You've seen it on many people, including young kids: that sparse hairline that's barely hanging on. But maybe it's you who's suffering from this often-avoidable problem. In most cases, even the thinnest edges can recover—but it'll take time. Pack some patience, follow these steps and in time, your now-thin hairline should come back strong.
Disclaimer: Sometimes, edges thin due to hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy/post-birth or menopause) or medications. These steps are intended for repairing a thin hairline that's caused by poor care. If you suspect a medical cause for thin edges, talk to your doctor. In the case of pregnancy/post-pregnancy, there's nothing else to do but wait for several months, in which case many women see their hairlines return.
Stop Wearing Tight Styles—Immediately
This is non-negotiable if you want to have any hope of your edges growing back. Tight braids, ponytails that pull your eyes back, weaves, and suffocating wigs are OUT. All the way out. This isn't to say you can't ever wear these styles again, but the word "tight" shouldn't even be uttered in the same sentence as your "hairstyle."
Some women still want to wear wigs. While not the best solution, it's understandable if your hairline damage is especially extensive. If that's the case, you should only sport a wig when you expect to be seen, either at work or in the company of others. Once you're home, the wig should come off right away so that your scalp can breathe.
Tight braids and other styles often happen because once you've spent quite a bit of money on a hairdo, so naturally, you want it to last as long as possible. However, style should never come at the sacrifice of healthy hair or a hairline. There are plenty of hairdos that don't place unnecessary stress on your mane or scalp. Bantu knots are one, and two-strand twists are another. A bob also works just fine
Step Away from the Chemicals
Applying relaxers and other chemicals onto an already-damaged hairline isn't going to speed up the recovery process. There are other ways to straighten your tresses without chemicals—if you can try them, your edges will come back more quickly. Flat ironing, gentle blow drying, wrapping, and wet sets all work for some people.
Regardless, now is also a great time to consider more natural styles, which you can do with no heat. This is the best option, because any heat at all is bad for your hair. If you've always wanted to go natural, but were hesitant for any reason, a temporary break from chemicals could turn into a permanent one once you see the improved health in your mane.
Get Into the Habit of Scalp Massage
Your hair follicles are in shock, and therefore in desperate need of TLC right now. When you massage your head, it's important to only use the pads of your fingers; don't rake over this sensitive area with fingernails. Move fingers around in a gentle, circular pattern for a few minutes every day. Try not to press down firmly on your hairline, for fear of stunting growth.
Apply Healthy Products to Your Hairline
While you're massaging your scalp, apply healthy products that are as natural as possible. Avoid any that are notorious for clogging up pores, such as products with petroleum. It's getting easier to find natural oils in grocery stores, so you don't always have to travel to a health food store or order online to find them. Coconut oil, castor oil (especially Jamaican Black Castor Oil, $13,) and almond oil are just a few that work well on black hair. If you have other favorites, that's fine; simply avoid those that are pore-clogging, or that contain ingredients bad for your hair.
Take Supplements -- In Moderation
If you're pretty desperate at this point, you've probably heard about (if not already tried) some supplements that promise hair growth. As long as you understand that "instant hair growth" is a myth, and physically impossible, proceed. However, before you take any supplements or vitamins, you should think of all medications you currently take, and consult with your doctor if there may be a conflict.
A daily multi-vitamin should be part of your regular regimen anyways, as well as an overall healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and plenty of water. What goes on inside your body absolutely shows on the outside. As for additional supplements, some women swear by scalp treatments like Oribe's Power Drops Booster ($58) or hair vitamins that contain Biotin, like Hum Nutrition's gummies ($25). Do your due diligence and research on what's best for you before investing your time and money.