When styling your hair, there’s one step that takes the look to the next level: Doing your edges. Styling “baby hairs” specifically, which can actually be breakage, adds a sleek touch to a lot of styles. This step is not necessary but the styling of baby hairs creates a certain “look,” allowing you to form a design that frames your face and acts almost as an accessory to your hairstyle.
“To an expert, baby hairs are extra hairs around the hairline that are thinner, finer, and shorter,” celebrity hairstylist Kiyah Wright tells Teen Vogue. For Black women especially, the styling of baby hairs is a part of our culture. We grow up with our parents using toothbrushes to slick down those tiny hairs and growing into adulthood and wanting to swoop and style baby hairs as effortlessly as possible. The slicking and swooping add another layer to the hairstyle, and the sleekness it provides is the finishing touch you’re often looking for.
Using a toothbrush has been a long-time hack in the beauty world to slick baby hairs down but, in 2018, Baby Tress launched. Baby Tress is an Edge Styler® tool to make laying edges less challenging. “For generations, Black and Latinx women have been laying their edges using a toothbrush. We launched Baby Tress because we felt that our communities deserved more than that. Our mission has always been to correct how underrepresented women of color are in the beauty industry, and we’re here to do that by equipping women of color with the tools they need to elevate their beauty rituals,” co-founder Shannon Kennard tells Teen Vogue.
The Baby Tress tool design process was “rooted in creating an object that not only honors the legacy of our hair but would perform best for slicking baby hairs.” Baby Tress is a multi-use tool that combines every tool in one, from the comb to separate edges to brush bristles to lay them.
One of the best parts about using this tool – or laying edges, in general – is that it’s easy (after a few tries) and only takes a few steps. Just remember, whatever you do, don’t take matters into your own hands when you’re out of edge control or any other hair product (yes, we are referring to Gorilla Glue like Tiktoker Tessica Brown.) We may go to extreme lengths for beauty, but there are so many products and tips and tricks out there that will grant us the sleek results we want without any long-term damage to our hair follicles or scalp. Here, Shannon gives us four golden steps to lay our edges effectively and effortlessly:
1. Slick and separate edges using a comb
For starters, you always want to separate your edges from your hair and slick them down. Use a comb to comb these hairs out and slick them down in the direction you’d like to style them. Make sure you use a comb that won’t snag on the hairs and cause further damage and use water if needed.
2. Swoop and create shapes using the natural boar bristles
Now comes the fun part: Swooping and styling! Creating the shape of your swoops should be natural to your hairline and you should use the natural bristles on an edge brush. While creating the shape, use an edge control of your choice to mold the hair into the swooping shape. Choosing between a lighter or heavier edge control is solely based on the texture of your hair. “The thing about soft curly hair is that it’s the easiest hair texture to use edge control on,” Kiyah says. However, for coarser hair, heavier edge control is needed.