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How To Prevent Damage To Your Edges

Avatar • Feb 3, 2014

stayready
If you stay ready,

You ain’t got to get ready

[Repeat 2x]

Wise words once spoken by the Oakland born, Compton raised, and Pomona living west coast rapper Suga Free. What exactly does that have to do with natural hair, Christina?

For me…everything! It’s really important when it comes to how I go about preserving and maintaining my edges. Yes, edges. You see, “if you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready” is kind of like my mantra around saving, preserving and maintaining my edges.

Before you write me off as a nutcase, let me explain why. I won’t go into much detail because there is TONS of information about what edges are, and how to regrow them. But just as a launching point:

• Edges of the hair are incredibly fragile. They are among the finest and most delicate strands of hair on your head. Click here for more on that.
• Traction alopecia is real. The results are damaging and sometimes irreversible.
• Prevention is the best cure. If your edges are in a good place now, maintaining them will be really easy.
• If you suffer from a medical condition such as alopecia areata or severe postpartum shedding, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional (as always).

I’m sure by now, you’ve cycled through all the generic information about preventing traction alopecia and perimeter breakage i.e.

• not pulling hair back too tightly on a regular basis
• ditching anything that has rubber exposed
• looser ponytails and buns
• moving the location of said ponytail and bun regularly
• avoiding excessive brushing/hard bristle brushes
• chilling on the cornrows and weaves
• ditching drying gels for sleek edges
• not sleeping in ponytails and buns
• no cotton scarves and pillowcases
• switching up where you part your hair

All of those are very valid measures to take to prevent physical damage to the edges of your hair. By all means, continue to follow those practices whether or not you suffer from thinning edges. I most certainly do.

For me, practices are only one piece of the puzzle. The other part is product-based: protecting my edges with moisturizers, butters, and oils that hydrate, protect, and stimulate the hair around my edges. Why stimulate? So I ain’t got to get ready!Every other night (sometimes every night), I go through a LCB or LCO method around the perimeter of my head. For those that are unfamiliar, both LCB and LCO are methods for layering products to obtain the most moisture retention. LCB = Liquid/Leave-In, Cream, Butter and LCO = the same, with the O being Oil.

Whichever method you use (or even LOC) on the length of your hair, you can feel free to use on the edges and around the perimeter of your hair. You don’t need to use a lot of product, and if you do it right (a dime size or less of everything), you won’t run the risk of ruining any style you’re trying to preserve.

Here is how I apply my product, and which products I’ve used that work for this method of edges and perimeter preservation:

Liquid: Water, or any type of water-based refresher, spritz, or leave-in conditioner. My current picks in this area are ApHogee Curlific Leave-In and Ella’s Concoctions Juicy Nectar Spritzer.

Cream: Water-based lotion or cream product that packs a moisturizing punch. In this area, I cycle through Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, tgin Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer, Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious, and Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream.

Butter/Oil: Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Temple Balm, Kyra’s Shea Medley’s Rejuvenation Butter Cream, DIY Fluffy Styling Cream, or Flax Oil (a new favorite, but it smells like the dickens).

I use these products not only because they smell and feel awesome on my edges and my hair, but because they contain ingredients that are known to nourish and stimulate the scalp and hair. If you have a favorite liquid, cream, butter and/or oil combination that you use, definitely rock with that! There is absolutely no need to add any more products to your arsenal than what you already have (unless you’re a product junkie and just want to).

By cycling through my select products and combining them with the proper moisturizing and edge-safe styling techniques, I was able to transition successfully for nearly two years without any emergency edge situations. Keeping your edges as healthy as possible along every step of your natural hair journey will help ensure that you don’t end up frantically seeking out growth potions months down the line. Prevention is the best cure. Stay ready, so you ain’t got to get ready.

As an aside, if you’re looking for edge-friendly products to use to safely slick back a bun, ponytail, or updo, click here.

How do you keep your edges in stay ready mode?

 

For more transitioning and natural hair tips from Christina, check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on YouTubeInstagram and Facebook.

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Iva
Guest

Okay, I’m just going to ask and sound like an idiot. What exactly are edges? I mean, the hair around my hairline is as long as the rest of my hair and the exact same texture so I don’t treat it any differently. Tight headbands hurt, so I don’t wear them and when I wear a regular headband or elastic…I just wear it. I mean, I’m not trying to make it super smooth in front of the headband, I’m just holding the hair back? Since quitting relaxers, I’ve discovered that I do have a little peach fuzz on my forehead… Read more »

Mimi
Guest
Mimi

yup, edges are basically your hairline. and its usually naturally short, but i am completely amazed at those who have their hairline as long as the
rest of their hair. i think that’s really cool.

