The Best Products for Laying Your Edges

Practices and products for that extra touch of glamour.

Megan Thee Stallion arrives at The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City.
(Image credit: Arturo Holmes/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Laying edges is hugely popular for women with natural hair, and is a gorgeous method within the world of Black beauty. But did you know that the sleek style is around a century old? The practice of styling one's soft, short baby hairs spread in the 1920s and was popularized by Josephine Baker, the iconic American-born French performer (who was also a World War II hero and outspoken civil rights activist). The look gained speed in the ensuing decades and persists to this day, particularly among Black women, and is still seen widely on red carpets, in street style, and in beauty editorials. Given how in-vogue this look is, you may be wondering how to achieve the look and which products are best to use.

Therefore, I've asked Taliah Waajid, "the queen of natural hair," for her advice on which products to use to lay your edges and how best to apply them. With these tips and tricks, you'll be channeling your inner Josephine Baker in no time.

Josephine Baker

The iconic Josephine Baker pioneering the edge control trend that's lasted for the past 100 years.

(Image credit: Getty)

How to Lay Edges

As with all haircare practices, when it comes to laying edges, it's important to start with the basics.

"Edge control is a hair care viscous styling gel," explains Waajid. "It's needed to 'control,' smooth, or lay the delicate hair at the edge of the hairline often referred to as 'baby hair.'" From there, baby hairs can be locked into swirls, loops, waves, pinwheels, and even shapes like hearts and circles.

When applying your edge control gel, though, Waajid reminds users to start small and that less is more.

"Do not over apply!" she warns. "One doesn’t need to slather a heavy amount of product on the hairline in order to 'control it'—no matter their texture. Apply to the very edge of the hair and smooth with a thin-toothed comb or brush to achieve a professional look. A little bit goes a long way."

What to Look for In an Edge Control Gel

When it comes to shopping for an edge control gel, you'll want a product that doesn't flake, run, or dry out your hair with harsh or buildup-causing chemicals.

"Look for an edge control that will stand firm against body temperature and will not 'melt' after application," adds Waajid. "With edge controls, formula truly matters. Avoid products with a higher concentration of solids. It's why hair will sometimes will feel hard and crunchy and develop a flaky white residue."

Best Gels for Edge Control

Meet the Expert

Taliah Waajid
Taliah Waajid

Taliah Waajid Brand is a natural hair stylist and cosmetologist with years of experience styling and educating. She created the first complete line of chemical-free natural hair products, Black Earth Products. She also founded the World Natural Hair show and the Taliah Waajid Brand, which carries four collections of hair products made with the health of natural hair in mind.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at