What is a Silk Press?
A silk press is a heat style for women with naturally textured hair.
The magic of a silk press is that it transforms curly hair into perfectly smooth strands for weeks on end. This style may sound a little familiar but don’t confuse a silk press with your grandmother’s press n’ curl.
Today’s silk press is an entirely different process and outcome. The results of getting a silk press are something that anyone with any texture will envy, however; Silk presses are not an option on hair that is already chemically relaxed. Since relaxed hair is straight, this type of style is considered a regular flat iron.
The primary focus of a silk press is to infuse hydration back into the hair, therefore, allowing the hair to flow freely. A silk press is a two-part series that follows a series of steps. The first part focuses on moisturizing the hair.
The second part focuses on using heat to smooth and straighten naturally curly hair into bone straight hair but only temporarily.
Why Should You Get a Silk Press?
A silk press is a heat-style option for naturally curly women who desire to enjoy their curl-free length without permanently changing the texture of their hair. To achieve a silk press, your stylist will use a series of steps and heat tools to smooth out your curls and temporarily straighten your hair.
A silk press is one of the best ways to fully experience the length you’ve grown out throughout your natural hair journey. Let’s face it, sometimes those of us with kinky hair like to feel our hair swinging and blowing in the wind.
A silk press gives you a soft and silky, just relaxed feeling while allowing your curls to bounce back within a few weeks.
How Long Will Your Silk Press Last?
The duration of your silk press is relative to how well you maintain it.
Sounds harsh, but when it comes to a long-lasting silk press, the power is in your hands. Since silk presses do not chemically alter your natural texture, your hair will revert simply because of carelessness. Don’t let that be you, sis!
I’ve put together five keys to making your silk press last. Learn from my mistakes and check them out below:
5 Keys to Making Your Silk Press Last
1) Book an Appointment with a Stylist
Yup, you read that correctly. I’m all for a fun DIY style, but some heat styles should be done by a professional. It’s possible to accomplish an impressive silk press at home but let’s be honest, a professional stylist can slay your silk press to new heights.
Why? First, your stylist is a professional and likely performs this service on a regular basis. Your stylist already has a good idea as to what products to use and what technique is most effective. Your stylist also has experience with your hair or hair types similar to yours and can determine how your hair will respond during styling.
Second, your stylist has a better vantage point. Sure, you know your hair like the back of your hand, but you can’t see what your stylist can see. Also, because your stylist is a professional, they know when and how to adjust both tension and heat depending on how your hair is responding.
All in all, allowing a professional stylist that you trust to perform your silk press is the best route to take.
2) Don’t Let Your Hair Get Wet
Leaving the salon with a silk press is not the time to dive into the pool.
It doesn’t matter how straight your stylist got your hair; it will revert if it comes into contact with water. If you’re wearing a silk press, stay away from water. Avoiding water includes the shower as well.
I’m not saying to skip showers, but make sure to use a shower cap to keep moisture from your strands.
3) Tempted to Touch
If you’re like me, I love to touch my hair! Especially once your hair is finally straight.
If you want your silk press to last, it’s best to keep your hands out of your hair. Too much hair stroking will cause frizz and leave your hair less than silky. Try your best to keep your hands away from your hair as much as possible.
4) Guard it With Your Life
Okay, that might be a little dramatic. But, seriously. You paid good money and gave up your time to get your hair bone straight.
Don’t let a good nights’ sleep ruin it. If you want to maintain your perfect hairdo, then you need to wrap your hair at night in a satin or silk scarf or bonnet. When I wear a silk press, it’s nearly impossible for my hair to stay in a wrap.
Here’s my little tip to keeping your hair wrapped up throughout the night.
Tip #1 – Secure your wrap with a wave or wig cap
When I first started wrapping up my silk presses, I was perplexed as to how I could keep my hair in place. That’s when a hair stylist suggested that I place a wave or wig cap over my hair. It worked like a charm! Except, the wave cap itself didn’t stay in place so well, which leads to my next tip.
Tip #2 – Cover your cap with a satin scarf
Wearing two head wraps may seem like a lot of steps, but remember, your hair is ready and willing to revert at any given moment. So, I decided to secure my wave cap with a satin scarf. That kept my wave cap in place the entire night.
