Within our community, we all know about laying our edges and smoothing our baby hairs. It has been a staple in styling our tresses and part of the long list of personal style options that serve as a form of protest through time. Laying your edges and how other ways we style our hair within our community have always been a topic of discussion. Whether people are debating the style’s origin, who’s “allowed” to do it or if this styling method is professional enough for the corporate world, what we do with our hair has always been a discussion in rooms that we sometimes aren’t even in.
Baby hairs are the thinner, wispy hairs that sit along the perimeter of your hairline. When not slicked back, people consider them ‘flyaways’ as well. Depending on your hair’s texture, they can fall straight around your forehead in a fine, wispy manner or they can shrivel up into cute curly cues all over. No matter your hair texture or the state of your baby hairs, there’s no right or wrong type of edges.
Laying your edges in the way we know it today can be dated all the way back to the 1920s. This style is mostly credited to the famous dancer and entertainer, Josephine Baker. Josephine Baker styled her short curls to coift around her face to properly frame her face; making it look smaller and a little more appealing to her white audience. Now you can look at this being the beginning of something beautiful, but it was really the beginning of using our hair as a way to keep our ethnic identity. For example, while Josephine Baker was carefully swirling her curls to frame her face; in the 1930s, a movie star by the name of Rita Hayworth had her baby hairs surgically removed and her hairline pushed back so she could appear more like a white woman.
Fast forward to the 1960’s where the Civil Rights movement had so many different ways we were trying to protest our oppression and our hair was no different. Women and men alike were sporting their afros without shame and many ladies were slaying their edges around their afros as another way to gain autonomy over their looks and bodies. Throughout the 70s, afros were still the move and baby hairs were alive and well all the way though the 80s (even with the over teasing and hairspray craze).
Now the 90s is really where we start to see slayed baby hairs become a true work of art, not only in our everyday communities but in pop culture. Black entertainers such as TLC and Janet Jackson were crafting their edges with dramatic swoops using almost whole containers of black gel to really make sure your edges were stuck in place. Along with our favorite hip-hop and R&B groups using this style, over on the west coast, our Mexican-Chola sisters were having a movement of their own. In this culture dark lined lips and beautifully coiffed baby hairs are a staple. Along with the black community, this style in the 90s was all about identity and making our cultures mainstream, not for approval from anyone else, but more of an outcry of the need to be ourselves unapologetically.
These days, with the supersonic boom of embracing nature and all of its glorious history, baby hairs and edges have not fallen to the wayside in the slightest. While some people have seen this trend as wanting to conform to more “straight” styles, resembling “good” hair, we have made it very clear in this day and age that hair is all about personal expression. Everyone’s hair journey is as personal as the hair that is growing out their scalp and now hair is a form of art. Wanting to sculpt your baby hairs into swirls and loops around your face has nothing to do with the color of your skin and everything to do with how you want to present yourself to the world.
The Key To Perfect Edges
Much like the rest of the hair on your head, your edges have to be nourished and cared for with the utmost care. Before you get our handy dandy Edge Defining Utensil brush (or toothbrush) and favorite edge control, you want to be sure that your edges can withstand the manipulation that comes with slaying your edges. Having healthy full edges is solely dependent on how you nourish your hair during wash day and every day styling.
When we mention nourishment, we are referring to the vitamins and proteins the hair needs to stay rigid and maintain just the right amount of moisture so you do not have dry, brittle edges. Dry edges lead to breakage and no one wants to be without edges, even if they don’t regularly lay them down.
The best way to introduce nourishment to your edges and the rest of your hair is regularly deep conditioning your hair. Now your choice of deep conditioner really depends on the state of your hair and what it is really craving. For example, if you find that your hair is needing little more structure to maintain lots of manipulation you may want to go for a protein rich deep conditioner that can add a little more rigidity to your hair structure. Our Restoring Fresh Frozé Treatment Deep Conditioner has the addition of wheat protein which helps the hair shaft grow without splitting and fraying.
Types of Edge Laying
Now that you have nourished the hair at its core, you’ll start to think of how to style your hair and the best way to slay these edges. With the many ways to style our hair, there are also different styles of edge laying. Let’s look at a few.
