Trust me, I've been wearing extensions and other protective styles for more than a decade.

Blake Newby
Jul 30, 2020 @ 1:25 pm
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maintain edges
Credit: Blake Newby

If you have naturally textured hair, you know that styling and caring for it can be a challenge. That's why we created The Curl Corner, a monthly column that celebrates the versatility of textured hair. Here, we cover everything from how to properly style your coils to how to protect them—and include expert tips for curl patterns of all types.

Unfortunately for many women, the phrase "snatch my edges" rings all too true. The sometimes very literal phrase, while often referring to someone serving fierce looks, stems from the sad reality that edges are actually fragile enough to yanked away. For those unfamiliar, edges are the outermost perimeter of the hair, spanning 360 degrees.  Being that edges are the most exposed section of hair, they're undoubtedly the most delicate, taking close to nothing to incite breakage. One of the main sources of edge breakage, particularly for Black women, is protective styling (think box braids, twist styles, weaves, and wigs).

I learned my lesson early. As someone who frequents weaves, I've had my fair share of edge damage from looks styled too tight, excessive heat application, and neglect. But that's all changed, and I'm going to share my tips for keeping edges intact and laid at the same time.

1. Don't tug.

The first line of defense for fleeting edges is to ensure that the style isn't too tight to begin with. No matter what protective style you're getting, you must let your stylist know that you don't want the style too tight on the scalp. Don't put your edges at a disadvantage before you even get to wear the style. You can easily protect your edges right off the bat by simply making it clear that you want a secure look but not one that's too harsh on the perimeter of the hair. This rings particularly true to braid styles and to those who wear wigs that require gluing.

When it comes to weaves, if you're not opposed to having more of your natural hair to deal with, you can even ask to leave the perimeter of your edges out completely, avoiding tension on the edges altogether.

2. Properly prep and hydrate your hair.

Give your edges more TLC than you do the rest of your hair, particularly in the form of increased moisturization. That said, before any protective style, make sure that edges aren't dehydrated. It increases the risk of breakage and leaves the perimeter more vulnerable to shedding. For example, if you'd usually apply a light layer of hair oil to your entire head, take it a step further with your edges and coat them in a heavier moisturizing cream. In this case, more is more, and your edges will thank you for it.

pantene how to maintain edges with extensions
Credit: Pantene

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3. Don't overuse heat tools.

While this tip is more reserved for those wearing weaves and extensions than those who don't, heat damage can have a negative effect on all types of hair. We may be accustomed to quickly running a flat iron through our hair when we need some added silkiness, but be sure to avoid the edges. Excess heat of any kind to the edges is almost a surefire way to incite breakage. Instead, invest in a great strong-hold edge control that can give your edges that sleek look without the potential damage.

hick's edges
Credit: Hick's

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4. Protect the edges.

Whenever you're sleeping or simply lounging around the house, it's good to wrap your edges in a satin scarf. Not only will it protect the edges, safeguarding from the tugging caused by cotton and other external forces, but it will also keep those edges laid.

maintain edges
Credit: PHusion

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