How to Silk Press Your Natural Hair for Black Women in 2024

Embrace the beauty of your curly and coily locks, sis! We know there are times when you’re feeling that sleek, smooth and silky straight hair vibe.

Back in the day, getting that look meant dealing with some complicated processes or dropping serious cash at the salon. But guess what? Life just got a whole lot easier with the game-changing Silk Press!

What is a Silk Press?

A silk press is a straightening process that is extremely popular amongst people with Type 3 and 4 hair. With the help of a silk press, people can achieve a semi-permanent straightened hair look without using any chemical relaxers or texturizers.

This hair-straightening process was invented in the early 1900s. To achieve this look, they would heat metal combs on a stove and run it through their hair.

This style is basically achieved by using a blow dryer or a flat iron on natural hair. Commonly used by people with naturally coily and kinky hair, the silk press has a voluminous and shiny finish, and it helps people estimate how much their hair has grown.

Another benefit of this hairstyle is that it straightens hair without damaging the natural curl pattern. However, when frequently used or improperly maintained, it can cause lasting damage to your natural hair.

How Long Does a Silk Press Last?

How long a silk press lasts depends on many contributing factors like how much you sweat, the humidity levels of your surroundings, how often you exercise, and how well you take care of your hair after getting them straightened.

Your hair can also revert back to your natural hair after getting it wet while washing your hair. With proper care, silk pressed natural hair can last anywhere between one to three weeks.

Is a Silk Press the Same as Flat Ironing?

Both silk press and flat iron use a heating tool to straighten curly and wavy hair. However, there are many differences between the final results, maintenance, and damage done to the hair.

Let us check them out one by one. Straightening your hair by following the silk press method can be frustrating because it is extremely time-consuming. But it is still so popular amongst people with types 3 and 4 hair because it lasts longer and doesn’t harm the natural curl pattern.

On the other hand, you can straighten your natural hair with a flat iron in a fraction of the time spent on the silk press, however, not only does the end result only last a few days, but it is also less shiny and smoother than the silk press.

It is advised to use the silk press method to straighten your hair only 3 to 4 times a year in order to keep your hair healthy. While you can straighten your hair multiple times a week, it is important to understand the long-lasting damage that you can cause to your hair.

I personally recommend using a flat iron as seldom as possible because that way you can still maintain your natural hair curl pattern and there is less breakage.

Both of these hair straightening methods can be done from the comfort of your home. I do advise asking someone to assist you while you silk press your hair because the heating tool is heated in a very high-temperature setting. That is why it is preferred amongst people with type 3 and 4 hair. Whereas a flat iron can be set to a lower setting for type 1 and 2 hair.

Is Silk Press Permanent?

No, natural hair straightened by a silk press does not permanently straighten your hair. Hair remains straightened and stretched for at least 2 to 3 weeks after a silk press.

Natural hair is only temporarily straightened via a silk press because no chemical relaxers or texturizers are used to break down the protein in our hair which loosens up the curl. The hair can revert back to its natural curl or wave pattern after using a silk press. 

Is Silk Press Just Straightening Hair?

Yes, technically speaking silk press is just a method of straightening hair usually performed on curly, kinky, or coarse hair. The hair is straightened without any chemical relaxation or texturizing treatment.

Can You Apply Oil to Your Silk Pressed Hair?

Can you apply oil to your silk pressed hair is a question that many clients have previously asked me. With straightened hair, applying the wrong product can make your hair back to its natural self.

I usually recommend people to get a hair oil treatment before the silk press, that way the hair ends up looking smoother and shinier.

You can also opt for an oily hair mask to condition your hair properly. After your hair has been washed and conditioned, if your hair or scalp is prone to dryness, I recommend using a hair oil serum or a moisturizer to lock in the moisture while the hair is slightly damp.

Also spray detangler to the lengths of your hair before combing your hair to distribute the oil properly.

As discussed earlier, silk presses can last for 2 to 3 weeks but during this time you can still notice frizzing of hair, to tame your hair, I recommend applying a lightweight hair oil or a hair oil serum made for silk-pressed hair because heavier oils can revert back to natural hair.

Only apply a small amount of oil. Use a wide-toothed comb to distribute it properly throughout your hair. You can also use a flat iron to get rid of the frizz.

