Has Your Hairline Gone M.I.A.?

By . - Monday, July 30, 2012

Thinning, receding and breaking hairlines can affect all women no matter if they are natural or relaxed. African and African-American women are more prone to damaged hairlines due to the misuse and overuse of chemicals, improper styling techniques and the use of damaging hair products. Lets unpack the issues and solutions to each problem and get everyone to keep a healthy and beautiful hairline:
Hairstyles like tight microbraids, hair extensions, and buns can literally rip your hairline straight from the scalp.
Braids - Braids that are tied too tightly add a lot of stress to the hairline area, weakening the follicles. The extension braid can be too heavy for the strands of hair that it’s attached to, and will eventually pull the hair right out from the roots.     Your fragile hairline will be the first part of your hair to be shown the door.  Don’t let stylists install braids too tightly.  If your braids are too tight, tell your stylist to take them out right away– damage to the hairline can be quick and immediate.  Protect your edges when wearing hair weaves in order to keep your hairline from breaking.  Don’t wear severe buns too often since they eventually rip away at fragile hairlines.

Chemical Processes

Relaxing - Lye-based relaxers have sodium hydroxide as their main ingredient.  This is a highly caustic agent, which if applied incorrectly, can lead to breakage and damage.  You’re not necessarily safer with no-lye relaxers either.  Even though they are made up of different chemical components (guanidine or potassium chloride), these chemicals can also be harsh on the hair.  The delicate hair at your hairline is particularly vulnerable if the relaxer is applied incorrectly.
Solution - You could always just give up relaxing your hairline, or go with giving up relaxing all together. This solution will allow you to grow new virgin hair and hopefully restore the hairline if the hair follicle is not permanently damaged with scar tissue. If not relaxing is not an option for you, consider stretching your relaxers for longer to prevent overlapping of the relaxer, and leaving the relaxer on the hairline for half the time should be very helpful.
Dyeing - The ingredients in these products can cause scalp damage, literally burning your hair all the way to the roots and severely damaging your scalp.  Limit your hair’s exposure to these processes if you can.  
Solution - Test a small section on your hair prior to full application to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions.  Make sure that you deal with an experienced stylist who knows how to apply the chemicals in a way that protects your scalp. Consider stretching the time between color touch ups and don't double process your hairline with a relaxer and permanent hair color.
 Heat Use

Blow dryers, curling and straightening irons can destroy the delicate hair at the hairline.  Many women want their hairlines to lie straight or flat, and will use straightening irons pressed right up against the edge of their foreheads in order to get that sleek look.  The heat causes damage to the hair cuticle, which becomes dry and frizzy..  Women see those frizzy pieces and apply more heat to try and get them to lay flat, ultimately causing even more damage.  Your hair follicles cannot take extended periods of exposure to extreme heat, and will eventually suffer permanent damage.  
Solution - Limit the amount of heat you use! Having straight hair is not worth losing your hairline completely. Don’t use the highest settings on your heating appliances, and give your hair a break.  Serums applied to the hairline and held down with a silk scarf could help keep hair straighter longer. Wrapping your hair works as well.

Styling Products
Alcohol based pomades and gels can dry the hell out of your hair. Many women seek a sleek hairline with these products, but there are products available without the harmful alcohols. 

Solution - Consider moisturizing and sealing your hair as often as you can, paying close attention to the hairline area in order for it to lay flat and sleek. Adding castor oil to your products and massaging the plain product into your hairline could help thicken and stimulate hair growth.
Night time hair
Tossing and turning at night can wreak havoc on your delicate hairline. 

Solution - Where a silk or satin bonnet or head scarf to bed. This will prevent moisture loss from your 300 count Egyptian cotton sheets (*side eye) and give your hairline a fighting chance.

Do you have a struggling hairline? How will you be changing your hair care regime?

Have a Good Hair Day!!!

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  1. Very educative. Many people just damage their hair, all in the name of trying to look beautiful.

  2. I'm guilty of all of the above. For the first time ever, my hair line has started to recede. Thankfully I discovered your blog, as well as African Hair Blog. It has been very educational and starting to make small changes - changing my shampoo, doing pre-poo, LOC method - to my hair regimen. Thanks for an amazing blog, been recommending it as a great read to all my friends


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