Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you’re in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums!

Check out the newest installment in CurlyNikki’s reader Q&A series:


“I couldn’t help but notice how smooth your edges are. Do you use hair gel at all? Can you please tell me how you get your edges that way? Thanks so much!” –Tracy


I stopped using gel a while ago. I realized that while it gave me a sleek, controlled look for a short period of time, my hair would quickly dry out, shrink up, and feel ridiculously crunchy!

While wet styling (twisting, bantu knots, or flexi set), I make sure to distribute the styling conditioner (lately, Lacio Lacio) throughout my hair, paying special attention to the edges. When it comes time to twist the hair around my face, I make sure to smooth the shorter hairs into the twists. As always, it’s important to avoid touching the hair until it’s completely dry.

The next morning, I take the twists down, and choose whether to leave it out, or pull it up into a bun. If I decide on a bun, I use my hands only to secure the bun (combs and brushes will create frizz). To help the edges lay, I emulsify a pea-sized amount of shea butter (or castor oil or grease) between my palms and apply, in a smoothing motion, to my hairline. I then tie on a silk scarf for thirty minutes before leaving the house.

Every night after that, I apply a bit more shea butter, and tie on the scarf to preserve the hairstyle. The shea and the scarf do the work of a boar bristle brush, but with much less stress.

Not using water or gel to slick the edges keeps all of the hair wavy and touchable. I love it! Remember, smooth edges start with the initial set.

Nikki “CurlyNikki” Walton is a psychotherapist and creator of the largest online natural hair resource. Along with tips and product recommendation, Walton also implements her psychotherapy skills in the sub-section “On the Couch with Curly Nikki.