By Gabrielle Allen of Strawberricurls.com
Black women seem to suffer from a common problem which are thinning edges. I am not saying that its exclusive to our race but we do wear weaves and braids more than any race of people I know in this day and age.
Take my mother for example. She told me that since she was a kid , her edges have been in horrible condition and to make matters worse, she wore weaves, tight weaves for a while. I spent my summer at her house and over the summer and learned just how damaged her edges were.
She said she didn’t want to go natural and honestly, I wasn’t trying to convince her to do so. I told her all I cared about was her hair being healthy and I wasn’t trying to pressure her into transitioning. Well…. she asked me to put a perm on her head and I told her no, especially after I saw her edges! I told her hair was not ready to handle a chemical service and it need some serious TLC. Again, let me reiterate that I was not trying to get her to transition, I simply wanted her to have healthy hair.
Fast forward…. I started thinking of ways that I knew to grow out thinning hair and from what I could tell just by looking, her edges were suffering from traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing his/her hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids. It is also seen occasionally in long-haired toy dogs whose owners use barrettes to keep hair out of the dogs’ faces.
Traction alopecia is a substantial risk in hair weaves, which can be worn either to conceal hair loss, or purely for cosmetic purposes. The former involves creating a braid around the head below the existing hairline, to which an extended-wear hairpiece, or wig, is attached. Since the hair of the braid is still growing, it requires frequent maintenance, which involves the hairpiece being removed, the natural hair braided again, and the piece snugly reattached. The tight braiding and snug hairpiece cause tension on the hair that is already at risk for falling out. Traction Alopecia is one of the most common causes of hair loss in African American women. Although the aforementioned style is one of the culprits, hairstyles such as dreadlocks and single (extension) braids can also have the same effect. Men and women who have suffered from Traction Alopecia have found that the hair loss occurs most at the hair line – primarily around the temples and the sides of their heads. (SOURCE)
Now don’t get it twisted. Weaves are a great protective style when done RIGHT and not put in too tight. But if you do it wrong, it a can backfire on you and, well, the above happens.
This is what mama dukes hairline looked like when we started
So I felt like ….
Originally my plan was to take her out her weaves and treat it but umm she wasn’t having that. So I told her that she could have the weaves as long as I did them and as long as she still applied the Jamaican Black Castor Oil EVERY night. She agreed.
So the plan in short was JBCO (Jamaican black castor oil) every night and moisturize and seal the rest of her hair while it was in the tracks. And when we took it down, we did a full day of hair treatments. Shampoo, protein treatment, deep condition, moisturize and seal and style.
She came to the conclusion that she didn’t want another weave in and she just wanted to wear her hair. She saw me twisting mine and looked at me…… I looked back at her…… and she looked at me some more and proceeded to say …… “I want my hair like that”
-______- ……. yea i saw that coming.
She still had permed ends so I did my best to blend that end with the rest of it. I did cut some of the permed ends off but not all. She wore the twists for WEEKS but she did moisturize and seal her hair really well during that time (although she hated wash day).
I left for school in August, after having cared for her hair since June. Before I left I showed her what to do and handed over the reigns. She still applied JBCO nightly and as far as I know, kept up her wash days up.. lol.
Well the proof is in the pudding because she sent me a picture of her edges 5 MONTHS LATER and this what they looked like:
“Damn I’m Good!”
LOL! But no all jokes aside, I was kind of afraid she wouldn’t keep it up because I know she doesn’t like to do her hair. I’m proud of her and as much as she was like “Oh im not going natural” ….guess what… She had the remainder of her permed ends cut off and now she is completely and 100% percent natural.
~hits my dougie~
Gabrielle Allen is the founder and creator of Strawberricurls.com. Be sure to check out her site for more awesome hair tips and tales.
Ladies, have you brought your edges back from the brink? Or have you helped a family member do so?