If you have natural hair, you likely understand the struggle of wanting edges that are laid to perfection. But finding the happy medium of snatched and too snatched can be a lesson in trial and error. And, in the end, it really comes down to how you strengthen your edges regularly that lays the foundation (literally) to great styling.
“Edges are the shorter hairs found in textured hair types in the hairline region along the perimeter of your hair,” explains Whitney Eaddy, celebrity stylist and founder of Juices & Botanics. To truly work harmoniously with this type of hair, you have to first understand how to nurture edges, style them, grow them, and have an arsenal of products to maintain them. And because they are one of the most fragile parts of your hair (due to the constant manipulation, pulling, and brushing in this area), they must be cared for with, well, care.
Not to mention, edges also frame your face and hairstyles, so it’s a good idea to keep them in check. Whether you swirl them, swoop them, wave them, or don’t touch them, because of their fragility, they can easily be damaged. Translation: Having a good routine in place will be paramount in keeping edges healthy and strong. And although there is no magical solution to keep them at their best, with patience and expert intel, you can successfully restore and maintain a healthy hairline.
What Causes Damage To Edges?
Unfortunately, hair thinning is one of the most common beauty issues. And it’s even worse when it occurs at your hairline, where your edges occupy territory. Because edges are one of the more visible parts of your head, it is even harder to hide them when they are damaged. But what actually causes thinning edges?
In theory, protective styles (braids, wigs, and weaves) are to protect the natural hair from manipulation, tightening, pulling, and daily styling. However, too tight of a protective style can wreak havoc on your edges as it literally pulls them out to the point of no return.
As for wigs, if they are too tight or too loose, your edges will also be impacted. To avoid tension and friction, make sure you are gluing the wig down properly with the right glue and technique. Using the wrong adhesive could potentially irritate the skin, causing flaking or build-up on the scalp that could lead to breakage along the edges. It’s also worth it to consider investing in a glueless wig or an alternative to glue like a grip headband to really take the extra measure in protecting your edges.
Likewise, wearing a slicked-back ponytail or sleek bun for long periods of time can also affect the health of your edges. The continuous pulling makes edges weaker. If you enjoy wearing these styles, a good way to tell if it’s too tight is if it gives you a headache. The moment your head starts hurting, is a signal that you should loosen the style or wrap the ponytail holder less times than you would normally. Remember, less pulling equals healthy edges.
Too Much Brushing
Over-brushing the hair can also hurt fragile edges. When detangling natural hair, make sure to be gentle and use a detangling brush like a Denman, that is gentle but still equipped to detangle. If you don’t have a detangling brush on hand, your fingers will work as well.
Relaxers & Chemicals
If you enjoy dyeing or relaxing your hair on the regular, you might notice your hairline becoming weaker. Strong chemicals have the ability to permanently change the internal structure of the hair. “Chemical services without reparative treatments will also damage your edges,” says Coco Santiago, hairstylist from Bumble and bumble.
How To Strengthen & Maintain Edges
Whether your edges just started to thin, or are extremely damaged — when paired with the right products, there are healthy habits and strategies that can help grow back your edges. And if your edges are in good standing, these tips will also help keep them there. If these hacks are followed daily and weekly, Diane Da Costa, texture expert and author of Textured Tresses confirms you will see results in six weeks.
For thinning edges, opt for oils and creams that will help hydrate and repair your hair. Geneva Fowler, lead braid stylist for BEAUTYBEEZ recommends castor oil (her favorite is Jamaican Black castor oil) to thicken hair, coconut oil to exfoliate dead skin, and rosemary oil to increase blood flow and promote hair growth. Castor oil, from the seeds of a castor bean plant, is rich in fatty acids that helps regenerate hair growth. Not to mention it improves circulation and will add great shine and moisture to your hair. It’s also great for anyone on a traction alopecia and hair thinning journey.
Add A Massage Into Your Routine
To strengthen weak or barley there edges, moisturize your hair regularly with oil and leave-in conditioners. Since it’s hard to work with edges that lack hair, focus on your scalp and the hair follicles needed to reproduce new hair.
You’ll want to oil the scalp daily and massage the head to stimulate hair follicles. “On a day-to-day basis, a scalp massage is one of the most effective ways to stimulate hair regrowth on your edges,” Eaddy tells TZR. A scalp treatment or weekly hair mask will help as well. And if you want to kick it up a notch, Da Costa recommends using a microneedle roller to lightly roll over the area to stimulate and allow oils to penetrate deeper into the scalp.
According to Fowler, weekly deep conditioning will help return moisture to your hair and retain length. Deep conditioning will penetrate into the hair shaft and help prevent breakage and split ends. It also helps condition the shaft to regain back the natural shine of your hair. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing is not advised. Be sure to deep condition once a week or bi-weekly to avoid over-moisturizing your strands — ultimately interfering with your hair and scalp’s natural biome.
Sleep On Satin Only
Hopefully this isn’t the first time you are hearing of the benefits of a satin pillowcase or bonnet, but sleeping on cotton can be way too abrasive on the hair, robbing it of moisture and definition. Making the switch to satin will help your hair retain moisture and prevent damage from the lack of friction that the smooth texture provides.
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