Repairing Thinning Edges

Evelyn of writes:

When it comes to being natural, there are a few concerns most of us share. We need tips for detangling, moisturizing, and styling our hair. But there’s one thing some of us (me included) have just not gotten the hang of. Thinning edges.

To learn some effective, natural ways to deal with this issue, check out the full article HERE!

Help Out a Fellow Natural!

Hey Ladies,

My name is RacquelTiara and I have been natural since May of 2007. That was the last time I had a relaxer but it wasn't until December of that year that I chopped it off and went full fledged into my natural state. I know it's really cliche, but the moments in that bathroom were so freeing for me, I felt like it was time for me to start living my life as myself. In hindsight, I know that I was just living the life of an individual who was hiding from herself.

I was 18 when I decided that I would go natural. It was many years before that I knew I wanted to wear my natural hair, but I was scared to death of what the result would be. Is my head shaped too funny? How would I style it? Would it FINALLY grow?! In my mind, the time was never right and even that December, I didn't know for sure the time was right to cut it off. I knew I wanted a change and felt that keeping my hair the same would be a hindrance-- I knew this because it was an embarrassment for me ever since I could remember. I know that hair is supposed to be a girl's crowning glory, but for me it was a crown of shame. I was pretty much bald until I was about 4 years old and it seemed as if I grew hair right before I started school, but not really.....for me, it just wasn't enough. Every other girl had long ponytails sprouting from her head with pretty twists. It just wasn't happening for me because my twists were over before they started. I heard other people talking about, my "friends", their friends, and mostly I heard it from my older sister. She was 8 years older than me but she reminded me in ALL her free time that I was "bald-headed". Even when she was actually busy, I think she made time to torture me. I was walking with a dark cloud over my head and that dark cloud was my hair. It grew in the back, but the sides were a joke. The front had length but the middle was stubborn. And my dear mother, she took great care of it and made me feel beautiful but the world (and my big sister)beat me down. My hair was my black girl pain.

But the older I got the more I realized that I could free myself. I saw beautiful women on television and in magazines with big natural, nappy, kinky curly hair, and I knew I would get it one day. None of these women were in my world; I never saw them in the grocery store or at the park, but still I knew it was something I could attain. And sure enough I have. I have good days and bad ones. I twist and miss. I think about a weave every now and again, I think about chopping it all off again. But this joy that my hair gives me it incomparable. Although, there is still one minor problem... IT WON'T GROW! I have seen people natural for less than 2 years and have major length, but my hair won't do me that favor. I have tried so many products and because they won't work, I headband it up. But there is a part of me that desires to have a a head full of hair. Even all around, not noticeably shorter on the right side. I want it all: the length, the right amount of kink, the thickness, I deserve that for once in my life to have hair that I feel good about and looks really good.

So while I still feel free because it's mine and I look cute with it, I still want my cake and I want to eat it too (who wouldn't?). I deserve to have my very own crowning glory.

Are there any other natural girls who can help me work out the kinks? Anybody else that can relate?

Dr. Perry on Hair Loss

Our Resident MD is back, and this time she's talking hair loss and possible solutions.


Tied up, tied down, burned with a hot iron, pulled, and pushed – I feel totally neglected. Why can’t I just be left alone? Why can’t I just be massaged with special care, set free and treated with respect and kindness? I may just break and leave this place. Better yet, I could totally drop out of sight where no one can find me.

Sound like a victim of domestic abuse? Not exactly, this may be your hair crying out for rescue.

Alopecia (hair loss) is frustrating, demoralizing and downright scary. Society puts a great deal of pressure on us to achieve and maintain a glorious mane. Unfortunately, circumstances sometimes arise which causes one to lose hair.

There are two basic categories of hair loss: Scarring and Non-scarring Alopecia. Within each category, there are multiple causes. It is possible to achieve hair regrowth in many cases of non-scarring alopecia. Scarring alopecia portends a more permanent and emotionally devastating situation, as it means that the hair follicles have been sufficiently destroyed so that regrowth is not likely. Non-scarring alopecia is more common than scarring form; therefore, my discussion will be limited to this type of hair loss. Scarring forms can be the result of extensive and prolonged destructive hair care practices, or a medical condition (i.e. lupus). The skin on the scarred area of the scalp will usually be shiny in appearance and thin in texture. A dermatologist should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.

The most common causes of Non-scarring alopecia are:

Traction alopecia- Hair loss due to traumatic hair care practices such as braiding, twisting the hair too tight or wearing binding hairstyles frequently. This common type of hair loss is usually most prominent around the hairline. Hair is more fragile and subject to breakage in these areas. Solution: Loosen up that hair! You’d probably fall out too if you were bound down too tight. Braiding/Twisting should be done loosely. If small bumps and or pain may appear in newly styled and affected areas, the braid/twist should be immediately removed. If you’ve already been a victim of traction alopecia and are looking for regrowth, treat affected areas with gentle hair care practices. Avoid the use of drying gels and products which may irritate/ dry out the hair and scalp skin. A dermatologist may be able to assist in providing medical treatments which can encourage a better environment for hair regrowth.

