Like kelp and monofilament, untamed hair can cause entanglement and annoyance, interfere with your equipment, and otherwise put a damper on a great dive. As a photographer with unruly bangs, I found I could only push the “mermaid’s perspective” premise so far before I had to suck it up and find a way to keep my hair out of my face and my photos.
In the cold-water conditions at home a neoprene hood usually does the trick, but this year I had a lot of tropical diving planned, so I needed a different solution. I immediately thought of the Bang Wrangler – a product I learned about from the proprietresses themselves when they brought samples to my LDS.
The premise is simple enough: it’s basically a wide silicone headband, smooth on the outside, and textured on the inside to grip your strands. Smaller than a scrunchie and designed specifically to keep hair from face, the Bang Wrangler found a home between the anti-fog and zip ties in my traveling dive kit.
It’s available in eight different colors, from practical black to multi-colored Radness and Riptide, so there’s no reason to sacrifice form for function. I decided to test mine on the MV Taka liveaboard in the Solomon Islands where I could get in a lot of dives in a variety of conditions.
The Bang Wrangler does what it says on the tin. For the most part my bangs were, in fact, wrangled and it was comfortable to wear. My mask went on right over it and I was ready to hit the water. Here’s what I found after the splash.
Layering a mask over the Bang Wrangler can make for underwater adjustments that are more complicated than convenient. During clearing and tightening (or loosening) the band moves around a bit and can start to slide. This ended up causing an extra worry as I found myself constantly reaching back to make sure it hadn’t slipped off, another unwitting sacrifice to the hungry gods of the deep.
On a couple of dives I lent it to a fellow diver, a woman whose hair was finer in texture, to see if maybe my bangs were just too ornery to properly submit to The Wrangling. Alas, she also reported the sense that it could slip away into the abyss at any moment.
In the end, I found my Bang Wrangler to be very useful for keeping my wet hair from smacking me in the face during surface intervals. Keeping track of it rather added to my task loading once I got it below, though. The turbulence of giant strides, live drops, and ripping currents plus the interaction with my mask strap seemed to be a bit too much. Like a rubber band on a bowling ball, the Wrangler’s grip on my head was at times a bit precarious.
I’m admittedly not so nimble with hair accessories in general, so user error is a definite possibility. It may be that a judiciously placed bobby pin is all that’s needed to shore up that little issue. Ultimately for me, the Bang Wrangler didn’t have enough staying power to be a stand-alone solution. It could shine, however, as a key component of a comprehensive bang containment toolkit. Overall, I give it a 2: it did hold back my hair, but slippage was a definite issue.
For $15 (~12€/11£) you can get one on the Klash website and do a little experimentation of your own. Let me know in the comments how you succeed where I have failed.
- Fits most adult heads.
- 100% silicone.
- Available in turquoise, purple, neon yellow, grey, blue, pink, and two beachy tie-dye patterns called Radness (warm tones) and Riptide (cool colors).