Edge Control for Sleek Ponytails, Cornrows and More

Smooth edges and expertly laid baby hairs are the key to perfectly pulled-back hairstyles.

Woman with cornrows in bun,
Slay your edges with these products.Godisable Jacob, Pexels

If you’ve tuned-in to your favorite hair vloggers for ways to achieve the perfect ponytail or to tame annoying flyaways when you’re wearing braids, you’ve undoubtedly seen them use the tried-and-true brush and edge control combo. If not, let this be your formal introduction to many stylists’ not-so-secret weapon. Whether your hair is chemically straightened, pressed or in its natural state, edge control is helpful in achieving the perfect pull-back. There’s a wide variety of products available for different purposes, different textures and with multiple levels of hold. Some are labeled as edge control, while others are gels, gelées or pomades. No matter what product you choose for which styles, remember that your edges are one of the most vulnerable parts of your hairline, so handle them with care.

Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste, 4 Ounces
A medium hold product that smells good and doesn’t leave white residue is essential.Curls

Some days, you want to smooth back the front of your hair and don a wave cap before going to bed, so you can wake up with basic bun or ponytail-ready hair. Other days, you may decide to rock your natural curls with a pretty headband. Then there are times that call for faux-hawks, twist-ups or cute up-dos. If you frequently switch up your style, you need a product that does it all. Bonus points if it has ingredients that moisturize hair or encourage growth. Also, be sure to give new products a test run before taking them out on the town to make sure they don’t leave a white residue or get flaky when they dry.

ECO Styler Professional Styling Gel, Olive Oil, Max Hold 10, 16 oz
For box braids, cornrows, weaves or wigs, products that help relieve itching are a win.ECOCO

When your hair is braided—whether the braids are visible or under a weave or wig—and you need to keep your edges and roots smooth, it’s important to use a product with fairly strong hold. It also helps to select one that’s made with anti-itch effects and ingredients, like olive oil, that help your hair and scalp maintain moisture. New growth also presents a set of challenges, but dampening your hair and applying a no-residue gel before tying your hair down for the night can help extend the life of braided styles.

Ebin 24 Hour Edge Tamer Extreme Firm Hold 8.25oz - Family Size
Sleek styles with staying power and sculpted baby hairs require high-powered products.EBIN

Those who have seriously slicked-back ponytails or braids may opt to have the delicate strands around their hairline (better known as baby hairs) sculpted into squiggles or waves. For some, it actually offers a bit of protection from pulling them too tight. The only way to accomplish these styles is by using a gel with extra strong hold that doesn’t leave hair feeling hard or oily. It’s even better if the product helps promote shine. For best results, dampen the hair, apply gel and use an edge control tool and/or brush to create the desired style.

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