Stop the No Edges Struggle in its Tracks

by Coco + Creme

The no edges struggle is real, ladies. In high school, my beautician told me tight ponytails were going to be the death of my hair but it took one too many trims that actually looked like cuts for me to get it. Now that I’ve finally managed to stop my hair from breaking off under the pressure of elastic bands I’m noticing there’s just a little something missing around the front of my head—edges.

I’m nowhere near the Naomi Campbell hairline struggle, but just like thinning ends are a sign you need a trim, when you’re edges become see-through you know it’s time to re-evaluate your hair care regimen and make sure you don’t get to the point that you’re rivaling the supermodel.

It’s much easier on your time (and your peace of mind) to get a hold on thinning edges, professionally known as traction alopecia (TA), before things get to the point that the problem can only be hidden with equally-damaging styles. A study last year found that roughly 59% of women suffer from some form of TA, which is any hair loss that comes from constant pulling or tension on the hair—therefore, I repeat: the struggle is real. If you’re serious about maintaining the life of your edges, here are a few things you need to stop doing now.

Lay off the Lacefronts
If you really want to stop thinning edges in their tracks, you’re going to have to lay off the tracks, as in weave. Lacefronts have the potential to be the least damaging of the weave catalogue if the hair is bonded past the hairline, but that’s a big if. The purpose of a lacefront is to make the hair look as real as possible which means women often put them as close to their real hairlines as possible, sometimes even shaving down the hair to achieve the natural look. That process can cause serious damage to your edges, not to mention the chemicals that are in the glue—which means it goes without saying that gluing tracks to your hair does your perimeter no favors either. Sew-ins are less damaging, only if the braids put in your real hair aren’t too tight. A half sew-in where more of the front of your hair is left out is better than doing a full weave.

Solution: Wigs
If you take care of your real hair, wearing a wig can be a hair healthy alternative to weaving it up. No tension is put on the edges when you wear a wig and by taking it off at night you allow your real hair to breathe.

  • No_chaser

    I see so many women with no edges these days, I’m beginning to think it’s actually a new style. The worst is when I see young baby girls with their hair pulled skin-tight into barrettes. Ouch!
    There are remedies though. Some claim minoxidil, Latisse and even transplants have restored their hairline.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Great tips, I was never one to put a lot of stress on my edges.
    The older I have gotten the more I like the not so extra styled to perfection super neat hair. I like my hair tousled and soft to the touch, messy buns, soft braids, pin ups = sexier

  • sixfoota

    I know this article is serious, as far as giving informative tips on getting your hairline back on track (no pun, hehe) but I laughed so hard at the title & the main picture’s edges. I’ll understand if I get thumbsed down lol

  • ivrop

    Jamaican Black Castor Oil, cold-pressed and Salt Free works wonders.. Use as a pre-poo, on scalp and hair shaft, leave on overnight, then shampoo with a sulfate free cleanser and conditioner.

    Eat well:lots of leafy green veggies, fresh fruit, and h2o. Biotin, a great multivitamin, & patience, will yield results.

  • Nic

    Um, thinning edges can’t be cured with a haircut. If the rest of your hair is breaking and thin, you need a haircut, but thinning edges are an entirely different beast, although it is true a lot of people’s bad hair habits (overprocessing, weaving, tight bands) definitely leads up to it.
    I’m grateful my mom took good care of my hair and was never into straightening it. It shouldn’t be so unusual to be a black women with thick hair all the way through but yeah, people need to stop pulling their hair so tight and give extensions and braids a rest.

  • Nic

    I think you need to be sure about the root cause to be sure of the “cure”. Sometimes, traction alopecia reaches a point and is irreversible. I’ve seen videos of women getting hair transplants though, which is the only thing that will help some people.
    I think a lot of the stuff people are smearing on their heads isn’t “curing” anything, but some are abandonning really bad habits that finally allow their hair to grow back in.

  • Alex Wright

    Concerning braids I would say that it’s tiny/micro braids that mess you up. The bigger the braid the less stress on your hair.

  • talaktochoba

    and just what did you think would happen if you kept “conking” your hear with lye like a 1950s R&B singer?

    did you really expect sympathy from us who know that a slave to fashion is first and foremost a slave?

    believe me, there is nothing worse for any guy than running your hand through hair that feels like plastic strands off a fake grass skirt–save getting it caught in your extensions;

    when will your kind ever learn that boys who like the “Barbie-doll” look would much prefer real “Barbies” over imitations–and an imitation is all you can ever be until you decide to be your authentic self EVERY “Barbie” fears because she know she has no chance to match you, any more than her mother did yours?

    or do you really have to look like 7 of 9 before you get the message?

