How to Thicken Your Edges

Sep 22, 2019

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Learning how to thicken your edges can be a bit overwhelming.

For one, there’s this weird, obsessive culture with edges that’s prominent all over social media. From IGTV to YouTube, everyone is obsessed with how laid their edges are.

Don’t get me wrong, having your edges on fleek is definitely a look. Sleek edges are not only fun and edgy (pun intended), but they are reminiscent of the classic 90’s era – the era where black women started the trend.

But the problem here is bigger than just how on fleek your edges are.

The bottom line is that the continuous over-manipulation of our edges are causing some serious damage.

Your edges are the most fragile, finest hair on your head. The overall care you put into your edges, including how often you manipulate them and the products you use, will ultimately seal your fate on whether or not your edges are poppin’ or not.

And trust me, the edge control and the old toothbrush are doing more harm than good, sis.

Your edges represent more than just the latest trend. And slapping a bunch of gel on your edges and brushing it down with a toothbrush is the antithesis of healthy natural hair.

Ready to learn how to thicken your edges and finally get them right? Let’s dive in!

The phenomena and hype around edges is a prominent fixture in black culture. It’s kind of like an art form. Whether you lay them flat or with a swoop or swirl, natural hairstyles hit different when you’re edges are popping, especially if you’re melanated.

That’s why having thin edges, or a thinning hairline in general, is such a painful experience.

Most people don’t have a straight, even hairline, but if your hairline is patchy, and missing parts in large chunks, this post is for you.

Any natural can experience thinning, breaking or balding edges, so all hope is not lost. Some examples of why your edges are snatched (and not in the good way) includes:

  • Protective styles (braids, glues)
  • Edge control and other chemicals
  • Brushes
  • Lack of moisture
  • Irritation
  • Hormone issues, pregnancy, postpartum
  • Stress, and
  • General lack of edge or hairline care routine

Although this is not an exhaustive list, these are the most common reasons as to why your edges aren’t as popping as they used to be.

Unless you have a medical condition that inhibits edge growth, the below tips should work in a few months. 

Here are the top six things you need to incorporate into your hair routine to get your edges back on track and learn how to thicken your edges.

Loose Protective Styles

Protective styles are a game changer to achieve long, natural hair. By tucking your hair away in wigs, weaves, braids or buns, you’re allowing your hair to grow uninterruptedly from the scalp, while simultaneously protecting your ends from unnecessary breakage.

But hold up! In many cases, protective styles can be your edge’s worst nightmare. These styles have been damaging black edges for numerous years, especially in women and children. And sometimes, the damage is irreversible.

Many naturals experience traction alopecia, a condition that gradually results in hairline loss. The cause? Tight, abrasive protective styles. In these cases, the follicles exhibit signs of damage because they’ve been strained for too long. As such, hair will not grow out of these follicles.

Most of us can recall a time where our braids were braided just a little too tightly. Have you ever noticed little micro bumps along the hairline? This is bad news, sis! Those bumps, known as erythema, are the first sign of traction alopecia.

In general, the tighter your protective style is, the more force you are exerting on your follicles. And if it’s too tight, it’s no longer considered a protective style!

Remember when I said your edges are the most sensitive part of your hair? A tight braid can result in your edges losing grip in its follicle, and it will come right off.

The result? A patchy hairline!

There are a few rules of thumb when protecting styling. First, make sure you deep condition prior to styling. Moisturize immediately after washing out the deep conditioner with your favorite leave-in conditioner and sealant, such a natural oil or butter. 

Lastly, make sure your style is not too tight. You’ll feel tension at your hairline if it’s too tight, so take it down and re-do it if it’s the case. Don’t leave in a protective style for more than six weeks, so that you can wash and deep condition your hair. Give your hair a break from the style for at least a week before installing a new style.

Remember: this is the most common reason for traction aloepecia and general edge damage. Be careful with installing each style. This is the most important step to learning how to thicken your edges.

