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How to Do Edges on Caucasian Hair | Step-by-Step

Laying edges is a no-brainer for many women of color, but it takes a bit of finesse for white women of Caucasian descent to learn how to do it. This detailed guide should help you lay edges on your Caucasian hair effortlessly.

Doing Edges on Caucasian Hair: A Summary

Whether you like wearing hair in a bun, ponytail, or other hairstyles, you’ll always have baby hairs that need taming. Laying edges helps to tame these hairs giving you a neat, sleek look that complements your hairstyle. So how do you do it?

  • What are edges?
  • History of laying edges
  • Essentials for laying edges
  • How to lay edges on Caucasian hair

What are Edges?

Edges are the short hairs along the hairline region. The hairs are shorter than the rest of the hair: hence the name baby hairs. They hardly grow past a certain length and are finer than the rest of the waves or curls in your hair.

It’s easy to assume that the short hair around the hairline is baby hair, but it could be breakage. Hair breakage is common among women who wear tight, pulled-back hairstyles.

The hair may also be part of laying edges, but reducing heat exposure and switching to protective styles goes a long way in growing out such hair.

History of Laying Edges

Statue of Betty Boop in a parlor for a piece on edges for Caucasian hair

MOSCOW – JAN 21, 2015: Interior American restaurant Beverly Hills Diner in a retro style with a statue of Betty Boop/Pavel L Photo and Video/Shuttertsock

Baby hairs are often associated with people of color of Black and Latina descent. The trend dates back to the 1920s when, Josephine Baker, a famous artist, started styling her edges to complement her flapper look.

In fact, her signature look inspired Betty Boop, a cartoon character, in the 1930s as the trend began to gain traction. The trend re-emerged in the 60s and 70s when celebrities like LaToya Jackson and Bernadette Stains started laying edges in squiggles around their faces.

The emergence of the Civil Rights Movement had black women become bolder at rocking beautiful afros with gelled edges, causing a resurgence.

Slicked edges were still a thing among Black celebrities in the 80s and 90s. However, the trend soon died down thanks to the stigma and perceived unprofessionalism associated with the hairstyle.

Laying edges was suddenly considered unfashionable, and women of color went to great lengths to remove them. However, the wake of the natural hair movement among Black women has caused a resurgence.

And we’re here for it!

The hairstyle has become more solidified over the last five years making baby hairs more recognized. Now laying edges is more of a fashion statement whether you’re Black, Latina, Caucasian, or white.

Essentials for Laying Edges

Laying edges seems a simple task that needs a brush and oil. While it’s true, you need special styling products and supplies to achieve that neat, sleek look while keeping your edges healthy.

Edge Control

Edge Control Gel
KISS Edge Fixer Max Hold 100ml
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An edge control product helps you style baby hairs to the desired shape. It lays the edges neatly, making you achieve the desired style effortlessly. Your hair’s texture determines the type of edge control to use.

Heavier edge control products work well on coarser and curlier Caucasian hair, while lighter products are the best for soft, curly baby hair. A good rule of thumb is to avoid oil or water-based products because they wear off quickly.

Wax and petroleum-based gels last longer, and it would help if you rotated between gels and butter. Shea butter edge control balms contain nourishing oils and provide a decent hold all day.

Edge Control Brush

Edge Control Brush
Kitsch Dual Edge Comb and Brush
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The edge control brush can make or break your edge game. Toothbrushes have been the go-to tools for laying edges, but special edge brushes have been invented to help with the task.

They are designed to manipulate stubborn or resistant baby hairs helping you achieve the desired look.

An edge control brush should have a firm grip for easy application, a brush side made of boar bristles, and a comb side with fine teeth. Regardless, the bristles on the brush side must be straight to achieve flawless strokes when laying the edges.

Scarf

Satin Scarf
35” Large Square Satin Head Scarf
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Getting the edges to stay after laying them is an uphill task for some women; hence the need to wear a scarf. Buy a silk or satin scarf and wrap it around the edges for 20 minutes to ensure the edges are dry. Satin and silk scarves are the best because they prevent friction and frizz.

How to Layer Edges on Caucasian Hair

With the essential supplies, you’re now ready to lay the edges. Here’s how to do it:

Separate the Edges with a Comb

The first step is to separate the baby hair from the rest of the hair. You can use a rat tail comb to slick them down in the direction you want to style them and hold the rest of the hair in a high ponytail, low bun, or topknot.

If your hair is denser and coarser, apply some water to avoid snagging the delicate hairs. In fact, it’s easier to shape the baby hairs while damp. Simply wet the edge brush with lukewarm water, dry off excess water with a towel and brush the edges downward.

