One of the best things about natural hair is that it’s versatile beyond measure. So versatile, in fact, that naturalista’s find beauty in parts of the hair that many people ignore, like baby hairs. Also known as hair edges, these are the tiny strands that sit just at the perimeter of your hairline. Baby hair is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in recent years, but way before folks took their edge styling artistry to the Internet, baby hair was a trend.
So many styles make a comeback, but edge taming and slicking is a practice as old as time. It is somewhat of an art to master, particularly since these tiny hairs along the forehead can be quite fragile. But with the right tools and edge products, you too can lay edges like a true artist.

How Do You Lay Edges For Beginners?

Much like any curly hairstyle, how you lay hair edges is a process that requires a bit of trial and error, but hopefully not too much error. Whether or not you’ll be successful at laying your edges depends on having the right tools and natural hair care products on hand. Before you start styling, be sure to give your curls a good washing with the Black Vanilla Shampoo Bar to get rid of any leftover product.

While some of the more intricate edge styles look like they require a lot of work, the steps are pretty simple. No matter what your skill level, gather up an edge brush (for decades, a regular toothbrush has been the go-to), a rattail comb for parting and detailing, edge gel, and a silk scarf or edge wrap.

Keep in mind that hair edges are delicate, so you don’t want to tug too much or brush roughly, or else you risk damaging these fine hair. Edges are called baby hairs for a reason, not only because they’re generally shorter than the rest of your hair, but some of this section of strands are newer growth, fresh out the roots.

Once your tools are laid out and your hair is clear of any previously applied products, follow these steps.

1. Using the fine-tooth comb, separate your hair edges from your curls by combing them forward away from your hairline and down toward your forehead. Since these hairs are shorter, separating them should be relatively easy. Only separate a thin layer of baby hairs so that your edges aren’t too thick. Laying too much hair will make it more difficult to lay edges flat against your head, and even with the strongest-hold gel, you may experience some lifting.

2. Dip the tip of your edge brush into your gel and then apply to the baby hairs brushing and slicking them down onto your forehead. Here’s where you can get creative with how you swirl these hairs down. Brush strands into spirals or loops as you desire.

3. Once you’re done swooping, detail your design using the pointy end of your rattail comb. Here’s where you can smooth out the curves of your swirls and push any hairs back or forward to your liking.

4. After your style is set, wrap the perimeter of your hair tightly with a satin scarf. This will not only flatten the hair edges down even more, but will also keep them in place as your gel dries. You can even hit your hairline with a diffuser on a low setting to help it to set faster.

What Products Should You Use For Your Edges?

Choosing the best edge control products depends on your curl type. Similar to the styling gel you use on the rest of your curls, the level of hold you’ll need should be determined by how soft or coarse your hair texture is. Softer hair will likely lay flat and stay put with a medium-hold edge gel, like our Black Vanilla Edge Control. Whereas thicker, more coarse textures like 4C hair may need a heavier, strong-hold edge control to keep curly baby hairs in place. If your hair is soft but super curly, it may be tricky getting your coils to smooth out, so consider using the stronger hold gel for slicking.

Does Edge Control Grow Hair?

Much like any other type of styling product, the ingredients in an edge gel can either nourish or damage hair over time. So pay close attention to what’s in the one you’re choosing. Generally speaking, there’s no proof that edge control overall helps grow hair. However, using edge gel that is free of drying ingredients will help maintain moisture on this delicate section of your hair. Additionally, look for moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, protein, and castor oil to keep hair protected from breakage. If you do encounter damage along your hairline, check out this guide on How To Grow Back Your Edges.

The Best Hair Edge Styles

What’s great about how you lay edges is that there’s free reign to be as bold or modest as you want. Consider this section of your mane your canvas. Thankfully, due to the uptick in interest around hair edges, there’s plenty of inspiration on the Internet. So whether you take a cue from a celebrity or whip up your own style, edge looks abound.

If your goal is to simply take flyaways, try a feathered look where the hair is brushed straight forward from the hairline and then swept cleanly toward each temple. A middle ground iteration of this feathered look is to do the same technique but in sections. So instead of one feather on each side of your forehead, divide each side into smaller feathers.

Beginners who want to test out the look can try a single spiral off of a slicked-back look. Or go to town with the twirls and create several pinwheels across your forehead. If you really want to get fancy, consider bedazzling your baby hairs with gems.

Looking for more hair styling inspiration to put to the test? Check out these 10 Hairstyles That Will Survive Your Workout.

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