Baby Hairs, Grown Up

Sometimes the best part of an updo isn’t the updo at all: it’s the baby hairs. The pièce de résistance of the hairline; the bridge between forehead and crown, between wisps and structure. As someone who has publicly announced the potential demise of her hairline, believe me when I say that no one is more grateful for baby hairs than yours truly.

While it’s true that everyone’s got them, they carry significant cultural and historical heft in the Black and Latinx communities. To understand their importance is to understand the diversity of hair within these groups—not from person to person, but on an individual scale from hairline to kitchen. Baby hairs are softer and thinner than the rest of the hair on our head—in a fraction of an inch you can go from straight to coily. This is a wild and exciting experience for sure, and it’s also an invitation to a different styling opportunity, which in turn requires a different set of tools (more on that in a minute).

None of this is to erase the current conversation about baby hairs and appropriation, which is a larger conversation and one I’m happy to have. But for the moment, I’d like to simply celebrate the breadth of styling directions they present. Into The Gloss assembled somewhat of a dream team to come up with a few ideas. Hairstylist Rachel Lee and makeup artist Mimi Quiquine behind the scenes, and models Chavi St. Hill and Farhiya Shire in front on the lens. The outcome? Oh, baby.

Chavi St. Hill and Farhiya Shire photographed by Tom Newton. Hair by Rachel Lee, and makeup by Mimi Quiquine. Styled by Tchesmeni Leonard.