Why are my edges thinning and breaking? How can I regrow my edges? If I had a dollar for the number of times I get these questions each day I would be a thousandaire lol. Seriously, I either get this question from new salon clients and or subscribers from my Youtube channel daily. I figured it was time to get tell it like it is. A little about me for those of you who may be new here. I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist for well over 18 years. Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Am I telling my age lol? As such, I have quite a history of dealing with thinning edges as a professional and woman who has had children. I will touch more on that later on in this post.
Thinning edges is a form of traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia is hair loss that’s caused by constant pulling and twisting of the hair. You can develop traction alopecia if you often wear your hair in tight ponytails, braids, weaves, and especially if you use excessive chemicals or heat on your hair. Traction alopecia is the number one cause for edges thinning and breaking.
As a cosmetologist, I have a straightforward approach. I will tell you how and why then offer you solutions to fix the problem. This is what we will be doing in today’s post. I will give you some of the most common reasons for thinning edges.
Let’s start with some good news first.
Can I Regrow My Thinning Edges
Many of the reasons why your edges are thinning is because of things within your control. Yes, you read that right, YOU are the problem, ma’am. Secondly, health issues such as hormonal imbalances and pregnancy can be reversed to regrow the hair. Lastly, it happens to the best of us. I myself have had to deal with thinning edges and regrowing my hair back after doing my hair too tightly and after hair loss due to pregnancy.
So I know the struggle all too well. You are not alone.
In many cases, YES. You can regrow your thinning and breaking edges. It will take a little bit of work and a ton of consistency but it can happen. Below I will share my secret ingredient to regrowing your edges. Keep reading.
10 Reasons Why Your Edges Are Thinning and Breaking
- Over manipulation
- Tight hairstyles
- Lack of moisture
- Wrong Products
- Stress and hormones
- Dirty styling tools
- Your Diet
- Bonnets and Scarves
- Excessive heat styling
- Attending YouTube University… CHILE
Now of course there are many other factors which can lead to thinning edges and balding. This post will deal with the most common factors.
Let’s find out why you are experiencing this and get you on the fast track to healthy hair.
The stress of consistent pulling, twisting, braiding of the hair causes edges to thin. I may sound like a broken record here but less is more. I know social media has given us a bit more reasons to restyle and change up our look. We need new pictures for Instagram right? But I would advise you to change up your outfit more than your hairstyle. You do NOT need a new hairstyle every other week. Over manipulation of the hair causes strain on your precious strands and can lead to unnecessary breakage. Again, less is more. This leads me to our next topic.
In the beginning stages of my career, I was under the impression that styling the hair tightly would give the client more usage and long term wear of the style. WRONG! The same applies to you. Do not for a second believe that tight equals right. So those micro braids and tight sew-ins are a thing of the past. We want to prevent our edges from thinning and breaking. If you need to take pain medicine before or after a hair appointment please find another stylist. Tight hairstyles are the leading cause overall breakage within the hair. This is why traction alopecia is so common in the African American community.
Let your scalp breathe
Not all protective styles are created equal. Of course, we have braids, twists, weaves, and wigs. If not done properly they do more harm than good. As it relates to your scalp, lace front wigs are all the rave right now. They allow you to get a realistic look without any heat styling to the natural hair. Here’s the problem. To apply your lace wigs you must use some form of adhesive. It can be the gel and hairspray technique (SHOWN HERE) or the lace glue method. In an attempt to protect your hair from manipulation one can wear wigs and weave for too long. This doesn’t allow the scalp to breathe and the hairline usually experiences the damage first. The product build-up and lack of cleansing cause bacteria to form and will destroy your hairline. Thus leading to thin and balding edges.
Most people believe their hair with an itchy and flaky scalp when in fact they have an overgrowth of bacteria forming. Seek out a licensed stylist or medical professional to learn the difference. They will be sure to help you stop your hair and edges from thinning and breaking.
While on this topic. A consistent wash day schedule and routine would do wonders for a healthy scalp. As I said, I can talk about this until I’m blue in the face lol.
As much as I am a stickler for weekly or bi-weekly wash days for textured hair. The products used are just as important. Since we are discussing thinning edges we need to focus on products that provide moisture to the hair as well as stimulate the hair follicles for continued scalp growth and cell turnover. I will create a later post talking about hair oils I recommend for regrowing the scalp. But for now, I want you to do this.
Go into your current stash of hair products. Look for oils that contain castor oil and Vitamin D or E. If your hair oils have one or all of these ingredients you can continue to use them. One of my favorite ingredients for regrowing edges is pure Jamaican black castor oil. This is a sure way to stop edges from thinning and breaking. I also have a video tutorial on how I used rice water to strengthen my hair, you can view it HERE.
Stress and Hormonal imbalance:
Stress will wreak havoc on your body and your mind. As a salon owner, I too have to find ways to keep stress at bay. Stress is typically indicated by the loss of long strands from the hair. This is also known as shedding. However, the stress of being a woman can be seen around the hairline first. Have you ever seen an M style patch missing from the hairline? That’s hair loss due to stress. INSERT PICTURE. Hormone imbalances are not my area of expertise so I would highly advise you to speak to your health care provider and have your hormone levels tested. Also, a low or overactive thyroid can also cause hair loss and thinning edges.
