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7 Tips For Getting The Edges And Nape Of Your Neck To Grow Faster

Length retention includes the sides and back of your hair too.

Hair

To me, a Black woman's hair is a lot like silk. In some ways, it's extremely fragile while in others, it's strong as nails. Just think about it. Our hair can endure heat, braids, weaves and wigs and all of the freaking chemicals that we put in it for weeks and sometimes even months on end. On the flip side, when we don't eat properly, stay hydrated, condition our hair and clip those split and/or dead ends, our strands can snap without barely even touching them. That is why a lot of us struggle with keeping the edges of our hair and the nape of our neck flourishing (well, that and beating our edges to death with alcohol-based edge control products).

If a goal that you've got this year is to see some more inches on your head, and you're hoping that your edges and nape will keep up, here are seven things that you can do to get both of the most fragile parts of your head to "walk in agreement" with you.

How To Grow Your Edges & The Nape Of Your Neck

1. Use Some DIY Shampoo

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The sides of our hair and the nape of our neck can take on quite a bit of friction which can result in weak hair and damaged follicles. Then, when you add to that the sweat and product build-up that our hair also endures, sometimes it's best to avoid commercial brands of shampoos and go the au naturel route. If you'd like to treat your hair to a chemical-less cleaning experience, try this DIY shampoo recipe.

In a plastic bottle, mix:

  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the kind that still has "the mother" in it; it clarifies your hair and scalp)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda (it also clarifies your hair and scalp)
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil (it strengthens hair while preventing hair loss)
  • 4 drops of lavender oil (it reduces scalp inflammation and encourages hair growth)
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil (its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties remove bacteria and dead skin)
  • 2 drops of peppermint oil (it stimulates hair growth)

Fill the rest of the bottle up with warm distilled water. Shake the bottle and then apply the shampoo to your damp hair, making sure to massage your scalp; especially your edges and nape. Let the shampoo penetrate for 5-7 minutes. Then rinse and deep condition (making sure to pay extra attention to your edges and nape) as usual.

2. Massage and Moisturize

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Since it's the nutrients in our blood that feed our hair follicles, it is important that we increase the blood flow to our scalp. A great way to do that is to massage your scalp, for 15 minutes, no less than a couple of times each week. In fact, if you want to significantly increase the thickness of your hair, you should perform a scalp massage on a daily basis.

If you'd prefer to use an actual massager on your head, Naptural85 posted a pretty thorough review on some of her favorite ones (you can check that out here). But honestly, your fingertips can be just as effective. Another YouTuber who goes by ANGIEBEE broke down how to effectively use your hands on your head here. Please just make sure that your hands are clean, that you use the tips of your fingers and not your nails—oh, and that you put some oil on your fingers before you begin. Jamaican black castor oil is a great one because, not only does it moisturize your scalp and hair, it is also able to thicken and strengthen it over time too.

3. Add Camphor Oil to Your Hair Regimen

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If you're a fan of essential oils, you definitely need to add camphor to your collection. The properties in it can do everything from reduce pain and inflammation and treat nail fungus to treat eczema and promote a good night's rest. The reason why camphor oil is mentioned in this article is because it's also a wonderful stimulant and decongestant. If you apply it to your edges and nape, not only will it increase blood circulation to those areas so that your hair follicles will get more of the nutrients that they need, but it will help to heal any scalp infections that you might have too. Just make sure to use this oil with a carrier one like coconut, grapeseed, avocado, sweet almond oil or castor oil. 15 drops of camphor in a 4 oz. bottle of your carrier oil should have you pretty set. You should start to see real results within a month or so.

4. Lower Your “Chemical Dosage”

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I rocked a texturizer for many, many years. Contrary to a lot of people's beliefs about 'em, texturizers are chemical relaxers; they just aren't as strong as the ones that we use in order to get our hair bone straight. Anyway, because I would cut and texturize my hair at home (often too), when I did finally decide to grow my hair out, it took a while for one side of my edges to catch on that I was serious. What I mean by that is, all of the chemical processing (including hair dye) had actually damaged some of my hair follicles. It has taken a couple of years of scalp massaging and babying that side of my head with Jamaican black castor oil (my personal favorite brand is Mango & Lime in lavender and rosemary) to get the thickness back. What that time has taught me is, it really is best to leave the chemicals totally alone.

But, if you must, make sure that you relax and color your edges and nape last. Also, make sure you leave that stuff on for a shorter amount of time. If you're not doing that, well, it makes total sense why your edges and nape may not be flourishing as much as you'd like for them to. Chemicals tend to do more harm than good.

5. Rebuild Your Hair Follicles with Supplements

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You're not going to see much change on the outside if you don't shift some of what you're feeding your insides. That said, it's not a random coincidence that a lot of people who deal with hair breakage are typically low in certain nutrients. Vitamin C (via foods like citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and tomatoes) helps to neutralize free radicals. There are studies that connect a lack of hair retention in Black women to them being low in iron (you can get more iron by eating blackstrap molasses, lentils and chicken). Zinc (by way of foods including whole grains, seeds and eggs) works to give your hair follicles the protein that they need. B-complex (which you can get from eating salmon, dark leafy greens and beef) strengthens the structure of your hair strands. Vitamin D (via cheese, orange juice and fortified cereals) helps to regrow hair follicles. If you want to get some extra support outside of adding foods with these to your diet, you can always take a multivitamin or a supplement that has one or more of these in it.

6. Move Your Hair Accessories Around

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I'm a hat kind of gal. Unapologetically so. But I did have to start lining some of mine with satin and lay off of rocking them the same way all of the time because the friction was weakening the sides of my hair. I don't care if it's a brim, a headband or a turban, no one's head was designed to keep something on it, all day and night, non-stop, for days and weeks on end. When you do wear hair accessories, make sure they are lined so that your hair is protected and doesn't dry out (learn how to line a turban here and a beanie here). Try and avoid always placing your accessories in the same spot, each and every time too. And, for heaven's sake, give your hair a break. Your scalp needs to breathe, just like any other part of your body. And because your edges and nape tend to be more on the fragile side, they could use time when they don't have to deal with so much "pressure".

7. Leave Your Hair Alone

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Combs. Brushes. Hair dryers. Flat irons. Hands. Bless our hair's heart. While you probably already know that constantly messing with your hair can lead to breakage and potential balding, have you ever wondered why? Dry and brittle hair tends to be the kind that breaks off rather easily and, as Black women (especially if you happen to have type 4 hair), we oftentimes have fragile hair. It's because our curls are so tight that our natural oils aren't able to easily flow from the top of our head to the ends of our hair (which is the oldest part of our hair). As a direct result, we have to be extra careful with how we handle our hair. It needs to be deep conditioned. Protective styling is a good look. But more than anything, we need to just leave it be. The more we touch and style our hair, the more we rob it of the oils that it needs to stay moisturized and "elastic". So, if you want your edges and nape to have more than a couple of inches, leave them alone so that they can grow.

Sometimes the simplest things bring forth the biggest results. Perfect edges mean nothing if they ultimately lead to baldness. Leave them be, chile. Leave. Them. Be.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Looking For Hair Growth? It Might Be Time To Bring 'Blue Magic' Back

7 Essential Oils All Naturalistas Need For Their Hair

Uncommon (But Totally Natural) Things That Are Great For Hair Growth

These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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