Edges. The tender and sometimes fine hair that makes up your hairline. They’ve become more than just a part of you, they’ve become a symbol. They’ve become a catch phrase. Now it’s common to hear people talking about edges being “snatched” or “busted,” or to hear people talk about (and make fun of) those who are lacking in edges. It’s become a THING that people say, a term used to indicate a personal attack that will hurt your feelings. “She came for her edges.” “She snatched her edges.” Tea and Breakfast just wrote a frank and funny post on “the evolution of edges in the black community” that got me thinking. To me, it makes an undeniable statement about the power of our hair that our hairlines can be used as a metaphor for respect and emotions.

Edges are made into a big deal in our culture, and have become a compounded part of it over time. Not to mention the fact that there’s a plethora of products on the market, specifically targeted towards the smoothing, slicking and even purported regrowth of edges. But here’s the question – what can you DO if you lose your edges? Does any product truly work to grow edges back? Is there any product or technique or tip that will help to grow your edges back once you’ve lost them due to over processing or traction alopecia? There are SO many edge related products on the market, but what do they even do besides just slick down what’s there?

For answers I turned to cosmetic chemist and beauty industry expert Erica Douglas, AKA Sister Scientist. As the formulator of some of the hair industry’s finest products, she knows a thing or two about which products work and which are just using buzzwords like “grow” or “gro” to part you with your hard earned dollars. Erica explained that much of the issue with our edges can be attributed to a common, often self-inflicted cause – traction alopecia.

First, you should know the signs of traction alopecia.  If you see thinning and excessive breakage in the exact places where you often apply force like braiding, headbands, ponytails, etc. you want to stop immediately and find a different hair style that will not exert force in those same areas. 

Traction alopecia may or may not be reversible. It depends on how damaged the follicles are. It’s the difference between a paper cut that only hurts and leaves a scar for a short period of time, versus an injury that required stitches and you have scar tissue for the rest of your life. If the follicles are injured to the point of permanent scarring, hair will not be able to grow from those follicles anymore.  But if you catch the signs of traction alopecia soon enough, you may only suffer temporary effects.

Although there are products that make claims to be able to grow your edges back, please know that it’s only part of the solution. These products are formulated to “help promote growth,” but by itself is not causing the hair to grow.  The solution has multiple steps:

The first step to any hope of reversing traction alopecia is to make sure the follicles in the scalp are clean of debris.  Exfoliate the scalp before or during a shampoo.  ORS has a great product called Scalp Scrub which uses baking soda and a brush to gently lift dirt and debris. Also, this might be the time to introduce a sulfate based shampoo into the mix to give the scalp an intense cleaning.

Next, you want to stimulate the scalp to promote blood flow and introduce oxygen to the scalp as much as possible.  There are ingredients that are known to stimulate blood flow such as paprika, garlic, ginseng.  But they are probably more effective when taken orally.  Also, exercise helps to get that heart pumping which pushes blood flow to the scalp.  And my favorite…scalp massages.  That will definitely do the trick!

Lastly, keep the scalp moisturized and clean using topical solutions that are rich in vitamin E, castor oil, rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, just to name a few.  This is when you incorporate your “growth” products.  Using a product like Jane Carter Solution’s Scalp Renew uses essential oils like lavender, peppermint and tea tree which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help keep the follicles clear of microorganisms that can get beneath the skin.

If you find that your alopecia has left permanent damage, you may want to consider surgical or medical options such as a hair transplant or light therapy.  A number of patients have seen the effects of permanent alopecia reversed with more intense option such as these.  Consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.”  

SO helpful, thank you Erica!! You can follow Sister Scientist on Facebook and Twitter. And if you’re just looking for products to style and maintain your edges, check out these top picks:

Hicks Total Transformation Hicks Edges

Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade

Crème of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges

ORS Olive Oil Edge Control Gel

Eden BODYWORKS Coconut Shea Control Edge Gel

Nubian Heritage Grow and Strengthen Edge Taming Taffy

Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Hold and  Control Smoother Cream.

What do you use to tame your edges? If you’ve had edge issues, what did you do to recover them?


Vashti (Veepeejay) says:
October 30, 2014, 2:50 pm
I haven't really had much issue with my edges. I used the CURLS control paste to keep them neat though :)
Nolagirl says:
October 30, 2014, 4:23 pm
I have never had an issue with my edges, up I out a mixture if coconut oil, castor oil and peppermint oil on them just in case, and I when doing kinky twist I don't put fake hair at my temples because I am afraid it might be too heavy.
pets says:
October 31, 2014, 8:07 am
Try E45 cream.
Erin J. Duke says:
November 17, 2014, 11:07 pm
Well I have had many issues with my edges and I am a survivor. It took me cutting all my hair off and starting from scratch to get them to grow in. The products mentioned in this post are all great ways to protect and grow edges. If you are really struggling try juicing some raw onion and cayenne pepper and apply it directly to bald spots this worked wonder for me. Be careful not to get it in your eyes though :) www.erinjduke.com
Tanya says:
January 6, 2015, 7:12 pm
i need help with my edges. the-renaissance-of-inner-fashion.blogspot.co.uk
Courtney says:
January 11, 2015, 7:44 pm
Thank you ill try some of these.
Cheryl says:
February 7, 2015, 7:07 am
Where can you get this cream?
Nikki Hill says:
March 27, 2015, 7:52 pm
Hello. I am a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss disorders (caused by styling or from internal inflammatory scalp diseases). I tell my patients if you feel pain with braids or weaves ask the stylist to redo the style. I always see patients with pus bumps and scarring at the hair line from weaves and braids. If captured early early I can prescribe solutions to help. If left untreated or if the style remains in place there is a higher likelihood of permanent damage. Read my blog drhillhairloss.com for more information and articles and the opportunity to ask questions. Awareness of inflammatory scalp diseases and stopping the progression of hair loss is valuable knowledge.
Gail Robertson says:
December 30, 2015, 2:42 am
I have spent a few years developing a edge product that is alll natural for the african american woman. The name is Natural Edges. The key ingredients in the edge creme, of course, is shea, tea tree, peppermint, and a host of other organic natural essential oils. It is a proven all natural product that has had great results. I highly recommend. It can be purchased on Facebook under Natural Edges. I can guarantee the product because I am the developer.