I knew I needed something to keep my hair out of my face when I was running. I had seen a few people that I follow online wearing these awesome sparkly headbands. They looked great and gave race outfits a fun and colour-coordinated accessory.

tutuPeople in Vancouver don’t typically dress up or heavily accessorize for races. A select few women-geared events or events with a heavy team component will bring out the tutus or wings, but it’s not common. I wore an awesome tutu at last year’s Run for Women 10K and as a solo runner I DEFINITELY stood out.

The runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January 2013 was our first big race, and therefore our first “real” race expo. (It’s still hands down the best one we’ve ever been to.) Disney race events encourage dressing up, and the pre-race health and fitness expo is the ultimate enabler.

I was still new to the world of race gear and costumes, so I played it fairly conservative. I purchased a lime green Tinker Bell-esque tank top with a wing pattern on the back and went off to secure the perfect matching green sparkly headband. We came to the Sweaty Bands booth and they seemed well-equipped to meet my needs. I picked up a wide green band and it served me well through the race. The new tank top wasn’t quite as successful, I got some seam-induced chafing under my arms. I know, I know, never wear untested gear on race day. Rookie mistake.

Dani over at Weight Off My Shoulders was posting a lot about SparklySoul headbands, and after a quick (unofficial) Twitter poll they seemed to be dominating the votes. I decided to give them a try and was happy to see they didn’t charge outrageous fees for shipping to Canada.

HeadbandsThe primary differences between the two brands are:

  1. SparklySoul headbands are stretchy, Sweat Bands are not.
  2. SparklySoul goes all the way around with the same material, Sweaty Bands stop at the back and connect with about three inches of thin black elastic that you can’t see when it’s on.
  3. SweatyBands come in both sparkly and cool patterned designs.
  4. Sweaty Bands “wide” style is about 1.5 time wider than the SparklySoul “wide.”

They both have very similar “sparkly” appearances, and both have a velvet-type backing to limit slippage on your hair.

I now own four SparklySoul headbands and two Sweaty Bands. Ultimately I prefer the full circle style of SparklySoul as it’s a more comfortable fit and I also prefer the full stretch. BUT. I prefer the width of the Sweaty Bands. Maybe it’s my big curly hair that needs a more significant band to be seen, but I do like it.

So…if I had to choose between the two? Tough call. But if I let go of my vanity and the search for the PERFECT style, I will choose SparklySoul. Comfort makes a big difference , even the tiniest irritation is increased exponentially on a long run. I like the comfort of the stretchiness – and because of the stretch my 5 year old daughter can wear them too!

AND…the team at SparklySoul are awesome. They respond to just about every mention they get on social media and they engage with their fans in a real, positive and meaningful way. I have never had a single response from Sweaty Bands when I’ve posted on Twitter or Instagram. That’s not to say they’re not also awesome people, of course, they’re just not as engaged with their followers. And in this market and the running community, engagement goes a LONG way.

Maybe if I “engage” them enough they’ll make me a wider headband?