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Let’s have a conversation about edges.
For some naturals, they can present a challenge, to put it mildly. Edges must be “laid”, which is just another term for styling. If any celebrity or well-known person shows up with untamed edges, you’ll get everyone’s opinion about it, as Olympic gymnasts Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, sadly, found out.
Here’s the thing: it should go without saying that women can wear their hair and their edges any way they want to. However, it’s okay to be concerned about how your edges look because certain hairstyles indeed draw more attention to that area. Just keep the concern on your own head.
So, why do edges seem to have a mind of their own? Why are they so sensitive? Why do the textures vary so much from the rest of your head? And while edges are typically fine, hence the sensitivity, sometimes they can be quite coarse. What is up with that? Is your hair regimen completely failing you?
Make Healthy Edges a Priority
First, just like there can be varied textures on different parts of your head, your edges can have different textures as well. It’s totally normal. But whatever texture your edges happen to be, always keep them in good shape before thinking about ways to tame them.
“I think it’s important to understand that there is nothing wrong with having diverse textures,” says Portland, Oregon-area natural hair stylist Amber Starks of Conscious Coils. “No matter what texture you have, be gentle and mindful of how much weight and/or tension is added to your edges, i.e., braids, tight ponytails, extensions, wigs, weaves, etc.”
Watch Halfrican Beaute as she shares how to safely lay type 4 natural hair baby hairs/ edges by using jamaican black castor oil & gorilla snot edge control.
Solutions for Edge Control
Looking for the right edge product will involve some experimentation because one thing doesn’t work for everyone. And if your edges are coarse, it’s an even deeper challenge. But don’t let that tempt you to do something you might regret later. Starks recommends temporary solutions, i.e., something that can be easily reversible, such as leave-ins, gels, or a low-setting blow dry after putting in product (but don’t do it often).
“I’m of the school of thought that if something makes you feel beautiful, take agency and feel beautiful,” says Starks. “But I would caution anyone against doing anything permanent like relaxing just the edges. For the most part, hair will grow back if you make a mistake. But relaxing can lead to chemical burns, irreparable damage and may not even achieve your desired outcome.”
Another solution? Just let your edges be. Even if you forego relaxing, sometimes doing too much with styling products can cause damage as well. The fixation on edge control could end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
Whatever you decide, Starks emphasizes doing your own research and being extra wary of anything that looks good on camera. Some of our most popular products for styling edges include Eco Styler gel, Design Essentials Honey and Shea Edge Tamer, The Mane Choice Laid Back Effortlessly Growth Stimulating Edge Control, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Control Paste , and Mielle Organics Flexible Hold Edge Control.
And if you're feeling creative and prefer to make your own, read more on how to make your own all-natural edge control.