we run out. It's the best for the kitchen - works great and smells good.
posted by jrichards at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

I like their peppermint toothpaste, and the citrus shampoo and body wash (Refresh? I think it's called) because they don't have sodium laurel sulfate (SLS).
posted by aught at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2010

Canned cat food. Omega 3 pills.
posted by Ferrari328 at 11:22 AM on July 21, 2010

liquid glycerin soap

I used to get crystal cat litter there but it was discontinued. I suspect their other pet stuff might be cheap.
posted by oneear at 11:23 AM on July 21, 2010

nthing the expanding sponges and the citrus shampoo & body wash. And 30 drops of their tea tree oil put into the citrus shampoo or body wash is excellent for dandruff & random skin issues.
posted by MeiraV at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

The best price on tea tree oil!
posted by jgirl at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding the orange blossom honey soap. It's the best-smelling soap I've found for any price. (It is a little expensive, but not Caldrea-expensive or anything.)

Also, nthing the mango shave cream.

And not sure if this applies, but we buy the ludicrously expensive Bench & Field dog food. I swear, my dog's poop is smaller and less smelly than when we were using Iams and its ilk. She also seems to like it better, as much as she prefers anything. (She's not a super-big dog, which means it's not as expensive as it could be.)
posted by purpleclover at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2010

Lavandar hand soap!
posted by k8t at 11:33 AM on July 21, 2010

Mango shave cream++, lavender laundry soap, orange blossom liquid hand soap.
posted by rachelpapers at 11:39 AM on July 21, 2010

- Fennel toothpaste (weird at first, but you get used to it quick and it's so much nicer than having a burning minty mouth)
- Refresh shampoo (I confess to buying more expensive conditioner elsewhere, as my hair is color treated)
- Dog treats (Charlee Bear liver flavor - universally loved by every dog I've ever given them to, and you can keep them in a pocket because they're totally dry)
- Holistic cat food (my cat's favorite, but he doesn't get it right now because I can't afford to feed my roommate's cat the expensive stuff)
- Vitamins! Specifically the high potency B complex.
- Ibuprofen
- Jojoba oil
posted by elsietheeel at 11:41 AM on July 21, 2010

I like the Tea Tree Tingle body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. It's probably a little harsh for non oily hair, but it's the cheapest I've seen Tea Tree-y products ($4/12 ounces).
posted by rossination at 11:41 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

the midsummer night's cream lotion. loooove it.
posted by lemniskate at 11:57 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you have trouble sleeping, I love their chewable melatonin tablets.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 12:00 PM on July 21, 2010

oh, and their vitamins! How did I forget that. I take the women's high potency multi, and their "green" capsules too. They've got a lactaid supplement that's good, too. All their supplements seem to be good quality and decent prices.
posted by lemniskate at 12:01 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

To be a lone dissenter, their sunscreen is not awesome. It smells weird and leaves a ghostly pallor over my skin that is difficult/impossible to rub in.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:34 PM on July 21, 2010

Oh, definitely the vitamins. And their aloe gel's quite reasonably priced.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 1:01 PM on July 21, 2010

I also like TJ's Nourish Spa conditioner (speaking as someone with curly, dry hair who's tried conditioners that cost five to ten times more -- Nourish Spa doesn't have silicones, which are to be avoided in the Curly Girl method).

And my son likes their kids' chewable vitamins, in the honey-bear container; they seem almost identical to a more expensive brand we used to get at Whole Foods. They also used to carry these great lavender-filled bags to put in your clothes dryer, but I haven't seen those lately -- hope they come back! And my cats like their dry food (but not the canned stuff -- they prefer chunks o' flesh to smooth pat├ęs).
posted by lisa g at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2010

To clarify to Juliet Banana and the OP, I am not talking about sunscreen above, I'm talking about facial moisturizer with SPF 15 in it. It's very nice and is in a little bottle that looks suspiciously like one from Oil of Olay.

Not sure which TJ's sunscreen Juliet Banana is talking about, but the ghostly pallor is probably zinc oxide, which is put in more "natural" type sunscreens because it is less toxic than ingredients such as oxybenzone.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:09 PM on July 21, 2010

I have to dissent on the fennel toothpaste. I love the Tom's of Maine brand fennel toothpaste, but the TJ's stuff is too sweet for me.
posted by mai at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2010

I bought an adorable little bamboo plant from them that I love.
posted by kylej at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2010

I'm iffy on the cut flowers- sometimes they are great, sometimes they just wither without opening. Love the small potted plants- orchids, cyclamen, and herbs! Get a pot of basil for $2.99 and you have fresh basil whenever you want it all summer long. ( I realize that borders perilously on a food item, sorry. )

Nthing the mango shave cream, vitamins, hand soap, sponges, dish-washing liquid. Nice charcoal for cooking out too.

Sometimes my TJ's carries Kiss My Face stuff, which I also really like, but not always.

