Your hair edges (also known as baby hairs) are the little wispy hairs that grow around your forehead, along your hairline, and around your face. They’re short, soft, and delicate.
Unfortunately, they’re also more fragile than the rest of your hair, and they break easily.
Whether you’re curious about ways to maintain healthy edges or you’re actively looking to grow back your thinning edges, you’ve come to the right place.
What Causes Thin or Damaged Hair Edges?
A wide variety of conditions can increase the likelihood of hair loss, including pregnancy, stress, drastic weight loss, thyroid conditions, anemia, hormone imbalances, scalp conditions, and excessively tight hairstyles.
Hair loss might also be hereditary or caused by a scalp condition such as seborrheic dermatitis or alopecia areata.
If you’re concerned about an underlying health condition or you can’t determine the cause of sudden or dramatic hair loss, be sure to reach out to your doctor or seek professional medical advice.
You’re not alone in your journey.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up 40% of Americans suffering from hair loss, and many feel embarrassed or upset (source).
It’s important to stay positive. Remember that you’re not alone. While healthy hair is a worthwhile pursuit, you’re beautiful either way.
What Can I Use to Grow My Hair Edges Back?
Don’t blame yourself for having thinning or damaged edges. Lots of women will experience the problem at some point in their lives.
Even if you’re doing everything right, your edges can still give you trouble.
That said, taking good care of your hair and adjusting a few key aspects of your hair care routine can help, so we’ve put together a list of ideas to get you started.
1. Be Gentle with Your Hair
When washing, styling, and handling your hair, be gentle, especially around your hairline. Scrubbing, scratching or pulling your hair too tight can easily damage your edges.
If you find yourself absentmindedly pulling or twisting your hair, do your best to break the habit (i.e., hand in hair syndrome). If you have hand in hair syndrome, see how long you can go without touching your hair at all.
The goal is to keep your hands out of your hair as much as possible. Treat your edges with patience and care, like a little garden you’re growing on your head.
2. Keep Your Hair Edges Moisturized (and Conditioned)
There is a reason why people often refer to their hair edges as their “remaining baby hair”, and it’s partly because the hair around your edges often has a different texture or curl pattern than the remainder of the hair on your head.
Because of these differences in hair textures, you may need to consider creating a “customized” unique regimen for your edges, especially if you’re experiencing breakage along your edges
It could be caused by improper moisturizing and conditioning.
Your edges are delicate, and unless your hair is covered, they’re almost always exposed to environmental elements. So, it’s important to ensure that your edges are being regularly moisturized and conditioned.
As we’ve mentioned, your edges are already fragile, but they’re especially likely to break when your hair is dry.
Heat styling tools can be damaging to your hair, and it’s important to learn what you can do to stop your hair from breaking and shedding.
For more information and tips on finding the right moisturizer, revisit our previous article on how to avoid hair breakage.
3. Avoid Tight Braids, Ponytails and Other Hairstyles That Pull Your Edges
Buns, twists, braids, and ponytails can pull on your edges, damaging these baby hairs or stretching them to the point of breaking.
Consider limiting how much you pull your hair back, and when you do, consider a looser look when possible. The tighter the hairstyle, the more it will pull on your edges, potentially leading to damage and breakage.
If you decide to get extensions, be sure to ask your stylist to avoid your edges or treat them with extra care.
During the installation process, you should notify your stylist if you experience any pain. Notifying them quickly allows them to make adjustments to the style before it’s finished.
Likewise, if you continue to experience pain more than twenty-four hours after installation, we recommend removing the braids. This prolonged discomfort is a warning signal from your body, communicating to you that something is wrong.
Here are some examples of hairstyles, treatments, styling tools and techniques that can cause physical trauma to your hairline (i.e., hair edges):
- braids, weaves, sew-ins and other styles that pull the hairline tightly or place additional weight on the hairline (e.g., heavy braids)
- combs or hair picks that aren’t used gently can damage your edges. For example, if you often wear hair buns and use a comb to make your bun neat around your edges, it’s important that you’re being gentle. We don’t recommend styling your hair while you in a rush, for instance, while you’re running late for work.
