I tested 3 braid sprays so you don’t have to!

I tested 3 braid sprays so you don’t have to!

Disclaimer: I was sent two of these products for free, and all opinions are ones I have developed through my use of the products. I have not been paid or sponsored by anyone associated with these products.

As a way to fund my tack-hoarding tendencies, I braid manes and tails. This time-consuming tradition proves a challenge for some riders. I’m happy to help them out, transforming unruly manes into beautiful braids.

I’ve braided for eventers, 4-Hers, and breeders at inspections. But most of my clients are foxhunters. Foxhunters have a different set of needs for braids than a traditional rider. They need their braids to stay in while galloping over intense terrain for a few hours. A different experience than a few minutes in a show ring!

For this year’s Blessing of the Hounds, I decided to put three different braiding sprays to the test. I’ve always used QuicBraid in the past, but I recently acquired two other sprays: Ponytail Products Mane Stay and Mane n’ Tail’s Spray n’ Braid. Why not try them all out on one horse?

My friend Beth’s horse Norman became my test dummy. I’m fortunate that Norman has a lovely mane, kept thinned and trimmed. Regular mane maintenance is essential to beautiful braids. A thin, neat mane makes it simple to keep braids the same size.

Norman’s finished mane! I braided his forelock immediately after taking this picture, but of course, I didn’t take a new shot after that!

When testing these sprays, I looked at five qualities: grip on the mane, after-braiding hand stickiness, scent, spray mechanism, and 24-hour control. I look for a spray that provides grip quickly to the mane, but does not leave a sticky residue on my hands after use. I prefer a spray that smells nice, because who doesn’t? The spray mechanism has to be easy to use. Last, but definitely not least, the spray has to keep the braids looking sleek overnight. I also have considered cost into my results.

I ranked each category out of 5 points, then totaled up the points at the end. For the stickiness category, the higher the number, the less sticky my hands at the end of the braiding.




Cost: $10.95 from SmartPak Equine

  • Grip: 4/5
  • Stickiness: 3/5
  • Scent: 4/5
  • Spray Mechanism: 5/5
  • 12-Hour Control: 5/5

Total Score: 21/25

This spray gets the job done. I could easily grip the hairs, only a few seconds after spraying the mane. It does smell nice, as most of the Exhibitor’s brand products do. My hands were a little bit sticky after braiding, but it washed off cleanly with soap. I saw no problems with the braids after 12 hours – they were still neat and free from flyaway hairs.

QuicBraid’s spray mechanism is absolutely my favorite. I find that the trigger sprayers are much easier to use when braiding.



Spray n’ Braid

Cost: $7.95 from Big Dee’s

  • Grip: 2/5
  • Stickiness: 2/5
  • Scent: 4/5
  • Spray Mechanism: 3/5
  • 12-Hour Control: 5/5

Total Score: 18/25

I was a little bit confused by this spray. I didn’t get a great grip on the mane using it, but after I was finished, my hands were incredibly sticky. The stickiness did wash off, but it was unfortunate.

The scent was fine. I didn’t really notice it as nice, but it also was not bad. The braids did stay in overnight. I dislike pump sprayers like this one, but it does appear that the larger bottles have trigger sprayers.



Mane Stay

Cost: $11 from Ponytail Products

  • Grip: 5/5
  • Stickiness: 5/5
  • Scent: 5/5
  • Spray Mechanism: 3/5
  • 12-Hour Control: 5/5

Total Score: 23/25

Mane Stay is definitely my favorite braid spray! This product smells amazing. The spray is paraben and sulfate free and contains alfalfa, rosemary, and carrot extracts. I cannot say enough about how amazing it smells.

I had a great grip on the hairs while I was braiding, but my hands did not feel sticky at the end of the work. I was seriously impressed! Braids stayed in beautifully. I’m in love with yet another one of the Ponytail Products grooming products.

Handsome Norman’s braids were still beautiful the next day! Here he is, all turned out for the Blessing of the Hounds. 

The Thrifty Equestrian pick? Ponytail Products Mane Stay! This spray smells great and works wonderfully. The only thing that could make Mane Stay better? A trigger spray mechanism. Otherwise, I couldn’t find a flaw!

What are your go-to braiding products? Any tricks for getting perfect braids every time?