  • Oh, please

    I’m sick of the “eat healthy for great hair” advice. Hairdressers will mess up your hair to make money, then tell you to “reduce stress” or “eat more spinach” if you want your hair to be healthier.

    Eat healthy and exercise more to enjoy overall health and great flavor. Want healthy hair? Watch out for that lazy and mean hair dresser who needs your money. She’s trying to pay off the visa bill for the expensive dinnerware set she bought to eat waffles on, earn cash for her baby’s pool party, and raise money for her cousin’s bail.

  • disenchanted

    Oh please have several seats.

    If you have nothing positive to contribute, well then you fill in the rest.

    This is a self-help comment/tip.Therefore, when we know better, we do better.

  • Sandy

    wow how judgmental! My auntie has been natural all her life, currently her hair is locked and she has a serious problem with her edges. There are people who are natural who struggle with their edges and there are people who are relaxed who struggle with their edges too so why go off on some rant about people ‘conking’ their hair etc? And why are you so worried about what another woman does to her hair anyway?

  • talaktochoba

    i hear–with great mirth–this is supposed to be a self-help column;

    isn’t this picture warning enough to get off the petroleum distillates?

    EVERYBODY knows that caps promote hair loss, yet you recommend WIGS–a.k.a., SKULLCAPS!!!

    why is it so important to mimic a totally foreign beauty standard?

    our women are far more NATURALLY beautiful, anatomically different and stimulatingly independent, all amplifying that beauty without a single smear from a beauty counter–yet all these features are sacrificed to imitate a decidedly inferior beauty standard?

    is this your self-help?

    has anyone seen a so-called “supermodel” with buffalo soldier hair, almond eyes, flared nostrils and perfect skin?

    the answer is no, thus the fashion/beauty/photography industries, NONE of which our women need nor profit by…in other words, no man sleeps with an eyelash pencil and an airbrush;

    if you really want to help, try leading these poor little lambs out of the world of petroleum conks and Coty;

    there’s more profit in it for you than you might think…

  • Deb

    add essential oils lavender (a MUST!) and rosemary and witness even greater miracles…*speaking from experience*

  • Nic

    Good point…I also don’t know why so many braiders and clients braid up the tiny hairs around the hairline. I see so many women’s whose hairlines make my headhurt. One of my friends got those braids and the braider braided up the tiny hairs around the edges and put the braids in a bun when she was finishing. The first time my friend let the bun down, ALL of that hair broke off instantly…so like the weight of the braid just pulled the hair out and they landed on the floor.
    I’ve never had braids but there seem to be some pretty thicker options that must be easier on the hair. I think one popular kind are called Marley/Marly? braids…

  • Perspective

    It’s called GOING NATURAL – bump all this non-sense.

    Some people are willing to do EVERYTHING in the world – EXCEPT go natural.

    Then they’re they chick with the hair like that looks like the SIDEBURN MONSTER SNATCHED HER – and get upset when you are NOT interested.

  • BeBoogie

    locs are really hard on edges

  • Lillian Mae

    I feel for women w/ no edges, but only to a certain extent. Unless it’s alopecia, then it’s all about healthy vs unhealthy hair practices. If you’d rather address your lack of edges by wearing a wig or weave, more power to ya!

  • Nakia

    I actually agree with this harsh but real comment, though the wording is rough. Reality is that natural women who actually WEAR their natural hair (don’t cover it with weave or wigs) rarely have this problem. Even pulling your hair back, which I often do to prevent over-styling, does not affect natural hair the same way it does hair that has been weakened by Chemicals and constant stress from weaves. Relaxers and fake hair have consequences. Folks don’t want to hear that because they don’t like the solution to it…not using them.

  • Nakia

    Over twisting and styling locs, as well as wearing them too thin (again, over twisting to keep them tight and ‘neat’) or too big and letting them grow long and heavy, can all damage the edges, too. I wouldn’t use locs as an example here. I have loc’d up many a head and people rarely just want them ‘natty’ (totally natural).

  • talaktochoba

    yet another fine product of our higher education system;

    newsflash–LOCKS ARE NOT “NATURAL”, they are a HAIRSTYLE…and like any other hairstyle that by definition deviates from the norm, risks damage to your hair;

    and it is not rant but sad fact that “boning” and other hair straightening products are little more than petroleum distillate-based lyes that risk burning your hair down to the roots each time you use it, just like the conks we saw Malcolm Little getting in the beginning of “Malcolm X”;

    why not save money and just rinse your hair out in gasoline, then put on a wig or sew in extensions snookered off some other brown women in some foreign country who see not a penny of the thousands you spend on it when it gets here, make sure you have no hair at all?

    think Clairol is gonna want you on their stage then?

    yes, it’s what everyone else does to achieve that “Barbie” look on the dolls you played with…but then, like my grandmother once told me, eat garbage–after all, 50,000 flies can’t be wrong!

