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Laying Edges: How To & History
December 01, 2021
how to

Laying Edges: How To & History

Edges may seem like a modern trend for baby hair aficionados, but the art of laying edges dates back to the 1920s. Edges are the baby hairs at the edge of the hair line, styled with gel or pomade to “lay” them down to the skin, creating a sculptural design. The legendary performer Josephine Baker was a pioneer of the style who donned artful slicked-back short hair with thick laid edges as early as 1923. Like many iconic styles, edges are a staple in black and brown hairstyling and culture. It remains prominent throughout the decades, evolving through the years with modern iterations.


Although edges have risen to it-girl stardom, its roots derive from racial oppression. Black and brown people would use styling products to slick back their hair to hide their beautiful naturally curly hair and conform to European beauty standards. Precisely 100 years later, we’re living in an age that celebrates natural hair of all shapes and sizes. 


The 20s and 30s are famous for the iconic finger waves and edges styling of the era. Even cartoon icon Betty Boop dons baby hairs, inspired by black American performer Baby Esther. From the 1990s to now, edges have made a significant comeback in trends, donning the manes of the music industry, film, and television. 


So, what’s the key to perfect edges?


First, section out your baby hairs with a fine-tooth comb. Failing to do so merges your long hair with your baby hair, creating a fussy styling process. Comb the hairs in the direction you want to lay the edges down. 


Slick the hairs down and create a swoop or a pattern using a combination of a toothbrush and a fine-tooth comb. A combination of gel and pomade is typically preferred. We suggest adding OLAPLEX Nº.6 Bond Smoother to the product cocktail to ensure these delicate baby hairs stay healthy and moisturized while decreasing frizz. Baby hairs are incredibly susceptible to damage; treating them with OLAPLEX bond-building helps avoid unnecessary damage. 


Once you have slicked your pattern down, define and fine-tune the details by shaping and adjusting them with pintail comb. This is the last step, but you may choose to spritz hair spray on the edges for extra hold!


Hair is the art form to express and individualize oneself, especially in black and brown cultures. Once a style of conformity is now a statement to express oneself to the world. 

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