For years, the only options for curly girls who wanted to straighten their locks were relaxers, press and curls, or wash and sets. Recently, a new straightening technique called a silk press emerged, promising silky, smooth hair without any of the damage we’ve all come to expect from older techniques. Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde locks, if you love to wear your natural curls straight you’re going to want to learn about this technique.
What Is a Silk Press?
A silk press is a method of straightening natural curls sans a chemical relaxer. Instead, this hairstyling technique uses a blow-dryer and flat iron to smooth out the hair. While it’s easy to think that a silk press for natural hair is the same as a traditional press and curl, silk press is all about applying less heat to your strands to give your mane movement, body, and a shiny finish — without the weighed down and stiff hair look.
What’s the Difference Between a Silk Press and a Flat Iron?
Simply put, the biggest difference between a silk press and a flat iron is that the former is a styling technique and the former is a tool used to execute that technique. A flat iron can help straighten your hair for a silk press, but in order to have movement and dimension a silk press will require other tools to complete the style.
Who is a good candidate for a silk press?
If your regular blowout gives you the sleek and smooth results you’re looking for, you probably don’t need a silk press. On the other hand, those struggling to create a glass-like finish with just a round brush and a blowdryer are great candidates for silk presses.
While anyone can get a silk press, they’re generally reserved for people with curls types five through eight.
These curl types have very defined curl patterns and women who have them can struggle with shrinkage and frizz. The two-step silk press process allows a stylist to properly stretch the hair before going back and creating a smooth silk-like finish. While silk presses are relatively risk-free when done by a professional, it’s important to note that they require a lot of heat. If your hair doesn’t react well to high temperatures, you may want to make an appointment for a consultation with a professional before taking the plunge.
How Long Does a Silk Press Last?
How long your silk press will last depends on how well you prepped your hair before you styled it and, of course, how you maintain it. Check out these tips on how to maintain your silk press to help your style go the distance.
1. Protect Your Hair at Night
One of the easiest ways to keep your silk press intact is to pin-curl your hair at night to maintain a bouncy mane. Simply part your hair into sections that are about an inch in size. Take the end of one of the sections, tuck your hair around one of your fingers and roll up until you reach the roots. Secure it with a bobby pin and repeat until you have a mane full of pin curls.
You can also wrap your hair by creating a side part, then brush your hair in a circular motion going clockwise, until it’s all up around your head, also securing it with bobby pins if needed. Whichever method you choose, you should cover your hair with a silk or satin scarf before going to bed.
2. Stay Away From Heat
While it may be tempting to apply more heat to your hair, avoid the temptation, as too much heat can offset your mane’s moisture levels and leave you with stiff strands.
3. Avoid Water
When you have a silk press, watch out for water, steam, and sweat. These can all cause your smooth strands to revert back to their natural texture before you’re ready.
4. Give Your Styling Products A Break
There’s no need to apply additional hair products to your hair with your silk press. The goal is to keep your hair shiny and bouncy, and excess product can give your hair a weighed down look and feel.