by Alondra (pictured above)
“…But she ain’t got no edges.” Nine times out of ten, whatever preceded that statement was a very nice compliment of some form. However, it was immediately discredited by the lack of strand presence along the hairline. Now of course, it’s not nice and it’s not fair, because some of us really do struggle with our edge areas. For some it takes no thought, but for others, including myself, we have to give our edges a little extra TLC…especially while protective styling!
While protective styles are typically beneficial for promoting growth and retaining length, coincidentally, they can be detrimental to the hair line. All of the tension from braids and extensions can cause stress on your edges and possibly leave you with a taper fade that you didn’t send for. Now, it’s commonly known that your edges are, generally, the weakest part of your hair. So whether you have the edges of steel or your edges are weaker than Super Man on Krypton, it’s still a good idea to take special precautions when putting your hair up for a long period of time. Based on personal experience, I have come up with a list of ways to help secure your edges while you enjoy time apart from your mane:
1. Make Bigger Parts Around Perimeter When Braiding
If you are rocking extensions in the form of braids, twists, or faux locs, have your stylist to make the parts around your edges bigger than the ones in the rest of your head. This will allow your edges to be able to better support the extensions. I know it may sound as if it will throw the look off, but trust me, it won’t. I rocked Havana twists this summer and made that accommodation for my edges; it wasn’t obvious at all! Also, try not to over style them. I know it sounds boring, but pulling them up and twisting and turning them every which way adds even more stress on the hairline. The best thing to do is to let them hang or tied loosely the majority of the time.
2. Choose Protective Styles That Don’t Require A lot of Work
If you’re protective styling with your real hair, opt for a style that requires minimal upkeep. Basically, just keep it very simple. For instance, my favorite protective style always includes chunky braids or twists and a low bun. I prefer this style because it’s quick, causes absolutely no tension and I don’t have to brush or comb my hair at all! My ends are protected by the bun and my edges are protected because I don’t have to continuously add the friction of brushing to smooth my hair back down. It’s a win-win! I just tie it down at night and take it off in the morning.
3. Opt for Wigs instead of Sew-ins
If you like to protect your tresses with the strands of a Brazilian, Indian, or Malaysian woman, then you might want to start considering wigs over sew ins. With the advancement of lace closures, those things are really starting to look a lot more believable and best of all, it’s far less dramatic than sewing it in. You don’t have to go completely broke, you don’t have to have migraines, and you don’t have to beat yourself in the head like a psycho. Basically, your life doesn’t have to become a Life Time movie with a wig. I got my first and only lace unit from Viva La Plush Virgin Hair Company and I must say it changed my life. I was able to do my go-to flat twists underneath without leaving any hair out and the wig laid flat. Of course, the twists are tension free so I didn’t have to worry about the state of my edges. Also, if you do wear wigs, try to substitute comb attachments with bobby pins. This will decrease stress on the hairline as well.
4. Stimulate Your Hairline
No matter what protective style you have, be sure to stimulate your hairline. Try to massage it to help promote growth in that area just in case you happen to lose a few strands while you have your hair up. How often you do it is up to you, but I would suggest massaging your edges every morning and night during the time you are protective styling. To do this I either use Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Balm. Both of those products are great for stimulating hair growth.
5. Don’t Keep a Protective Style in Longer Than Necessary
Lastly, know when to let it go! Just because they tell you that the style can last you up to 8 weeks doesn’t mean that you should keep it for that long. Pay attention to your hairline! If you see that your style is doing more harm than help, then by all means let it go. You don’t want to put more on your edges than they can bear! You will get your money back much quicker than you’ll get your edges AND your confidence back.
So there you have it ladies! To sum everything up, simplicity is the key to beneficial protective styling. I’ve found that my naturally weak edges are much more sustainable when I just take it easy. Edges are like children to the church folk: “train up your edges in the way that they should go, and they will not depart”.
Do you have any edge protection tips? Share in the comments below.
About Alondra: Joke telling, hair pick toting, life-living Southern Bell by way of Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a young,educated black woman pursuing dreams by day and a super hero by night; my powers reside in my mind. To state it simply, I plan to save the world one conversation at a time. @Color_Me_Diva @MyManeThang