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FEATURES Nov 10 2013 5:33PM

Edge Control: How to Maintain Those Edges

by Safon Floyd

There is little in the world more gratifying for a woman than no-maintenance hair. That get-up and go, fresh at any moment, ready when you are protective style--we love everything about it, it’s true. Those hours upon hours getting braided, plaited, twisted and locked are easily traded for the convenience of the never-undone do.

There is, however, a dreadful downside. The great convenience of no-maintenance hair can be grossly inconvenient to our edges. The unfortunate tragedy is that many women suffer from traction alopecia--breakage and hair loss along the hairline--due to the stress caused by tightly braided and twisted hairstyles. The great news: with proper care we can protect our hair minus the expense of our hairline.

1- Mind the pull.
 We’re going to take the common sense route with this one and simply listen to our heads. If your edges are tight or you’re experiencing sensitivity please, please take heed and do. not. pull. Often times our hair will let us know exactly what it likes, doesn’t like, will or won’t be able to tolerate. If there is sensitivity to your scalp, near your hairline--if you feel the slightest resistance when your hair is pulled in any direction--STOP. The less stress you apply to your edges now, the more likely they are to stick around later.
2: Don’t be afraid to let go

I know we love our braids, we do, but when it’s time to let them go—let’s do so. After about 2…let’s say 3 months tops we must find the strength to move past our maintenance-free lives. In time, your hair may accumulate build-up at the root, potentially causing tangling, breakage or locking---all huge edge threats. Cherish those maintenance-free months like the summer, but not more than you cherish your hair.

3: Hold it down

Here’s a personal tip that I’m not sure you’ll find anywhere else: when getting your hair braided along your edges, pinch the hairline to avoid too much pull while braiding. The pinch helps to relieve tension and creates a little slack along the base of the braid making it less stressed. Try it out. 

4: Scarf it.

I’ll tell you what’s awful: waking up to find a braid lying on your pillow. We all love to be cute when we sleep, but we also love our braids attached to our heads. Cotton sheets and pillows can create friction along the hairline that may cause breaking and edge popping. Be safe---always wrap it up.

5: Watch the root

If you take a really close look at the base of your twists, plaits or braids (particularly smaller sizes), you may notice that there appears a small twist in your new growth. Untwist it.  Twisted roots plus pulls could equal an edgeless disaster. The untwisted root seems to allow for a more stable base support, and those edges need all the support they can get.

Let these tips serve as the proper precaution to avoid the balding crash after the convenient high of our favorite our protective styles. Let’s hear it for worry-free edges with maintenance-free hair!   


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