- overlapping damaging chemical treatments, like coloring treatments, relaxers, and texturizes are very damaging to your hair.
If your edges are thinning, we recommend discontinuing processes that can potentially cause physical trauma to your hairline.
While eliminating tight hairstyles is often an easy step towards growing back your edges, it’s also important to note that wigs have the potential to damage your baby hair too.
The constant rubbing (i.e., “friction”) often caused by wearing a wig can cause your edges to rub away.
4. Avoid Hair Damaged Caused by Friction (e.g., via Headbands, Hats, etc.)
You might be tempted to cover up thinning or missing edges, but it’s important to let them breathe when possible.
If you want to wear hats or headbands, try to find ones with silk linings. Alternatively, wear silk or satin scarves in between your hat and your hair.
This will protect your edges from the friction of rougher materials.
Similarly, you can wrap your hair with a silk scarf at night. Silk will help to protect your hair, whereas other types of fabric may absorb the moisture and natural oils from your hair.
It’s probably worth investing in silk pillowcases, to avoid the harsh friction between your hair and cotton pillowcases, which can break and dry out your hairs.
5. Give Yourself a Scalp Massage
Although in most cases it’s best to avoid any contact with your edges, you can make exceptions for the occasional scalp massage.
Slow, gentle rubbing will encourage hair growth by increasing blood flow to your scalp and boosting circulation, which will bring oxygen to your hair follicles.
Using oils when you do this comes with the additional perks of moisturizing, strengthening, and adding a protective layer to your edges.
6. Stay Healthy
It’s important to consider your overall health. Generally speaking, it’s easier to improve the health of your hair if you’re also taking care of your body.
Be sure that your diet includes an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients, and take a multi-vitamin daily.
If you’re interested in experimenting with supplements, consider talking to your doctor about the pros and cons of biotin and other hair vitamins.
Experts have mixed opinions on the effectiveness of these treatments, but many women swear by these methods.
Regardless, do your best to maintain a strong, hydrated, healthy body, and you’ll see improvements in your hair, including your edges.
7. Eat Foods for Hair Growth and Thickness
Meats, like steak and chicken, oysters, seeds, shrimp, fatty fish, eggs, beans, avocados, soybeans, nuts, sweet peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, and berries are food that we recommend for encouraging hair growth and thickness. Learn more about the best foods for hair growth and thickness with this article.
8. Avoid Product Hype
Regardless of what you might hear during televisions commercials or read on the product packaging for some hair products, you don’t need to purchase any “special” products designed specifically to regrow your edges.
The same shampoos, conditioners, oils, and moisturizers that are designed for other parts of your hair, can also be applied to your hairline.
We believe it’s best to be gentle with your edges. Don’t pull them, brush them daily or constantly use gel or vaseline to lay your edges down.
If you’re looking for a few gentle hair products, these are a few that we recommend:
- Miss Jessie’s Curly Butter Crème
- Carol’s Daughter’s Coco Crème
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strength, Grow, & Restore
I also recommend keeping facial cleansers and makeup removal creams away from your hairline, as these products can potentially cause damage to your edges.
For example, if you’re using an acne facial wash, it may advise that the product doesn’t contact your hairline. Be sure to read the directions on the product packaging.
9. Be Patient
The reality is that hair growth takes time. Studies show that an average person will grow 1/2 inch of hair per month, which adds up to six inches per year.
Assuming that these estimates are accurate (for you), there’s no substitute for patience. Hair growth takes time.
The concepts, techniques, and advice provided within this article are provided to help encourage and enhance the hair growth process, but keep in mind that it will take time.
Thinning edges and the fear of continued hair loss can be a traumatic experience, especially if you’re not sure how you can regrow your edges.
Just remember that wearing tight hairstyles, like ponytails, braids and other styles that pull on the hairline, is often the cause of issues with thinning hair edges or breakage along the hairline.
Use preventative measures to ensure that you’re properly moisturizing and conditioning your hair and aren’t introducing unnecessary trauma.