Can You Get a Silk Press on Natural Hair?

A silk press is a hair straightening method to straighten natural hair. This method of hair straightening has an almost silk-like finish, which is why it is called a silk press.

How Much is a Silk Press?

If it is your first time getting a silk press from a professional stylist, then you might be wondering why it is as expensive as getting braids or locs. Just like with other protective hairstyles, a good hairstylist has to spend a couple of hours straightening your hair with a silk press without causing any damage to your natural hair curl patterns.

How Much Does a Silk Press Cost?

Many people would much rather get their hair shampooed and prepped at the salon rather than at home, which does contribute to the cost of this hairstyle. In my opinion, a silk press, which also includes a pre-hair wash treatment and hair wash should cost between $150 to $250.

Is Keratin a Silk Press?

No, a keratin treatment is not the same as a silk press. A keratin treatment is a chemical treatment that leaves the hair smooth and shiny. On the other hand, a silk press does not alter the protein structure of your hair and is achieved by blow drying and straightening natural hair.

Why is My Silk Press Puffy?

If your silk-pressed hair appears puffy or frizzy, then that is a sign that your hair has come into contact with moisture. If you live in a humid place or like to exercise often, then you will notice that your silk pressed hair looks extremely puffy because your hair absorbs this moisture, which causes your hair to revert back to its original form.

How to Prepare Your Hair Before Getting Your Hair Silk Pressed?

A silk press can last somewhere between 2 to 3 weeks with proper maintenance. Unlike braids, locs, and knots, during this period you cannot wash your scalp or get your hair wet because that will revert your hair back to its natural setting.

So, it is extremely important that you pay maximum attention to your hair and scalp before straightening your scalp. Here are my steps to prepare your hair before a silk press-

1) Apply a nourishing hair mask: Wearing a hair mask before every wash is recommended because, during the weeks before the wash, our natural hair is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

So, in order to restore its health and make it shiny and healthy, you must wear a mask. The beauty of a good mask is that it doesn’t need to be expensive and can be made from ingredients in our pantry.

My favorite hair mask for when my hair feels really dry is an ‘avocado and banana mask.’ To make the mask mix some avocado, banana, olive oil, and honey in a bowl with a fork.

Then apply this creamy mixture to your hair, cover your head with a plastic wrap, and let it sit for half an hour or overnight. This mask has alleviated dryness from my scalp and has reduced hair breakage.

2) Rinse your hair with a cleanser: After rinsing your hair with warm water to remove the hair mask, wash your hair with a deep cleansing sulphate and paraben-free shampoo. I usually recommend people wash their hair two times, once with a deep cleaning shampoo followed by a nourishing, hydrating, and moisturizing shampoo.

3) Condition your hair: During the heating process, the reason why our hair is at risk of burning and becoming brittle is because of a lack of moisture and hydration in our hair.

Since our hair is at risk of drying up during this process, it is recommended to apply a deep conditioner to your hair that restores hair follicles, makes the hair shiny, and hydrates the hair.

Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Before rinsing your hair with cold water, use a comb to detangle your hair.

4) Apply a Heat Protectant: While your hair is still damp after washing, apply a heat protectant to the lengths of your hair. I like to start from the middle of my hair and go down, then apply the heat protectant to the hair near your scalp.

Make sure that all of your hair is covered with the protectant because this type of product will protect your hair from dryness, hair breakage, and loss of curl pattern.

Follow the heat protectant with a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer. Your hair is prepped for a silk press.

Related Article: Tapered Haircuts for Women

Can You Do Your Own Silk Press at Home?

In theory you can do your own silk press at home. However, I don’t recommend it because you’ll be dealing with an extremely hot tool putting your neck and face at a risk of burning.

I also see a lot of people getting frustrated with the process and not being able to straighten the back or sides of their heads properly. But if you are confident in your straightening abilities then there is no stopping you.

How to do a Silk Press on Natural Hair?

I would still recommend asking a friend or a family member to lend you a hand.

1) Blow Dry: After you have followed all of the steps listed above to prepare your hair for a silk press, you must blow dry your hair. Divide your hair into several small portions using clips.

