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Zara Curl Activator vs. Hair By Sam McKnight Curl Spray: Here Are The Results

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Zara Curl Activator vs. Hair By Sam McKnight Curl Spray: Here Are The Results

When I heard Zara was venturing into the world of hair care — including a product specifically targeting curly hair – I was shocked. As some who is constantly on the search for good quality hair products for my naturally textured hair, this is not an area I take lightly. I spent years struggling to find the right clarifying shampoo and I’m constantly searching for ways to style my hair without damaging the natural curl pattern. Which is why I am always hesitate to try out new products, especially those from a store where I tend to buy my holiday gear.

The Zara hair care range includes a volumising mousse, light hair balm, hair spray, blow dry spray and a dry texturising spray, but as a curly girl whose long been disappointed by high street brands, I was hesitant to see if it was up to the standards of established curly hair brands, like Hair by Sam McKnight. As one of the most renowned hair stylists, who counts everyone from Kate Moss to Kendall Jenner as his clients, he’s venture into hair care has been one of the most celebrated in the industry, especially for giving your natural texture a professional finish.

I’m a big fan of his hair oil and cool girl texturising spray, so I was drawn to trying the recently launched Cool Curls Mist (£28), designed to refresh your curls while defending them from the elements and had every faith it would stand tall against Zara’s offering. However I was quite shocked at how well it compared. Read on to find out which impressed me and which one I will be buying again.

About Zara’s Curl Activator

  • Zara’s Curl Activator is an ultra-light spray that helps to maintain your curls.
  • The product is ideal for keeping your curls shiny, defined and frizz-free.
  • It’s said to work on all types of curly or wavy hair and its function is to seal, enhance, moisturise and define the curl.
  • About Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist

  • Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Refresh and Revive Mist is made up of naturally derived ingredients to enhance and promote the health and beauty of all curly and wavy hair.
  • It aims to keep curls light, shiny, and touch-ably soft – not crunchy — and frizz-free for up to 24 hours.
  • The product is designed to be used to instantly refresh, revive, and re-define curls, waves and coils.
  • What I Liked About Zara’s Curl Activator and Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist

    Zara Curl Activator vs. Hair By Sam McKnight Curl Spray: Here Are The Results

    I used both sprays on damp hair to achieve a healthy sheen and an instant refresh, as advised on the label. Upon the first spritz, I loved the smell of Zara’s Curl Activator. Not only did it refresh my curls almost instantly, it felt like it refreshed the air around me, adding a light, cucumber fragrance to my hair. The second thing I noticed was the lightweight sheen it added to my hair, without making them look greasy or wet. It had an activator spray, which meant the product was distributed more like a mist, meaning I was able to control the right amount for my hair and not overload it with product.

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    The first spritz of Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Revive and Refresh Mist, unfortunately didn’t leave the same impression in terms of scent, the smell isn’t quite up to par with Zara’s, however in terms of appearance it was a completely different class. My hair looked shiny, felt softer and appeared defined for longer. The spray felt heavier and more nourishing for my curls than Zara’s quick-fix spray, which I felt likened to a dry shampoo for curly hair.

    I also found my hair evidently benefited from its anti-frizz and conditioning properties quicker, whereas I needed more top-ups of Zara’s spray to continually keep frizz at bay. Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Revive and Refresh Mist does exactly as it says on the tin and felt like a multipurpose product, which is a win-win in my book.

    What’s Worth Noting About Zara’s Curl Activator and Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist>

    Zara’s Curl Activator became a staple in my everyday makeup bag during the week I was trialling it, perfect for quick top ups as my hair became dull throughout the day.

    Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist is slightly heavier on my curls, so I’m not sure if I’d carry the product around with me for top-ups throughout the day (and arguably didn’t need too, as one application is enough) instead, I’d keep Zara’s Curl Activator on hand for an instant refresh and a glossy, just-washed-my-hair look.

    The price point can’t be overlooked, as the Cool Curls Revive and Refresh Mist is slightly more expensive, but well worth the price if you want a hydrating, nourishing mist to help bring texture and bounce back to your hair, sans frizz, and to keep knots and tangles at bay.

    Who Are Zara’s Curl Activator and Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist Suitable For?

    The products are relatively similar and I’ll admit that after a week of trialling both respectively, the Zara Hair Curl Activator (£16) caught me by surprise. While Sam McKnight is a renowned hair stylist who I expected nothing but the best from, I wouldn’t say that Zara has the same reputation in the hair industry — just yet. However if it continues to produce quality products like this then that may just change.

    Where Can You Buy Zara’s Curl Activator and Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist?

    Rating for Zara’s Curl Activator

    Rating for Hair By Sam McKnight’s Cool Curls Mist


    Lauren Gordon is the editorial coordinator at POPSUGAR UK, where she creates lifestyle and identity content. Lauren has a degree in journalism from University of the Arts London and previously worked as a showbiz and TV reporter at The Mirror US. Lauren specialises in pop culture, hair and beauty, focusing on trends, sharing in-depth tutorials, and highlighting hidden gems in the beauty industry.

    Zara Curl Activator vs. Hair By Sam McKnight Curl Spray: Here Are The Results

    Cool Curls Refresh and Revive Mist £28 from sammcknight.com Buy Now

    Zara Curl Activator vs. Hair By Sam McKnight Curl Spray: Here Are The Results

    Zara Hair Curl Activator £16 from zara.com Buy Now