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Despite being Australian and growing up in a sub-tropical climate (think humidity so severe that it’s like living inside a steamy bathroom after a hot shower), I’ve never found a way to cope with the heat. Or the ensuing sweat that pours out of me when it’s above 25 degrees.
Then I happened upon this viral TikTok video about neck fans and I knew I may have found the sweat-drying miracle I’d always dreamt of.
I’d never as much as Googled a neck fan before. Like many people I assumed that if such a thing existed it’d be a heavy monstrosity that would suck my hair in its blades, would look dreadful with all my pretty summer dresses and give me neck strain.
I stand corrected. Because when I (along with half a million other viewers) saw influencer Nguyen Yeats-Brown putting a blade-free fan around her neck, and realized it actually looks like a slightly chunkier pair of headphones, I was sold.
Needless to say, the TikToker's viral neck fan sold out quickly during the heatwave.
The Grarg fan is on Amazon Prime, so if you buy it straight after reading this today, you’ll have it in your hands – and around your neck – tomorrow.
Here’s why it’s now my favourite new way to keep cool.
How it works
While my Grarg Neck Fan is a relatively new addition to my cooling repertoire, it quickly won me over.
Mainly because it's hand-free and has been designed to look like a pair of headphones. It's also blade free, which means there’s no danger of your hair getting caught up/twisted inside it.
Another win? It's not too noisy. The last thing you want when trying to listen to your favourite podcast or Kate Bush album is loud chugging noise around your neck. The Grarg Neck Fan makes a very low, gentle whir.
It also has five speeds, too, so you can decide the level of air you want to feel on your neck/hair. And the design is very flexible, so you can move it and twist it around to sit more comfortably on your neck.
It’s chargeable via USB, too: the brand claims that one charge can last up to six hours, depending what fan speed you choose.
How to use it
I plugged the USB cable in and a full charge took about three hours.
Once charged, I excitedly placed it around my neck, played around adjusting it so it looked and felt comfortable, turned it on and…I felt a tiny, but very disappointing breeze akin to someone gently blowing on my neck.
It took me a while to realise I’d put it on upside down. Doh. So, the side with all the air vents was facing my skin. As soon as I flipped it things changed for the better.
What to expect:
Even after the slightest exertion, my very fine hair (which is cut into a short, French bob) gets so sweaty I look like I’ve been swimming. And as for my fringe – gah!
So I decided to really put my neck fan through its paces and the first time I used it, I took it on a three-mile walk during the hottest time of the day – 1.00-2.00pm – to meet a friend for a posh afternoon tea.
I also wore an enormous snake statement necklace, too, to see if the neck fan cramped my style.
I played around with speeds at home first – when not moving very fast the first speed is perfect, but for more extreme exertion it’s all about the fifth speed (be aware, though, that the higher speed does blow your hair around as if you’re in an 80s pop video. But I found that quite amusing).
Another thing to be aware of is that if you get irritated eyes from a fan blowing air in them as I do, then either pop your sunglasses on or keep it at a lower speed.
I’m happy to report that my neck fan and I both survived the walk. While it didn’t completely stop me sweating, it provided enough of a cooling effect that my hair wasn’t a sodden mess by the time I arrived at my destination.
I also popped into a few shops during my walk and people either didn’t bat an eyelid at my fan (clearly assuming it was headphones) or if they did, they asked where I got it from. Including one very cool, stylish, shop assistant in an expensive boutique who immediately wanted to buy one for herself.
The pitfalls? It’s a little bit bulky so not suitable for slotting into a small handbag - or pocket. The white gets quite easily marked, too, however I've discovered nail polish remover got any marks off.
But the small imperfections aren't enough for me to cancel my neck-fan-for-life membership. I'm in it for the long run.