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The edges of hair is one of the most sensitive areas on the head. Many efforts are made to “tame” the edges by smoothing and trimming. If the hair around the perimeter of the head is neat, it can make most hairstyles a success.  But if the edges are sporadic, choppy, springy or tightly coiled, this is perceived as unkempt and a style deal breaker.

Caring for the edges of your hair is important overall. This hair is most often pulled, stretched, smoothed and manipulated-more than any other part of your hair. This often results in thin, patchy or loss of hair.

How can you preserve your edges without losing them? The following are some tips to help you retain hair at the perimeter:

Styling

Try to vary the ways you wear your hair. If it is not cut in a certain style, you can avoid problems by styling your hair in various ways. For instance, if you often wear pony tails, buns or cornrow designs, this can stress the hair line resulting in thinning and/or hair loss.

This may be even more noticeable with kids. If you style your little girl’s hair in sectioned twists, braids or puffs and you notice that the parts are getting wider and wider, she may be experiencing thinning that can be reversed by simply changing up the style. So if she wears three puffs (2 in front and 1 in back) for a week, next week, you can style her hair in box braids all over and so on.

If you wash your hair often, it may be a culprit in hair thinning and loss. The constant use of shampoos on the hair line coupled with manipulating the area can case irritation, inflammation, thinning and possible hair loss.

Go easy on “protective styles”.

If you love to tuck in your ends by wearing pin ups, buns and braided updos, this is lovely as a style but could be harmful if done too often. Most of these styles look best with smoothed out edges. If you are smoothing everyday while wearing these styles, your ends may be healthy but the edges may become problematic.

Believe it or not, curly sets, braid outs, knots outs and twist outs, and loose 2 strand twists are all protective styles since they don’t require a lot of manipulation when worn.

Accessorizing

While we may use a du rag, scarf or bonnet at night, we often use headbands, head wraps, scarves, combs, and clips during the day incorporated within our styles. Excessive use of headbands and other accessories could also cause hair loss at the perimeter. If the material on the accessories is 100% cotton, it may snag the hair in addition to absorbing your hair and scalp’s natural and replenished oils. If you are crafty, you may consider adding a satin like material to the inside of your headbands and wraps. If the items are small, simply use caution when wearing those things that may tear the hair.

Smoothing edges

If you prefer to wear styles with smoothed edges, you can do so by choosing styles that serve as automatic smoothers. For instance, if you have loose 2 strand twists and pull them up in a French Roll, the gentle tug to gather them together may be all you need to smooth your edges.

*Be aware of “smoothers” that may have sodium hydroxide in them (Often called smoothing systems).


Minimize gel usage.
If you are using a gel, you can add a bit of olive oil to it to decrease the amount of gel that will build up on the edges-especially if worn in a protective style that you intend to keep for a few weeks. The build up of gook from hair gel is hard to be washed out of updos, so it can weigh the hair down and cause clumps that likewise may cause you to pull your hair out when trying to remove the clumps.

You can also use Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter mixed with Aloe Vera Gel for a kinder hold without the excessive buildup. The wax-like/gel-like texture will offer hold and natural emollients that also help to promote and stimulate hair growth [since the smoothing acts as a massage].

Finally, you can smooth edges by using a spritz of sorts. Less gunky than gel, if used sparingly, it can offer a stronger hold than some gels and will make less build up.

Tools

If you are using a brush to help smooth your edges, opting for a natural Boar Bristle brush will be soft while gently pulling the hair back into a style. If you prefer not to use Boar brushes for any reason, you can simply use a baby brush, found in many Dollar Stores or even a soft bristle tooth brush. The hard brushes with nylon bristles will snag and pull the hair causing split ends and breakage.

For smoothing without the help of a brush, you can use your hands or first 2 fingers to smooth the edges, then tie them down with a scarf for about 30 minutes. If you aren’t using gel or any other styling aid, a mist of water and your hands will do the trick, albeit a temporary option for smoothing edges.

If you use heat styling, be cautious with the amount of heat you use. Excessive heat can singe the hair and cause permanent loss.

Growing edges back

There are some oils that can be used to help promote regrowth:

Peppermint and Rosemary are commonly used to regrow hair, but must be combined with other oils like olive oil or coconut oil (also good for hair regrowth)

Castor oil and Jamaican Black Castor oil are often used for regrowth because of their thick quality and ability to thicken the hair.

Minoxidil (Rogaine/Monistat) is widely being used to regrow hair since it fights off bacteria which frees the scalp to regrow hair that was stunted by clogged pores and infections. It must be used indefinitely for continued support of existing hair follicles and the maintenance of any experienced hair regrowth and if usage is stopped, many will notice hair loss once again.

Some side effects to keep in mind when using Minoxidil products are :

  • burning or irritation of the eye
  • itching
  • redness or irritation at the treated area
  • as well as unwanted hair growth elsewhere on the body
  • hair loss/shedding

*Be aware of severe side effects and contact a doctor immediately, if you suffer any effects that don’t go away once you discontinue use of Minoxidil products.