The no edges struggle is real, ladies. In high school, my beautician told me tight ponytails were going to be the death of my hair but it took one too many trims that actually looked like cuts for me to get it. Now that I’ve finally managed to stop my hair from breaking off under the pressure of elastic bands I’m noticing there’s just a little something missing around the front of my head—edges.

I’m nowhere near the Naomi Campbell hairline struggle, but just like thinning ends are a sign you need a trim, when you’re edges become see-through you know it’s time to re-evaluate your hair care regimen and make sure you don’t get to the point that you’re rivaling the supermodel.

It’s much easier on your time (and your peace of mind) to get a hold on thinning edges, professionally known as traction alopecia (TA), before things get to the point that the problem can only be hidden with equally-damaging styles. A study last year found that roughly 59% of women suffer from some form of TA, which is any hair loss that comes from constant pulling or tension on the hair—therefore, I repeat: the struggle is real. If you’re serious about maintaining the life of your edges, here are a few things you need to stop doing now.

Lay off the Lacefronts
If you really want to stop thinning edges in their tracks, you’re going to have to lay off the tracks, as in weave. Lacefronts have the potential to be the least damaging of the weave catalogue if the hair is bonded past the hairline, but that’s a big if. The purpose of a lacefront is to make the hair look as real as possible which means women often put them as close to their real hairlines as possible, sometimes even shaving down the hair to achieve the natural look. That process can cause serious damage to your edges, not to mention the chemicals that are in the glue—which means it goes without saying that gluing tracks to your hair does your perimeter no favors either. Sew-ins are less damaging, only if the braids put in your real hair aren’t too tight. A half sew-in where more of the front of your hair is left out is better than doing a full weave.

Solution: Wigs
If you take care of your real hair, wearing a wig can be a hair healthy alternative to weaving it up. No tension is put on the edges when you wear a wig and by taking it off at night you allow your real hair to breathe.

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  • Weaves can cause havoc on your edges due to the tight pull. I once used castor oil on my edges everyday while wearing a full sew in in fear of losing my edges. The best bet thought will definitely be natural looking wig as the risks are lower- if you follow the rules. Hadiyya Barbel is great when it comes to a great wig. She works with the likes of Ciara and her prices aren’t half bad … and oh yea, she’s the creator of the hair crown. Check her out, she’s a boss! http://un-ruly.com/ask-an-expert-whats-the-difference-between-various-wig-types-on-the-market/

  • Tracey

    Women have been wearing wigs for decades so you might want to leave that one off of the list.

  • Black Man Opinion

    As a man i hate seeing a YOUNG woman wearing a wig. It looks ridiculous. Brothers are laughing at you behind your back. No YOUNG man is proud to have a woman with a wig slapped on her head on his arm out in public.

    A perm or well maintained weave is ok but wigs and sewins covering your entire head are a big fail.

    • You’re a “Big Fail”

      What the hell is wrong with you? Seeing as it’s inside that counts for a person as looks (and hair) will certainly fade with age. Plus, this is an article talking about protective styling, and wigs were given as only one of the alternatives.

      Your opinion seems invaluable as you seem to know nothing about hair since you think a perm or “well maintained weave” are acceptable–there’s tons of other hairstyles! And yes, wigs can look good if you invest!

      Educate yourself please YOUNG “man.” :)

  • Kyra Baker

    Hello, I had locs and braids for a couple of years and eventually comb the locs out. The damage was done to the sides and the top. However, I wasn’t real concerned because I have experience forms of alopecia before and knew that it would grow back (in my twenties from stress), though this is a different kind of damage. Someone mentioned diet and being tired of people saying that but that is a huge part of healthy hair. Lack of iron can also cause hair loss, especially as you age (I am in my 40s and natural) and my hair is down my back. I started my career over and stress bought on an excessive amount of hair loss (I am in the medical field, so it is a lot of work) around the edges down to the scalp. I took pictures if you would like to see them. I added greens to my diet but I also took supplements and the majority of it filled back in within a two month span, the rest is still filling in on top. I took vitex, a hair, skin and nail vitamin (both by gaia…I follow a more holistic approach to health), algae or chlorella I also took fo-ti and Dong quai (mainly because I understand Chineses medicine), Along with a good diet, you will find that this will help your hair grow and grow fast. Adding Spirulina to your diet is helpful too (put it in a shake form and it is easier to stomach, I also juice a lot…which you will find plenty of juicing books on amazon…try green drinks they are better for you but add a piece a fruit or two to make it taste like something). Take care

  • Kyra

    Okay, I’m guessing that I did something wrong because my comment didn’t post. Basically, I said that I experience the same problem from both pulling from braids/locs at one point but also alopecia from stress of starting a new career (this was the worse, it actually broke down to the scalp, a huge area all the way across the front of my hairline). I know a lot about herbs and have also studied Chinese medicine and I used dong quai, fo-ti (gaia brand, I also used vitex and the hair, skin and nail from the gaia brand). I also used Chlorella or algae (which I used pure planet brand). It grew back around the edges in about two months, there is a small area on top that is still filling in but it is clearly still growing and the rest of my hair has also grown longer to the middle of my back. It is thick, natural, healthy and strong and I am in my 40s. I knew what to do because I also experience alopecia in my twenties from stress also. Hope that this will help someone else.