Soft and Wispy: This type of styling your edges simply consists of brushing your baby hair softly along the natural way they fall. Most of the time you can see this with full frontal wigs or a sloppy bun on the top of the head.
Braided Swoops: One of the most popular ways we see edges displayed is when they are finishing off an amazing braided style. Whether this is box braids, cornrows for crochet braids, you best believe you can find the look accompanied with perfectly swooped edges lining the perimeter of the head.
Water Works: Now this style of edges is characterized by the wave-like shape that sometimes looks like a continuous crash of waves, combining all your edges into one fire looking wave. It’s the perfect addition to a wet and wavy bundle or natural beach waves.
While these are just some options for laying your edges, whatever you choose really depends on whatever you're feeling at that very moment. The ancestors will guide you, don’t worry.
How To Pick an Edge Control
The holy grail of edge styling is the product in which you choose to put the most trust in. The main categories that edge controls have to excel in are: hold, texture and ingredients. These three categories are what can really make or break your edge control decisions so any one with natural hair will tell you that this is what they need. They need an edge control that will hold the style they choose, it won’t leave a sticky residue on your fingers or clothes and has ingredients that will not dry out or break your edges. Que in NaturAll and our line of edge controls.
Since our conception, NaturAll has understood the assignment. We have taken years to perfect a product for your edges that checks off all boxes mentioned while using ingredients and formulas that do not lack integrity or quality. NaturAll has done the research necessary to answer the burning question: What makes a quality edge control?
The answer is, and will always be quality ingredients! We decided that flaxseed gel would be the staple for all of our edge control products. The benefits of flaxseed are plentiful but let's start with the basics. Flaxseed is a superfood rich in omega-3s. Omega 3s are necessary fatty acids that our bodies do not naturally produce so we must find foods rich with this resource. These compounds help prevent heart disease and they’re great for your brain! But they ALSO moisturize, strengthen, and protect hair. They improve elasticity and prevent breakage. People who lack these necessary essential fatty acids may experience dry, brittle hair. Now remember earlier we said edges needed to be nourished? This is what we meant! Many people with natural hair know flaxseed as a DIY gel staple. By itself, you can extract gel from flaxseed and you will have a gel that is top tier in definition and maximum hold.
Now I know you’re probably thinking, “what in the world could make flaxseed even better for my edges?” Well we have also done some research and have the answer for you. Acai berries are a powerhouse ingredient that has been making its debut in a lot of hair care products as well. The natural hair community is always looking for the most natural ingredients that are jam packed with vitamins and minerals that can help repair and nourish the hair when penetrating the hair shaft. Acai is made up of antioxidants that help your hair retain moisture. Retaining moisture helps your hair shaft become smoother which, in return, helps reduce frizz. These properties make acai a perfect match for your flyaways and edges.
These two ingredients in one product are truly a match made in heaven. The intensity that can sometimes come from the strength of flaxseed is balanced by the smoothing, nourishing properties of Acai which create a product that keeps your hair and edges soft while holding them in place. This is why NaturAll decided to present our community with our upgraded line of Smoothing Edge Control Glazes. We wanted to disrupt the taboo of sticky, unruly edge controls and provide a product with hold that will always add nourishment to your edges without drying them out. The best part is when we upgraded our formulas, we included a brown pigmented product that gives our brunette naturals a chance at fuller, smooth looking edges! Our edge controls are given their pigment by all natural and naturally derived mica. Micas are a group of different colored minerals that give a glowy, smoothing effect. Mica is fine which is why we are able to add them to our edge controls and in return their reflective properties give your edges that shining, glazing effect.
Do What Makes You Feel Confident
Listen, there will always be people second guessing and commenting on the ‘trend’ (we say lifestyle really) that is laying and slaying your edges. Some think it is a cry to have ‘straight’, more ‘acceptable’ hair. Some may say that you do not need to slick back your edges to be beautiful. While there is absolutely truth to that, others need to realize that the choices one makes with their hair, natural or not, is simply about how they want to express themselves. Edges are part of our hair and we have to style them right? Why not add a little flare? Why not add a little shine and shimmer? Along with clothing, accessories and makeup, your edges can be just another layer that adds to your personality and identity. Do not ever let anyone else tell you otherwise!