In the hierarchy of natural hair products, a good edge control product sits pretty high up on most people’s lists. The thing about how to do your edges is that there are a ton of factors to consider both at the shopping and styling stages. Things like your curl type, propensity to sweat, the season, and exactly how you use the product are all considerations that will determine how well your edge tamer holds up. Formula and ingredients are also equally important. Edges aren’t nicknamed baby hairs for no reason. These are literally baby hairs. They’re shorter, oftentimes softer, and more fragile than the rest of your hair. Using a hair gel or other styling hair products that are too harsh or even stiff could cause damage to this delicate area. Before you get to brushing down those babies, read on to find the best edge control for natural hair.
What Is Edge Control?
Edge control, also known as edge tamer, is a styling product that’s made specifically for smoothing and slicking down the strands along your hairline. You can also use a bit of edge control to tame flyaways on other parts of your hair. It’s basically a styling gel, but typically a lot less fluid than a traditional gel. In many cases, the consistency is more like a mix between a gel and a pomade. They’re not only thicker, but many edge tamers have more hold than a regular gel. The shorter the hairs, the more tricky it is to keep them down, but these stronger gels can get the job done.
While there are specific edge control products available for styling, you can also use a classic gel formula to secure your edges. Since you will be working with a more liquidy gel on a smaller area of hair, the process might be tricky and slightly messy if you’re not used to doing it. However, once you learn the technique and have the right tools, working with the product will be a lot easier.
Should You Use Edge Tamer?
If you find yourself asking, “should I use edge tamer?” and aren’t sure it’s right for you, here’s a simple way to look at it: If you prefer to have a more polished hair look, then edge tamer is a great styling solution. Whether you want to control flyaways along your hairline or smooth down the front of a style, using a natural hair edge control product can be a great choice.
What Is the Best Edge Control For Natural Hair?
The first thing to think about when choosing an edge control product is how you plan to style your hair. With some looks, like a top knot or box braids, you can leave some of your baby hairs loose to make it a more prominent part of the style. While others, like a twist out or wash-and-go, may show only a small bit of your hairline—so perfectly laid edges may not be necessary. Either way, deciding which is the best depends greatly on the level of hold you need for your edges. In more general terms, the best edge controls are ones like the Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother that keep hair slick, don’t flake, are gentle on fine strands, and are easily maneuverable as you style with them.
The no-flaking part is key. Typically, you don’t want flaking on any part of your hair, but especially not around a more visible area like your forehead. Moisturizing ingredients like castor oil and aloe not only help nourish these fragile strands but also keep the actual gel from flaking as it dries or sets.
If you’re an edge control newbie, start with a medium-hold option. See how that holds up through whatever the day throws at you. Take note of things like flaking, rogue flyaways, stickiness, drying, and breakage. Read the ingredient labels first and make sure that there’s no alcohol or other ingredients in the product that dry hair out. Consistency is key, too. If you’re opting for a traditional gel, look for one that isn’t too runny. The last thing you want is gel dripping down your face as you smooth down those hairs.
How Can I Make My Edges Stay Down?
When it comes to how to do your edges—and make them stay down—what’s just as important as the actual edge gel you’re using are the tools you pair with it. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to find a soft bristle toothbrush alongside a tub of gel. You can also use a fine-tooth comb, particularly if you want to get a little fancy with your baby hair designs. The idea is to smooth curly hair against your skin and have it stay in place all day.
The process of smoothing edges is best done when hair is dry. The gel will give the hair the right amount of moisture to set it in place. You’ll run the risk of your edges flying up midday if you try to style when wet. Start by sectioning out the area of your edges you want to slick. If the rest of your style requires any pulling back or securing, get it in place before you move onto your edges. Using an edge brush, comb, or toothbrush, dip your tool of choice into the edge control to scoop up a bit of product. Use the coated bristles to brush down strands along your hairline. Although it’s not required, you can tie a silk scarf around the perimeter of your head while you get dressed to make sure that your gel sets and your edges stay in place.
Is Edge Control Good for Your Hair?
Like any other gel-like styling product, ingredients are really important in determining whether or not edge control products are good or bad for your hair. Steer clear of anything that’s really drying like alcohol-based gels or any formula that’s too stiff. You don’t want to have globs of gel along your hairline, experience flaking halfway through the day, or need to manipulate fine baby hair too much to get hair where you want it. This may only lead to breaking already fragile strands.
Instead, look for formulas with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like the pracaxi oil, acai extract, and olive oil in the Pracaxi Nectar Frizz Tamer. Earning the title of Carol’s Daughter’s best edge control for 4C hair, this wax-based product will keep hair in place while protecting it from drying out. Keep in mind, this edge tamer will give you a softer hold, so if you’re looking for more styled edges (think swoops and swirls) you may want to go for an option with more hold.
How Can I Grow My Edges Fast?
Edges are no different than other parts of your hair. How fast or slow they grow really depends on how quickly the rest of your hair sprouts. There are, however, a few things you can keep in mind to ensure that your edges not only flourish but that when using edge control, they remain protected. Look for scalp-boosting and moisturizing ingredients in your edge control gels and cremes and try a volumizing treatment like the Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum to help rebuild any damage or breakage. And remember to steer clear of damaging ingredients like alcohol that can dry hair out and cause it to break off!
Guess what? Slicked and tamed edges are a great finisher for box braids. To pair these two natural hair staples together, follow Your Easy Tutorial for Creating Box Braids.