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14 Pros + Cons of Edge Control (Explained)

AI illustration of hair edges close up

Edge control is a hair product that usually comes in a 2-7 ounce jar. It's specifically designed for your edges (the hair that frames your face) and commonly used for touching up an old style or finishing a new look. The goal of an edge control is often a smooth, sleek and frizz-free style that lasts for the entire day.

Below are common pros and cons:



  • nourish edges

  • can be greasy or gummy

  • can be used for braids

  • dries edges out

  • only need a little

  • lint collectors

  • smells amazing

  • hard to wash out

  • naturally blends hair

  • flakes and/or clumps

  • won't revert hair

  • allergic reactions

  • strong pliable hold

  • leaves residue

What Is The Best Edge Control?

The best edge control will depend on your texture, hair needs, and hair style. For example, an edge control that works perfect on curly hair, may be too moist for a silk press. Below are the best edge controls according to our readers, Amazon customers, and YouTubers:

Is Edge Control Bad For Your Hair?

Some edge controls can cause buildup, clog pores, and lead to breakage if not properly washed out. Pulling or tugging at the hair can also damage it. To protect your edges, it's important to choose edge control products that are gentle, nourishing, and non-irritating. If you happen to come across a product that is too drying, or too greasy, or clumps in your hair -- keep searching until you find one that gives you your desired hold and look. As long as you're easy on your edges and gentle with your hairline, your baby hairs will stay happy and healthy!

Why Do Some Edge Controls Leave White Clumps In Your Hair?

Some edge controls can leave white clumps when mixed with other products. This is why many brands have product lines that compliment each other. But this doesn't mean you can't mix and match products. It may mean the ones you're choosing do not mix well.

You can test product compatibility by rubbing a tiny amount of each product in the palm of your hand. Look to see if there are any abnormal reactions (for example, clumping or color changing). Signs that the products are okay to mix is if they smoothly blend together.

Also, remember to apply edge control on stripped (not just clean) hair. This may require two or three washes depending on your hair's previous condition and the products you previously used. For example, if you use a super moisturizing conditioner, any hint of leftover oil after rinsing the product out can cause an edge control to clump.

How Long Do Edge Controls Last?

An edge control can last for less than an hour to several days. The longevity depends on the product's compatibility with your hair and style, how the edges are maintained, the air's humidity, as well as how often you sweat. For example, an edge control may work perfectly in Texas, but be ineffective if that same person wears it in Florida.

Can You Reapply Edge Control?

Yes! Just remember less is best. This means lightly dabbing the product with your finger tip. That should be enough product per section. You can also choose to not apply any more product. Instead wet an edge brush to reactivate the edge control and tie the hairs down with a silk/satin scarf for 10-20 minutes (or until the hairline has fully dried).

What Is The Difference Between Edge Control And Hair Gel?

Edge control is specifically designed for the hairline of the face. It's intentionally thicker than gel, so that you can style these fine hairs with as little product as possible. On the other hand, hair gel often comes in larger quantities because it's used all over the head. Despite these differences, you can totally use your go-to gel as an edge control.

Please know, some brands make gel specifically for the edges, which they call edge gel. There are also edge waxes, edge oils, edge treatments, and edge creams.

What Is The Difference Between Edge Control And Hair Wax?

An edge wax is thicker, typically has a stronger hold, and may be harder to remove compared to other products designed for your hairline. Some waxes may require you heat them with a blow dryer. This allows the wax to melt so that it is easier to remove.

Are Their Oil-Based Edge Controls ?

The first ingredient in most edge controls is water. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) cosmetics should list ingredients in descending order by amount. This means that water is the most prevalent ingredient even if the product feels oily.

If you're looking for an oil-based edge control, we love this product. It's a multi-purpose paste that can be used to support dry skin and to fade stretch marks; which is why you may not find it if you search for edge controls. Its only ingredient is castor seed oil, but it has a sticky and super thick consistency that definitely lays down the hairs that frame the face. Since there are no added fragrances, it smells earthy -- instead of fruity or sweet. You can read good and bad reviews from customers here. In the end, it's the best natural edge control we've tried that also nourishes your edges.

Why Does Edge Control Itch?

Edge control shouldn't itch. If you've applied your product to clean hair, and your head is solely itching at the hairline (where the product has been applied), this could be a sign that you're allergic. Allergy tests where you apply a little product on your wrist or the crease of your elbow don't always work in predicting allergic reactions, because those areas are different from the skin on your face. This means that you may not realize you are allergic to the edge control until you actually apply it to your hairline. If you experience any itching, we think it's best to discontinue use and find another product (or none at all). Hair product allergies can progress to other issues rashes, burns, and/or visible scars.

Why Does Edge Control Not Work?

Finding the right product can be frustrating at times. While there can be several reasons why the edge control is not working, please do not let this discourage you. I asked AI (artificial intelligence) this question too, and one of their responses was that your edges may be dry or damaged. I don't want you thinking anything is wrong with your hair. It's easy to see someone else style their baby hair and think yours can look the same way. The most beautiful styles (in our opinion) is when you embrace the natural beauty you are born with. Please know there are plenty of styles that look absolutely gorgeous without touching up the edges. Keep experimenting with your hair until you find the style and routine that makes you feel the most beautiful.

Until next time…

Love The Journey,

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