Apply the Edge Control

Apply a generous amount of edge control product to the edges for styling. The best way to do it is to apply a dime-sized amount to the brush and start styling.

Be sure to follow it up with a moisturizing product to keep the hairs laid all day. A combination of pomade and gel should layer the hairs pretty well.

Style the Hairs with the Boar Bristles

The natural boar bristles are the best for styling baby hairs. Start by combing the hairs downward, then shape them to the desired style. With so many styles to choose from, it’s easy to find one that complements your facial features and overall hairstyle.

Here are some of them:

  • The wavy pattern: This style is excellent for those who want to go bold. Start by creating a middle part at the center of the hairline and combing the hairs downward. Then shape the edges in a wavy line from the middle part towards the ear. Repeat the process on the other side.
  • The messy chic: This simple yet elegant style gives your baby hairs a red carpet look. Simply sleep with a silk scarf tied over the edges overnight, and your messy edges will be on point.
  • The slicked-back edges: This is another lazy look that doesn’t need much work. You only need to brush the baby hairs back to achieve the look.
  • The soft and subtle edges: This style is perfect for Caucasian women with Type 3A-3C curls. Be sure to apply a generous amount of edge control on the baby hairs and tie a silk scarf for 15-30 minutes to achieve the look.
  • Small curves: To achieve this style, use the comb side to smooth out the strands towards the forehead. Then brush an inch-wide of the baby hairs into a curved shape, allowing them to curl toward the hairline. Repeat the process until all the baby hairs have small curves.
  • Poof and slay: This is the perfect style for Caucasians with 4C hair types who want to keep it natural. You only need to layer the front part of the edges and hold the rest of the hair in a high updo.
  • Water waves: This style completes a beach wave look by creating small crescent moon shapes along your hairline. To achieve the perfect water wave look, the hair should be wet and well-moisturized. Begin by spraying the hair with water lightly and follow it up with a dollop of mousse. Then use the edge brush to create crescent-like patterns.
  • Swirly baby hairs: This is the perfect style to complete a sleek up-do like a bun or high ponytail. Simply brush the baby hairs in sections and curves along the hairline. Then wear a silk scarf to lay them.

Be sure to swap the styles if you’re layering edges every day. The practice strains the edges and may cause breakage if done for a long time. A good rule of thumb is to use loose styles and products with less hold.

Define the Edges

The last step is to define the baby hairs using the pointed tip of the edge brush. The tapered tip doesn’t interfere with the style, and its fineness allows you to add some drama to the style. If necessary, add some gel to the tip.

Apply Hairspray

You may also apply hair spray depending on your hair’s texture and the edge style you want. A freeze spray is convenient as it helps your edges hold longer and perfects the overall style. You can apply it directly on the edges or the tools you use.

Tie the Hair with a Scarf

Wear a scarf for the perfect, sleek look. A silk or satin scarf does an excellent job at keeping the edges frizz-free and laid down throughout the day. Keep the scarf on for 10-20 minutes to allow the style to set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions about laying edges. 

Which is the best edge control for laying edges?

Petroleum and wax-based gels are the best for laying edges. They shouldn’t have too much fragrance or alcohol because they can get aggressive on your hair or skin. Maximum hold gels contain drying alcohols like isopropyl, ethanol, and propanol, which are harsh to the skin and edges.

If they contain alcohol, look out for products that contain fatty alcohols like stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, or cetyl alcohol, as these provide conditioning benefits to your hair.

Should I apply a moisturizer when laying edges?

Moisturizing is necessary if you’re laying your edges frequently because constant manipulation causes the hair to dry out. Applying a light cream or leave-in conditioner before working on the edge control seals in moisture and prevents hair damage.

Do I need to apply heat when laying edges?

Natural hair enthusiasts warn against blow drying edges when laying edges. Baby hairs are pretty delicate and can break easily, especially when heat is applied.

Do hard brushes lay edges as well as soft brushes?

Soft brushes are the best for laying edges on Caucasian hair. The baby hairs are soft and don’t need much grip when styling. If the hair is coarse, mist it with water and apply a generous amount of edge control.

Should I apply gel every day I lay edges?

You must avoid layering on multiple days without cleansing or rinsing the edges. Product buildup causes hair to dry out and break over time.

So, How Do You Layer Edges on Caucasian Hair?

Layering edges on Caucasian hair doesn’t have to be an uphill task. Whether you have coarse or light baby hairs, you can layer edges with good edge control, edge brush, and mirror.

Be sure to apply a generous amount of edge control product and mist the hair to make styling easy. To complete the look, apply freeze spray, and wear a silk or satin scarf to keep the edges neat all day. Happy styling!