Section by section run a round brush from the top of your hair to the bottom while the blow dryer is off (using a hair dryer brush will make things exponentially easier). Make sure that after this step your hair is no longer wet.

2) Use a straightener: Divide your hair into sections once again. Depending upon your hair type, set the temperature of the straightener. The temperature of the straightener is usually kept on very high while dealing with type 3 and 4 hair.

Now, use the straightener on your hair. Try to straighten each section with as few passes as possible. Repeat the process on all sections. Remove the hair clips after straightening all of the hair.

3) Trim Your Hair: This is another reason why I want people to go to a stylist for a silk press. After straightening your hair, you are required to trim your hair because it supports your hair’s growth and makes it look nice and neat. If you are doing this at home, ask a friend to trim your hair or watch a good tutorial to follow along with.

4) Style your hair: Use a straightener or a heating comb to style your hair at the bottom. Now is the time to curl your ends or add a wave.

5) Spray with a setting spray: Spray your hair with a setting or holding spray to not just keep your hair in place but also to add shine to your hair.

You can apply this spray by spraying it on your palms and then running your hands through your hair. If you have prominent edges, then you should also apply edge control to lay your edges. And your hair is ready.

Is Silk Press Good For Your Hair?

Whether straightening your hair by following the silk press method will cause any damage to your hair depends upon your techniques and how often you commit to this style.

Silk-pressed hair is not a protective hairstyle and is solely dependent on your natural hair for success. Therefore, it is crucial that you take the right steps to achieve this look and look after your hair as well.

I only recommend getting your hair silk pressed only two to three times a year. So, that your hair has ample time to recuperate.

This is because running a straightener through your hair leads to heat exposure which makes your hair incredibly dry, making it susceptible to breakage and split ends.

You must make sure that your hair is in good health before going through this process and you must develop a daily regimen to maintain your hair’s health afterwards.

How to Maintain Your Silk Press at Home?

There is a lot that goes into maintaining not just the health of your hair but also the style. I recommend forming a daily at-home hair care routine that you should perform before going to bed.

A hair care routine doesn’t need to have 10 to 15 steps but it should have enough steps to deal with your scalp and hairs’ needs.

In order to maintain the silk-pressed hair look, I recommend the following steps:

1) Do not wash your hair: A silk press is not a chemical relaxation treatment, therefore, after you wash your hair, your hair will revert back to its former glory. So not only can you not wash your hair but you can also not expose your hair to extremely humid conditions and or expose it to sweat.

Once you start sweating, your hair will absorb the moisture causing it to frizz and expand.

Cover your head with a shower cap while showering and also avoid exercising because it can lead to excessive sweating.

2) Do not use a heating tool: While it seems tempting to touch up your hair with a straightener your hair starts to become frizzy and unmanageable. However, you should refrain from doing the same as it can make your hair feel dryer and stiffer than before.

3) Don’t apply any hair products: You do not need to apply any additional hair products to your hair after getting your hair silk pressed because the application of these products will alter the protein structure of your hair and make it curly again. The hair products can also lead to build-up on the scalp which will irritate the scalp.

4) Remove excessive oil with dry shampoo: If you have oily hair, then silk-pressed hair will not last very long because the natural oil produced by your scalp will weigh down the hair and make it look greasy.

To combat this issue, you can use a dry shampoo or an oil-absorbing product. Divide your hair into sections, hold the dry shampoo 10 to 15 minutes away from your head, and spray it on your roots.

Then massage the dry shampoo on your scalp. Apply the dry shampoo at night so that it has time to work its magic.

5) Cover your hair in a scarf while sleeping: Once you have dry shampooed and combed your hair, cover your hair with rollers or in a pin curl and then wrap it in a silk or satin scarf.

Foam and all types of rollers help maintain your hair’s volume and bounce. It also minimizes the time spent styling your hair the next morning as you only have to remove the rollers.

The silk or satin scarf helps retain your hair’s natural moisture and reduces the friction caused between your hair and a cotton pillowcase.

Side Effects of Silk Pressing the Hair

There are several side effects of silk-pressed hair. However, a lot of the damage caused by silk-pressing hair can be avoided by using the proper heating techniques, and maintenance tips, and by listening to your stylist.

