I admit it. I’m a fan of laid edges. I like my edges to be LAID hunty. Laid. But I’m not a fan of buildup, flakes… and breakage. (If you have experienced breakage or hair loss around your edges, here are some tips for regrowth.) I’ve hated gel since the finger waves of the 90s. You remember them. People would rock them for weeks: dried, flaky, crispy, and damaged. Can you sense my disdain? So whether I’m rocking a puff, an updo, or a twist out, I rely on safe methods for taming edges. With that said, here are the steps I follow to tame my edges:
Spritz Hair With Water
The first step in laid edges is water. I always spritz my hair lightly with water first. The key is to slightly dampen the hair, but not make it too wet. Remember: natural hair forms to whatever shape it dries into. So if you start with slightly dampened hair, it will form into a sleeker style.
Use a Hair Butter, Hair Milk, or “Alcohol-Free” Gel
Many people believe that the only way to get sleek edges is to use gel. Although gel will provide the most hold, you can also try other products as well. If you choose to use gel, try an “[bad] alcohol-free gel” that won’t dry your hair. (Good, fatty alcohols — stearyl, cetyl, cetearyl, laurel, myristyl, behenyl — provide moisture. But avoid drying alcohols like ethanol, propanol, propyl, isopropyl, and isobutane.) Ecostyler Gel is a favorite among women with natural hair.
As an alternative to gel, I use hair butter. After spritzing my hair with water, I found that using a hair butter provides lots of hold without buildup. My butter of choice for my edges is Jane Carter Nourish and Shine. Although the jar only holds 4 oz., a little goes a long way. My jars always last a couple of months. Another option, for women with finer textured hair, is hair milk. To hold my one-year old’s hair, I use hair milk.
Tie Your Head Until it Dries
Once you spritz your hair and use your product of choice, the final step is to tie your edges down with a silk or satin scarf until it dries. If you only slightly dampened your hair, it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for them to dry. Because I am a busy mom, I usually do my hair first then get the girls ready. Then, I either take off my head tie before I leave the house — or before I get out the car at work.
Buy Satin Headscarf
With these three steps, you can smooth your edges without damaging them. It is important to note that you should remember not to pull your hair too tight, nor should you wear the same style the same way over a period of time. Even with appropriate products, the tension will cause traction alopecia.
What are your tips for laying your edges?