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Curly Nikki

How to Get Sleek Edges…No Gel…No Brush

By January 27th, 202147 Comments

How to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No Brush
Hola Chicas!

I’m re-posting the article below. After the Super Cute Headband blog, I received an influx of emails asking how I achieved my smooth edges, and this routine, unlike most, is one that has not changed (can you believe it?!). After you’re done reading, leave a comment detailing how you get your edges smooth!

So yesterday evening, I was feeling like a frizz monster, and knew that I’d probably end up pulling my TnC into a pony or bun the following morning. I usually lack this foresight, as I turn into a pumpkin after 9pm, and my edges end up FUZZY…which is okay some days, but every now and then, I want a sleeker look! Here’s what I did:

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  1. I gathered and secured my hair on top of my head using a scrunchy. I used only my 10 digits to do the job–no brush, no comb.
  2. I then took a bit of Shea butter, melted it between my palms, and generously applied it to my edges. 
  3. Finally, I put on a scarf, and went to bed.
  4. In the morning, I removed the scarf to reveal smooth, frizz free edges!


How to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No BrushHow to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No BrushHow to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No Brush
Unlike with gel, my hair is not stiff or flaky. I have the control I need with a softer, more natural look. It’s the best of both worlds! This method is low stress on your edges– you’re not using tools, and you don’t have to pull them tight to get that sleek/smooth effect.


How to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No BrushHow to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No Brush
Of course, being the indecisive person I am, I changed my mind at the last minute, and took my hair down (not before attempting to jazz it up a bit, lol). I was surprised to find it still fluffy, and defined (albeit frizzy, lol). I liked the look and decided to rock it out again!

How to Get Sleek Edges...No Gel...No Brush
Moral of the story… apparently, pineappling (sleeping in a high loose pony to preserve curls) works for me! Go figure. Also, if you want a sleek pony or bun with out stressing your edges, try my Shea butter technique, and start the process the night before–or at least 30 minutes before you need to leave the house. Let the scarf and shea do the work :~)

Sometimes, if my edges are particularly fuzzy, I’ll wet my hands, smooth my edges and crown, and then apply the shea butter. I’ve also found pure Aloe Vera Jelly (used in the same way as the shea) to be very effective, it just provides a harder hold… but the shine is unmatched! Also, I bet Castor Oil or butters similar in consistency in pure Shea would work just as well (i.e. Mango Butter).

Later Gators,

This post was originally published in August 2009 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.


  • Unknown says:

    I Use CASTOR Oil and WATER On My EDGEs TO LAY Them… DOWN!!!!

  • Sydney says:

    I use Miss Jessie's baby buttercreme and it smoothes my edges like a dream. I'll have to try the shea butter technique. I'm sure it will work. Satin scarves and a lil product= amazing edges.

  • Kimmie says:

    so you telling me that Shea butter works on your edges ???

  • MsMahogany38 says:

    I need something for those stubborn edges that refuse to lie down, lol! Mine won't cooperate.

  • hair straightener for wet hair says:

    Many Gels have side effect that they made your hair color white.. Is it the same as others?

  • Unknown says:

    Shea butter (or any shea butter based product, cantu anyone?) doesn't seem to work for my hair. It leaves a white residue, doesn't seem to "soak in", and makes my edges stiff and dull. But I was determined to get those sleek moisturizer edges! What works wonders for me is aloe vera gel and jojoba oil. I smooth the aloe vera on and it seems to really moisturize my edges then I seal it in with jojoba oil. Tie it down and even just 20 minutes later I have shiny soft smooth edges. I've used the same two products for braid outs and get incredible shiny soft results that hold up.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tips. I'm 6 months post relaxer and my hair is now in a semi-natural state. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good temporary hair colour rinse to use to cover the grays,

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok that's good Nikki/Anyone but what about frizzy gray-tinged edges! Mine use to lay so well before the gray even when it was touch up time.

  • Anonymous says:

    Where do you get your raw pure shea butter from?

