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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, 11 formulas that include these all-star ingredients.
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.
$7.99 at Target
Taliah Waajid Bamboo & Biotin Edge Growth
This two-in-one treatment is infused with biotin, a popular nutrient for stimulating growth, as well as bamboo for increased elasticity and basil for added nutrient value.
$4.99 at Taliah Waajid
Tropic Isle Living Red Pimento Edge Primer
Should you still want to use your edge control, this primer is made with a slew of oils—including red pimento, grapeseed and castor–to protect your hairline before applying the gel or pomade.
$7.99 at Tropic Isle Living
The Mane Choice Daily Moisturizer and Sealing Cream
This one’s infused with moringa oil, a healing essential oil that replenishes the hair shaft and scalp with moisture, thus promoting increased strength and growth with consistent use.
$14.99 at The Mane Choice
TXTR by Cantu Control Paste
An ideal product for ponytails and updos, this styler is infused with shea butter and castor oil, so your hairline is getting the nutrients it needs, while also providing gentle hold.
$9.99 at Ulta
Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
This teeny bottle is packed with more than 30 essential oils and biotin, making it the ideal daily treatment that will deliver the maximum amount of moisture to your scalp.
$9.99 at Mielle Organics
Hairfinity Infinite Edges Serum
Made with more than 80 percent natural ingredients and free of mineral oil, this daily treatment promises to deliver intense hydration to the most vulnerable parts of your hair, including the hairline.
$35 at Hairfinity
Edge Entity Follicle Stimulant
Natural oils, coconut milk and peppermint will wake up the damaged part of your scalp and create a reinvigorated, healthy environment for new strands to grow in.
$29.99 at Edge Entity
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.
$13.49 at Amazon
ORS Fertilizing Temple Balm
Phytic acid exfoliates the clogged pores on your scalp while cayenne stimulates growth. Say hello to a healthier hairline.
$10.41 at Amazon
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.
$7.97 at Amazon