Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Videos And Article Excerpts About "Doing Your Baby Hairs" ("Laying Your Edges")

Sonnis Love, Oct. 21, 2019


Arianna _lyfNov 21, 2019

Tired of your edges curling up throughout the day? THIS IS THE VIDEO FOR YOU! **** Edited by Azizi Powell This pancocojams post showcases two YouTube instructional vlogs about "doing your baby hairs (also known as "laying your edges"). This post also presents excerpts from several online articles about this topic. The content of this post is presented for cultural and educational purposes. All copyrights remain with their owners. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the vloggers who presented information about this topic. -snip- Click for the closely related pancocojams post entitled "What "She Snatched My Edges" And "Her Edges Are Snatches" REALLY Mean."

These article excerpts are given in chronological order and are numbered for referencing purposes only. These articles include photographs of Black women with styled baby hair (with their edges layed). Excerpt #1 From ; 12 Inspirational Ways to Style Your Baby Hairs by Andrea Arterbery, June 28, 2016

When Beyoncé declared that she likes her "baby heir with baby hairs and Afros" in the song "Formation," I jumped for joy. Traditionally black and Latina subcultures have been proudly rocking their baby hairs since birth (myself included), so it seems like mainstream culture is finally jumping on the "baby hairs are awesome" bandwagon. But what does it even mean when someone refers to baby hairs?

Baby hairs are those small, very fine, wispy hairs located around the edges of your hair. They can be long, short, or even curly, depending on your hair type and texture. Typically found on children (hence the word "baby"), they can also follow you into adulthood.”…

Excerpt #2
[Pancocojams Editor's Note: WARNING: This article contains some profanity.]

From  Here’s Why People Are Really Annoyed At This Picture Of Lucy Hale, 25 January 2017 | Updated: 8 May 2017
….[baby hair] is a term that carries a lot of cultural significance in black and Hispanic communities*.


What is baby hair?

"Baby hair" is the shorter hair that usually grows from the front part (or "edges") of the hairline. Styling your baby hair is often referred to as "laying your edges" or "slicking" them down, and is effectively styled using an "edge control" product and toothbrush (or other fine styling instrument). "Baby hair" is not exclusive to women of colour, but is most commonly associated with black and latina women of the 80s and 90s.

How can baby hair be considered an act of cultural appropriation?

Hair is a huge cultural signifier for women of colour (especially black women) so, "laying edges" was largely seen as a thing you did if you were from a particular ethnic/cultural background. It was not considered high fashion by trendwatchers of the 90s.

After a brief absence from cultural prominence, baby hair returned as a trend among black women. People like Katy Perry and Rita Ora decided to try out the "baby hair" aesthetic and publications like The Daily Mail started calling it a "hot new trend", hailing white women for pioneering these brave "new" looks."...
*"Hispanic" people can be Black, White, or other races. I believe a better way of saying this is Black people who are Hispanic (Latina/Latinoo) or non-Hispanic (Latina/Latino)

Excerpt #3
From "How We Do: Edges — The Origins of Baby Hair x Baby Tress", June 3, 2019 [no author cited]
"You've slicked down your edges with gel ever since you can remember. Laying them oh-so-carefully with a toothbrush — but when did you start? Why did you start? If you're like me, you can't remember….

For decades, stylized baby hair has become another outlet of creativity for many Black women.


For those of us with tighter curl patterns, slicking down baby hair became a method of “looking presentable.” The waves we created along our foreheads with a toothbrush and styling gel mimicked the wispy waves found along the crowns of women with finer textures that were considered more acceptable. Generations of women became conditioned to the belief that your was not done until your baby hairs were laid. The second coming of the natural hair movement in the mid-2000’s led to conversations against the idea that Black women with tightly textured curls need to "tame" their edges at all.

Having extra short wispy hair around your hairline has historically been considered a trait that mostly women of color possess — a marker of an ethnic identity. While Josephine Baker is the first entertainer on record styling her edges in the ‘20s; 1930’s movie star Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Cansino, famously surgically removed her natural baby hair and pushed her hairline back to pass as a white woman. Decades later, Chola culture that arose from West Coast Mexican-American street culture, adopted the slick decorative gelled down baby hair style, too. Intricate baby hair became just as beloved in Latina and Afro-Latina hair culture as it had become in Black hair history.

Like most things created by Black women, baby hair has recently become trendy in mainstream (read: white) conversations around style and has popped up on white runway models and celebs like Katy Perry and Kylie Jenner. It never fails to look greasy, but that doesn't stop them from trying.

Black women have always been innovative and trend setters as to what's hot in hair.


There’s also the possible long term damage that can occur from doing too much to your hairline. Your edges are the most delicate part of your hair and the process of over-brushing them can be harmful. The baby hair conversation is evolving in such a way that is giving women a choice. Not having to have laid edges all the time gives the hairline a break and prevents traction alopecia and hair loss, which is a great thing for preserving our crowns.

So what is the future of baby hair? If the past has taught us anything it's that Black women have complete autonomy in how we wear our hair and as society shifts, we gain more options of self-expression. To lay down our edges or to let them roam free is a choice left up to us. One thing is for sure, Black women are the architects of baby hair and no amount of appropriation can change that."

