What is a Silk Press? Different Ways to Maintain It On Natural Hair

The complete guide you wanted

The silk press hairstyle is a healthy way to straighten your natural hair. Want to know if a silk press is suitable for you? Here is what you need to know about silk presses, and how to maintain them.

If you’re been looking for new ways to style your natural hair, chances are you have come across the concept of silk presses in your search for a new style. However, when it comes to using heat on your gorgeous natural curls and coils, you may be hesitant to try the style. Learn exactly what a silk press is, how it can be beneficial to you, and ways to maintain the style. You will also see some gorgeous ways to wear and style a silk press here. 

What Exactly is a Silk Press? 

Black Woman with half up, half down, straight Hair
Silk Presses can be worn in a variety of styles.

 A silk press is a hair treatment that straightens thick natural hair so well that it looks relaxed or permed. However, unlike relaxers, silk presses do not use harsh chemicals that are damaging to your hair.  Also, a silk press can be washed away in a matter of minutes, unlike relaxers which have to be cut off or transitioned away. 

How do I Achieve a Silk Press?

joyful black woman with natural straightened hair
You will be pleased with the chic +sleek look of your Silk Press. Photo by Ben Masora

The process of obtaining a silk press is quite simple. You start off by thoroughly washing your hair, then deep conditioning your hair to help add in extra strength, moisture, and nourishment before you officially start the pressing process.

This is followed by blow-drying your hair. At this point, your hair is free of most of its coils and curls, so you can complete the look by moderately flat ironing your hair. This method actually allows for a smaller risk of heat damage in the process of achieving this style. 

For an effective deep conditioning process try the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque to moisturize and hydrate your hair.  When blow-drying and pressing your hair, use TRESemmé’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray to further protect against heat damage. 

Pro Tip: remember that when you do flat iron your hair works gently from the root to tip for a more seamless finish. 

Why Should You Get a Silk Press?

Black woman with ombre layered Sik Press
A beautiful way to wear the silk press is with ombre layered hair. Photo by Nadeena Granville

First of all, who doesn’t love a new and fresh look? Th3 silk press is a safe, time-efficient, and effortless way for you to try something new with your hair. Along with this, it is a healthy way to do length checks on your natural hair when done in moderation. Not to mention, silk presses were designed to be achievable specifically on thick and coarse natural hair. When properly taken care of your silk press can last up to two weeks making your money and time worthwhile. 

Before Getting Your Silk Press:

1. Get Your Silk Press Done Near Event Date

black woman getting a silk press
A crucial part of the Silk Press process includes sectioning hair into small pieces.

Do you intend on getting a silk press for an event or special occasion? Consider doing the hairstyle or booking your appointment closer to the day of the event. It is recommended to book no more than 1-3 days before the event for the best and freshest results when wearing your silk press. To keep your hair looking shiny and fresh while wearing your silk press, use Emerge Glow Off Oil Serum for a non-greasy lustrous finish. 

2. Work with Clean Hair Before the Silk Press

Black woman with towel over her head
Working with your hair at its cleanest leads to the best Silk Press results. Photo by patricioshotit

The key to a perfect, long-lasting silk press is to start with the cleanest hair. Before your deep conditioning treatment, use a natural hair shampoo such as Emerge It’s Knot Happening Sulfate-Free Shampoo. This shampoo not cleanses hair beautifully, but it hydrates and nourishes your hair in the process. 

3. Use Hydrating Products 

black woman with medium length straight hair
Prepare for this style with lots of hydrating products for longer a lasting silk press

Speaking of hydrating shampoos, remember that the more hydrated your hair is, the more seamless the silk pressing process will be for you. Alongside using a hydrating shampoo and deep conditioning treatment, consider using a fair amount of hair oil to the scalp and roots of your hair before the flat iron. A great oil for natural hair is Suave Professionals Castor Oil & Mango Butter for Natural Hair and Scalp Oil. 

After Getting Your Silk Press:

4. Avoid Product Build Up

girl with shoulder length relaxed hair
Avoiding product build-up will allow your silk press to flourish even after a week has gone by. Photo by Paladini Mauro

As tempting as it may be to add extra products to your hair in hopes that your silk press will last longer, it is actually counterproductive to do so. Product build-up will actually shorten the amount of time you have with your press. Avoid using holding sprays and gels in your hair. If you feel the need to refresh your hair, continue using your hair scalp oil and/or oil serum spray every couple of days. 

5. Use a Silk Bonnet or Hair Scarf 

Girl in pink bonnet
Silk bonnets & hair scarves are the perfect way to preserve your hairstyle. Photo by Nelly Ghansah

At the end of each day or before bed, make sure you wear a silk bonnet or hair scarf to prevent your hair from frizziness and breakage. On days where you may find yourself not wanting, or needing to wear your hair out, keep the headpiece on to further preserve your silk press. 

6. Wear your Press Out After Initial Styling Fades

black girl with laid edges and small bun
Try stying your silk press in ponytails, buns, and accessories to maximize the style’s potential. Photo by Maatla Seetelo

After a week or two, you might find that your silk press has lost its original shaping and styling. Before washing your silk press away, consider styling it a few more ways such as in ponytails, buns, and accessorizing it to make use of the styles’ full potential. 

Will you be trying a silk press on your natural hair soon? Show us by tagging @AllThingsHairUS, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below for more hair tips, advice, and inspo hairstyles!

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