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Health & Fitness: Artilect Darkhorse Headband review: a low profile sweat-wicker for chilly runs and ski days

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Artilect Darkhorse Headband: first impressions

The Artilect Darkhorse Headband was designed in Boulder, Colorado, so it’s meant for trail runners and skiers alike. Made using Nuyarn, a merino wool spinning technology, this headband boasts faster drying, more natural stretch and better wind protection and durability than regular merino.

In performance, this all means it’s soft against your skin and thanks to the stretchiness and light weight, you barely notice it’s there. It is quite thin and low profile, but still offers good warmth and wind protection, and easily fits under your ski helmet. At almost four inches wide it does cover your entire part line for sun protection, though not if you pull it forward over your forehead.

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This headband definitely provides suitable protection for cold and milder temperatures. It does move around just a little if you’re moving your head a lot, and doesn’t have a ponytail hole but still works with a relatively low pony. It comes at a higher price than others, but you’re paying for increased durability and a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

Artilect Darkhorse Headband: on the trails

If you like the sweat wicking and thermoregulating properties of wool but find beanies too warm or impractical for trail running, you’ll definitely want to consider a headband and you could do a lot worse than the Artilect Darkhorse Headband.

I spent the last 12 years living in Colorado so my ears perked up when I heard about the new Boulder-based brand Artilect and their mission for more sustainable production values. For this headband, they use a merino wool technology called Nuyarn which according to research uses less energy in production. Though the headband is designed in Colorado, it’s made in Vietnam which somewhat weakens the case for sustainability. However, I will say that other claims such as faster drying, durability and better wind protection all seem to hold up.

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Basically this headband is lightweight and soft on my skin, so it’s very comfortable, which is important. It looks good on and definitely keeps the sweat off my forehead when I’m on a trail run. Because it’s wool, it doesn’t get stinky either.

Unlike some of my other bands, I noticed that it moves around a little, for example when I look up, which leaves my earlobes exposed. Pulling it down more over my forehead helps with this some, but because it’s not quite as wide as some of my other headbands, that leaves some of my part line exposed to the sun. It doesn’t have a ponytail hole and works fine with a low ponytail, but isn’t comfortable with my hair tucked underneath it.

It is quite thin but it definitely does the job keeping me warm on cold days and an added bonus is it fits under my ski helmet. I like it for mild days too but wouldn’t wear it in the summer months.

I feel like headbands might be treated as rather disposable items, unfortunately, and I like the strong, sturdy construction of this one. I expect it to last a long time and at a bit of a higher price, I’d expect nothing less.

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Here’s how it performed:


One size fits all. With lots of stretch, it’s unlikely this will be too tight.


Snug but I barely notice it, which is nice. However, it does move around a little when I look up. I’d like it just a little wider for more coverage.


Very comfortable thanks to soft fabric and a not-too-tight fit.

Temperature regulation

It’s good for keeping you warm, and might be a bit too warm in summer.


It does a great job of wicking away sweat. Plus, it's a headband, so the top of your head is free to release heat!


Well made construction-wise with sturdy, low profile seams and good quality wool.

Here’s where we tested the Artilect Darkhorse Headband:

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