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Image Source: @jewejewebee

A YouTube channel that I actually enjoy is nappyheadedjojoba. There are dozens of reasons why, but the reason why I’m bringing the channel up today is because the host of it has a gorgeous head of hair. At the same time, something that she admittedly accepts is her edges are not as full as the rest of her locks are. Sometimes this happens due to genetics (which is what I think she said is the case with her). Other times, it’s because we’re not treating our edges and nape (of our neck) like we should; like they are the most fragile parts of our hair.

If you know that fall into Column B and you’re ready to be more proactive in helping those areas of your head to flourish, I’ve got some tips that, I believe, will totally help you out.

1. Be careful with your protecting styling.

When I’ve got box braids in my hair, you honestly can’t tell me nothin’. I know I’m cute, so just move outta my way. And, while I actually do have a really great braider who is gentle with my ends (which is key), I do try and give my hair a break after I’ve worn my braids for 6-8 weeks. While, on one hand, protective styles like braids and twists (and even wigs) will give your hair a break when it comes to daily styling and manipulation, there’s kind of no way around the fact that they also can add extra tension on the most fragile parts of your hair—your edges and your nape. So, just make sure that when you’re wearing a protective styling that your edges aren’t “snatched” so far back that you look like you’ve gotten a facelift. Even though your edges (and nape) will look nice for a while, it could result in your hair follicles becoming really weak and you ending up with bald spots. I’m pretty sure you don’t want that.

2. Be careful with “laying your edges” too.

Laid edges. It’s a right of passage for so many of us, but it’s also something that can wear our edges out. Between the pressure that comes from the incessant brushing and the alcohol that is in the edge control product that a lot of us tend to use (and the clogging of the pores that edge control can sometimes cause)—it’s just not worth it to have your edges totally slicked down 24/7. Styling your edges that way on special occasions or a couple of times a week (preferably not back to back) is fine. Other than that, be OK with your edges looking…shoot, normal. Baby hairs are called that for a reason. You’re a grown woman now. It’s totally fine for your edges to not be gelled to death. Literally.

3. Oil your edges and nape.

While some naturalistas frown at oiling your scalp (which is where the hair from your edges and nape grow out of, right?), I’m a huge fan of it! Not only does oiling (and massaging) your scalp help it to maintain the natural sebum that is produced from it, but it can also serve as a protective layer when it comes to debris and inclement weather issues (like extreme heat or wintertime snow) that might try to damage your hair follicles. Just make sure that you go with an oil that doesn’t clog your hair follicles. Some that top the list include jojoba (it soothes an inflamed scalp); sweet almond (it moisturizes your scalp); clary sage (it stimulates your scalp); virgin olive (it nourishes your scalp), and grapeseed oil (it relieves an itchy scalp).

4. Get regular protein treatments.

Your hair is made up of protein, so it would make sense that you should get protein treatments from time to time, right? This is especially the case when it comes to your edges and nape because they both need protein on a consistent basis. So, how can you know, without question, that your hair could use some extra protein in it? If it feels extra dry, if there’s a lack of elasticity and/or you’re noticing more breakage or shedding than usual. For the record, waiting until these signs pop up isn’t the best approach. You can be proactive about keeping your hair protein-balanced by giving yourself a treatment every six weeks or so. Just make sure to not overdo it. That can also make your hair super dry and literally cause your ends to snap off like twigs.

5. Take a multivitamin.

Did you know that around 31 percent of Americans are deficient when it comes to at least one vitamin that their system regularly needs? That’s problematic, on a few levels. When it comes to your hair specifically, when you’re not getting the nutrients that it needs, not only can it hinder hair retention, it can also cause your edges and the nape of your hair to weaken over time. As far as the vitamins that your hair definitely needs in order to thrive, the list includes vitamins A, B, C, D and E, along with iron (something that a lot of Black women are particularly deficient in), calcium, magnesium and zinc. While it’s important to be intentional about eating foods that are high in all of these things, something that can serve as a “back up” is taking a multivitamin. If you need a little help selecting the best one, Prevention has a list that can help you out here.

6. Move your hats and scarves around.

I adore me some scarves and hats. So much, in fact that, other than on a couple of days a week, you’re probably gonna see me with one or the other on my head. I must admit that too much of a good thing can do a real number on your edges and nape, though. For instance, when it came to my scarves, having a knot tied in the same place resulted in some breakage that I didn’t see coming because the knot was putting pressure in the same place, day after day. As far as hats go, the tension from those can rub your edges and nape to death, if you’re not careful too. That’s why, it’s a good idea to take off your scarves, turbans and hats as soon as you get home and, that you try and not position them to be in the exact same spot every time you wear them. The less stress your edges and nape receive from your hair accessories, the better.

7. Wrap your hair up at night.

Friction isn’t our hair’s friend and I doubt there’s a time when our hair experiences more friction than when we’re tossing and turning all night. That’s why it’s so important to “baby” your edges and nape with a little of that oil we already talked about and then to wrap your hair up with a satin scarf at night. Just try and make sure that you don’t tie it on too tight (so that there isn’t too much pressure on your hair follicles) and that you sleep on a satin pillowcase in case your scarf falls off. If you do all of these things, you should see fuller results with your edges and nape over the course of six weeks or so. Good luck!

How do you protect your edges? Share with us in the comments!