  • Nic

    Not sure why you got a thumbs down since you made a good point…

  • Sharon Lowd

    The circumstances may not be real, but you gotta admit it’s funny!

  • talaktochoba

    i’m sure the “cures” offered up here all work to a more or lesser extent, but the point is the damage has already been done–now all you are doing is literally fighting what the military used to call a holding action;

    ask anybody in the 1st Ward down here in New Orleans if stacking sandbags after the overflow worked better than building stronger walls in the first place…

  • SayWhat

    bigger (poetic justice) braids means more weight on an already sensitive edge, like everything else in life, finding balance is key.

  • BeautifulBlackNGifted

    TO ALL MY BEAUTIFUL BLACK SISTERS, we need to take it back to OLD SCHOOL when our grandmothers, mothers, and aunties all proudly wore their own hair! I use to be addicted to wearing braids, weaves, and wigs but I am happy to say that I have been out of hair rehab for 5 wonderful years! My sisters, there are so many benefits to wearing your own royal crown:

    1. Your confidence level actually increases because you are flaunting your very own lovely crown

    2. You no longer have to constantly worry about prematurely losing your hair or developing alopecia
    3. Your scalp and hair looks and feels so much more healthier
    4. You save so much more time and energy by embracing the hair GOD blessed you with
    5. You save so much money and are no longer heavily contributing to the wealth of a non-black community

  • nouveaucache13

    Weaves can cause havoc on your edges due to the tight pull. I once used castor oil on my edges everyday while wearing a full sew in in fear of losing my edges. The best bet thought will definitely be natural looking wig as the risks are lower- if you follow the rules. Hadiyya Barbel is great when it comes to a great wig. She works with the likes of Ciara and her prices aren’t half bad … and oh yea, she’s the creator of the hair crown. Check her out, she’s a boss!

  • Tracey

    Women have been wearing wigs for decades so you might want to leave that one off of the list.

  • Black Man Opinion

    As a man i hate seeing a YOUNG woman wearing a wig. It looks ridiculous. Brothers are laughing at you behind your back. No YOUNG man is proud to have a woman with a wig slapped on her head on his arm out in public.

    A perm or well maintained weave is ok but wigs and sewins covering your entire head are a big fail.

  • You’re a “Big Fail”

    What the hell is wrong with you? Seeing as it’s inside that counts for a person as looks (and hair) will certainly fade with age. Plus, this is an article talking about protective styling, and wigs were given as only one of the alternatives.

    Your opinion seems invaluable as you seem to know nothing about hair since you think a perm or “well maintained weave” are acceptable–there’s tons of other hairstyles! And yes, wigs can look good if you invest!

    Educate yourself please YOUNG “man.” :)

  • MsKarlene

    i agree

  • Kyra Baker

    Hello, I had locs and braids for a couple of years and eventually comb the locs out. The damage was done to the sides and the top. However, I wasn’t real concerned because I have experience forms of alopecia before and knew that it would grow back (in my twenties from stress), though this is a different kind of damage. Someone mentioned diet and being tired of people saying that but that is a huge part of healthy hair. Lack of iron can also cause hair loss, especially as you age (I am in my 40s and natural) and my hair is down my back. I started my career over and stress bought on an excessive amount of hair loss (I am in the medical field, so it is a lot of work) around the edges down to the scalp. I took pictures if you would like to see them. I added greens to my diet but I also took supplements and the majority of it filled back in within a two month span, the rest is still filling in on top. I took vitex, a hair, skin and nail vitamin (both by gaia…I follow a more holistic approach to health), algae or chlorella I also took fo-ti and Dong quai (mainly because I understand Chineses medicine), Along with a good diet, you will find that this will help your hair grow and grow fast. Adding Spirulina to your diet is helpful too (put it in a shake form and it is easier to stomach, I also juice a lot…which you will find plenty of juicing books on amazon…try green drinks they are better for you but add a piece a fruit or two to make it taste like something). Take care

  • Kyra

    Okay, I’m guessing that I did something wrong because my comment didn’t post. Basically, I said that I experience the same problem from both pulling from braids/locs at one point but also alopecia from stress of starting a new career (this was the worse, it actually broke down to the scalp, a huge area all the way across the front of my hairline). I know a lot about herbs and have also studied Chinese medicine and I used dong quai, fo-ti (gaia brand, I also used vitex and the hair, skin and nail from the gaia brand). I also used Chlorella or algae (which I used pure planet brand). It grew back around the edges in about two months, there is a small area on top that is still filling in but it is clearly still growing and the rest of my hair has also grown longer to the middle of my back. It is thick, natural, healthy and strong and I am in my 40s. I knew what to do because I also experience alopecia in my twenties from stress also. Hope that this will help someone else.

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