Blond designs edge-taming comb for black hair care brand Ruka

The multifunctional EdgeSlick tool has a dual-comb head for styling and a paddle-like handle for scooping up product.

Blond has collaborated with hair care brand Ruka to create a styling comb with a replaceable head for baby hair and edges.

Ruka is a black women-owned business which aims to tailor its products to black women with curly, coily and wavy hair. Edges – also known as baby hairs – are shorter pieces of hair found in textured hair types around the hairline area.

The initial brief detailed that Ruka wanted a “highly functional, stylish comb” that people would feel proud to display as a beauty staple, says the studio’s founder James Melia.

Research carried out by the design studio revealed that toothbrushes are commonly used as makeshift tools for styling edges, due to lack of choice in the market. While the shape, size and bristles of a toothbrush seemed to work well, both Ruka and Blond noticed that it lacked in quality, longevity, and failed to “celebrate the ritual of the process”.

Not wanting to “reinvent the wheel” completely, Blond did use some elements of the toothbrush in the design of the EdgeSlick comb, according to Melia. However, as a result of its research, the studio chose to make the head of the tool detachable, which is supposed to “extend the life of the product”, Melia adds.

Blond’s research showed that the toothbrushes consumers were using could not be used for long before being thrown away and were therefore not sustainable. Having a detachable head means that the EdgeSlick comb produces less plastic waste than a regular toothbrush, as the body of the comb can be reused for long periods of time.

Melia says that, as well as being Ruka’s first styling tool in its product range, it is also the first “refillable tool of its kind”. He adds, “Through testing and refinement, we ensured that the heads of the comb click onto the handle with little effort and remain securely in place.”

The comb heads are available in three different colours – blue, pink and grey. The base of the comb is designed to store the extra head attachments, while also functioning as a stand.

Melia explains that the double-sided, detachable comb features two types of bristles – a softer, nylon set intended for “swooping, shaping and layering” and a firmer set for combing and detangling.

The studio’s research also informed its design of the bottom end of the comb. According to Melia, users informed Blond that removing the styling gel from the jar can be “an awkward process”.

Blond’s solution to this was to craft the body of the tool in the shape of a cosmetic spatula, often used in the skincare market. This paddle-like end is meant to be used to “scoop the gel [out of the tub and] onto the hair with ease,” says Melia.

Ruka have also committed to making 100% of their packaging sustainable by the end of 2022. In line with this goal, the EdgeSlick packaging, also designed by Blond, is made from fully recyclable paper pulp.

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