The dog is quite partial to the peanut butter treats. The rest of the dog food items did not agree with him, however.
posted by ambrosia at 2:06 PM on July 21, 2010

Another vote for the jojoba oil, the lavender dryer bags, and the lavender/sea salt scrub. Around Christmas, I always pick up a couple of their little mini-fir trees, as well.
posted by scody at 2:21 PM on July 21, 2010

At least in my area (southern California), Trader Joe's has US-grown organic cut flowers at reasonable prices, and that's the only kind I'll buy after watching a very sad documentary about flower workers and pesticides in Colombia.

I really like their tea tree oil stuff too; I didn't know I loved the smell until I tried those products. I like the scrubby sponges in bright colors. I'm a fan of Tom's of Maine toothpaste.
posted by dreamyshade at 2:54 PM on July 21, 2010

Normally I really, really hate dish soap. It smells.... like dish soap. And after I do the dishes, my hands smell like dish soap too, and it just.. follows me around for an hour or so. It's really unpleasant. Scented kinds, unscented, doesn't matter. I used to hate doing the dishes.
Except for Trader Joe's Next To Godliness Lavender Dish Soap. It just smells like lavender. It has made doing the dishes 90% less unpleasant.
So, weird as it sounds, their dish soap has actually improved my life.
posted by Adridne at 3:13 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Wine must count as a foodstuff because, otherwise, this page would have erupted with mentions of it. I eat my wine all the time, so I can totally see how it counts as food. Not breakfast, of course, but dinner? Absowinolutely.

+1 on TJ's vitamins. Especially their high potency chewables.
posted by 2oh1 at 4:41 PM on July 21, 2010

Both my husband and I adore the mango shave cream, and I'm addicted to the lemon verbena soap -- it smells fantastic, and doesn't dry out my skin. Our cat loves their canned cat food, too.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:50 PM on July 21, 2010

Ooh, I was just at a Trader Joe's, and the lavender dryer bags are back! They must be seasonal; I'm gonna start hoarding them. It's about $3.50 for four bags, and you can use each one about five times ... they're so much nicer than chemical-ly dryer sheets. (Though, I know, I should start using a line in the summer ...) Afterward, you can leave each bag in a dresser drawer.
posted by lisa g at 5:24 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Toilet paper! It's amazingly cheap, and, you know, does the job.

Their kleenex boxes are amusing, but the tissue itself is scratchy and horrible. Do Not Recommend.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:52 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Vitamins, the orange air-freshening spray, tuna cat food. I've used their laundry soap... - meh. I've never heard of the mango shave cream; will have to check that out! My husband loves their cut flowers so I buy him a bouquet every week. Oh - and clever greeting cards: 99 cents each!
posted by Lynsey at 12:07 AM on July 22, 2010

Yeah, if they currently have Kiss My Face products, I recommend those!

(And jeez, how much of MeFi lives in Chelsea? There's another "New Trader Joe's" post on the front page).
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:42 AM on July 22, 2010

We're happy with their cat pine litter, and their dishwasher detergent.
posted by escher at 8:30 AM on July 22, 2010

I live four hours away from a Trader Joe's, but I exclusively use their oatmeal honey bar soap. I think it smells better than the tea tree variety, yet is nice and subtle. I also have occasional break-outs that completely cease as long as I using this soap. It's like magic.

I also like their makeup removal wipes. I wasn't so impressed with the orange blossom hair conditioner. Their travel packs of tissues were awful. They are scratchy and smell like incense.
posted by bristolcat at 8:43 AM on July 22, 2010

Casteel Soap. Lasts a long time, environmentally friendly.
posted by fizzix at 1:51 PM on July 22, 2010

Let's take a look in the ol' medicine cabinet. The following are products that I continue to buy because they are cheap and good: Lavender body oil, Tea Tree shampoo, Tea Tree oil, Tea Tree blemish roll-on, Sage and cedar cleaning spray, lavender salt scrub, Peppermint toothpaste, Shaving lotion, lavender dish soap, lavender dryer sachets, b vitamins, women's formula vitamins, jojoba oil, Freeze-dried liver treats for dogs, potted succulents, bergamot coriander air freshener, grape seed oil (found in the food section but useful as a moisturizer as well), Dr. Brommers Peppermint castile soap, lavender hand soap, recycled paper towels.

Things I do not recommend: Trader Joe's Face and Body sunscreen (because I am allergic to it, also doesn't rub in well), Tom's of maine unscented deodorant (Does not work, feels sticky), Tissues (scratchy, as already mentioned), tampons (not as absorbent as I'm used to), tangerine sugar scrub (too cloying smelling), orange air freshener (smells fake).
posted by tinamonster at 7:27 PM on July 22, 2010

TJ's has great reuseable grocery bags! Much better than the ones that most grocery stores sell.
posted by radioamy at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

+1 on the mango-honey shaving lotion! I bought some yesterday based on the recommendations in this thread and I have to say it's one of the best shaving products I have ever used. I have used canned shaving cream user since I started shaving so I have to admit that I was more than skeptical that this shaving lotion would work. After shaving with it this morning, I'm a believer! At $3.49, it's a total bargain!
posted by karizma at 9:21 AM on July 23, 2010

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