Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lululemon Bang Busters vs. Fringe Fighters headband review + comparison

          I never really imagined myself as a headband kind of girl, until I picked up my first Lululemon Bang Buster headband. It was a cute mint and dark green band from the 'We Made Too Much' (a.k.a. sale) section of the boutique. I wore it to yoga the next day, and the rest is history. The headband is so comfortable, and wicks away sweat that can really plague you during downward dog!

         Recently, I went back for more. As happy as I am to wear my 'toothpaste and fuel green' headband with anything, I figured it might be nice to get a couple more shades to color-coordinate with my outfits. I ended up getting the Lululemon Bang Buster headband in black and their newer model, the Lululemon Fringe Fighter headband, in Moody Mirage White / Black Cherry heather. (For reference, it seems that the latter is eventually going to replace the former in the Lululemon lineup).

        As I've worn the two different models, I've come to realize how different they actually are. (Wide headbands are not all created equal, it seems!) I don't think the differences between the cult-favorite Bang Buster headband and it's successor, the Fringe Fighter have been extensively discussed online as of yet, so I'm hoping this will be a useful comparison post for fellow headband lovers!

        The question is: old or new, which is better? Read on to find out...

1. Construction

         From afar, both the Lululemon Bang Busters and Fringe Fighters look like your typical wide headbands. (I have a feeling that that's what Lululemon corporate is hoping we'll think). However, up close they couldn't be more different.

The original model, the Lululemon Bang Buster is much more complex and well constructed. The ends of the band end in pretty ruching, which is both aesthetically more pleasing and more functional (which I've written more about in the 'Comfort' and 'Looks' sections below). The back elastic band is also covered by ruched fabric.

The new model, the Lululemon Fringe Fighter, has a much more simple (read: cheaper to manufacture) construction. It has a single fold to help the fabric fan out. Supposedly the thinking behind that fold is that one can easily fold the fabric over and wear the Fringe fighter as a thinner headband. It's a nice thought, except I find that the band won't stay put on my head in that form. (And if I wanted that, I'd buy a different headband). The back elastic band is not covered by any fabric. It's made from elastic bearing the words 'Lululemon Athletica' and the logo, except you'll never get that entire phrase. For example, mine says '(omega) athle'. Needless to say, not the best branding.

2. Fabric

          Both versions claim to be made of 'Light Luon', but by look and feel I could tell they weren't the same. The Lululemon Fringe Fighters felt a bit thinner and flimsier than the Bang Busters. Sure enough, I looked at the label:

Lululemon Bang Buster:
92% nylon
8% lycra/spandex

Lululemon Fringe Fighter:
92% polyester <-- not the same!!
8% lycra/spandex

          I don't know about you, but I find that nylon typically holds up better than poly. I also like the thicker, cooler feel it has.

You can see the single fold in the new Lululemon Fringe Fighter headband here. The charm is also sewn onto the headband itself. 
3. Logo detailing

          Both headbands have the same Lululemon charm sewn on, but in different places. On the Bang Busters, the charm is on the ribbon (which I imagine is harder to do), whereas it's sewn onto the fabric of the Fringe Fighters.

           Also of note, there is a printed reflective logo on the reverse side of Bang Busters, as the headbands are reversible. I noticed that my Fringe Fighter headband did not have this little logo detail, which is a bummer!

4. Looks:

           Because of the thicker, better quality fabric and the detailed ruching, the Lululemon Bang Buster looks better as a standalone headband. You could say that from afar, there's not a big difference. However, I'd argue otherwise. I find that the difference is more obvious when dealing with solid colors and/or simple prints. When shopping for a black headband, despite the lure of a double-sided Fringe Fighter (who doesn't want two prints for the price of one?), I had to go with the black Bang Buster shown here. It simply looked more expensive, even from afar.

           That said, I do think that you can get away with Lululemon Fringe Fighters, especially when they're made of complex, eye catching prints (like Moody Mirage, shown here!). The print distracts from the lack of detailing and cheaper material. In terms of the back band, it's a toss-up. I do like the ruching of the original Bang Buster. That said, the flat elastic of the Fringe Fighter is sleek.

5. Comfort:

           And here's the most important point of the article: the Lululemon Bang Busters are more comfortable than the Lululemon Fringe Fighters!

           I fell in love with the Bang Buster model because it was so comfortable that I could wear it all day. I do find the Fringe Fighters to be comfortable enough during yoga sessions and a little beyond. However I do feel more pressure from the band (particularly at the front) and find that it can start a mid headache if worn too long in the same position. (I'll often fiddle/fold it to prevent this).

           I really think the key to the comfort factor lies in construction! The original Bang Buster has ruching that not only is pretty, it functionally distributes the pressure evenly across the head. The new Fringe Fighters has the single-fold construction that leads to more uneven pressure loading, hence the pressure points / headache.

The original Lululemon Bang Buster has more complex ruching sewn in at the junction, and at the back band. I find that the ruching actually results in a more functional, comfortable headband (in addition to looking pretty).

The Verdict: 

           I'd have to give the Lululemon Bang Busters the overwhelming win here. They have better detailing, sturdier fabric, and construction that leads to all-day comfort. The Fringe Fighters look similar, but have sly changes that fall a little short in construction and comfort. Don't get me wrong, they're not terrible; I think of them as more of a downgrade in quality (which hopefully isn't becoming a common theme with Lulu...). Sadly, it looks like Bang Busters will be replaced by Fringe Fighters, regardless. Time to stock up, it seems...

         Thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed this in-depth review of the wide and wonderful world of Lululemon headbands. (I admit I do feel quite silly having written the words 'Bang Buster' and 'Fringe Fighter' so many times!) I'm hoping to have more Lululemon to share with you in the future, as it's been fun exploring the brand. In the meantime, I'd love to know: what are your experiences with Lulu headbands? What are your Lululemon must-haves?

Love, Dovey.


  1. hmmm...this is something worth checking out. I am impressed with it. Love the qualities. Will be checking on this....

  2. Hey, Dovey! I get annoyed with my hair when I work out, too (although it's not so bad lately with the pixie!) and I think a good, solid hairband that's comfy and actually stays up throughout a session is a rare gem! I'll have to look into the Bang Buster (although really, did we need that name? Lol!). Thanks for the review!

  3. I can't remember if I commented on this or not, so apologies if I already have - I like their headbands (i feel like i've told you this before!) and the bang buster sounds good! I do see it available right now (full price) online in a few colors, so perhaps it is not going to be discontinued... a lot of times the seasonal patterns end up on sale but the product itself still sticks around. Fingers crossed!


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