Whether your edges are only starting to thin or are already pretty far gone, you can learn how to grow back your edges with the help of healthy habits, strategic hair loss cures, and the right products to reinforce the rest of your efforts. Read on for our best tips to grow edges.
What Causes Thinning Edges?
It’s essential to understand the thinning hair causes at play if you want to regrow your hairline. As it turns out, there are a number of things that can lead to thin edges, and the good news is that most of them are preventable. There are two types of causes to consider. The first being that you may actually have a hair loss or shedding issue, causing your edges to thin. The alternative is that your hair may be damaged, and you have a breakage problem that is leading to your hair edges looking thin. Usually, around the hairline, strands fade out as a result of breakage and not shedding.
Now, why are you experiencing shedding or breakage in the first place? Below, we’re breaking down five specific reasons your edges may be thinning.
1. Stress. While breakage is more likely to be the culprit behind thinning hair edges than actual hair loss, things like stress can disrupt the natural hair cycle and cause hair to stop growing temporarily. When this happens, it’s typical that when the stress stops, hair resumes its normal cycle. You may notice this more obviously on other parts of your head, but it’s possible for it to affect the hairline, too.
2. Tight hairstyles. The biggest culprit of thin edges is tight hairstyles that tug at the fragile strands along your hairline. Over time, too much pulling not only removes the hair, but it can actually damage the hair follicle. Wigs and weaves that are glued or sewn around the perimeter of the hair, tight braids, high ponytails, and constantly slicked-back styles can all cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.
3. Hair relaxers. Traction alopecia has also been linked to the application of chemical relaxers. Keep in mind, while the term alopecia sounds scary and permanent, this version is completely preventable and, in most cases—with the right care—reversible.
4. Too much friction. Friction from rough towel drying and excessive heat styling is also one of the more obvious damage inducers, particularly if you’re hitting your edges over and over to get them smooth.
5. Products and hair tools. If you’re used to slicking down edges with harsh, alcohol-based gels that dry hair out, this could also be contributing to the damage and breaks. In addition to the gel itself, the tool you use to apply it may not be helping either. Harsh plastic bristles can seriously tear at already compromised coils. If edge taming is one of your rituals, swap in a moisturizing formula like the Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother, which has aloe to hydrate as it slicks.
Can You Grow Your Edges Back?
As we mentioned, you can grow your edges back. What you need to know is that it may take time. The steps for growing edges aren’t known to be fast, so be patient. Maintaining high moisture levels, minimizing breakage, proper protective styling, and keeping your ends clipped will all help keep your edges strong and long. While most of these regimens and techniques cater to new growth, it’s important to take note of the state of your overall hair health to avoid continuing any detrimental habits.
An excessively or frequently dry scalp (which is essentially an extension of your facial skin) can lead to inflammation and scarring of the follicle, causing hair to stop growing. Keep not just your hair, but also your scalp clean with a product like Wash Day Delight Sulfate Free Shampoo for Curly Hair and regularly massage lightweight hair oils or butters like the Healthy Hair Butter along your hairline to help retain moisture and stimulate the scalp and hair follicles.
How Do You Stop Your Edges From Thinning?
The first step to stopping the thinning is to get to the root, literally, of what’s causing your damage. Take all of the potentially damaging styling practices mentioned and try to pinpoint when you first noticed a change. Did you switch products? Have you been consistently wearing the same hairstyle for a while? Did you get your hair relaxed? These are all questions to ask yourself. Once you narrow down the source, you’ll need to give your hair a break. If wigs or weaves have been your go-to protective style, consider something loose and uncovered like a flexi-rod set that will allow your scalp to breathe and rest.
Regular washing with a sulfate-free shampoo will also do thinning edges some good. Turn to a gentle and repairing cleanser like the Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo. Not only will it properly remove any product residue from gels and edge control products, but this shampoo also has a repairing formula to reduce breakage. If you’re feeling really dry and brittle, top off your wash with the Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil to help target weak spots.
How Do You Stimulate Hair Growth?
To boost hair follicles that have become dormant, you need something to get the circulation going. This is true if you want to regrow your hairline or hair in any area, and there are a number of methods for doing this. Light therapy is one of the more advanced options and may be worth consulting with a cosmetic dermatologist about if your thinning is more severe. You can also try an at-home method like a scalp massage or gentle brushing with a natural boar bristle brush. This gets the blood flowing on the scalp and stimulates the hair follicles to rev up the growth cycle.
How Do You Thicken Hair Edges?
Once you’ve figured out how to grow back your edges, you’ll want to fortify and thicken them so that they are less prone to damage and breakage down the line. One of the best ways to do this is with a regular deep conditioning treatment. If you have time, you can either do a hot oil treatment or a steam with the Coco Creme Moisturizer, or add a strengthening conditioner like the Monoi Repairing Conditioner to your wash routine to help replenish natural oils and moisture that get lost when you cleanse.
There’s also some research to show that beefing up the protein in your diet can (over time) help make hair grow stronger and thicker. If you’ve been struggling to thicken your edges, making dietary changes may be worth considering.
Lastly, you can create the appearance of thicker hair with regular use of hair oils for natural hair. Keep in mind that some oils seal and others actually penetrate, and in the case of thin edges, you’ll need both.
Which Oil Is Best For Growing Edges?
Speaking of oils, what are the best hair oils for your edges? Castor hair oil, specifically Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO), is the best option for restoring damaged edges. A daily or weekly (depending on the severity of your need for edge regrowth) deep temple massage with the oil will greatly improve circulation and stimulation of the hair follicle. JBCO aims to remove toxins and impurities from the scalp, which allows your natural oils to function properly, creating a healthy environment and nourishment for new growth.
Similarly to JBCO, peppermint essential oil is an antibacterial oil, known for removing impurities causing growth obstructions. Its cooling effect also relaxes the follicle, promoting healthy hair growth. A soothing carrier oil is needed with peppermint oil because of how potent it can be. Since jojoba is the oil closest to that of your own natural oils, it is the best choice for a carrier oil. Consistent and weekly pre-poo (before cleansing) scalp massages with this mixture can improve hair growth.
Monoi Oil is another remedy for reversing damage to your edges. It's made from rare, naturally fragrant ingredients, found only on the French Polynesian islands. The Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum, which is also formulated with olive and grape seed oils, reverses and prevents damage on hair that’s been distressed by heat-styling, coloring, and chemical straightening.
Once you get your hairline back on track, learn how to slick safely with The Best Edge Control Products for Natural Hair.