What Are Hair Edges and How to Control Them?

If you’ve been scrolling down your Instagram feed or have been paying attention to the red carpet these past few years, then you know that edge styling and edge art have been booming in popularity. Although edge styling has been around for a long time, popular celebrities such as FKA Twigs and Yara Shahidi have brought this styling technique to the forefront with their bold and stunning hairstyles both on the red carpet and at home. Read on to learn all about what hair edges are and how to style them!

What is Edges Hair?

Edges are also known as baby hairs which are typically shorter hair strands that are located around the hairline and the nape of the neck. Usually, these hairs are finer and thinner than the rest of your hair strands. The technical term for this type of hair is vellus hair. Vellus hair is categorized as fine, short, and wispy hair strands. This is the type of hair that you see over most of your body, and it acts as protection for the skin and keeps us warm. Vellus hair is much finer than the rest of the strands on your scalp which are called terminal hair.

dark-skinned girl look at her edges in the mirror

Broken Strands or Baby Hairs?

Many women have a hard time figuring out if their edges are actually baby hairs or just broken strands at the hairline. The best way to figure this out is by taking a good look at your edges to notice any dryness or damage. If your edges are filled with split ends and feel brittle, that probably means that it is damaged hair and not regular baby hairs. It’s also important to keep an eye on your edges to ensure their texture is not changing and they’re not turning into broken strands. If you start to notice breakage around the hairline, make sure to lay off heat styling and use deep conditioning products that will bring hydration back into the hair.

Gentle Care for Your Baby Hairs

Before we get into the actual step-by-step on how to style your edges, we want to share some tips so you can get the perfect look every time without breaking or damaging your hair.

  • Be gentle! Because your edges are finer than the rest of your hair, you need to be gentle when styling them otherwise you can cause breakage. Instead of tugging or pulling at the hair, make sure to style with ease and very little manipulation.
  • Don’t cause too much tension. We all love our super sleek, slicked-back looks but too much pulling can not only cause breakage, but also hair loss. This is called traction alopecia and it particularly occurs around the hairline where baby hairs grow. This goes for any type of updo, protective style, or extension you’re wearing.

HOW TO LAY YOUR EDGES – YouTube video by Sonnis Love

Edge Control for Natural Hair 

While edge styling has been re-popularized in recent years with the rise of social media, it’s nothing new—especially for dark-skinned women. Edge control actually started back in the 1920s by women with naturally textured hair as a way to slick back their edges to make their hair appear less coiled. For years, black-skinned women styled their hair in ways to make it look as sleek as possible until the 60’s when they started to embrace their natural texture.

Instead of slicking their hair back, women with dark skin started rocking their natural texture loud and proud while still controlling their edges in more of a way that we know and see today. In the 1990s, the popularity of both simple and intricate edge control resurged and hasn’t left since! So, while many well-known celebrities such as Kardashian/Jenner have tried to set trends by styling their baby hairs, the naturally kinky community knows that it has never left!

How to Style Your Edges

Edge styling can range from simple for a day-to-day look to very intricate for a night on the town. Whether you decide to keep it easy or go all out, there are a few tools and steps you can take to make sure your edges stay on point all night long!

1. When it comes to tools, you’re going to need three things—a fine comb, a toothbrush or edge styling tool, and a strong-hold gel or edge tamer. There are a ton of edge tamers on the market depending on the level of hold you like.

styling tools for edges hair

2. First, make sure to use a comb to section out your edges from the rest of your hair strands. Be super gentle when doing this so you don’t cause excess tension or breakage.

3. Then, apply a bit of edge tamer or gel onto your section of baby hairs and use your toothbrush/edge styling tool to start swooping! This is where you can really experiment with the style and play around with different looks. Edge tamer or edge control is usually a thicker consistency that helps to stick the edges to the hairline/forehead.

Suggested product: Keracare Edge Tamer by AVLON holds edges down and gives them a silky-smooth touchable texture. It works great for natural hair. It keeps the flyaways down and holds everything in place without being greasy or flaky.

sensual African girl with tamed baby hairs

4. If you want to get really detailed, use the tip of your comb to mold the ends of your baby hairs for a more defined look.

Suggested product: Kitsch Pro Dual Edge Brush and Comb is 2 in 1 tool with a brush on one side and a comb on the other side. It is ideal for combing and styling the edges and keeping them smooth.

5. Depending on your plans for the day, you may want to finish off laying your baby hairs with a strong-hold hairspray. While this is optional, it’s recommended if you’re going to be active or if it’s hot/high humidity outside. An extra spritz of hairspray just ensures that your edges stay in place and won’t budge!

The best part about edge styling is that it’s totally customizable to you, your own look, and your hair type! Don’t be afraid to get daring and experiment with different styles based on your own preferences.

African girl with edges in her curly hair

Disclaimer: All content on this blog is created for informational purposes only. It would be best if you didn’t use it as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Last Updated on September 9, 2022 by Gaga

About the author

gaga@softerhair.com | Website | + posts

Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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