If You Stay Ready.... [The Keep Your Edges Mantra]

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If you stay ready,
You ain't got to get ready
[Repeat 2x]

Wise words once spoken by the Oakland born, Compton raised, and Pomona living west coast rapper Suga Free.What exactly does that have to do with natural hair, Christina?

For me, everything. Kinda. More like, it means everything to how I go about preserving and maintaining my edges. Yes, edges. You see, "if you stay ready, you ain't got to get ready" is kind of like my mantra around saving, preserving, and maintaining my edges.

Before you write me off as a nutcase, let me explain why. I won't go into much detail, because there is TONS of information about what edges are, and how to regrow them. But just as a launching point:
  • Edges of the hair are incredibly fragile. They are among the finest and most delicate strands of hair on your head. Click here for more on that.
  • Traction alopecia is real. The results are damaging, and sometimes irreversible.
  • Prevention is the best cure. If your edges are in a good place now, maintaining them will be really easy.
  • If you suffer from a medical condition such as alopecia areata or severe post-partum shedding, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional (as always). 
I'm sure by now, you've cycled through all the generic information about preventing traction alopecia and perimeter breakage - not pulling hair back too tightly on a regular basis, ditching anything that has rubber exposed, looser ponytails and buns, moving the location of said ponytail and bun regularly, avoiding excessive brushing/hard bristle brushes, chilling on the cornrows and weaves, ditching drying gels for sleek edges, not sleeping in ponytails and buns, no cotton scarves and pillowcases, and switching up where you part your hair. Haha, that was an entire article in one very long sentence. But at any rate, all of those are very valid measures to take to prevent physical damage to the edges of your hair. And by all means, continue to do them whether you are suffering from thinning edges or not. I most certainly do.

But for me, practices are only one piece of the puzzle. The other part is product-based; protecting my edges with moisturizers, butters, and oils that hydrate, protect, and stimulate the hair around my edges. Why stimulate? So I ain't got to get ready! Every other night (sometimes every night), I go through a LCB or LCO method around the perimeter of my head. For those that are unfamiliar, both LCB and LCO are methods for layering products to obtain the most moisture retention. LCB = Liquid/Leave-In, Cream, Butter and LCO = the same, with the O being Oil. Whichever method you use (or even LOC) on the length of your hair, you can feel free to use on the edges and around the perimeter of your hair. You don't need to use a lot of product, and if you do it right (a dime size or less of everything), you won't run the risk of ruining any style you're trying to preserve.

Here is how I apply my product, and which products I've used that work for this method of edges and perimeter preservation:

Liquid: Water, or any type of water-based refresher, spritz, or leave-in conditioner. My current picks in this area are ApHogee Curlific Leave-In and Ella's Concoctions Juicy Nectar Spritzer.

Cream: Water-based lotion or cream product that packs a moisturizing punch. In this area, I cycle through Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, tgin Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer, Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious, and Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream.

Butter/Oil: Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Temple Balm, Kyra's Shea Medley's Rejuvenation Butter Cream, DIY Fluffy Styling Cream, or Flax Oil (a new favorite, but it smells like the dickens). 

I select these products not only because they smell and feel awesome on my edges and my hair, but because they contain ingredients that are known to nourish and stimulate the scalp and hair. If you have a favorite liquid, cream, butter and/or oil combination that you use, definitely rock with that! There is absolutely no need to add any more products to your arsenal than what you already have....unless you're a product junkie and just want to. By cycling through my select products and combining them with proper moisturizing and edge-safe styling techniques, I was able to transition successfully for nearly two years without any emergency edge situations. Keeping your edges as healthy as possible along every step of your natural hair journey will help ensure that you don't end up frantically seeking out growth potions months down the line. Prevention is the best cure. Stay ready, so you ain't got to get ready.

As an aside, if you're looking for edge-friendly products to use to safely slick back a bun, ponytail, or updo, click here.

How do you keep your edges in stay ready mode?

For more transitioning and natural hair tips from Christina, check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on YouTubeInstagram and Facebook.