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?

Gen

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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NaturallyMe

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.

NaturallyMe

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.

kxlot79

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.

Guest
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 »
Janell

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

Eirehc
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 »
Val
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 »
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