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5 Tips To Keep Your Edges Intact When Protective Styling

Avatar • Jul 24, 2014

Protective Styles Natural Hair

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.

twists

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.

BraidPic.png

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.

wig

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. TempleBalm.png

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

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darkchildlovethyhair
6 years ago

Amazing article. Wigs are my go to protective style and they keep my edges well protected. I havent installed a weave in forever and my edges are slowly returning.

Miss Mo
Miss Mo
6 years ago

Great tips.

I have weak edges too especially my temple area coupled with the fact that i don’t have much hair on the sides of my front head to begin with.

Thanks much.

Andria
Andria
6 years ago

Great article! LOL @ “a taper fade that you didn’t send for” 🙂

curious
curious
6 years ago

If you like having hair on your head I suggest walking past Dr miracle’s products. That’s all just a word of advice google for yourself but it made my hair come out back when I was relaxed,

Nappy4C Rocks
Nappy4C Rocks
6 years ago

love nappy edges ‚no gel here…

samantha
samantha
5 years ago
Reply to  Nappy4C Rocks

I’m going Natural don’t wanna have to be worried about my nappy sides I’m using styling gel but I’m trying to look into something different for my thick sides it been three months now with no perm and im wearing my hair in a proctective style

Tisha
Tisha
6 years ago

My tip for healthy edges would be to stop complementing Self Harm! I see it many times in real life and WAY to many times on You Tube. A lovely Natural (which make’s it even sadder. Didn’t we go natural to embrace & PROTECT our hair?? Edges are still out in the cold?) with great tips, styles over 1,000 subs. and it’s all good and THEN.….her hair comes out and my mouth is hanging open because now she has her hair pulled back and she has NO HAIR LINE!! It’s gone!! Her hair starts at LEAST AN INCH BACK from… Read more »

Talisa
Talisa
6 years ago
Reply to  Tisha

I’m cracking up that after this whole long spiel, not a soul cares enough to even reply. Let people be! Whoever she is, she probably has absolutely no issues with her edges or lack thereof. Why you gettin’ riled up? Don’t worry about her…so many other things to be upset about in this world.

HoneyJazz29
HoneyJazz29
6 years ago

To protect my edges at night while sleeping, I do two things: I tie a satin scarf around my edges & when I use a satin bonnet, I always be sure to turn the bonnet inside out so the elastic doesn’t rub against my edges.. Sometimes I sleep with the bonnet & scarf & some nights, just one but I have definitely noticed the health of my edges.. Also, with my crochet braids, I always have my braider to never start the crocheting process right at the very temple. She moves back maybe an inch or two & then starts crocheting… Read more »

Aliyah Morrison
Aliyah Morrison
5 years ago

I don’t wear wigs or weaves . I wore weaves before and hated It my protective style is two braids . I braid one braid one side another braid on the other side and pin it in the back so it looks like a crown kind of looks like French braids .

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