By now, many folks are aware that black hair is fragile. Just think about the hairline and all the stress these delicate strands experience: ponytail pulling, too-tight cornrows, not to mention hairstyles that require messing with glues and other substances or products to hold added hair in place. No wonder so many women are losing sight of their edges. But before your hairline disappears altogether, there are ways to put a stop to it, says

Take care when using hair enhancements. This means all kinds of weaves, wigs, clip-in pieces and, especially, lace fronts. Any styling method that attaches faux hair to the head by tightening, bonding, gluing, sewing or clipping in tresses is suspect. But if you opt for these methods, find a skilled professional you trust. And voice your concerns upfront. If you’re on the fence, try just rocking some different wigs—but skip the lace fronts and their required glue, or try glue-less lace fronts (they’re much like regular wigs but come with combs and straps to hold the hairpiece securely in place on the head).

Go easy on the braiding. Yes, braids make for super hairstyles, and they’re a great protector for tresses that need a rest from constant manipulation. But when hair is braided, care must be taken not to pull, pinch or tug on those delicate strands (a.k.a. “baby hairs”) around the front perimeter of the head. To get the same braided hair effect, try this simple solution: Opt for loosely braided styles, or a messy bun even, that won’t put tension on hairline strands.

Reconsider chemical use. For those who straighten the hair with relaxer or use color, rethink your dependency on these chemical processes. Why? Well, relaxing and coloring are notorious hairline stressors, especially since delicate edges and roots are heavily targeted when these chemicals are used. But if you prefer straightened hair for ultra-sleek hairstyles, consider no-formaldehyde-involved keratin treatments. After the first application, tresses treated with this process become soft, straight and manageable through several washes. For color coverage, experts advise using a hair rinse, which is more gentle on tresses and can easily be washed out.

Ever wonder about the hair growth process? Click here to find out more.