It’s time for another BGLH compilation series! This time we’re discussing edges; how they thin out and what you can do to restore them. First up is Geniece sharing her experiencing with thinning edges.

Thin Edges circa 2011
Thin Edges circa 2011

Edge-Friendly Natural Hair Style, 2013
My Edges Today, Due to Better Styling Choices

My challenges with thinned edges can be traced back to my childhood. One style common among many little black girls, 2 to 8 large braids or twists, fastened with colorful hair barrettes and bows were pretty standard in my household. I never had tightly braided styles like cornrows and yet as I grew older I would find that my edges were weak and thin. This became especially pronounced during adolescence. For me, the reason for this was primarily genetic. My mom had a weaker hairline and so I came to learn that the tight ponytails and slicked back buns girls wore in the mid-1990s (with accompanying baggy jeans, oversized shirts and large hoop earrings…think TLC) were styles I could only wear in moderation.

Once I recognized my edges were thinning, I was usually able to resolve the issue fairly quickly.  At night I or my mother would massage hair grease (usually Dax or Ultra Sheen) along my edges and twist that section into a small loose flat twist. After a few weeks my thinning sections began to fill in. When I began to wear my hair naturally, the challenges I faced with my edges didn’t disappear. However, I did learn better styling techniques and ways to care for my sensitive hair line. For example, massaging my edges with castor oil and a protein based conditioner yielded great results. Moreover, wearing styles that did not tug at my edges decreased the likelihood that I will suffer repeated breakage.

So, how did I style my hair when my hairline suffered breakage? First, I didn’t allow the breakage to get so severe that it required disguising the breakage or changing my styling routine. The wonderful thing about natural hair is that even with breakage the thickness of my hair made any breakage seem somewhat mild and only noticeable to those who knew me. Still, I generally refrained from tight  ponytails that required sleek edges. The LAST thing you want to do when in the process of re-growing your edges is to use a brush or holding gel directly along the edges.

The best advice that I can give regarding restoring your edges is this: ACT FAST. If you continually ignore breakage you may eventually experience traction alopecia. Once your hair follicles have been severely damaged, usually after years of tight styles or chemical processes, no amount of care, tenderness or castor oil can restore your hair edges to their former glory.

Ladies have you dealt with thinning edges? How did you restore them?


Island girl raised in the most royal of NYC's boroughs. Proud nerd, social scientist, educator and recovering awkward black girl. When not listening to NPR, trying to grow spiritually, or detangling my fro, I'm searching for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

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9 Comments on "Why My Edges Started to Thin and How I Restored Them Pt 1, Geniece’s Story"

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I never really considered styling my edges and so they are left alone. Guess I just don’t care for sleek hair or laid ponytails…kinda defeats the purpose of going natural. I like my natural edge line and the wisps the hair creates. It compliments my not so smooth styles. I don’t pull my hair back too often and never tightly. But if I do rock a loose puff, those short hairs aren’t forced to be a part. It doesn’t look bad at all, but maybe that is just me being my unpolished self lol.


It’s projection, and the easiest target is the non vocal white person. I agree, their only confusion less with the extensive and elaborate weave/wig wearing. Not that they can’t understand why hair is different from week to week…I think most everyone is familiar with wigs and weaves. The confusion is in WHY. It’s a legitimate question we should be asking ourselves.


I love the compilation series! It’s interesting to see how women of different hair types reach the same milestones or how different techniques can achieve similar results.

This is interesting but not at all helpful, nothing new here. What if it you have short/ medium length tight curly hair, real afro hair and thinning edges. And a normal corporate job to hold down. I’m sorry but even in 2015, you present with certain hairstyles to work. Professional = straight unless you have loose curls, or tight curls in a twa or long enough to tie up/ back. Which I don’t. Only options I have a wigs and weaves. Let’s get real, only option most 4c women have if they want to let their hair rest and grow… Read more »

You could try using flexi rods on either wet or dry hair with some mousse there are some tutorials on YouTube

I definitely hear where you are coming from and it’s not ignorant at all, just honest. I work in a law firm and would be uncomfortable wearing just my natural hair to work at this point. The closest I have gotten is a cornrow updo with curly weave in the front (to cover my very thinned edges). I’ve done lacefronts and weaves while I try to get my edges together but that just made the situation worse. Everything that looks neat enough for work stresses my edges of I leave it in more than a week and with the amount… Read more »
Jun Kazama

This is the MOST ignorant thing I have ever heard. I have short/ medium 4b hair. I work in the corporate office setting. maybe the wigs and weaves are thinning your edges. I can’t even imagine how to offer you advice, the bitterness just flows through your comment.

Al G.
I’m sorry that you have experienced this in your profession, but I would have to slightly disagree. I work in banking and I wear my hair any way I would like and my management has no problem with it. Sometimes I wear my hair in a fro, other times I’ll do protective styling like a sew in or braids. My hair is also 4C and the only type of curl I have is if I manipulate it. With all that being said, I think it’s all about presentation and education. I present myself in a certain manner and I educate… Read more »
I agree with this comment. I honestly feel that black women are too sensitive and have misperceptions about what white people think about their hair. in my experience, the only perplexity that whites showed against black women’s hair was the women who usually wore wigs and elaborate weaves. They didn’t understand how their hair looked so vastly different week to week. I really wish black people would just try and wear their natural hair to work. You will be surprised that many whites don’t care or much prefer a natural esthetic. White people don’t hate Afro hair, they accept it… Read more »