  • Anonymous says:

    I use castor oil on my edges. Works wonders and traps moisture. :)

  • Anonymous says:

    I went home and tried this on my edges. I am currently transitioning with senegalese twists and my edges look so much better and my hair is soft. Thanks for the tip

  • MsChris8 says:

    To lay down my edges, I usually spray a little water on them and then apply shea butter and brush them down. Sometimes instead of water I apply a little aloe vera gel and then shea butter for a stronger hold. I always put on a scarf afterwards for at least 30 min.

  • Cynthia says:

    Well…since i'm pretty low maintenance and live in protective styles. I typically use a butter to smooth my edges down.

    This week, I have my hair in two frenchbraids (i don't know how great they look and am so tired that i don't care). To smooth my edges for the frenchbraids I:

    1.) took about a grape-sized dollop of afroveda's cocolatte moisture mask, rubbed it in the palm of my hands, applied to one side of my hair and worked through with fingers.

    2.) after braiding, i took a dime sized amount and smoothed it along the hairline, put a satin headband on and my sleep bonnet and that's it.

    3.) the next morning, it laid flat…so far i've had my hair in frenchbraids for 3 days and i've just sprayed a little darcy's botanical leave in on my hair and tied it down before i went to bed.

    ** eco styler is a decent substitute, but i don't use gels too often. i used to use the Elasta Glaze, but the smell makes me sick combined with the heat.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sweet tip! Thanks for dropping knowledge. Haven't tried the straight castor oil yet, but it's definitely on my wish list. Truly appreciate the info about Oyin, Butters & Bars, and the Cassia. My hair and skin love it. Products aren't always easy for me to find that agree with my skin, and I really appreciate your blog. BTW your headband is awesome. Live, Love, Peace. ~ Sweetsop

  • Anonymous says:

    I've always used gel to lay down those edges. BTW my edges are very thin because of this. However, I used this technique last night and it worked wonderfully! I'll be using it from now on! Thanks Nik.

  • LittleOne says:

    Thanks for revisiting this topic Nikki! I tried the raw shea butter thing a while ago, but my edges never looked as good as yours. I realized after looking at these pics again, I wasn't using enough! I've since run out of shea butter, but this morning I used castor oil and a little water and tied down. 30 minutes later = awesome!

  • Moniero says:

    Cute….and I need to find that headband!

  • GA_Girl says:

    This is a good tip. Your hair looks great! I usually lay my edges down with Carol's Daughter loc butter & a scarf. It has a soft consistency making it easy for me just to get a little bit and a little goes a long way. I'll have to try the shea butter, but since it's so hot and I can be heavy handed, I've been hesitant to use it anywhere near my face/scalp.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oooh Nikki, Im soooo glad that you posted this because the day I read your post about the new headband, I was thinking to myself "man I wish my edges would lay like that!" I was going to ask you what your technique was, but now I don't have to! Thanks soooo much for posting this! Im definitely going to give it a try!


  • Shalonda says:

    when I wear a puff or my hair pulled back I use Castor Oil. A little goes a long way and it hold my edges down really good.

  • npmoore04 says:

    I've always been a water only girl when it comes to my edges. Slick my hair down with water and and scarf and take it off in the morning. I just added ecostyler and water to lay it down this year. I also use my hands only method as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki! please tell us what kind of Shea Butter did you use and where to get it thanks so much your hair is beautiful.

  • Courtney says:

    This works! I was pleasantly suprised that I no longer have to use my IC gel anymore to slick down my edges. CurlyNikki, you're the best!

  • Anonymous says:

    It worked for me too! Nikki, your tips are priceless. Keep 'em coming!

  • keisha says:

    this really works! i'm surprised that my unruly edges actually behave. it's saved me from having to retwist the front of my style…

  • Maria says:

    I bought unrefined natural shea butter and I thought I wasn't going to like the smell, but I don't mind it. Last night I put my hair in a bun and put some shea butter on it. I tried putting on a scarf but the one I have just won't work (has elastic and too tight). So this morning I woke up and wet my hair in the front, redid the bun, and just brushed back my edges. My hair is fierce and the shea butter is so awesome that my hair looks like its slicked back with gel. So nice to see we can have so many healthy alternatives. Thanks again Nikki!

