obsessive tester

The Absolute Best Edge-Control Products for Baby Hairs

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers

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One of the most beautiful things about Black hair is its range. From coily natural curls to silky weaves to waist-length braids to sleek relaxers, Black hair can do it all. And for Black hair to do it all, there’s one product helping to make those dreams possible: edge control.

Whether you like to swoop and style your baby hairs or slick your edges down, finding the right edge control requires time. A shelf in the beauty-supply store can be overwhelming and filled with hundreds of options. In my own personal journey for the right edge control, I didn’t know what would work for my hair texture and not leave me with flaky or greasy edges. Discovering that pomade acne was a thing didn’t help.


How do you find the right edge control for your type of hair?

Not every edge control works for everyone because our hair textures can be so different. That uniqueness is also what makes Black beauty so complex and alluring. First, you must identify your hair type; if you have thicker hair, you may want to go with a product that has a stronger hold and vice versa; if you have thin hair, you may want to go with a product with a lighter hold.

What makes a good edge control?

A good edge-control product won’t weigh down, flake, or worse, damage your hair.

What’s the difference between gel and an edge-control product?

While a gel can be used as an edge control, they are not the same. Edge-control products are usually thicker and formulated to tame the baby hairs around your hairline, versus a gel that can be used to slick hair back or add texture, body, or shine.

Now, grab your best edge brush or toothbrush (the true hack to styling baby hairs) and try some of the very best edge controls.

A Long-Lasting Option

Ebin 24 Hour Edge Tamer

When they say extreme hold, they mean it. Ebin is one of the best edge controls I’ve tried. This one even lasts me through my intense, sweaty workouts.

The Best Shine

Tracee Ellis Ross recently created more products for Pattern, one being a pomade with a great hold that doesn’t leave you with a white residue after a few hours. It also doesn’t have an overly greasy finish. To top it off, it has the signature Pattern fragrance.

If You Prefer a Water-Based Option

Water-based edge controls can cause softer hair textures to curl up and have a short-lived wear, but Style Factor has become a beauty-supply-store staple for its ability to firmly lay edges for a sleek look. A little goes a long way. Using too much can leave a white residue, so there’s no need to slap a huge amount onto your hair.

The OG Hair Gel

Eco Styler Gel has been around for ages. It’s not quite an edge control, but it’s a multipurpose gel that always gets the job done. For as long as I can remember, it’s been the unofficial sealant to my baby hairs. I remember Eco Style being on the shelf for tightening up braids as a child. Now I apply it over edge control so that my baby hairs don’t have a hard appearance.

The Popular Go-To

Hicks’ has been beloved for years by editors, hairstylists, and influencers for its shiny and nonsticky finish while having a firm hold on edges. As someone with combination skin, it doesn’t combine well for me and often leaves me a bit greasy, but other reviewers are always amazed at the flawless finish and its lack of residue.

Best for Curls

This paste is made for curls, with a sculpting edge control that gets every swoop and swirl. Because it’s lightweight, it doesn’t weigh down curls and is great for keeping your edges soft, especially if you want your baby hairs to blend with your curly styles.

Best for Laying Lace

Remember Tessica Brown, best known on the internet as “Gorilla Glue Girl”? Here’s what she actually should’ve been using. This tackylike gel was originally created to be a holding gel for spiky hair, but it’s just as effective for laying the lace on wigs and weaves for a long-lasting hold.

Best for Flyaways

Wax sticks gained their fame with hairstylists because of the sheen they leave on hair, along with the ability to instantly lay down flyaways. Whether you have frizzy edges or just want to catch those stubborn random pieces, this stick is a must-have for your purse at all times.

Best for Dry Hair

Leave it up to Carol’s Daughter to formulate a pomade that not only keeps edges in place, but also nourishes and moisturizes the tiny hairs. Infused with shea butter and cocoa butter, this product not only strengthens the hair, but also works to control frizz and leaves a soft and shiny finish.

Best for Hold

This residue- and flake-free gel provides all-day hold and not just on your edges. You can use this to easily slick every hair down into a sleek ponytail and refresh the style with water the next day.

Best Smelling

At just under $5, you can grab one of every fruity scent and it provides decent hold and a good amount of product for the price point. We’d recommend starting with a small amount of product to prevent buildup and residue.

Another Scented Option

While this is another option that smells lovely, it also provides a good amount of hold without residue. The pomadelike formula adds extra shine and will keep your baby hairs under control without damaging them or gluing them into place.

Best for Soft Hold

Look, we love our baby hairs slicked down into place, but sometimes you want a look and feel that’s a little lighter. So, if you love the look of soft and fluffy baby hairs, this is for you. The lightweight formula adds a little shine while lightly shaping your hair. The formula features shea butter and castor oil and feels nourishing not sticky or gluelike. This also smells very good, with notes of coconut and sandalwood.

The Absolute Best Edge-Control Products for Baby Hairs