How to Protect, Style, and Grow Your Hair Edges

Last Updated on December 19, 2022 by Gaga

If you’ve been scrolling down your Instagram feed or have been paying attention to the red carpet these past few years, then you know that edge styling and edge art have been booming in popularity. Although edge styling has been around for a long time, popular celebrities such as FKA Twigs and Yara Shahidi have brought this styling technique to the forefront with their bold and stunning hairstyles both on the red carpet and at home. Read on to learn how to take the best hair for your edges to keep them healthy-looking and beautiful!

What is Edges Hair?

Edges, otherwise known as baby hairs are typically shorter hair strands that are located around the hairline and the nape of the neck. Usually, these hairs are finer, thinner, and more fragile than the rest of your strands. 

sensual African girl with tamed baby hairs

Many women have a hard time figuring out if their edges are actually baby hairs or just broken strands at the hairline. The best way to figure this out is by taking a good look at your edges to notice any dryness or damage. If your edges are filled with split ends and feel brittle, this means that it is probably damaged hair and not regular baby hairs.

What Causes Thinning Hair Edges?

  1. A family history of thinning ages can leave you with the same problem.  If this is the case there are very few options left to change the situation for the better.
  2. Vigorous brushing causes friction, hair breakage, and thinning. Tight protective hairstyles like braids, ponytails, dreadlocks and tight buns pull your hair and may result in hair loss.
  3. Applying heat too often can make your edge hair dry, damaged, and prone to breakage.
  4. Harsh chemical treatments such as bleaching, rebounding, and relaxers can damage the edges of the hair, causing breakage and hair fall.
dark-skinned girl look at her edges in the mirror

How to Protect Your Edges from Thinning

Be gentle! Because your edges are finer and more fragile than the rest of your hair, you need to avoid potentially damaging styling practices,  otherwise, you can cause breakage. Instead of tugging or pulling at the hair, make sure to style with ease and minimal manipulation.

Don’t cause too much tension. We all love our super sleek, slicked-back looks but too much pulling can not only cause breakage, but also hair loss. This hair loss particularly occurs around the hairline where baby hairs grow. This goes for any type of updo, protective style, or extension you’re wearing.

Moisturize! It’s also important to keep an eye on your edges to ensure their texture is not changing and they’re not turning into broken strands. If you start to notice breakage around the hairline, make sure to lay off heat styling and do deep conditioning treatments to maintain high moisture levels.

Towel-dry gently. To reduce friction gently path-dry your hair with a towel instead of rubbing it. Don’t wrap hair too tightly to avoid pulling fragile edge hair. To protect your edges at night, wear a silk or satin scarf and sleep on a silk pillowcase.

African girl with edges in her curly hair

What Can You Do to Grow Your Edges Back

If you notice that your edges are thinning, the good news is that with proper care, your baby’s hair can grow back and look healthy again. However, there is no magic product. Growing your edges back won’t happen overnight and it also takes effort and a lot of patience. Here is what you should stop doing and what to add to your hair care regimen.

  1. You should stop exposing your hair to chemicals. Don’t apply harsh treatments like bleaching and chemical relaxers and use only natural-based products to style your edges. Use a good heat protectant before applying heat if you do use hot tools occasionally.
  2. A deep conditioning treatment once a week will provide the necessary moisture and speed up the recovery of your hair.
  3. Avoid tight hairstyles that create constant tension on your edges. Also, avoid wearing wigs and extensions that would create friction and may lead to breakage.
  4. To reactivate inactive follicles, you need to stimulate blood circulation to the scalp so that more oxygen and nutrients reach your follicles. A gentle massage using a natural boar bristle brush will accelerate blood flow to the scalp and stimulate the follicles.
Girl with long blonde braids and edges listening to music

What Oil Helps Grow Edges Back

The moderate use of hair oils, both sealing and penetrating, can help. Jamaican black castor oil is the best choice for recovering dry and fragile edges. Peppermint essential oil diluted in jojoba oil has a cooling effect and stimulates blood circulation in the scalp area. Massage your hairline with this oil mixture before shampooing.

Add 3-4 drops of rosemary and sage essential oils to a tablespoon of olive oil and gently massage into your scalp. You can use this mixture as a pre-shampoo treatment as well as a hot oil treatment. This oil mixture boosts circulation and helps stimulate hair growth.

Edge Control for Natural Hair 

While edge styling has been re-popularized in recent years with the rise of social media, it’s nothing new—especially for dark-skinned women. Edge control actually started back in the 1920s by women with naturally textured hair as a way to slick back their edges to make their hair appear less coiled. For years, black-skinned women styled their hair in ways to make it look as sleek as possible until the 60’s when they started to embrace their natural texture.

Instead of slicking their hair back, women with dark skin started rocking their natural texture loud and proud while still controlling their edges in more of a way that we know and see today. In the 1990s, the popularity of both simple and intricate edge control resurged and hasn’t left since! So, while many well-known celebrities such as Kardashian/Jenner have tried to set trends by styling their baby hairs, the naturally kinky community knows that it has never left!

attractive african american woman in the office

How to Style Your Edges

Edge styling can range from simple for a day-to-day look to very intricate for a night on the town. Whether you decide to keep it easy or go all out, there are a few tools and steps you can take to make sure your edges stay on point all night long!

1. When it comes to tools, you’re going to need three things—a fine comb, a toothbrush or edge styling tool, and a strong-hold gel or edge tamer. There are a ton of edge tamers on the market depending on the level of hold you like. Remember, use only natural-based products that are not aimed to provide only short time benefits.

2. First, make sure to use a comb to section out your edges from the rest of your hair strands. Be super gentle so you don’t cause excess tension or breakage.

3. Then, apply a bit of edge tamer or gel onto your section of baby hairs and use your toothbrush/edge styling tool to start swooping! This is where you can really experiment with the style and play around with different looks. Edge tamer or edge control is usually a thicker consistency that helps to stick the edges to the hairline/forehead.

Young woman with afro hairstyle taking selfie

4. If you want to get really detailed, use the tip of your comb to mold the ends of your baby hairs for a more defined look.

5. Depending on your plans for the day, you may want to finish off laying your baby hairs with a hairspray. While this is optional, it’s recommended if you’re going to be active or if it’s hot/high humidity outside. An extra spritz of hairspray just ensures that your edges stay in place and won’t budge!

The best part about edge styling is that it’s totally customizable to you, your own look, and your hair type! Be gentle with your hair but don’t be afraid to get daring and experiment with different styles based on your own preferences.

Girl with long blonde braids listening to music

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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