all hair types How to Do and Maintain A Silk Press

Learn this technique for straightening your natural hair without chemicals.

April 11, 2022
Silk Press Hair

 

While we may have bemoaned staying indoors for months at a time and distancing from our favorite people over the past couple of years, we learned how to do more things for ourselves.  When it comes to beauty routines, that includes doing our own hair and hairdos that we once thought were complicated processes have now become DIY styles.

Twist outs, knotless box braids, silk presses and other beloved natural hairstyles are no longer only reserved for salon visits. And if you’re still unsure how to do the latter you’re in luck, because we’re breaking down the steps on how to get a silk press — and how to maintain one, below.  


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, this style ups the ante. 


A 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 you can get a standard press and curl.


Silk Press vs. Flatiron: What’s the Difference?

Simply put, the biggest difference between a silk press and a flat ironing is that the former is a styling technique and the former is a tool used to execute that technique. A flatiron 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.


How to Do A Silk Press

Ready to switch up your style and try a silk press on for size? Keep reading as we walk you through the proper steps on how to do a silk press like a pro.


Step 1. Start With Clean Hair

We know this goes without saying (so it doesn’t hurt to say it) but always start with freshly washed hair. You can kick things off with the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner. Formulated with castor oil and hyaluronic acid, this duo deeply moisturizes and hydrates your hair and keeps frizz at bay.


Step 2. Use A Leave-In Conditioner

Next, you want to boost your strands with moisture so your style can last. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Dreamy Curls Leave-in Conditioner, which works to soften your strands and provide slip for a seamless detangling process. Simply distribute it evenly through your strands and detangle your hair section by section. Once complete, you’re ready for the next step.


Step 3. Apply Heat Protectant

Since this style requires the use of heat styling tools, you’ll want to protect your strands with a heat protectant. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, which helps to calm frizz, seal in shine, and protect your strands from heat damage.  


Step 4. Part Your Hair 

Part your hair into two even sections, and secure the top half with a hair clip. Next, split the bottom layer into two more sections, and clip one out of your way. 


Step 5. Blow Dry Your Hair

Attach the concentrator nozzle to your blow dryer and dry your hair with a brush, making sure to work from the roots to the ends. Repeat the process on each section of your hair until your hair is fully dry.  


Step 6. Prep Your Hair For Your Flat Iron

Just as you prepped your tresses for blow-drying, you’ll need to do the same for your flat iron but with a slight twist. Start by dividing your hair into two sections. Split the bottom section in two and secure one side with a hair clip. 


Now, this is where things take a turn. Instead of leaving your hair as is, create a part that’s about an inch in size to ensure that the heat from your flat iron will be distributed evenly through your hair. Clip the rest of your hair out of the way.


Step 7. Press Your Hair

Starting as close to the root as possible, slowly flat iron your hair all the way to the ends to make each pass count. Repeat this on one-inch sections of hair, passing over each one with your flat iron until you have a silky-soft mane. Remember, too many passes on the same section of hair can cause damage, so take things slow for desired results and adjust your flat iron temperature to suit your hair texture and thickness.


Step 8. Seal the Style

Once your mane is flat-ironed to perfection, all you need is a touch of hairspray to lock it all in. Grab the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented and mist the spray evenly over your hair and you’re done.


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. Don’t let your hard work go to waste and have your ‘do shrivel up before you’re able to show it off. 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. Cover your hair with a silk or satin scarf and you’re all set.


2. Stay Away From Heat

While it may be tempting to apply more heat to your hair, avoid the temptation. 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 in. The goal is to keep your hair shiny and bouncy, and excess product can give your hair a weighed down look and feel.


Next: How to Do the LOC Method for Natural Hair



Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Crystal Simone