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I'm Twenty-One and Slicked-Backs Ruined My Hairline

I'm literally only twenty-one years old, and my hairline receded multiple inches over the past two years of rocking a slicked-back bun. I'm now trying to fix it.

Drew Townsel ©

As a Black woman, I've been slicking my hair back into a bun since the seventh grade. It's not a trend that Hailey Bieber started or a "clean girl aesthetic" staple; it's literally me and a lot of my fellow Black girls' go-to way to tame our 4A-4C hair.

I used to really only wear slicked-backs a couple of times a week because the other days, I would wear it silk-pressed or out in its natural state. But when I entered my broke college student era, the Los Angeles $100 silk presses got too expensive, and tragically, the first hair stylist I went to near my college put a soft relaxer in my hair without telling me. She absolutely ruined my curl pattern, and after over a year of trying to cut off the damage, it's still the same.

So after my curls got ruined and my bank account got barren, I resorted to daily slicked-back buns for weeks at a time in order to make myself feel presentable enough to go to work, go to school, and go out with my friends. And you know what – it was really cute at first – when I had edges. Check out the photos of my fabulous slicked-backs of 2022 below.

So yeah, it was all fun and games and then things got real. As I kept slathering my middle-parted hair with Eco Styler Gel and laying it down with my hard brush, I started noticing something was missing; my edges. Baby hair at a time, my hairline started receding. I first noticed it in the Spring of 2023, and for the remainder of 2023, it just got worse and worse and worse and worse and worse.

Unfortunately, I didn't know what to do because long-lasting protective styles like braids and sew-ins are also known to pull at your hairline. See the photos of my missing edges below.

So now it's 2024, and I refuse to keep watching my forehead grow. The fivehead thing is slightly adorable, but I really value my edges and don't want to know what my hairline will look like if I don't start doing some damage control. I am currently using three different methods to reverse my edge loss.


Method 1: Oiling Scalp

Every night before bed(when I'm not blacked-out drunk), I started oiling my scalp; I don't do this if my hair is freshly silk-pressed, but it works well with old or natural hair, which I usually have. You already know I use the iconic Mielle Rosemary Mint Scalp Oil. I especially apply it to my hairline.

Method 2: Scalp Massages

Bread Beauty Supply has the most adorable scalp-thingy (yes, that's what it's actually called.) After oiling my scalp, I massage it for about ten minutes to help boost blood circulation. I definitely focus on both the part of my scalp closest to my hairline on the back and front of my head.

Method 3: Biotin/Hair Growth Supplements

I use plain Biotin from the drugstore, but you can get fancy hair growth supplements such as Nutrafol as well. Taking these every day will promote hair growth drastically, but be warned, your hair everywhere will grow – if you get what I mean.

Method 4: Release Tension When You Can

As soon as I walk into the door of my apartment, I take down my ponytails or updos. Tension pulls and pulls at our hairline and causes recession over time. I used to fall asleep in my slicked-backs or put a scarf around them to preserve them for the next day. Do not do this. Just redo it in the morning.


All in all, I miss my edges, but I'm glad I started on my journey to getting them back. I'll keep you guys posted. But make sure you are careful with those slicked-backs. If you have other hairstyles you can do, do them. Do braid outs, twist outs, put a cap on, etc. Don't take your cute little baby hairs for granted!


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