Published on Saturday November 16th, 2019 by Afrocks
Afro Hair Advice: 5 Tips For Retaining Your Edges
Edges, edges, edges! a topic that can draw as great a discussion as the afro movement itself. For those who are not aware, ‘edges’ refer to the hair around one’s hairline, sometimes referred to as ‘baby’ hair. What a display of spectacle and artistry it is to see how some black women and young girls create intricate designs and waves with their baby hair.
I, myself remember the look of bewilderment on my mum’s face as I hogged the bathroom mirror with my Pink Luster’s gel, slicking my edges down for dear life and then using a tail comb to painstakingly create waves or various patterns. I remember being in school and your popularity depending on your ability to ‘slay’ your edges. Granted the term slay is new but the sentiment is very much the same. The condition of your hairline and what you could do with it had the ability to ‘make or break’ your hairstyle and let me tell you, back then as a young black girl in London, your hair, your friends (and Jodeci posters) were EVERYTHING! This is not a new or radical trend. Check out the black women of R’n’B in the ’90s, not a baby hair out of place. Even if patterns were not created, your hair had to be sleek, your edges had better be flat! Rapper, Da Brat always had her trademark braids completed with edges styled in a way that would be the envy of little black girls across the globe.
Black women and their hair…
When you attempt to explain the phenomenon and emotional attachment black women have to their hair and more specifically their hairline you will be met with the same bewildered look my mother had all those years ago. This is an obsession that transcends generations. So, really, what is the big deal? And why is it so important to black women? It’s odd, it does not make much sense? Ah, but it does, if you look at the history of afro and the perception of black beauty it is little or no wonder black women have literally pulled, burnt and singed their hair in the name of being ‘beautiful’. This is no exaggeration and although I do not have statistics for you, I am confident enough in our former psyche to bet a great number of black women have or is currently suffering from hair loss due to aggressive styling techniques used by some afro stylists. After years of straightening, chemical processing, pulling, and excessive brushing traction alopecia is common among black women. The hairline comprises of the finest and most delicate hair, at the forefront of our heads the hair is constantly being manipulated. I have heard many a joke about the levels of pain and discomfort black women are/were prepared to endure, someone once said she felt like her mum was plaiting her brain and we laughed in joint understanding yet is was #FunnyNotFunny. The tightness of certain protective styling techniques like Box braids feeds into this need for sleek. We tolerate and submit to the pain of every strand of baby hair fed into the braid because we are taught that curls, fuzz, frizz and kinks are ‘messy’.
Why are we so obsessed with our edges?
What appears to be harmless, frivolous and focused on cosmetics within the guise of simply being a nice hairstyle is actually a deep-rooted and historical attack on texture. The reality is, on certain textures the ideal of having laid edges, slicked and manoeuvred into patterns is unrealistic and damaging. Much like videos of black women having their wigs snatched off as a source of entertainment. I don’t know about you, but I have never ever seen a video go viral of a white woman’s wig being taken off and publicly humiliated. It is the same with edges and hairlines, we are encouraged to shame one another and so many suffer in silence. Just like the girls in the playground, grown women are still judging their self worth and perceived status based on their hairline and texture. Instead of empathising with sisters suffering from hair loss, we record them, take pictures of them, put them online and then we laugh at them (please note by ‘we’ I am making a massive generic sweep so don’t @ me).
No other race is obsessed with baby hair and do you ever wonder why? Well consider this, straighter hair is easier to manipulate. If your baby hair is straight and flat then you are considered to have what was once termed ‘good hair’ (at Afrocks we maintain that good hair is moisturised hair irrespective of texture, let me just put that out there). Technically, it is just another dart aimed at the afro is ugly dartboard. We even have naturalista’s admitting to perming JUST their hairline, they do not mind kinks and waves just not at the front of their hair?
If your edges are in good condition then, by all means, wave them, slick them, create an Instagram page for them BUT we must move away from slaying edges and focus on retaining them.
5 Tips for caring for edges
The top 5 rules for caring for your edges are as follows;
1. Leave them alone
2. Let them be
3. Stop bothering them
4. Cease using toothbrushes
5. Desist stressing about them
Apologies if you find the solution to great edges anti-climatic (my sad sense of humour) but the truth is, it’s full time we unlearn some (probably most) of what we have been previously taught. This is very hard to do, yes, we know but now is the time to do it! I could have told you 101 remedies (you heard of the Vicks vapour rub tactic) but the truth is, there is no quick fix to hair loss. Trichologist Ebuni Ajiduah, says even head massages which are meant to stimulate growth could cause more damage than good. This is why companies like Ms Hair have emerged at a time when they are needed the most. The microfibres in a sense give women the time and freedom to restore their hairline without the pressure of trying to cover it up or the ridicule. Using this product means they can fake it till they make it!. Afrocks, with a platform filled with reputable, experienced and vetted stylists mean clients can experience hair care that cares (your edges are safe with these stylists). If you are concerned about hair loss, visit a Trichologist, if you want to work edges, use a water-based moisturiser and use a scarf at night…simple. Always put your hair before a style! And always remember that edges do not have to be ‘slayed’, they do not have to be slick. Yes, the styles look cute but consider, are they worth losing hair over?