It’s no secret that black folks have a special relationship with their hair. When your hair is coarse and dense with fine curls, you learn how to manage it with the militancy of a general. You want to check on every single strand to make sure it’s living up to its full potential. One common dilemma for thicker, coarser hair of any ethnicity is trying to smooth down baby hairs and avoid frizz at the hairline. The fine hair around our edges is fragile and prone to breakage. Personally, I react to the word breakage the same way I react to the word fire being shouted: Where?! How?!
According to hair loss clinic His Hair Clinic, everyone has two different types of textures: The finer vellus hair of our arms and the coarser terminal hair of our pubes, scalps, and armpit hair. Both types can be found on our heads to varying degrees. For some of us, there is a border around the hairline where terminal hair mixes with vellus hair. As Dove expert hairstylist Gretchen Monahan explained to Oprah.com, that baby hair is finer than the rest of your hair and doesn’t grow very long before it falls out. That’s because vellus hair, like most of our body hair, has the lifespan of six months. Those baby hairs aren’t going to get as long as the rest of your hair, but they still need a lil extra to keep from breaking.
Whether it’s an up-do, blowout, or braids, there's a reason why these three age-old tricks for smoothing baby hairs is so popular. They are super easy to perform and super easy on your precious baby hairs. These three methods for laying baby hair down will help ensure there’s no frizz on your watch.
1. Rat Tail Comb & Oil Method
The rat tail comb is hands-down one of the best hair inventions of all time: Not only is it commonly considered the preferred method for parting kinky hair, but its fine teeth can be perfect for smoothing and styling baby hairs.
To smooth and style my own 'do, I put a combination of flaxseed and grapeseed oil in a tinted vial with a dropper to easily apply a controlled amount of oil to my edges. My oil choice relies solely on my hair’s needs: Grapeseed is pretty lightweight which is ideal for me since it will be distributed along the oil-prone skin on my face. The flaxseed is rich in vitamin E and my baby hairs could always use some support to prevent breakage. Take the rat tail comb and make a zig-zag with the baby hairs on each side of your temples and viola! You’re good to go.
2. Toothbrush & Cream Method
My personal favorite method uses a tool we’re all familiar with: the toothbrush. Do not attempt to use the same brush you use to clean your teeth; instead, purchase a simple toothbrush with soft bristles. Apply a styling cream (my favorite is a homemade water-based cream with mango butter, avocado oil, and coconut oil) directly on your brush and zig-zag away on each side of your temple. The brush method works even better on my baby hairs than the rat-tail because the amount of bristles catches all the hair in one swift motion.
3. Fingers & Water Method
If you have two hands, then you have two sets of combs. Anyone who finger detangles knows exactly how great our fingers can be when it comes to hair styling. This method is literally the cheapest and you can easily get the hang of it after a few days of practice.
I like to spritz my hairline directly with a spray bottle filled with distilled water. Next, I simply take my index and middle finger, making an S motion on each side of my temple. Smooth down your hair until it dries with a satin/silk scarf to avoid frizzies; you can wash your face, brush your teeth, have some coffee, then take off your scarf. If you’re short on time or short on moisture, add a small amount of leave-in conditioner to your spray bottle before smoothing with your fingers and you should be able to forgo the satin scarf and the frizzies.
With these three methods for smoothing down baby hair, it’s no wonder my ‘do’s are looking more and more grown up.