To my black natural, relaxed, and protective-style wearing queens: We are in a state of emergency. Okay not really, but I am seeing a trend that needs to stop. I’m talking about damaged hairlines. Hairlines (aka ‘edges’) that are receding prematurely and hairlines that have obviously gone through some type of trauma. It is easy to get caught up in having the latest hairstyle, but our hair shouldn’t have to take a beating from our creative whims. No style is worth the health of our hair.
Causes of Hair Loss
Tight hairstyles. From braids, twists, updos and ponytails to wearing weaves and wigs, we love versatility! But when these styles pull too tightly on our edges, they can be extremely damaging. Too tight braids and too tight weaves can even cause irreversible damage to our hairline. And let’s be real, we know when a style is too tight. It’s that awkward moment where you don’t want to smile because if you do, you’ll feel the tension on your edges or that awkward moment you look like you just had a face lift. These too tight hairstyles can lead to traction alopecia – a form of alopecia caused by pulling your hair too tight in a certain direction – and scarring of the scalp which eventually leads to permanent hair loss.
Extreme physical or emotional stress. Our body is interconnected. If one part is out of whack, it’s going to affect other parts. For example, when you are going through a trying period you might notice your skin breaking out. Similarly, when going through a really stressful period, you may experience some temporary hair loss, especially around the hairline, because it is the most fragile part of your scalp. During my first year in law school, my hair line began to thin out because of the stress I was going through at the time. It was noticeable and frustrating.
Abusive Hair Care. Many women apply to much heat to the hairline to control frizz or prevent the hair from reverting back. Many also use relaxers that may not be too harsh for their hair, but are too harsh for their hairline. (As an alternative, I would try stretching your relaxer – going longer without getting a “touch-up” – or just using a texturizer for edges.) Finally, bad ingredients could contribute to hair loss. To get our edges slick, we reach for gels, control cremes and pomades that contain alcohol or other pore-clogging ingredients. Products containing alcohol can be drying to the hair thus causing it to snap off faster.
Products that Promote Healthy Hair Growth
The good news is that despite hair loss around the edges, there are products we can use to regrow and maintain the hair. We just have to begin to see our hair as a ﬁne fabric, like silk, instead of treating it as if it was wool or cotton (though it may appear to look like those things). To help growth and maintain my hairline, I rely on two tried and true methods to share:
1. Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Castor oil is great for maintaining the hair that grows around the hairline. Castor oil works well for your hair because it has properties that stimulates cellular action promoting a faster cell turnover so that hair grows more. Also castor oil is high in ricinoleic acid. This acid is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent and fungus and bacteria inhibit hair growth. Castor oil is also rich in omega 9 fatty acids and penetrates deeply so that it is able to really get into the scalp to nourish it. It has an earthy smell and a viscous texture. Apply every night to your scalp and massage it in. Massaging your scalp stimulates the blood cells and helps to promote hair growth.
- You can buy Jamaican Black Castor Oil at your local beauty supply store, amazon or ebay. You can buy Haitian Castor Oil at www.kreyolessence.com. Prices start from $10 and go up, depending on what size you would like.
2. Sulfur Powder & Oil Mix.
Remember I mentioned how my edges got thin in law school? Well what revived them, and rather quickly I might add, was a product called Boundless Tresses. I used to order it online from this lady who came up with her own hair growth recipe. I don’t think boundless tresses is still being sold, but the good news is that the recipe has surfaced online. The main active ingredients is sulfur and coconut oil. Sulfur helps our hair grow fast because it is a natural mineral, vital to the building of protein and our hair is made up of protein. Additionally, hair is broken up into three stages: growing, resting and shedding. Sulfur is known to lengthen the growing phase.If you’d like to replicate the mix or some version of it, the important ingredients are below (do not use if you’re allergic to sulfur). Also apply this every night.
- 2 teaspoons Sulfur Powder (can be bought on ebay)
- 4 oz Jojoba Oil (ebay, amazon, local vitamin shop)
- 3 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (any grocery store)
- 4 oz Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (any grocery store)
- 10 drops essential oil (this will help eliminate the smell of the sulfur. Find on ebay, amazon, www.butters-n-bars.com)
- Directions: Add sulfur to bottle ﬁrst, then add oil. Shake well. Apply directly to scalp
Well ladies, there you have it! Remember no hairstyle is as important as your hair’s health. Talk soon!