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Naomi Campbell

When it comes to being natural, there are a few concerns most of us share. We need tips for detangling, moisturizing, and styling our hair. But there’s one thing some of us (me included) have just not gotten the hang of.

Thinning edges.

I’m sure we all saw Naomi Campbell’s picture floating around the Internet, on some natural hair thread or at the bottom of a very long forwarding list. We all winced.

When we talk about thinning hair, we mean that the number of hairs on our head is decreasing. We are losing (or failing to grow) whole strands of hair. Hair loss is mostly a result of a damaged hair follicle. The follicle is a part of the skin/scalp that packs old cells together to form a strand of hair. It starts below the visible surface of the skin, but sticks up a tiny bit (that’s why we get goosebumps).

And while hair loss can be a sign of a more serious problem, or a result of medications (think: chemotherapy), the average person can work to correct thinning hair.

The follicle can be damaged by a number of things: chemicals from hair color, relaxers, and vitamin deficiencies. Constant tension on the hair can stress the follicle as well.

Promote hair growth Protein: fish, eggs, cheese Iron: whole grain, dark leafty vegetables B Vitamins: eggs, meat Essential Fatty Acids: walnuts, soy Vitamin E: nuts, seeds Sulfur: meats, legumes, vegetables Stunt hair growth Coffee Sugar Fat

Learn what caused your thinning edges. If it is in your control, STOP doing whatever it was that caused it altogether. Again, if it is a result of a more serious condition, consult your physician.

No matter the texture, everybody has some “baby hair”—the shorter, finer, wispier hair that frames our face…and sticks out of ponytails. But I think those of us with coily or kinky hair experience thinning edges because of the wider variety of styling options we use. I really wanted kinky twists this summer, but I knew my edges couldn’t take it. The twists may have been cute … but a bald spot in the corner wouldn’t be. The type of thinning edges caused by hair styling is called mechanical or traction alopecia.

Egg

Good idea.

Coffee

Bad idea

The first thing to understand is that there is NO set “regimen” for growing your hair in general or edges in particular. No product, whether natural or man-made will cause the hair to safely grow faster. It is true, however, that certain ingredients allow the hair to grow better. All they do is create the best possible conditions for your hair to grow to it’s fullest potential.

Healthy hair will flourish. So we must create and preserve those healthy conditions.

Work on your insides, so your outsides look good! There are many things that you can apply to the hair itself, but the foundation starts within. Eating foods rich in protein will provide structure and strength. After all, the main component of hair is the protein keratin.

Exercise also stimulates the blood to flow. If you eat the right foods, the nutrient-rich blood will nourish each hair follicle, promoting healthy hair growth. Deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals result in duller hair.

Exercise More

Growth Aids (apply directly to the hair or scalp) Cinnamon extract Peppermint extract (Essential oils like those stated above must be mixed with a carrier oil. They are so potent they may cause irritation) Grape seed oil Castor oil Vatika oil Avocado oil Henna Amla oil

As nourishing your body indirectly nourishes your hair, you can also apply certain ingredients directly to the scalp and hair. Products that promote a healthy hair and hair follicle either (1) keep the follicle clean, prevent clogged follicles (2) stimulate the scalp (3) seal in moisture, prevent breakage (4) provide protein, fill gaps in the hair cuticle, give it strength.

Try one or two of these products in moderation. Too much protein can actually give the hair too much structure, and not enough moisture and flexibility.

We’re looking for long-term results, not a quick fix. Start off slowly, changing maybe one or two things in your regimen, whether more exercise, or doing monthly egg deep conditioning treatments.

It’s not uncommon at all to start looking for natural and/or organic products for your hair. After all, your natural curls are relatively new (especially if you Big Chopped). You haven’t developed any habits for your new hair, so it’s easier to begin forming healthier ones. And as the above tips show, trying to thicken your hair will most certainly cause a healthier body in the process.

Happy growing!

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