Telogen Effluvium- Hair loss due to major hormonal shifts related to pregnancy, stress and major illness. This type of hair loss is frustrating because the hair tends to thin diffusely throughout the scalp. It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs per day, but this condition results in an enhanced rate of shedding causing much more hair to fall out on a daily basis. Characteristic “club hairs” can be detected among the shed hair. They have a small white bulb at the end. Fortunately, this condition resolves on its own without medical treatment. Unfortunately, it can take several months after the hormones have become regulated that adequate regrowth is noted. Solution: Be gentle with your hair and patient for resolution.

Anagen Effluvium: Hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. This is another temporary hair loss state which usually occurs in response to medications used in cancer treatments. Hair will regrow in most cases, after offending medication is stopped.

Androgenetic Alopecia (Genetics): Women can also lose hair in a specific pattern in the crown region of the scalp due to hereditary causes. Some hair follicles in this region are genetically predestined to become smaller and eventually inactive. The hair then falls out. In women with this type of hair loss, the front hairline is usually spared with balding most pronounced in the crown region. Solution: Rogaine (minoxidil) has been used successfully in some cases to achieve a bit of regrowth. Seek the advice of a dermatologist for evaluation of and treatment for this type of alopecia.

Alopecia Areata : Hair loss thought to be associated with immune factors. This type of hair loss can cause solitary bald patches on the scalp (in its mild form) to complete loss of all body hair (most severe form). Solution: Most individuals with the mild form are successful at achieving hair regrowth with the assistance of cortisone injections and/or topical prescription agents. A visit to the dermatologist would be required for these treatments.

Hair breakage: On average, hair grows a half an inch per month. The terminal length of hair (the maximum length) is genetically determined. A major key to being able to fully appreciate increasing hair length is preventing breakage. Eliminating or minimizing traumatic hair care practices (i.e. direct heat styling), and moisturizing sufficiently are the best ways to retain length. Shampooing, Conditioning regularly and deep conditioning treatments with supple moisturizing agents help maintain hair moisture. Curly hair makes it more of a challenge for natural scalp oils to effectively move down the strand. The curlier the hair, the more difficult this process becomes. Therefore, adding moisture to the strands (especially the ends), sealing and protecting them with various styling techniques can really benefit your hair. Fortunately, there are many conditioning products available. Avoid petroleum and mineral oil containing products. These ingredients occlude pores and can lead to facial breakouts.

Treat yourself to a scalp massage regularly to stimulate the hair follicles. This is very relaxing and can help improve circulation which is always a good thing for hair health!

Until next time . . .

Take care of yourself, so you can care for others. Do your best to be your best. The better you are, the brighter the world gets.

Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546).

Postpartum Hair Loss and Advice

Sharina, a reader writes:

Hey Nikki,

I was wondering if you could ask other readers a question for me. I am a new mom! YAY!! I love my son and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world BUT I did not know that postpartum shedding was part of the deal lol. My hair started to shed like crazy last month, when my son turned 2 months old. I have lost so much of the hair around my temples I don't even know how to style my hair at this point to disguise the hair loss. Luckily, my hair is super thick so you can't tell that I'm losing hair anywhere else but my edges. I have since found out that postpartum shedding is something that lots of moms go through. What I would like to know is what these moms did to combat the problem or if its something that just has to pass on its own? If there is any more information needed please let me know sis. Thanks in advance.

Sharina aka Tajs Mommy


Taj is absolutely adorable! I'm not a mommy yet, so I have ZERO first hand experience with this, but here goes :) From what I've read, postpartum hair shed is an inevitable, untreatable, short-term phase that many new mothers must traverse. During pregnancy, hair literally gets stuck in the 'grow' phase and becomes thicker, longer, shinier, and all around healthier looking. After the birth of your beautiful babe, that new found growth and thickness doesn't stick around--leaving you with excessive hair fall while detangling, styling...even when you're not touching it at all! Ahhh...the joys of motherhood :)

I'd recommend taking it easy through this transition period:

-wear protective styles that are friendly to your delicate edges (loose buns and twists as opposed to slick, tight buns and braids)
-twist or braid-out instead of wash& my opinion, twist-outs appear fuller
-focus on moisture and avoid harsh stylers such as gels and mousses
-use castor oil--it's known to promote hair growth and thicken up the hair line
-scalp massages to stimulate growth
-take your vitamins and supplements (I'm feeling Macro Greens at the moment--lots of yummy ingredients for hair and skin among other things, of course! Talk to your doc before starting any new supplements...)
-keep baby's (and daddy's) hands out of your curls, lol
-lots and lots of patience!

Haha, that list doubles as tips for what to do if you're experiencing hair loss/breakage/damage in general! Good luck and congrats!


Help her out curlies!

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