Laid edges. Slick edges. Edges on fleek. We’ve heard it all when it comes to styling our baby hairs. Even Beyonce sang in ‘Formation’ back in 2016, ‘I like my baby’s hair with baby hair and afro’. It seems as though baby hair has been a part of Black culture for as long as we can remember, but we can trace it back to first being spotted on Josephine Baker, the phenomenal dancer, activist and entertainer of the 1920s. Nearly all black women know about whipping out a toothbrush, some gel and pomade to style their edges.
There’s been a long standing debate in the natural hair community about if styling and slicking down your baby hairs is adhering to Eurocentric beauty standards. Many naturalistas believe that they should wear their edges as they grow. Their argument is that our hair grows upwards, so why should we try to tame them or go against that?
Other naturalistas believe that it’s all fun and games, and it’s just a part of styling hair as you would do a twist-out, braids or any other style on your hair. For us, freedom for each of us to express ourselves however we see fit is key: If you want to slick your edges, go ahead sis, and if you choose to opt-out, good on you! Black women and Latino women created the slicking edges down for themselves and have used it as a powerful tool for self-expression, identity and – it’s ours to claim.
Although we can’t exactly say Josephine Baker ‘slicked her edges’ down the way we do today, her hair style was reminiscent of the style. She wore a short 1920s flapper cut that had beautiful swirls towards the front of her head. Towards the 1950s, women wore updos with swoops, and pinned curls, however the front of the hairstyles usually consisted of combed-forward flat edges. This era was also the beginning of weaves and hair extensions as we know them today.
The 50s and 60s was all about natural, kinky afors, although in the 80s with the increased popularity of the jerry curl having edges that curled was in vogue. And we all know the 90s and early 2000s really solidified the widespread popularity of baby hairs with the likes of Chili from TLC, Aaliyah and many more iconic women taking part in it. Fast forward to now and baby hairs are a universal part of black culture, and like all good things from us, it has suffered its fair share of cultural appropriation.
There are a myriad of ways you can style your baby hairs: from swirls, to swoops, to simple curls. Check out this tutorial by Tiffany J on a highly stylised way to rock your baby hairs that speaks to our culture. Black and proud!
Although styling baby hairs is a beautiful art form, doing it constantly without prepping your hair properly can definitely lead to damaging your edges. From the wear and tear from the bristles of your edges brush or toothbrush, to the preservatives and chemicals and gels and pomades, your baby hairs need to be protected. Preparing your baby hairs for this is all about hair care. It’s about giving your hair the nutrients, and balance of moisture and protein it needs to stay healthy – even when styled. A staple and necessary part of every hair care regimen should be hair masks and deep conditioning.
Right now, if you purchase our #DEARBLACKGIRL kit along with our Onion & Garlic Thickening Ayurvedic Herb Hair Oil, we’ll donate 15% of the profits towards building other black businesses across the country that have been hit hard during this time. For us, putting the black dollar back into our community is essential, and we’re proud to be making the commitment to do so.
Our #DEARBLACKGIRL kit is a superstar collection, and it works great for all porosities. It features our Chebe Powder Growth Hair Mask, Ultra Nourishing Guacamole Hair Mask and Golden Sea Buckthorne Shine & Moisture Hair Butter, and works to repair damaged hair, treat split ends, promote volume and thickness, as well as seal in moisture. All things you’ll need if you’re going to be styling your baby hairs.
If you’re low porosity, we recommend using the Chebe mask only once every 4-6 weeks as it is a source of protein, and if you’re high porosity, we recommend it for no more than twice a month. The Chebe mask promotes hair growth, deep conditions and locks in moisture and the Guacamole Hair Mask restores damaged hair, treats split ends, moisturizes and strengthens hair.
If you use any of our masks, please post and tag us with @BELLEBARORGANIC and use the hashtag #RESPECTMYCROWN. We’d love to see your results!