You will need to experiment with different tools and techniques to perfect your nighttime wrap. It’s important to remember to always wrap your hair in satin or silk every single night. Wrapping up your hair helps to maintain the moisture your stylist worked so hard to put into your hair and keep your hair from becoming frizzy and developing split ends.
5) No touch-ups
I’ve been guilty of this firsthand. Your stylist laid your hair.
Blowing and flowing. You wrap it up at night and when you take it down the next day – A crease?! YIKES! Listen up. I know that little wrinkle is enough to make your heart stop, but step away from the flat iron!
It’s a myth that since your hair is already straight that you can’t suffer from further heat damage. Your hair is moisture and protein. Heat diminishes moisture and protein. You can still suffer from heat damage even with hair that is already straight.
There is no need to apply more heat to your hair. If you notice a crease in your hair or if your hair is losing shine, use a small amount of hair serum and wrap your hair up for a few hours.
When you take it down your hair will be shiny and crease free!
Get a Trim!
You know I had to throw a bonus tip in there! The one thing that will set your silk press off is a crisp trim.
Have your stylist trim any dead or stringy ends off your hair. The last thing you need is silky hair that won’t move because the ends of your hair are all tangled up. If you are attempting to do your silk press at home learn how to correctly trim your hair at home.
How Often Should You Get a Silk Press?
Just like “Creamy Crack” or a chemical relaxer. Getting silk presses can become addicting, which, I understand!
I spend the majority of the year rocking my curls and, although I love my texture, I also like the results of a perfectly crafted silk press. But, love isn’t enough. And too much of a good thing is not good at all.
The answer to how often you should get a silk press depends on a few factors surrounding your hair care and overall hair health. I’ve never met a stylist who suggests that a client get back to back heat styles, I believe that professional heat styling is far safer than heat styling at home.
If you’re going to opt to get a silk press frequently, then I suggest you seek the advice of your stylist and commit to the hair care regimen he or she recommends.
Health is Wealth
The second thing to consider when deciding upon the frequency of your silk press is the general health of your hair.
If you currently suffer from breakage, dry and brittle hair, or split ends, then frequent silk presses are more than likely not going to be a suggested service by your stylist.
The truth is, every style is not for everyone. Healthy hair is paramount, and any hairstyle that compromises that you need to avoid. It’s important to keep up with regular conditioning treatments and trims to keep your hair healthy.
If you at all concerned with the health of your hair, schedule a consultation to discuss its current state and what you can do to improve upon it.
Strapped for Cash? Take the Leap!
Still, think you can master this style at home? I’m sure you can!
While I advise getting a silk press done by a professional, I understand that sometimes I a visit to the salon is not in the budget. I suggest getting a free consultation with a hair care professional to gain a clear understanding of your hair health and the products and techniques you need to use.
Follow the steps below to achieve an in-home silk press:
During a silk press, you need to use both a clarifying and hydrating shampoo.
First, the clarifying shampoo to remove dirt and buildup from the scalp and strands. Then the hydrating shampoo to begin the process of hydrating your hair. It’s essential to have clean hair when doing a silk press. Even a small amount of buildup can interfere with the outcome.
If you tend to have an oily scalp or flaky scalp, you will benefit from using a clarifying shampoo. Use a clarifying shampoo that is free of parabens and sulfates so that your hair doesn’t get dried out. If your scalp and hair tend to be on the drier side, you need to use a moisturizing shampoo every time you cleanse your hair.
I tend to alternate between a clarifying shampoo and a moisturizing shampoo to keep my hair balanced.
This step is typically not incorporated with a regular blowout.
Hydrating your hair is a vital step between shampooing and conditioning. Hydrating your hair can only be achieved with either a steamer or a heated towel. Here’s how you can hydrate your hair at home in two simple steps:
First, rinse the shampoo out of your hair. Next, sit under a steamer or wrap your hair in a warm, wet towel for at least 30 minutes.
The benefit of this step is that the steam opens the hair cuticle and allows moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. I recommend taking the time to hydrate your hair at least twice a month or, ideally, each time you shampoo your hair.
Think of it this way. Natural hair loves moisture! Every day that we wear our hair out, it’s losing the moisture you put into it. It’s worth taking the time to put as much moisture back into your hair as possible.