Wrap Your Hair At Night

Girl.. if you’re not wrapping your hair at night, you’re exposing your hair and edges to extreme moisture loss.

Your cotton pillowcase is single-handedly responsible for stealing moisture, tugging strands and snatching edges during the night. Wrapping your hair with silk or satin can mitigate this immensely by ensuring your hair is retaining its precious moisture. And this includes your edges, too!

Furthermore, at night, our body is in repair mode. So many processes that are essential to beauty, such as cell turnover, occur at night. The same goes for your scalp! You want to ensure that you’re protecting your hair when this is happening (so don’t wrap it too tight).

Get yourself either a silk or satin wrap and, after ensuring your hair is moisturized, wrap it up securely but not too tight to allow for adequate breathability. You’ll notice your edges starting to return in just a few weeks!

Ditch the “Scalp Stimulators”

If you’re already suffering from a damaged hairline, it’s time start taking a closer look at the ingredients of your products. 

Many edge control gels and other edge products, with the promise of stimulating your scalp and promoting hair growth, are made up of petroleum and other synthetic or mineral-based products. They claim to be integral to you learning how to thicken your edges by doing just that – thickening them for you.

But most of these ingredients have minimal to no benefits to natural hair, except to lay down the hair. Not only that, but these products quickly cause buildup on natural hair. This clogs your follicles, causing further tension to your already tense scalp.

Nobody got time for that.

Products you need to avoid include any mineral oils, petroleum oils, waxes, and silicones. These products are WIDESPREAD in the black hair market because they’re inexpensive to make. So make sure you’re not getting duped and you’re reading the ingredient list carefully.

On that note…

Use Natural Products Only

Many naturals report actually reversing their hairline loss or alopecia by incorporating natural products, such as essential oils into their routine. In fact, some of the best oils for natural hair are essential oils.

The second best thing you could do for your “how to thicken your edges” routine, next to cutting out the tight hairstyles, is using organic, whole, natural ingredients.

Examples include shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil. These natural ingredients are fortified with vitamins that are crucial to waking those dormant follicles up. 

Massage these natural products into your hairline nightly to stimulate hair growth. Take it a step further by using either cinnamon oil or Jamaican black castor oil, which have known benefits to stimulating blood flow.

Mix in a little rosemary oil (which is known as nature’s minoxidil) which has anti-flammatory and anti-bacterial properties and boom, thick edges!

Scalp Massages

Did you know that scalp massages have been scientifically proven to grow thinning hair?

It’s true! Studies show that approximately 30 mins of massages a day will increase hair growth because of increased blood flow. And more blood flow means more oxygen!

Try this: 15 minutes in the morning, use light pressure to massage your thinning areas. Do this again at night, approximately 12h later. Do this for 3 months and you will see a difference!

No Heat or Chemicals

This should be a no brainer, sis. Heat and chemicals will further damage your hairline and push your follicles more into dormancy. Drop the flat iron and relaxer like it’s hot!

The Bottom Line

Your edges need to be treated with TLC. Yes, swooping edges may be a look, but the edge control and toothbrushes are both breaking your ends and damaging your follicles.

To truly learn how to thicken your edges, treat them with the love they deserve. Take a break from these habits and show your edges some love.

The Curl Market is a natural hair blog catered to helping black naturals grow their curls into a long, luscious manes.

We use the latest evidence-based scientific research to provide you with the top tips on growing your curls, regardless of hair type.

We also provide lifestyle tips, both self care and mental care, to ensure you are optimizing your body’s natural hair growth cycle – because you can’t grow natural hair if you’re stressed out!

Come as you are.

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Ayana Aden

Ayana is The Curl Market’s brand founder. When she’s not deep in natural hair research or creating content, she’s hanging on the couch with her husband and her cat, reading a book or scrolling through TikTok. Follow her on Instagram at @ayanaaaden

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