ATH Opinion: My Silk Press Experience, Mistakes, Rewards, and The Truth About the Process

Learnings from my first silk press.

As someone with textured hair, I am 100% aware of how lengthy and difficult hair straightening can be. Also, the maintenance after can be just as difficult. By the time you walk from the hair salon to your transit or to your apartment, chances are your hair has already begun to frizz or slightly curl up already. Therefore, with the change of seasons being here, many textured hair individuals have taken the opportunity to straighten their hair during the cold weather to avoid humidity destroying their hairstyle with the now well-loved silk press method. 

My First Silk Press Trial and Error

silk press on natural hair
An hour after getting my first press, I had bone-straight hair but with some slight frizzing.

At the start of 2023, I decided to try something new and get a silk press; I was influenced by all the #SilkPressSeason videos I saw across my TikTok feed. When my sister decided to book an appointment for her first silk press, I tagged along and got mine feeling extremely nervous but excited to see what my natural hair looked like straight (before this, I had not seen my hair straight in 4 years). Upon receiving a silk press and trim, I instantly fell in love with the results of how smooth and silky my hair felt. However, it did feel weird not seeing my hair in its natural curly state.

silk press on natural hair frizziness
Two days after getting my first-ever silk press, it frizzed up due to not properly caring for the treatment.

Although my sister’s silk press lasted 2 weeks on her 4b hair texture, mine lasted 3 days on my 4c hair texture before it began to frizz and coil up. My biggest mistake was applying a hair mist that was meant to add extra shine. The wetness of the mist caused my hair to begin reverting back to its natural state. I phased out of the hairstyle for a week and a half by putting my hair in braids until it was time to wash and install my next protective style. 

My Most Recent Press: The Full Experience

A few weeks later, I decided to give silk presses another try. I learned from my mistake this time, and my silk press lasted for a week. In fact, when I began using braid outs to transition from the silk press, my hair was still straight. However, I personally was in the mood to switch up my look. This time, I ensured I wrapped my hair every night and used a satin scarf tied on top of my wrap tightly every night. I only took the scarf off after getting ready and when it was time to leave home for the day.

I also maintained the moisture of my hair with a lightweight moisturizing cream such as Dove Defrizz & Define Frizz Control Leave-In Cream every other day to prevent frizz and flyaways, which can also happen as a result of dryness. When showering, I layered my shower caps as well to prevent water damage to the style. Finally, I did not mist or spray my hair after completing my silk press. I was overall super happy with the results! In the future, I would likely get a silk press on my hair again to check the length of my hair and take a break from protective and natural hair styling for a week or two during the wintertime.  

What is a Silk Press, and What’s the Point of Getting One?  

silk press
Hair straightening for textured hair 101 from All Things Hair! Photo by Brittani Burns.

A silk press is a hair straightening technique that stretches out natural/textured hair to the point where it’s bone straight, giving off a silk-like effect. Silk presses do not use harsh chemicals that damage your hair and can be easily washed away, unlike many other hair straightening treatments, such as keratin treatments that last months or relaxers that must be cut off or transitioned away. Many people with textured hair have been enjoying the silk press experience because it is a great way to check natural hair length. However, it is also a great way to enjoy a new and different look with your hair temporarily. Many naturalistas opt for styling silk presses in the winter over other seasons because this means enjoying your silk presses for longer periods with more low-effort maintenance.

Silk Presses in Low-Humidity Months

silk press on natural hair
Presses are a great look to maintain during the winter. Photo by Andre Styles.

The transparent truth, silk presses can get expensive, not only to style but to maintain as well. Seasons such as Spring/Summer are warm seasons that can bring on lots of humidity depending on your climate. Additionally, in the Summer, the average person is more active and out and about, especially those who live in big cities or in metropolitan areas that may require a ton of walking around. Combined with the heat, moist hair, and the sun beaming on your scalp, textured hair can’t withstand humidity while trying to maintain a silk press. Before you know it, your roots will start to puff up, leading to extreme frizz and flyaways. Therefore, that is why naturalistas have officially dubbed colder weather #SilkPressSeason. low humidity weather is the silk press’s best friend.  

Why Not Just Straighten My Hair? What Makes a Silk Press so Special?  

Silk presses are a great look to maintain during the winter. Photo by Jaliyah Blackwell.

While straightening hair is easier and much faster, it is harder to maintain and impractical for those with textured hair. A silk press is a process that requires more patience, technique, and tools to achieve a flat and seamless straight look. It ensures that your hair is silk straight from the roots down to the ends of your hair. Silk presses have more body and movement than regular hair straightening on textured hair. Although silk presses require more hair than your regular hair straightening technique, they are sleeker and more seamless. However, since silk presses require more heat, it is recommended to refrain from touching up your silk press on your own throughout the 1-3 weeks you wear the style to avoid heat damage. Once the hairstyle begins to revert back to its natural hair, allow it!  

Are Silk Presses an Easy DIY Hairstyle?  

silk press on natural hair
With enough tools and practice, this treatment can be achieved on your own. Photo by Brian Asare.

Silk Presses do require a great deal of skill and practice. However, they can be achieved at home with practice, patience, and learning. Watching videos, observing what your hair stylist does, and reading articles are great ways to get started! Also, a great tip when starting a silk press is to wash, blow dry, and stretch your hair the night before you achieve a silk press. This assures that your hair is cooled down properly and even gets even flatter when it’s time to finish the silk press, which may help cut down the process’s time.

The more practice you have and the quality of your tools you will improve your results every time till you have it to your liking. Try Dove Style+Care Smooth and Shine Heat Protection Spray before styling your hair. Heat protectant is the most important step when adding any heat to your curls and coils. This thermal protector is great for long-lasting results on your silk press. While keeping the hair thermal-free keeps the flyaways gone and adds a healthy glow to your hair. Keeping your hair nourished and shiny is typically the most desired for a silk press.  

Silk Presses are great for switching up your look and checking in on the growth of your natural hair. Have you or will you be trying silk presses? Show us your look by tagging us @AllThingsHairUS! Also, for more natural hair styling inspiration, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below.

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