Excerpt #4
From  [Detangling Our Roots] The History of Baby Hairs, by Princess Gabbara, August 28, 2019
"Nearly every Black and Latina woman knows the drill when it comes to styling her baby hairs.

Pulling out a jar of gel or pomade and using a tooth brush to slick down those baby hairs before leaving the house for a night out is equivalent to icing on a cake.

Just so we’re clear: Baby hairs are those small, fine-textured hairs that sit along the hairline. They are most commonly found among women of color with textured hair.

Celebrities such as Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, Rihanna and FKA Twigs started embracing theirs in recent years, but Chilli from TLC is often hailed the unofficial baby hairs queen.

However, the styling of baby hairs as we know it seems to have started in the 1970s. LaToya Jackson’s baby hairs were on fleek for much of the decade. And in 1973, Sylvia Robinson, founder and CEO of Sugar Hill Records, can be seen rocking baby hairs on her “Pillow Talk” album cover. Furthermore, Pat Davis and Fawn Quinones slayed their baby hairs as they boogied down on Soul Train.

Thought baby hairs were reserved for the ladies only? No ma’am. If Chilli was the queen of baby hairs, then Ginuwine was the unofficial king.

To quote Salt ‘n Pepa, standing in front of a mirror for long periods of time trying to perfect that swirl was considered “very necessary”.

“Growing up in the eighties and nineties, wearing the latest hair trend, while sporting baby hairs was synonymous with the ‘Fly Girl’ phenomenon,” explains publicist Colleen Gwen Armstrong, who runs the popular Instaglam News account. “Times may have changed, but the ‘Fly Girl’ phenomenon continues as baby hairs continue to represent a symbol of beauty within the Black community.”

So, as you can imagine, Black folks were hella confused when “Pretty Little Liars” actress Lucy Hale, who is White, tweeted a photo of herself with a caption that read: “The time my baby hairs came to good use at a shoot.”


Outrage quickly ensued as the photo circulated online. The problem?

Hale’s “baby hairs” weren’t baby hairs at all.

Followers and non-followers were quick to point out that her “baby hairs” were simply wet wet bangs swept down onto her forehead and how there’s a difference between the two looks."...
Click for a photo of and article about Lucy Hale's "baby hairs".

Excerpt #5
From, "
Baby Hairs: The History of Edges & Edge Control"; August 11, 2020 [no author cited]
If you pay any attention to trends and fashion, you can see black influences everywhere — including hair styles. Laying down edges is a unique staple in black hair style and culture, yet the origin of this hairstyle is unknown to most of us.

For those not in the know, baby hairs are the short hairs growing at the edges of a woman’s hairline (particularly women of color). Laying down edges is the act of styling these baby hairs and gelling them down. Recently baby hair, or more specifically the act of laying down edges have become trendy and is considered fashionable with white celebrities such as Rita Ora and Kylie Jenner gelling down their hair to resemble this style. Always the trendsetters, this historically black hairstyle is becoming mainstream in the fashion world.


A Controversial Start But A Glorious Rebound

Unfortunately, the history of baby hair is rooted in racism. Black people were seen as inferior and so were their features, including kinky hair. Gelling black hair and slicking down edges to imitate straight white hair was a reflection of the European standards of beauty.

Edge control started off as a way to slick the hair down to make it look less kinky. Then finger waves became the new black feminine look of the early 20’s, using heavy product to shape hair at the edgeline into designs. Flappers of the roaring 20’s popularized the look. Baby Esther, the inspiration behind Betty Boop, was famous for her baby hairs that framed her face. Finger waves was a popular style that was meant to create a softer look to the bobbed hairstyles of the flappers.

Women’s fashion was soft and feminine and so was their hair. To try and make edges look soft and feminine black women created various types of hairstyles throughout the early 20th century. More softer looks began to replace highly sculpted hairlines in the 1930’s. Roller set up-do’s became popularized by famous singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday during this time, styling baby hair was still a trend though not as heavily prioritized in the look. Throughout the 40’s and 50’s, black hairstyles evolved into straight and swept back hairlines, the beehives of the 1950’s and hair bumps of the 1960’s. Black women were styling their hair to make it look straight and flat as possible, at least until the 1960’s socio-political Black power movement liberalized black hair from conforming to white beauty standards. Instead black women were encouraged to start embracing their natural hair texture. Afros became normalized and even celebrated as activists and stars like Angela Davis and Nina Simone rocked theirs.

How Edges Changed

Black women began laying down their edges while keeping their kinky fros, the 1970’s created various techniques to style baby hairs such as using toothbrushes or hair bristle brushes to frame their faces. While some black women continued to straighten their hair it was no longer their only option. There was now another beauty standard black women could look to. Celebrities like LaToya Jackson and Bernadette Stanis were both iconic for laying down their edges. Soon edges became an accessory to straightened hair, afros, braids, and all types of black hair. Instead of styling hair to make it look straight, baby hair could be used to accentuate black hairstyles. Baby hairs were taking on a new meaning to women.


Hair is an important element in black culture and makes up a significant part in black history. For a long time, baby hair was part of a niche culture and unique to black women and their history. Laying edges is an art form that highlights the beauty and uniqueness of black hair. This hairstyle was invented during a time when black women did not have many options or resources for taking care of their hair and this style represents the strength and creativity of black women."...

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