I promise you won’t regret adding this step to your hair care regimen.
This step is essential in getting your silk press to last to its full potential.
Conditioning puts moisture back into your hair, but it goes a step further by infusing the hair with rich nutrients and proteins to aid in repairing any existing damage while protecting from future damage. Make sure that you are not merely using a rinse out conditioner. You need to use a deep conditioner. Deep conditioners are meant to sit on your hair for at least fifteen minutes to an hour.
To get the most out of your condition, you’ll need to make sure that you close your hair shaft after rinsing. To do so, rinse your hair in the coldest temperature water that you can tolerate.
Doing so will cause the cuticles on your hair shaft to lay back down retaining moisture thus making your silk press last for weeks.
There are two ways to dry a silk press. You can sit under a hooded in drying in large, hard rollers or you can use a blow dryer. Let’s explore the difference between the two methods.
- Hooded Dryer
This type of drying is usually called a “roller wrap” but is also a way to achieve a silk press on natural hair. If you have a hard time getting your hair completely straight with blow drying, then you need to try this method.
Here’s what you will need:
- Hooded Dryer
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Lightweight Heat Protectant
- Lightweight Hair Serum
- Hair clips
- Large Rollers
- Roller Clips
- Fine-toothed comb
- Wide-toothed comb
- Saran wrap
- Soft bristle brush
Here’s How to Do A Silk Press Under a Hooded Dryer
With soaking wet hair, section your hair so that each section is the same width as the hard roller
Use your comb to remove any detangles from your hair gently.
Smooth your ends onto the roller and firmly roll your hair downward toward your scalp.
Tip: It’s essential to pull your hair taut. The tighter the roll, the smoother your hair will come out.
Secure the roller in place by putting the roller clip at the base between the roller and your hair
Continue until all your entire head of hair is in rollers
It’s essential that your hair is very wet for this process. The more soaking your hair, the better it will smooth onto the roller. The key to getting super silky hair is to sit under the hooded dryer until your hair is finished drying.
This process is slower and takes longer than blow drying, but your hair suffers a lot less heat damage.
Once your hair has dried completely, uninstall the rollers and use a wide-toothed comb to comb out your curls
Use your wide-toothed comb and a soft bristle brush to wrap your hair around your head
Wrap the saran wrap around your head and sit under the dryer for another 30 minutes
Remove the saran wrap by twisting it around your hair until it comes off. Then, add a small amount of the hair serum throughout your hair.
Perfecting a roller wrap takes practice. Some women opt to use mousse between step 1 and 2 to help the hair mold to the roller form. Using mousse in your roller wrap is solely based on your preference.
I have fine-textured 4a hair, so I prefer not to put products other than a heat protectant in my hair during a roller wrap.
Here’s How to Do a Silk Press with A Blow Dryer
Follow the first two steps from the above section.
Section your hair and begin blow drying.
Tip: Don’t allow your hair to air dry. For a silk press, it’s best to blow dry soaking wet hair.
Now, you’re ready for the press.
Set your flat iron to the heat setting that is appropriate for your hair type
Section your hair in sections that are no wider than the flat iron
Make one single pass from the root of your hair down to the tip.
A roller set (Check out this article: roller set natural hair) done correctly will not need more than a single pass with the flat iron.
Tip: Don’t burn your hair! Your flat iron should always be moving.
If you hear crackling, snapping or smell hair burning, then the temperature of your flat iron is too hot! Steam that does not have a color or an odor is not your hair burning. That’s just the hair protectant steaming under the heat of your flat iron.
If you begin to smell hair burning or see a dark colored smoke coming from your flat iron, it’s too hot!
Pressed Not Stressed
Silk presses offer style and versatility to women with naturally textured hair.
When executed correctly, the smooth, buttery hair texture achieved by this style can become addicting. If you’re attempting to do your silk press at home, it’s essential to follow the steps carefully and take your time!
No style is worth permanent damage to your hair. If you want your style to last, follow the five keys: Avoid water, wrap your hair at night, don’t excessively touch your hair, and don’t apply additional heat in the days and weeks following.
Have you tried a silk press? Leave a comment below and share your tips on how you make your style last longer!
Are you looking for hair inspiration? Follow @privalelabelextensions on Instagram!