In spite of outdated cultural norms and rampant discrimination, more and more BIPOC are embracing their natural hair. That also means learning to love those baby hairs that pop up along the hairline. Edge-laying, or the process of styling those baby hairs, has become a sought-after skill, with some stylists turning it into an art form. To create an inclusive salon environment, your stylists should know how to handle textured hair — and that includes edge-laying. Here’s how to get started.
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How to Master Edge-Laying and Help Your Clients Love Their Baby Hairs
Styling those baby hairs has become an in-demand art form.
Expand your toolbox
Edge-laying isn’t new, but historically, it’s been a do-it-yourself job involving common household items like toothbrushes and glue. And while we’re no strangers to DIY, it’s good to know that BIPOC and their stylists have way more options these days, like the Edge Styler from Baby Tress. “For generations, Black and Brown women laid their edges using a toothbrush,” according to the Baby Tress website. “We launched Baby Tress in 2018 because we felt that our community deserved more than that. The culture of styling baby hairs isn’t just about hair care — it’s about self-expression and legacy.”
You’ll also want to stock up on moisturizing hair lotion and styling gel (preferably those designed for exactly this purpose). Keep in mind that different hair types may require different products, so you’ll want to have a range of products to accommodate all kinds of textured hair.
Beware of breakage
Baby hairs are typically the finest hairs on your head, which appear around the hairline. This is also where you might find breakage, or hair that’s broken off due to physical damage. They may look similar at first glance, but treating breakage like baby hairs means overlooking their cause, rather than helping clients address the issue.
So how can you tell the difference? According to stylist Miko Branch, “Hair breakage around the edges tends to be random lengths due to damage, has thicker strands, and is less fine.” That damage can be caused by a number of things, including overwashing, harsh brushing, and too-tight styles. If you notice a lot of breakage around a client’s hairline, you’ll want to help them get to the root of the problem — no pun intended.
When it comes to edge-laying, don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Some clients may prefer simple swirls, while others want dramatic swoops accessorised with gemstones, and you should be able to accommodate both. It’s going to take some experience before you’re an edge-laying master, but knowing the basic techniques is a good place to start.
“It's all in the wrist," says celebrity stylist Larry Sims. "It's important for you to have fluidity and looseness in the wrist. What's great about baby hairs is that there are no rules. You can create whatever desired shape and direction with your wrist." Stylist Nai’Vasha suggests “following the hairline's natural shape and finding a pattern that's comfortable for you.” It might be intimidating at first, but with the right tools and a bit of practice, it won’t be long before you’re replicating those red-carpet styles your clients crave.
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