Dirty styling tools
Now, this may seem like a given but unsanitary combs and brushes is another cause of your edges thinning and breaking. Listen, I learned how to do hair in the inner city when there was one comb for the entire house, and to be honest, I don’t ever remember seeing it being cleaned. Now let’s go even further, before I owned my salon I worked in salons that did not check for proper sanitation practices. If you knew some of the things I’ve seen over the years, YUCK.
With this, please make sure you keep your combs and brush clean and sanitary. When I say clean your hairbrushes that does not mean take the comb and remove the hair lol. I want you to soak your stying tools with soap and warm water. Do not share them with your girlfriends when they come over and make sure they are free of product buildup. Black women can get lice too and if you’ve never seen lice google it. It’s not pretty.
You are what you eat. If you think you can eat hot Cheetos and diet coke and have long, thick, healthy hair you are wrong. As it relates to thinning edges, a proper diet will encourage cell turnover. This will result in the hair follicle being stimulated to produce new hair growth. Drink your water also. Your hair and skin will thank you for it.
Hair Scarves and Bonnets:
Your nighttime routine is very important when maintaining healthy hair and your hairstyle. Making sure you apply a scarf or bonnet while you sleep is a great way to protect your hair. Silk and satin materials are best as they provide a smooth surface for the hair to be wrapped in. Remember, cotton absorbs, so any oil in the hair will be absorbed in cotton scarves and pillowcases. This is why you may experience thinning edges. Secondly, make sure your bonnets are not too tight. The elastic inside the bonnet can also cause tension around the hairline. Remember your edges are fragile. You want your bonnet tight enough to stay on all night but not enough to rub your edges away.
Excessive Heat Styling:
Now that the hot comb is readily available to everyone I have seen an increase in its usage. A hot comb is a heated tool that straightens the hair and is typically used around the hairline to smooth out the hair for updos and silk press hairstyles. I am all for women learning to maintain their hairstyles at home however like most hot tools, temperature control is key. When using heated hair styling tools one must take preventative measures to make sure they are protecting their hair strands from the heat.
Excessive heat damage around the hairline will cause thinning and breakage on the edges. One of the ways to prevent excessive heat damage is to apply a heat protectant to the hair before styling. Additionally, lower the temperature on your styling tools to a medium-low setting.
Another great way to prevent heat damage while styling is to only use your flat iron and hot combs on your hair strands one to two times per application. That means, your styling tools should only pass through your hair strands once or twice. Do not flat iron that same section of hair four and five times. Make sure you do not have excessive product build-up when applying heated styling tools to your hair. It will also cause your hair to burn under extreme temperatures which will result in hair breakage and thinning.
I’m going to keep this as short and shade free as I possibly can but girl…
Do you realize anyone can create a Youtube channel? Do you also know that everyone is not qualified to give advice on your hair? Some of your favorite guru’s don’t even have edges and have videos that have gone viral, chile.. Ok, I said I was gonna try and not be petty so let me start over. Listen, sis, do not attend Youtube University.
This means listening to tips from random people online who are paid by brands to promote products that thin your edges and cause hair loss. Then treating their word like it came from the hair bible. You have to be very particular about which influencers you follow. Now, to be fair, I was on YouTube for years before my subscribers knew I was a professional stylist. Additionally, there are plenty of gurus who have never attended cosmetology school and their information is spot on. When in doubt consult a professional.
All hair textures are not the same. If you follow the hair charts (which I don’t) and it says you are 3C hair type your favorite guru will tell you to use blank product. The issue with this is they don’t know your hair’s ability to retain moisture (porosity) or any underlying scalp issues you may have. What if you have dermatitis or eczema of the scalp? You may not be able to use these products or the product may contain alcohol which can cause your hair to break and thin. See where I’m going with this? Find a credible source and remember to still do your own independent research.
Here Are A Few More Tips To Prevent Edges From Thinning And Breaking
- Stop using that toothbrush to lay your edges. It’s made for hard teeth, not fragile hairlines.
- How much gel and edge control are you gonna use before you wash your hair? Wash your hair sis.
- DO NOT relax just your hairline. Remember it is the most fragile and chemical processing breaks down the hair structure.
- Use alcohol-free products on your edges.
- Remove your lace frontal wigs properly.
- Do not apply glue to your hairline.
- Leave-in conditioners and detanglers are great for the hair, use them often.
- Apply products to the scalp and rub them in to stimulate blood flow to that area.
- Deep conditioning your hair will restore moisture levels. Deep conditioning is key.
- Rinse out products properly. If you are rinsing your hair and still see bubbles near the drain KEEP RINSING. This is a telltale sign you still have product left in your hair.
- Also, when you finish washing your hair it should not feel like silk. Soft hair yes, silky No. This is also usually a sign you still have product left in your hair. This is most usual for textured and curly hair types.
Now that you know my top reasons for your edges thinning and balding I want you to create a plan of action to regrow your hair. I will list a few helpful videos below that will help you maintain and grow your hair. Remember, stick to a hair regime and avoid unnecessary styling. You’re beautiful enough already.