How I grew back my Edges
By Jay Cee, TN Admin (Janet Chencha)
Step-by-Step Hairline Restoration
The concept of edges is one I first encountered when I went natural three years ago. It is not something I paid much attention to in the past. Before I went natural I would relax my hair then after two months braid it continuously before relaxing it again and repeating the cycle. I did notice that when I removed the braids my hairline would be gone. It would grow back in the two months I would be relaxed. After braiding it would disappear again. I did not think it was something to be concerned about. After all, so many ladies were sporting the no-edges look, you would have been forgiven for thinking that it was in vogue!
After I big chopped I started visiting hair forums and spending time on Google. There I saw images and memes of missing edges and finally realised it was not a normal phenomenon. By then a big part of why my edges were missing was actually hormonal. I had just had a new baby so my hairline had receded more than was normal for me back then. I did some research and got various ideas on how to restore my edges. I sat down and wrote my plan because I am that kind of person. I followed the plan for a year and got my edges back. At least from the follicles I had not yet killed with the relaxers and tight braids!
Steps I took to restore my edges:
- Avoid tight braids, weaves and any tight styles in general. This lessens tension on the hairline. If one keeps applying tension to the hairline then it doesn’t matter what oil you use, what you eat or drink or even how much you pray. Those edges will not be coming back unless you stop the tension. If you experience headaches from a hair style or see bumps or redness around your hairline, stop. The tension is way too much. I do not care how cute a style is, if it is pulling out your edges then it is not worth it. Stop swallowing pain killers. Just undo those braids or change your hairstyle quickly! This was easy for me as I was tired of braiding or weaving anyway.
- Leave plaiting for a while. I also had to take a break from cornrows aka lines because I realized that no matter how gentle the stylist was, I would lose a little of my edges when I took them out. In place of these, I did two strand twists which I kept in ninety percent of the time. I loved and still love styling my hair in a puff but I am careful not to put too much tension on my hairline when I do them. The added benefit is that I no longer had to blow-dry my hair to straighten it in preparation for braiding and styling. This also helped me retain more length.
- I stopped slicking down my edges. I know, sleeked styles look so neat and sophisticated but if you already have thinning edges then all that gel application, smoothing and brushing done in the bid to lay down the edges will only pull out your hair. Save this for when your edges are robust and do it only occasionally and with a soft brush. You can still look cute without sleeked edges.
- Doing scalp massages. This stimulates blood flow leading to better nutrient distribution to the hair follicles and ultimately, to hair growth. I used a mixture of castor oil and peppermint oil to massage my scalp for about 5 minutes a day. Sometimes I would do it twice a day. This really helped not only with the edges but general growth. I noticed that Jamaican black castor and the regular ideal castor oil found in Kenyan supermarkets gave me similar results. There are many other oils one can use and I do like to experiment so I will also be trying out various oils in the future.
- Being careful not to leave the facial cleanser on my hairline. This dries out the hair making it more susceptible to breakage. I tie a scarf around my head, covering my hairline, before I cleanse my face then make sure to rinse off the cleanser thoroughly.
- Paying attention to the edges when deep conditioning and moisturising. Until a few years ago I hardly paid my edges any attention when conditioning and moisturising my hair. This left them dry and susceptible to breakage. Since the hair on the edges is delicate it is better to apply a light oil or cream moisturiser. Avoid weighing them down with heavy products as this could also cause breakage.
- Being careful how I wear hats, caps, bonnets etc. I make sure that they aren’t laying on my edges because when they do they rub on the edges and that friction leads to breakage. When I wear them I make sure to pull them down past my edges.
- Eating a nutritious diet, drinking water and regularly exercising helps with general hair growth so I tried to do this as well.
- Practising consistency and patience.You must be consistent with these actions.Be patient. It will take time for the edges to significantly grow back. You cannot give up after a few weeks or months. Give yourself at least six months just to see a difference
- Avoiding hair dyes. Dyes render the hair more susceptible to dryness. Dry hair breaks. If your edges are already problematic there is really no need to add another challenge. It is better to nurse the edges back to health then decide whether you want to dye the hair.
I am very proud of what I achieved after sticking to my resolution and would encourage everyone to follow these steps. If you do not see a change after several months then it may be time to see a trichologist who will help resolve the problem after diagnosing it.