To avoid hair damage book a hair consultation with your hair stylist to ascertain whether your hair is healthy enough for the treatment.

Protect your hair from hair damage by silk pressing your hair only a few times a year and with a gap of at least 2 months between each session. This way your natural hair has plenty of time to recover.

You can also prevent hair damage by not using any heating tools after the silk press. Instead, you should use rollers or other heat-less methods to tame frizziness and maintain bounce.

Stunning Silk Press Hairstyles for 2024

Silk-Pressed Natural Hair

Silk-Pressed Natural Hair
Silk-Pressed Natural Hair (hearhairr)

Soft Waves Silk Press

Soft waves Silk Press
Soft waves Silk Press (iambrandibeauty)

Brown Silk Press Hair

Brown Silk Press Hair
Brown Silk Press Hair (ebunniee)

Long Hair

Long silk Press

Wavy Silk Press

Wavy Silk Press

Blonde Bob Silk Press

Blonde Bob Silk Press
Blonde Bob Silk Press (h2salonbrooklyn)

Red Silk Press Hair with Curtain Bangs

Red Silk Press Hair with Curtain Bangs
Red Silk Press Hair with Curtain Bangs

Brown Hair with Full Head Golden Highlights Silk Press

Brown Hair with Full Head Golden Highlights Silk Press
Brown Hair with Full Head Golden Highlights Silk Press (h2salonbrooklyn)

Silk Press Light Brown Hair with Blonde Highlights and Curly Ends

Red Blunts Silk Press

Burgundy Wavy Silk Press Hair

Silk Pressed Short Black Blunts

Middle Part Bob Silk Press with Streaks

Wavy Hair with Burgundy Streaks Silk Press

Wavy Hair with Burgundy Streaks Silk Press

Silk Press Bob

Silk Press Bob

Deluxe Silk Hair

Fashionable Gray Silk Press

Silk Press on Natural Hair

Waves with Silk Press

Silk Press on Natural Curly Hair

Purple Bob Silk Press

Purple Bob Silk Press

Silk Press Natural Hair

Twin Shade Silk Press 4c Hair

Twin Shade Silk Press

Side Part Blonde

Ginger Silk Press

Long Hair Silkpress

Blunt Bob Cut

Silkpress Bob Cut

Silkpress for Kids

Half up Half Down Silk Press

Bob with Brown Streaks

Stunning Red Silk Press

Blonde Silk Press

Blonde Silk Press

Medium Length Silk Press

Medium Length Silk Press

Honey Blonde Silk Press with Curve Ends

Voluminous Blonde Silk Press with Layering

Vibrant Red Waves Silk Press

Long Silk Press

Bob Silk Press

Medium Length Silk Press with Curved Ends

Silk Press with Side Parting

Shoulder Length Silk Press with Waves

Copper Colored Silk Press Bob

Wavy Silk Press

Mid-Length Curls

Stylish Updo with Silk Press

Silk Press with Side Part

Straight Silk Press with Fringe

Blonde Long Straight Silk Press

What are Type 3 and Type 4 Hair?

The natural hair typing system categorizes hair into four main types based on curl pattern. This system was developed by hair stylist Andre Walker to help determine the best hair care regimen based on texture.

Type 3 (Curly Hair)

Type 3 hair features well-defined spiral curls that form an S-shape. It can be categorized into 3 subtypes based on curl diameter:

  • Type 3A: Loose spiral curls with a curl diameter greater than 2 inches
  • Type 3B: Springy ringlets with a curl diameter between 2 and 1 inches
  • Type 3C: Tight corkscrew curls with a curl diameter less than 1 inch

Type 4 (Coily Hair)

Type 4 hair has a zigzag or tightly coiled pattern. It can be divided into 2 subtypes based on curl shape:

  • Type 4A: Tightly coiled ringlets that form a defined S-shape
  • Type 4B: Z-patterned coils with less definition between curls
  • Type 4C hair features very tight coils that do not have a set curl pattern. The strands tend to have a fragile texture.

Silk Press Products for Black Hair

Also Read: Easy Crochet Braids & Hair Styles

How Long Does a Silk Press Take?

A silk press can take 1-3 hours to complete, depending on your hair length, thickness, texture and your experience level.

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