Adrienne
Guest
Adrienne

Since going natural 3 years ago, my edges are the same length as the rest of my hair. But when I was relaxed my edges were never longer than 2ish inches in the front and may 3 or so inches in the back. I assumed that this normal since everyone I knew had short edges. I never really paid attention to my hairline until a family friend asked me how I managed to grow out and take care of my edges. That’s when I noticed how long they were. So I just assumed that my previously short hair line was… Read more »

Juanita
Guest
Juanita

agreed. my “edges” don’t get treat any different than the rest of my hair = because it doesn’t look or act any different. so I was wondering how losing them actually happens. according to the article it just sounds like bad hair care practices

Anni
Guest
Anni

I get the point of wanting to have healthy edges, but i don’t get it when black women say you should have zero short hairs around your hairline. I thought the difference between a mans and womens hairline is that feminime hairline is less clean cut. That is why males get there edges cleaned up at the barber…because it looks masculine. It confuses me when a women looks at a woman with “Baby hairs” and says their hairline is thin and looks damaged. Women do not have clean cut hairlines, the is a masculine trait. It is natural and looks… Read more »

JustJoy98
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JustJoy98

I think this article is referring to damaged hairlines. I naturally have parts of my hair line that have always been shorter, but due to relaxers other areas of my hairline experienced breakage and therefore appear shorter and thinner. I see quite a bit of women with damaged edges, I think when women go natural they often focus on repairing their hairlines, but often continue to contribute to the damage. I get what you saying though. That’s why I grew out my “kitchen” and just embraced it as an attribute to my hairline.

Anni
Guest
Anni

I know some people have damaged edges. But I think alot of naturals think they should have a clean cut hairline (they like to call them full) where the hair just starts and every hair after that is the same length. According to scientist, the female hairline is irregular(that is why it is more likely for a woman to have a widows peak) and men have more regular hairline. There is a difference between broken hairs and baby hairs. However i know alot of black women who shave(clean up the “be-bes”) on there neck with razors and rub castor oil… Read more »

Sai
Guest
Sai

You seem really hung-up on masculine and feminine.

DollyDashLaLaNatural
Guest
DollyDashLaLaNatural

Why shouldn’t we want to look feminine? Most of us women and girls here! So why the heck not? Besides with that study out I am not surprised some black women don’t want to embrace the “masculine” hair line look thats been seeping into our culture. I hope a black woman admitting she embraces and wants to look feminine is not offensive these days and shouldn’t be treated like a darn alien. I think black women should pamper themselves to feel more lady like especially with us getting smacked around by the media. So I don’t think its a hang… Read more »

iluvedges
Guest
iluvedges

now what now? uh?

M2
Guest
M2

Often times when I get flat twists or smaller twists I will part my edges down the sides and flat twist them separately long ways (from forehead down to the ear) as opposed to the other more natural direction. This allows me to moisturize it nightly without ruining my style our having to re twist multiple individuals instead of one long one.

nappy headed black girl
Guest

I keep my hair moisturized and don’t re-twist at all. I have a bad habit of playing with my hairline…that’s something I’m working on.

alt-K
Guest
alt-K

My struggle area is my kitchen. I don’t understand why it just doesn’t seem to grow. I pay special attention to it while moisturizing and sealing my hair. In the rare instances that I do lose a loc, it’s in the kitchen area.

Anni
Guest
Anni

I assume (correct me if I am wrong) that most of the visitors on this site are women. I am trying to let some people know that it is natural for them, as women, to have a few short hairs around the perimeter because due to female hormones, females have irregular hairlines…no matter the sexual orientation. I think a lot of people confuse the natural short hairs around the hairline as breakage. I also notice that a lot of natural girls think their edges are damaged and breaking because their edges resemble Naptural85’s instead a hairline in a invisible hairline… Read more »

DollyDashLaLaNatural
Guest
DollyDashLaLaNatural

Bump.

WHY
Guest
WHY

Maybe if people wouldn’t spend so much time on their edges, then it would possible grow. Sometimes less is more. Just leave those edges alone. I have never had problems with mine when I was relaxed or natural. I just don’t see the what the deal is with edges. Some people just do the most when it isn’t needed.

DollyDashLaLaNatural
Guest
DollyDashLaLaNatural

Lol, it’s true, stop brushing your edges and work on your hair. Moisturize the edges and seal and protect, there is no golden route for edges because its hair like the rest of the hair on your head. So it should be treated as such.Twisting, and twirling them all the time is going to lead to breakage. I never had problems with my edges either because i treated them like the rest of my normal hair, the problem stems from handling the edges to darn much and putting gels that contain petro oil which wears down the hair. And people… Read more »

VAF
Guest
VAF

It is sometimes difficult to relate to something you haven’t experienced. Thin edges (hairline) is a major problem with AA females.

DollyDashLaLaNatural
Guest
DollyDashLaLaNatural

Pretty healthy hair!

Brittany. L
Guest

This is a good post and it has vital info I suffered from traction alopecia badly i made a video about it, and I also made a video about how to prevent it with protective styling

Govinda Kumar Sarkar
Guest

Where I can get the oil

Yas
Guest
Yas

Has anyone ever stopped to consider than there might be nutritional deficiencies for this problem? Or stress? Vitamin D and Vitamin B are vital to hair. So is silica and sulfur. Anemia can also cause this problem. Get a blood workup. Check your ranges and manage your stress–then revisit this arguement again later. Also, banded caps and hats are the devil! They will rub your edges out! Wear a scarf (not too tightly secured around the edges) or sleep on a satin pillow. Onion juice and eating lightly grilled onions is working for me. My edges were super short. In… Read more »

Josie
Guest

This article just confused me. So which method is best for moisturize retention??
The LOC or LCB method?

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