How To Achieve The Perfect Silk Press At Home

Now don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate my texture and curls. They’re rich, bountiful, healthy, and a reminder of the power of self-love and the beauty of Black hair. However, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t prefer something new every now and then.
Sometimes it’s a protective style, sometimes it’s a heatless set, and sometimes, it’s a silk press. There’s something about those two or so weeks when my hair is flowing and smooth that makes me feel like a different woman. I can try out styles I wouldn’t otherwise be able to with curly hair, and it’s just an overall refreshing break from the norm.

I’m not the only one that enjoys a silk press. The style is loved by celebs, models, famous Former First ladies *wink, wink* and everyday girls—and guys—alike. But now more than ever, people are wondering how to do a silk press themselves. So ahead, check out the step-by-step method for protecting curls from heat damage and the natural hair care products that you need to do so.

What is a silk press?

Who could ever forget the old school press and curl? We’d sit in the styling chair for hours, holding our ears to protect them from the heat of the hot comb, flinching every time the searing styling tools would get too close to the scalp. After the hot comb, then came the curling iron, resulting in yet another layer of direct heat being applied to hair. And while it was a tedious—and sometimes painful—process, the end result was always the same: silky-straight hair that moved like water and lasted for weeks.

Fast forward, and the advancements of hair have made the press and curl a thing of the past. Enter the silk press, which is basically an updated version with fewer steps and less heat. But that’s not all that a silk press minimizes. What’s most impressive is that it also creates less risk of compromising hair health and causing curl damage. Now you may be wondering, “What is the difference between straightening with a flat iron and a silk press?” In essence, a silk press is a more thorough method of straightening the hair with a flat iron. It includes a more extensive preparation of the hair and, in some instances, calls for different post-care.

Does a silk press damage your hair?

Like any other heat styling method, there is a risk of damage. That’s why the aforementioned preparation is key. The number one question about how to do a silk press is if the curl pattern will be compromised. The reality is that curly hair is at a greater risk of damage with a silk press. But proper cleansing, moisturizing, and detangling can hydrate and increase the elasticity of natural hair, minimizing the risk of heat damage and giving the hair a healthy base for the silk press.

That’s why heat-specific products such as the Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum and Pracaxi Nectar Straight Blow Drying Cream are imperative to help protect against heat damage and keep freshly straightened hair sleek and moisturized without excess heat in-between styling.

How do you do a silk press at home?

Learning how to do a silk press may seem difficult, but I promise, it’s much easier than it seems. Simply follow these instructions.

1. First, know that no silk press should ever happen on hair that’s not extremely clean. It’s important to use a great clarifying shampoo that can rid the hair of any artificial oils. This will ensure there is no excess buildup on your locks, which can result in weighed-down, greasy strands. We suggest the Monoi Ora Sulfate Free Shampoo, which cleanses deeply without completely dehydrating the hair.

2. To ensure that the hair is properly moisturized and repaired, deep conditioning hair treatments and leave-in conditioner such as the Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil should be incorporated. For optimal results, allow the conditioner to sit in the hair for 15-20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

3. Now, it’s time to blow dry the hair. While the hair is damp, apply a penetrative hair oil to hydrate lightly. A favorite of ours is the Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum. After that, apply a heat styler like the Pracaxi Nectar Straight Blow Drying Cream to protect from heat from both the blow dryer and the flat iron. Disclaimer: Hair has to be 100% dry before flat-ironing. If not, you’ll fry your strands, a mistake that can only be repaired by cutting the dead hair off.

4. Then comes the fun part. In small sections, straighten the hair. Keep the flat iron temperature under 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you want a more bone-straight finish, opt for a titanium flat iron rather than ceramic. The reason being, the plates of titanium flat iron heats the hair from the outside-in, creating a smoother and silkier appearance. For optimal results, you can use the chase method, which includes immediately “chasing” the flat iron with a fine, rat-tooth comb. Avoid going over the hair more than once with the flat iron. Depending on your preferred style, you can flat iron bone-straight or flat iron into a style such as curls or bouncy waves.

5. Lastly, once styled as desired, finish with a small bit of hair serum such as the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Pure Hair Oil for some added sheen. Voila! You’ve figured out how to do a silk press.

How do you sleep with a silk press?

When you silk press hair, proper sleeping habits are key to increasing the longevity of your silk press. Let’s be real, adding more heat after the initial styling puts the hair at greater risk of heat damage. So for best results, wrap the hair every night with a clean silk or satin scarf, and reinforce with a silk bonnet to ensure that no hair slips out while you move in your sleep. If your hair begins to feel a bit dry and is in need of a moisture refresh, apply a small amount of oil throughout the hair before wrapping. By the time you rise, your hair will feel so much more moisturized—and look like it too.

When you’re ready to go back to your curls, make sure you get them back by knowing How to Wash Curly Hair (and How Often to Do It).

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