Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow: How to Reclaim Your Edges

8 tips for how to give your hairline new life.

Ⓒ Maurice Giles

“Woooo, honey! Your hair is snatched!!” Who doesn’t love to hear those words acknowledging our complete hair styling mastery and total all-round fierceness??!

But what if your hair being snatched becomes literal? As in your strands have forcibly left the building. The building being your scalp.

Read on for insights into why you might be experiencing this type of hair loss, and information on how you can bring your edges back.

Why do our edges disappear?

So. Many. Reasons. Here are some of the main culprits in hairline-snatching crime:

  • Tight or extreme hairstyles. This includes pony tails, tight buns, and especially braids. Even crochet braids. As soon as your braider says “Yes I can catch it,” run for your life. Your edges are about to be SNATCHED to the ends of the earth. This extreme tension on your hairline can lead to traction alopecia, which is the medical term for hair loss caused by excessive physical stress on one’s strands.
  • Frequent, overly vigorous brushing/styling. This is another kind of physical stress that can lead to traction alopecia. Particularly for coily textures, harsh brushing can literally tear the hair out. 
  • Weaves, wigs, and other low-manipulation styles. Ironically, protective styles can sometimes be just the opposite. Wig caps, wig combs, the thread used for sew-ins, even just the weight of added hair, can all contribute to breakage, and ultimately hair loss.
  • Harsh chemicals. You know what we’re talking about: creamy crack. The chemicals in most relaxers and texturizers are simply too caustic for use on the scalp. Over time, burns and repeated exposure can permanently harm your follicles.
  • Bad habits such as not tying or protecting your hair at night, sleeping on pillowcases that aren’t made of satin or silk, using heat on your hair daily, and repeatedly wearing your hair in the same style can stress out your strands.
  • Stress and diet. Lifestyle factors can also contribute to hair loss. Poor sleeping habits, over-scheduled days, and (frequent) unhealthy meals make it hard for your hair to flourish.
  • Hormonal fluctuations due to childbirth and menopause. Though in most cases our hairlines suffer due to “operator error,” there are situations in which they get thinner through no fault of our own. Hormones can wreak havoc on your hair, causing it to get thin and brittle, or to fall out completely.  

Get your hairline back!

You can only claim to have a “high forehead” for so long. (jk jk) But seriously, some of us (myself included) are in the fivehead gang, but it’s better if that’s a result of genetics rather than because your hairline has absented itself. Here are my top tips on how to help your edges live their best life:

1. See a professional. Go to a doctor, trichologist, or dermatologist. Any number of medical factors could be at play, including, but not limited to gluten sensitivity, hormonal fluctuations, nutrient deficiencies, alopecia areata (an autoimmune condition that is different from traction alopecia), and thyroid disorders

2. Be more gentle. How many times have you been told “Keep your hands out of your hair!!” You might not like to hear it, but it is actually excellent advice. Handle. Your. Hair. Less. The less you manipulate your hair or try to get it “laid,” the less likely it is to break. Also: kiss your brush goodbye, at least temporarily. The strands around your hairline are more delicate and prone to breakage, so if you feel you MUST smooth your hairline, do it with your fingers instead. Some naturalistas even opt to only finger comb their hair.

3. Stop doing what caused it. Seriously. Stop it. You can’t serve two masters. (You can choose micro-braids OR your hairline, but you likely can’t have both.) So no more tight buns, Nikki Minaj-inspired ponytails, wig glue, wig caps, gel, edge control, or whatever has led to your particular situation.

4. Vary your hairstyle. It’s also not a good idea to wear the same style repeatedly, whether you’re wearing your natural hair, or you have “a little help.” If you usually part your hair on the left, every so often switch to the right side. If you usually wear it up, let it enjoy a little hang time. If you usually rock braids or any other type of protective style, give your natural hair a break in between installs. 

5. Incorporate hair growth products into your regimen. Different things will work for different people, but some of the most popular ones are: water, biotin, horsetail supplements, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, vitamin E oil, castor oil (“regular” or Jamaican Black), and apple cider vinegar. 

6. Improve your diet. A healthy body will support a healthy scalp, so pay attention to what you’re eating. Incorporate as many fresh vegetables and pronounceable foods as possible. If necessary, supplement with nutrients such as biotin, zinc, and selenium.

7. Drink more water. Think of your hair like a plant. Plants need to be watered (gaining moisture from the inside out), as well as misted (gaining moisture from the outside in.) Do the same for your hair. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and mist your hair once or twice a day as well. This will help improve your hair’s elasticity and make it less prone to breakage.

8. Massage your scalp. Many beauties with full, healthy hairlines swear by a twice-daily hair massage. A couple of minutes a day of gentle stimulation can help improve blood flow and encourage growth.

Go forth now, beauties, and reclaim your hairlines! 


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Unless otherwise indicated, text and images ⒸLisa Hurley/@happyhappyphoenix

Comments

  1. Kathleen Hurley says:

    Great advice!

  2. Jacqueline Benn Schuppe says:

    I sleep most nights with my hair not covered. Most of those bonnets are to tight and I wake up with a headache. What type of bonnet would you recommend that does put as much pressure on the head.

    1. I believe you suffer from migraines, right? If that is the case, tying down your hair might exacerbate the headache, or cause one. For you, I would suggest investing in a silk or satin pillowcase (they’re available on Amazon), and sleeping on that instead. It has the same protective effect because of the fabric, but you get to leave your head free.

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