There is someone that I know who has virtually no edges — now. She used to but she used to put her hair into microbraids so often, without taking a break, that the tension finally weakened in her hair follicles and now she’s bald, on both sides, about a couple of inches back.
She’s actually who inspired me to write this piece because, unfortunately, she’s not the only woman I know who has this issue. Between things like protective styles that are way too tight, wigs and weaves, excessive postpartum shedding, focusing far too much on creating the perfect “baby hairs”, dealing with damage that comes from perms, colour treatments and heat — all of this can play a role in weakening what’s probably the most fragile part of your hair…your edges.
While sometimes illness, a constant shift in hormones, inflammation or not giving your edges time to restore themselves can ultimately result in permanent damage, if you’ve noticed that your edges are a bit thinner than you would like, there are some things that you can do to help bring them back to life. Below, I’ve got a few hacks that have been proven to work.
Rinse Your Hair with Cool Water
Trust me, I know how amazing it can feel to have hot water pouring down your head. Thing is, when water is at that temperature, not only does it up the chances that you will dry your hair out but, because your pores are open when your scalp is wet, the heat could also weaken your roots over time.
That’s why it’s best to wash your hair in warm water and then rinse it in cool water (in order to seal your cuticles). Hey, it may take some getting used to but remember that if it’ll help to heal your edges, making the transition will be worth it in the long run.
Apply Some Jamaican Black Castor Oil
If you want the kind of oil that has a solid reputation for not only moisturising your hair but also strengthening and thickening it, Jamaican black castor oil has totally got your back. That’s because the beans that are in it not only contain fatty acids but also properties that help to keep fungus, bacteria and toxins off of your scalp — and all of this is important if you want to restore your edges.
A brand that I’m personally a big fan of is Jamaican Mango & Lime because it has a lot of different varieties to choose from.
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Massage Your Temples with Lemon Essential Oil
Even though you might be a bit nervous about the thought of massaging your edges since they already appear to be in such a fragile state, the reality is, so long as your hands are clean and you apply a gentle amount of pressure, that’s really one of the best things that you can do to bring your edges back to life.
Massages help to increase blood circulation, so that more nutrients can get to your hair follicles. Massages also slightly stretch out your hair follicles, so that the strands of your hair can become thicker over time.
The key is to apply an essential oil to the massaging process; one that is pretty effective is lemon oil. It contains some pretty powerful antiseptic properties.
Plus, lemon oil balances out the sebum on your scalp, keeps dandruff from creeping up and it’s been known to help with hair growth when used on a regular basis. So, at least a couple of times a week, massage your edges for 10 minutes or so with the oil; you should see some results after a couple of weeks if you’re consistent.
Use Some Aloe Vera Gel
Hands down, one of the best things that you could ever do for your hair is to apple some aloe vera gel to it. It helps to soothe an itchy scalp. It deeply moisturizes your hair. The vitamins A, B12, C and E can all work to nourish, strengthen your hair follicles and hair strands.
Aloe vera also helps to prevent scalp and hair follicle inflammation. Just make sure that you break off a stem from an aloe vera plant or that you go with a brand that is 100 percent organic; that way, you don’t have to worry about anything other than pure aloe going into your edges’ follicles.
Keep the “Pressure” Off
Listen, I get that you may want your edges to be “laid”, your lace fronts to be on-point and your braider to catch every stray hair that you’ve got, but when you’re on a mission to get your edges back, all of this has to pretty much go out of the window.
For a season, your edges need time to just “breathe and be”. That means no edge control. That means not putting a ton of glue or weave/wig bands on them. That means being OK with your braids or twists not being as tight as possible.
It also means that you need to sleep with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet that is loose and then go with a silk or satin pillowcase in case one of those falls off. Right now, the less pressure (and friction) that your edges experience — the better. (You’ll be glad you took this advice in the long run!)
Consume More Protein
Your hair is made up of mostly protein (keratin, to be exact). That’s why it’s important that you help to heal your edges by nurturing them from the inside out.
One way to do that is by eating more protein. Foods that are high in this particular nutrient include meat, poultry, Greek yogurt, eggs, peanut butter, salmon, seeds, nuts, potatoes and corn.
Lay Off of the Heat
It’s kind of crazy that some of our favourite ways to wear our hair requires heat when heat is actually what can damage our hair the most.
The reason why is because it has the full capability to alter the keratin in our hair. When that happens, that can make our hair weaker over time.
Plus, constant heat on your hair follicles can strip its oils and nutrients and permanently damage them, if you’re not careful.
So yeah, when you’re trying to get your edges back into a flourishing state, the last thing that they need is heat applied to them. So please apply blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons with extreme caution.
Lay Off of the Stress Too
If you’ve never heard of telogen effluvium, it’s a technical term for when you start to experience some sort of hair loss due to stress-related issues.
Basically, what happens is stress pushes your locks into a resting phase prematurely which can lead to excessive shedding or simply a lack of new growth (for the record, imbalanced hormones and poor nutrition can do this too).
It’s important to keep this in mind because, sometimes, losing your edges has little to do with styling and more to do with your mental and emotional state. So, if there’s something that’s currently got you super stressed out, do what you can to resolve it as soon as possible.
Your total health and well-being are relying on it — edges included.