February 18, 2023 7 min read
What is a silk press treatment for natural hair, who is a good candidate for it, and is it damaging for your hair? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this article.
Getting a silk press is probably the easiest way to straighten your natural hair without using harsh chemicals or permanently modifying its curl pattern.
So, if you are looking to achieve a perfectly smooth and sleek hairstyle without damaging chemical treatments, this might be the way to go.
But what is a silk press treatment for natural hair exactly, are there any benefits to it, and is it damaging for your hair? In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about this technique. So, let’s not waste any more time, and jump right into it:
A silk press is a hair straightening technique that combines heat and tension to straighten natural, textured hair without using harsh and damaging chemicals. It involves using a blow dryer, a comb and a flat iron to achieve a smooth, silky look that lasts up to 2 weeks.
The term “silk press” comes from the smooth and shiny finish that this technique creates, which closely resembles the appearance of silk.
As opposed to other straightening methods, such as relaxers or Japanese straightening treatments, the silk press doesn’t alter the natural texture of the hair, causing less damage.
Now that we've answered the question "What is a silk press treatment for natural hair?", let’s take a look at the process in more detail:
Whether done at home or by a professional stylist, the process of a silk press starts by ensuring that the hair is properly washed and conditioned. Then, the hair is blow-dried to remove excess moisture. The final step of the silk press process is sectioning off the hair, then using a comb and a flat iron to create tension and smooth out all the curls.
The process on how to do a silk press can be summed up into 4 key steps:
Proper shampooingand conditioningis essential before applying this heat styling technique. Doing silk press on dirty or greasy hair with product buildup can make the hair appear flat, lifeless and less voluminous.
It can also cause the flat iron to drag or pull the hair, resulting in further breakage and damage. We recommend you to wash your hairat least two times for proper cleansing, to ensure that you remove all the product buildup off your hair.
Detanglingis another very important part of the silk press process. It prepares the hair by removing all knots and tangles to ensure that the flat iron will pass through the hair smoothly and without any obstacles.
If you try to do silk press on tangled hair, it may lead to pulling and tugging of the hair strands, causing hair damage.
Always use a thermal heat protectant before you turn on your flat iron. This product creates a protective barrier between the hair and the heat styling tool, reducing the amount of heat that’s absorbed by the hair shaft.
The NuMe Watch me Werk heat protectant contains caviar extract, Vitamin A and sunflower seed oil to condition the hair, prevent moisture loss, protect from heat and control frizz.
At this step of the silk press process, the hair is ready for blow-drying. This will depend on the type of textured hair, and whether it's curly, wavy, etc.
For more textured hair and coils, we recommend a paddle brush - like the NuMe paddle brush, to prep for the blow out - a round brush won't work for density of 4b/ 4C coil curls.
With its heat proof bristles and cushion bed for immediate pressure, the NuMe paddle brush is great for adapting to thicker density curl. You will notice a faster result when blow drying 4b-4c textured coil curls.
Using a hair dryer and a round hair brush, aim the air of the hair dryer down at the segment of hair on your brush, and slowly work your way down to the ends. Pull the hair up and down for even more volume.
Blow drying works by using a steam of hot air to evaporate the moisture contained in wet hair, speeding up the drying process.
The last step of the silk process is flat ironing. Using your flat iron of choice and a sectioning comb, you will start this technique at the back of the hairline near bottom nape, then work towards the front hairline depending on which side you part the hair.
Make sure that you divide your hair into smaller sections. This will help you do less passes over a single hair strand, reducing heat exposure and damage. The best temperature for straightening hair will vary depending on the hair type:
Now that you know exactly what a silk press is, let’s talk about its benefits for your hair.
There are multiple benefits of a silk press, including a new look and more styling options, reduced frizz, low maintenance and a long duration. If done correctly, it can last for up to 2 weeks without permanently altering your natural curls as chemicals do.
The duration of a silk press can vary depending on multiple factors, including the texture of your hair, the quality of the products used, as well as how well you care for your hair after the process.
A silk press can be a great choice for anyone who wants to temporarily straighten their hair without using harsh chemicals and without altering the hair’s natural curly or wavy texture. It can also be a perfect option for when you are not getting the desired results from a regular blowout.
You can get a silk press for special occasions, such as a birthday or a wedding, as well as during the hot summer months when there is less humidity (silk results get worse with humidity). Of course, it can also be an amazing day-to-day hairstyle that requires little to no maintenance.
Since the silk press technique is done with heat styling tools such as a hair dryer and a flat iron, it doesn’t require any necessary hair products in order to be executed.
However, there are still some must-use products to apply before straightening your hair for proper moisturizing and less damage - including a hair primer, a thermal heat protectant, a hair serum and a split end sealer.
As opposed to other hairstyles, maintaining a silk press is a relatively easy and effortless process. If you want to keep it for longer, avoid getting your hair wet as this may cause the hair to revert back to its natural texture. Also avoid unnecessary hair touching as this may lead to frizz and disrupt the smooth finish of the silk press.
In addition, use a pillowcase made from silk or satin to keep your hair smooth and prevent it from rubbing against harsh materials. Sleeping on a rough cotton pillowcase may cause frizz and breakage.
Yes, you can do a silk press at home by following the same steps described in the previous sections. Start by propelling cleansing and conditioning your hair, then detangle it to prevent breakage from trying to iron knots and tangles.
Next, use a blow dryer and a round brush of choice to smooth the hair out, and finish it off with a flat iron and a sectioning comb by applying tension. This will give you the shiny, silk-like look that you are going for with this technique.
The exact duration of a silk press will depend on multiple factors, including the type of your hair, the quality of the silk press, as well as how well you maintain it after applying this technique. In most cases, it will last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.
Some people are able to maintain their silk press for even longer - 3 or 4 weeks, with dry shampoo and a silk micro fiber towel. It will also depend on the texture.
To help your silk press last as long as possible, it's important to take good care of your hair and avoid activities that could cause the hair to revert back to its natural texture.
This includes avoiding moisture, wearing a silk or satin pillowcase, using a heat protectant, and moisturizing your hair regularly.
A silk press is not inherently bad for your hair, but like any other type of hair styling, it can cause damage if it’s not executed properly. If you do your silk press on wet or dirty hair, it will cause significantly more damage than doing it on clean and fully dry hair.
The flat iron will also make a huge difference. For example, the award-winning NuMe Megastar Flat Iron uses proprietary tourmaline and far infrared heat technologies to lock in moisture and achieve quick styling results minus the damage.
Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a silk press” and many others, you are equipped with all the information that you need to know before using this technique.
Whether you decide to do it at home or with a professional, make sure to follow all the best practices to get your desired results without damaging your hair long-term.
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