Hair Health: How to Keep Your Edges Right

by Kweli I. Wright

Have you ever been basking in the glow of a compliment on your hairstyle only to notice the person’s eyes are directed right at your edges? It snaps you right out of your moment of shine and makes you think: “What are they looking at?” “Is there something in my hair?” “Do my edges look cray?”

Whether you wear your hair natural or relaxed, have a weave or a wig, your edges speak volumes about your hair health, and just how well you maintain your look, period. I had my own moment, when my co-worker looked over at me in our cubicle and casually presented me with a hair edge product she just got in the mail. Damn right, I took her offer personally, “What are you trying to say?,” I quipped. “Oh, nothing,” she said. “I know you like freebies.” Yeah, riiiggghhhtt.

So my grown-out-relaxed edges were in need of some TLC, I have to admit it was just one of them days. I purchased an edge-smoothing product a few weeks ago and didn’t like it because it was so dense that it failed to smooth into my hair; it just sat there in miniscule, yet very discernible white clumps, which I hate to wet to make disappear. No bueno.

I happen to have healthy edges, thankfully, but I know there are some whose edges are extremely fragile and suffering. That got me to doing some research on this very visible area of our hair, and I’d love to share it here.

Unhealthy edges can come from over-processing with relaxers, strain from tight ponytails, braids or weaves, and other factors like wearing hats and wool scarves in the winter playing with our hair and just lack of moisture.

Some steps I would suggest to promote edge growth and whip your edges back into shape, include:

  1. Massage the area with oil to keep them moisturized. Our edges tend to be brittle so massaging will promote the hair follicles and a nourishing oil will keep our edges (and hair at the nape of the neck) from snapping.
  2. Keep a healthy diet. What we put in our bodies is reflected in our appearance, so doubling up on the veggies doesn’t hurt.
  3. When washing your hair, make sure to condition the edges as well as the length of your hair. Throw a little scalp massage in there for good measure.
  4. If your edges are unhealthy, you need to be extra careful with them at all times and that includes when styling and if you wear a relaxer. As tempting as it may be, if you do your own relaxer, don’t focus on the edges so much. Spread the message to your stylist as well. Although their goal is to give you the most salon-perfect style, healthy hair—and edges—are much more valuable in the long run.

Products to try for smooth edges. Try to use your fingers to apply these goodies and not too much brushing. Tie down with a scarf overnight (not too tight):

  • Miss Jae

    Yes! Making sure your edges are in tact is very important! Jamacian Black Castor Oil is great for growth and I use Nubian Heritage Edge Taming Taffy to help it lay down. I hope this is helpful!

  • __A

    Yea. My edges are weak, but I’m always picking at them, so that is part of the problem.

  • Tun up

    This article only pertains to those whose edges are unhealthy as a result of mistreatment of their hair, but totally neglects to mentuon those of us who were left with hair loss as a result of stress or medication. I assume people see my edges and assume I am to blame for the horrid srate of my edges …

  • Chrissy

    Who is the model in the picture?

  • Clutch

    It’s a stock photo.

  • Miss Jae

    It’s called HIHS…Hands in Hair Syndrome. And I have it bad! Ever since I went natural, I love touching my hair. It’s a daily struggle! Lol

  • Clutch
  • Tia

    Edge Control really didnt do much for me. Im relaxed so it gets that time I have to wet my hair with water [sometimes mixed w aloe vera juice] and then use aloe vera gel and tie a scarf down

  • Debbie F.

    yes, EMU OIL is also very very good for growth. There are studies that show it helps regrow hair. I mix JBCO and Emu Oil together and put it on my edges daily since my hairline is a mess from braids. I’ve noticed growth in a really short’s pretty nuts.

    I use Emu Oil to grow in my eyebrows too.

  • Kanyade

    How about edges for lacefront wearers? I was on another forum and there was a discussion about certain celebs’ edges (or lack thereof). Those celebs are notorious lacefront wearers. Great post(s) all around. I’ve heard Jamaican Castor Oil is really good for growth.

  • KitKat

    Another tip that may help is to wear your bonnets inside out, with the elastic on the outside. That elastic band will rub your edges to oblivion.

  • Humanista

    Wait…. people actually stare at and obsess over others’ edges?

  • jourdana

    Another healthy way.. (This is what I do to keep my edges healthy) is to rub a tiny bit of coconut oil over them after I wrap my hair, the put my bonnet on. There are also some bonnets that cover the elastic with satin so you don’t have to do that. I got mine from Wal Mart!

  • Tun up

    Actually, I was talking about people tgat suffer from alopecia universalis, ir have permanent hair damage that no cream or oil can fix. But, thanksI guess

  • Tun Up

    I don’t kniw what happwned to my comnent but, I am suffering from permanent hair haie loss, so do people with alopecia universalis and the like. No cream or potion can help that. I’ve tried every thing. But thanks anyways.

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