It’s time to have an honest conversation about edge control. For as long as we can remember, black women have been fed this idea that our hairline is only acceptable when it’s smooth, laid and shiny, a notion that may or may not have to do with the mainstream beauty standards that long proclaimed Eurocentric features to be ideal.
And it’s only been amplified in the age of social media. These days, there are countless YouTube tutorials, Instagram accounts and expert advice dedicated solely to mastering the swirl of a curl with a comb or brush. And while they’re undoubtedly mesmerizing (and useful, depending on your style of choice), we’d be hard-pressed to ignore the harsh side effects of slathering our hairline in gels and pomades too.
To be clear, we’re not saying you should throw away that jar of Ampro gel sitting on your dresser. What a woman decides to do with her hair is her choice alone. However, it’s equally important to feed your edges the nourishment it needs, in an effort to ward off hair loss and thinning, which so happens to affect black women more harshly. According to a 2016 study conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology, we’re most prone to traction alopecia, best described as “a type of hair loss caused by styles that pull the hair too tight.”
So while hair loss isn’t always avoidable, there are small ways to prevent the problem from getting worse and in some cases, to reverse it altogether. And since edge control is one of the more popular products for textured hair, we can’t think of a better place to start. The downside of these stylers is that they’re often made with ingredients that dehydrate our scalp and strands, such as alcohol and propanol—just look on the label, and they’ll likely be one of the first ones listed.
The antidote to overusing edge control is trading it for a treatment made with nutrients that promote healthy growth, but still provide the luster and uniformity of a traditional gel; castor oil, shea butter and peppermint to name a few. Ahead, 4 formulas that include these all-star ingredients.
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1. SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Edge Treatment
Castor oil, a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean, is a superior emollient—meaning it absorbs easily into the skin. It’s also filled with omega-9 fatty acids that aid in stimulating thickness and blood circulation throughout the scalp.
2. EDEN BodyWorks All Natural Temple Balm
Combine the stimulating powers of peppermint with the antiseptic properties of tea tree, and you’ve got all that you need to clean up a parched, dirty hairline and start fresh.
3. ORS Fertilizing Temple Balm
Phytic acid exfoliates the clogged pores on your scalp while cayenne stimulates growth. Say hello to a healthier hairline.
4. Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Gro Balm
Prepare to feel a tingly sensation on the scalp as ingredients including aloe vera and wheat protein work to calm an irritated scalp and create a fresh environment for healthy growth.
Buy: Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Balm $7.36