Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What we can learn about healthy edges from Toya Wright

The other day, I received an email with a wonderful question on creating healthy edges that inspired this post.  Looking back over my archives, I realized that I haven't written any posts on healthy edges.  So I figured that now is as good of a time as any.

The internet was a buzz not too long ago when Toya Wright posted this picture of her hair au natural on Instagram.



The ooooh's and aaaaaah's over Toya's luscious lengths were short lived once folks started noticing her edges.  Judging from how she normally wears her hair, my guess is that she relaxes her hairline so her real hair can blend in effortlessly with the straight weaves she normally wears.  Obviously, there's a texture difference between her edges and her length but what's most striking is the difference in length.  

If I were to rank the most fragile areas of our hair, the ends, our edges and the nape would be my top 3. Those are the areas most susceptible to damage.  In most cases, severe damage in those areas could be devastating and take a long time to recover from.  These issues, much like any other hair related damage, can be resolved by following a simple series of steps which I will now go over with you.

Step 1:  Identify root cause

The good news is that it's pretty easy to narrow down the causes of thinning ends.  Most often it has something to do with these factors:

  • Styling// Excessive strain on edges caused from tight ponytails or braids.  Some weave styles can also cause strain on edges as well (just ask Naomi Campbell).  Excessive heat is included as a major contributor to thinning edges.
  • Manipulation// I'm very guilty of this.  When I'm bored, I usually start playing with the little coils on my nape or around my edges.  The higher my stress or boredom, the more I manipulate. The more I manipulate, the more my edges & nape suffers.  
  • Neglect// When I stepped back and quietly observed my behaviors, I realized that when I moisturized, applied deep conditioner, or conducted any other type of nourishing activity, I rarely  paid attention to my edges.  No wonder why my edges were always dry and brittle, I never gave them any attention.
  • Overprocessing// "Oooh, my edges need a touch up."  I remember the days when I was touching every 6-8 weeks because I had to keep the edges looking right.  Since our hairline clearly displays signs of new growth, we often will start the relaxer application process with the edges and nape.  Once the relaxer is completely applied, we then invest an extra block of time smoothing the chemical into our hairline to achieve the straightest look possible.  I'm speculating, but this appears to be the case in the pic above.  Over time, this practice is sure to create thinning.
The above list isn't all inclusive.  There are other factors that can contribute to week edges but this gives you a good start.  Another thing that thins out my edges is when I have a dermatitis flare-up.  As my scalp peels and flakes around my hairline, I'll loose hair in that area. Doing all I can to keep my flare-ups at bay is critical if I want to maintain full edges.

Now that we've identified some of the causes, let's look into what we can do to address the issue.

Step 2:  Bringing Your Edges back to Life!

 When are edges begin to thin, take it as a message from your hair saying "You're doing the wrong things!" So most often, the solution is as simple as stopping the behavior that's causing the thinning and beginning to implement things that promote the regrowth of hair.   Those things include:

  • Supplementation// Promoting new growth is key to filling in the hairline. Starting a regimen of taking a great Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamin daily will help quickly promote healthy growth.  
  • Massage// Manipulation is bad but massages are good!  Sometimes, our edges suffer due to lack of blood flow to that area. Adequate blood flow is a must because it nourishes the hair follicles. Often time, I find myself having to massage my hairline, and my nape, after removing my satin scarf in the morning.  I could tell that I tied the scarf too tightly which constricted blood flow to that area.  Massage is like you saying to your scalp, "focus your attention on growing more hair here." 
  • Powerful Oils// One of my all time favorite posts is the one where I discussed various plant oils and the benefits of each for scalp massages.  In that post, I mentioned castor oil and emu oil as powerful growth promoters.  Anyone struggling to regrow their edges or nape should have one of these oils as a tool. 
  • Leave it alone// Giving your hair a chance to grow back means that you'll have to lay off on all of the tension, manipulation, and stress we put on our hairline.  Long ago, I would start my relaxer application by applying it to my hairline. Now, I do this as my final step.  When I'm bored and I catch myself mindlessly playing with my nape, I stop and do something else.  
  • Nourish your edges// Once I realized how much I was neglecting my hairline and the back of my hair, I adapted my habits when I deep condition and moisturize to include my entire head, not just my ends and length.  When I moisturize and seal, I start with my edges then work my way to my ends. 
Finally, be patient and take some pics along the way to measure your progress.  Consistency will help you in this aspect of your journey more than you know. 







  1. OMG!! I remember looking at this pic and glancing at the straight short bits but been distracted by the length of the natural hair instead.
    Damn her edges are short and look weak... she needs prayers soon be like Naomi lol

    Great post

    www.myeverydaytreats.blogspot.com

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  2. I've seen quite a few people who have grown their hair out with weaves but their sides are horrible. I don't think it's worth it. Now is the time that she should leave the weaves alone and focus on all of her hair being healthy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post
    I'm currently surfering from the same problem of weak edges and nape. They are almost non existent

    Thanks again doll

    ReplyDelete

 

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