If you’re a natural haired-gal, you may have heard different things about silk presses. The natural hair community can be a bit rigid at times, leaving little room for personal preference. But if you’ve considered getting a silk press, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it!

Using heat on natural hair has definitely gotten a bad rep these past few years, and naturally for good reason. But as long as you’re going about it in a healthy way, there’s nothing you should be worried about. So, with that being said, do you want to learn more about getting a silk press? Look no further, all the information you need is right here!

What Exactly is a Silk Press?

If you grew up with super curly or kinky/coily hair, I’m sure you’ve heard of all the different ways to “tame” it. Relaxers, texturizers, flat out straightening it every single day (we’ve all gone through that phase!). And chances are, you’ve gotten a silk press without even realizing it.

Essentially, a silk press is when you use a pressing comb to straighten your kinks or curls. This tool is much different than a flat iron, and was created specifically with the curly girl in mind. It gives your hair the appearance of being relaxed, without any of the harsh chemicals that relaxers contain. This makes it much healthier for your natural hair, when done in moderation of course.

What is the Process of Getting a Silk Press?

If you’re debating getting a silk press, you probably want to know exactly what will be done to your hair. If that sounds like you, don’t worry! We’re going to explain all the steps in detail so that you can feel well-informed.

Step 1: Cleanse Your Hair

Having freshly cleansed hair is the very first step to having shiny, lustrous hair after your silk press.

You should first go in with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of all the dirt, oil, and buildup that may be on your hair. Because you won’t be washing your hair as long as your silk press lasts, it’s super important that your hair is clarified. If it isn’t, you could be stuck with dirty, grimy hair until you’re ready to wash it again!

If you’re looking for a sulfate-free option, we recommend going in with the Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo. This product is 100% natural and organic, with amazing ingredients like aloe vera, cocoa seed butter, and tea tree oil. Because of the lack of sulfates in this shampoo, your hair will remain super soft. And you won’t have to worry about your hair being stripped!

If you’re someone who isn’t worried about sulfates, try the Elucence Volumizing Clarifying shampoo for a super deep clean. It exfoliates your scalp and gives it volume without overly-drying it out. It contains willow bark extract that will purify your hair and get rid of any residue weighing it down. This is super important before getting a silk press!

After you clarify your hair, you should follow up with a hydrating shampoo to make sure your locks are squeaky clean. Especially if you used a sulfate shampoo to clarify, you should make sure the hydrating shampoo is sulfate-free. A great one that’s a cult favorite is the Maui Moisture Shea Butter Shampoo, and you can find it at the drugstore!

Step 2: Deep Condition

If you’ve been natural for any amount of time, we’re sure you’re familiar with the term deep conditioning. Unlike a normal conditioner, a deep conditioner is meant to sit in your hair for 10, 20, sometimes even 30 minutes. The goal is to replenish and hydrate your hair, and it’s especially important when you’re going to heat-style.

 If you’re looking for the max amount of hydration, sit under a hooded dryer while the conditioner is in your hair. This will allow your cuticles to open up and absorb as much moisture as possible. As always, make sure to rinse your hair with cool water to seal the cuticle and prevent moisture loss.

If you don’t have a deep conditioner on hand, you can never go wrong with the DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask. Not only does this mask smell heavenly, but it also leaves your hair feeling ultra soft and moisturized.

Step 3: Blow Dry

This step is pretty self explanatory. After you’re done cleansing and conditioning, your stylist will most likely apply a leave in conditioner if you haven’t already done so. This is to make sure your hair is nice and prepped for the heat styling.

If you’re at a salon, they’ll use a professional grade blow dryer to start the heat process. If you’re at home, any blow dryer you have should be adequate. Pro tip: if you use a comb attachment while blow drying, the pressing process will be much easier.

Step 4: Trim

Once your hair is all stretched and blow dried, it’s time for a trim! This is to get rid of any split ends or unhealthy areas that would cause further damage. Usually a trim is no more than an inch or two, but it could be more depending on the health of your hair.

If you’re doing a trim at home, make sure to invest in a pair of professional shears! Using kitchen or craft scissors can do more harm than good.

Step 5: Press

Now the pressing can begin! When doing a silk press, usually a pressing comb is used so that your curls can get as straight as possible. Because pressing combs can be tricky to use, it’s recommended that you leave that tool to the professionals. Depending on how easy your hair is to style, your stylist may pass through again with flat iron to get rid of any frizz you may have.

If you’re worried about heat damage, you’re not alone. But as long as you’re not using heat on a daily basis, you should have nothing to worry about!

How to Maintain a Silk Press

If you’ve invested time and money into getting a silk press, chances are you’ll want it to last as long as possible. To achieve this, you’ll want to wrap your hair in a satin scarf before bed to prevent any frizzing that might occur while you’re sleeping. You should even sleep on a satin pillowcase for good measure!

Obviously you’ll want to stay away from any water or steam (which means you’ll have to wear a shower cap!) if you want your style to last. If you live in a humid climate, your style may not last as long as it should because of the high moisture levels in the air. But if you live in a relatively dry climate, you can expect your silk press to last about a week or so.