  • Kourtney says:

    Thank you!!! My edges are so smooth.
    I've been desperate to find a way to preserve my TnC at night, and also when I exercise. Nothing worked, but this does! FINALLY. I'm so thrilled, you don't even know.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do the same! In particular, I make around 5 twists only in the crown area before pineappling every night, with very little shea butter on my hands, and I gently scrunch the tips (without water). If I use something not elastic (such as a silk scarf or headband) to hold my hair it comes out in a nicer shape. If I'm feeling really lazy and my hair is thirsty, I only condition and wet those 5 twists and pineapple, using very little coconut oil on my tips. This way my hair keeps tidy every day.


  • Anonymous says:

    You and your hair are stunning. Absolutely, positively gorgeous.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I use raw shea butter only. Thanks for the compliments ladies! Report back and let me know how this routine works for you!!


  • NewbieNaturalDiva says:

    Beautiful Hair! I will try that because my edges get really rough after a few days.

  • Queenofthe4s says:

    I recently purchased some pure shea and I think I might be a shea addict sooner or later. The shea smooths edges even when you don't have time to scarf, and KristyzHair is right; a little water does work wonders for smoothing.

    My roomate is relaxed and she has been all up *in* my shea butter!! Her exact words this morning: "I can't explain the way it makes my hair feels, but it's just different from all that other stuff"

  • Anonymous says:

    Raw pure Shea butter is the only thing that keeps my hair soft and beautiful for days. oils are also great, but it doesn't compare to oiled down shea butter. It adds a real pretty shine to hair.

  • La Co'coa Naturals says:

    Hello Nikki,
    I am a natural hair care stylist and I really enjoy reading your site. Nikki your FABULOUS and keep up the good work.
    Zora Yazmeen

  • T says:

    Hi Nikki and all- so I've got a funny story- I put henna on my hair last night planning to sleep in it and wake up this morning and wash out before I went to work. Well needless to say I woke up extremely late hair still wrapped in plastic- not wanting to miss work today I put a stocking cap on over the plastic and threw my handy dandy wig on top of that. So i am quite literally at work right now with this wig on over my plasic and henna. I just pray that by the time I wash it out- I still have hair on my head. LOL

  • Tiffani says:


  • Kia says:

    I'm definitely trying this next week, thanks for the idea. Your hair looks amazing as usual :D

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki, just wanted to chime in and say that you rock! Your hair is stunning and your tips are priceless. Keep doing what you're doing, because its much appreciated. Take care

  • Binti's Mom says:

    Nik, gurl (if they have it at Sally's) get the Marc Anthony Curls conditioner that was just reviewed a few weeks ago!!! I'd bought some a few months ago and tried to use it for detangling and wasn't impressed. So last night I detangled with my favorite cheap natural stuff and used the Marc Anthony Conditioner as my styler…I AM IN LOVE!!! I'm talkin' shiny, soft and no frizz…where has this stuff been all my life!!!!!! Try it. :)


  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki,

    Thanks for all the hair tips. I wanted to know where do you buy the shea butter??


  • Anonymous says:

    Your hair looks great – lovely shiny curls!

    I hate the dry, crispy feeling that you get with some products so I'm going to rush of and get some shea butter for my edges asap!



  • Anonymous says:

    I just bought some shea butter today as a result of a suggestion from one of my girlfriends. How ironic that you mentioned this today. Love your blog, so much information.

  • Melyssa says:

    Your hair was cute when it was up!

    But beautiful, silky hair as usual!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'll reach that length soon enough. Good idea for future reference.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Nikki! I was wondering do u use a Shea butter cream or raw Shea? Ur hair looks great by the way.

  • KristytheDAWN says:

    I do the same thing to get those nice, sleek, soft edges. Sometimes, depending on the amount of frizz, I even add a touch of water to my edges to help with laying them down under my satin wrap scarf by putting my hands under running water and then sweep my wet fingers across my edges and then in the morning…viola — pretty, frizz-less edges…or should I say baby hurr :-)

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki I love you. You're the best, thanks for all your helpful tips

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