Written by Sheena
Image by @ryandestiny
All those in favour of seriously straight hair – (relaxer free!), while you still try to wrap your head around a texture release… Say SILK PRESS! Through the use of good products, hot tools, and ZERO chemicals, it’s no surprise as to why silk presses have become a salon favourite hair straightening technique transforming even the most coiliest of curls into a velvety straight.
Here’s all you need to know about a silk press and how to achieve salon professional results at home! Achieving the ultimate silk press in, and out of the salon relies heavily on how well you prep the hair. I often say the best silk presses are made up of 80% hair prep and 20% the hot tools you use. The process on how to achieve a silk press can be divided into 5 core sections:
Step 1: Shampoo
Cleansing your hair with a good shampoo will create a great canvas for your silk press. It’ll get rid of any unwanted hair grease and product build-up to avoid interference with the straightening process.
Step 2: Moisture Surge
For optimum results, it is crucial to go in with a moisturizing treatment after shampooing. If you’re trying to achieve this at home, always deep condition your hair with a moisturising conditioner. What this step does is ensure that each strand is adequately hydrated and protected to withstand the heat that will later be applied. Often time, it’s easy to think a moisture boost can be compensated with a few extra drops of serum to the hair before blowdrying – but avoid this instead what this can do is make the hair oily , leaving it heavy after straightening so it’s super important to always ensure that you deep condition the hair.
Moisture Recovery Moisturizing Conditioner
My ultimate fave go-to moisturizing conditioner is the Joico Moisture Recovery Moisturising Conditioner – provides weightless moisture.
Step 3: Heat Protection & Serum
Due to the 2 types of heat that are applied to the hair during the pressing process – or in some cases, three if you use a hot comb also, it’s important to make sure that the hair is well protected using a thermal protection spray. Not only will this provide thermal protection but it’s also a straightening serum aiding you in achieving a mega straight salon finish. It’s easy to go heavy on the serum at this stage but less is more. One to two pea-sized pumps of serum applied thoroughly to towel-dried hair is more than enough to achieve a glossy but weightless finish. Avoid using heavy serums also as this will weigh down the hair.
Just Smooth Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum
A serum I love using and recommend is Goldwell Just Smooth Sleek Perfection Thermal Spray Serum.
Step 4: Blow Dry
This step is often avoided especially when done at home but is an integral part of the process. Using a round brush, part your prepped and primed hair into small sections and blow-dry as straight as possible. The straighter you’re able to get the hair, the smoother your hair will be when you go in with the straightener.
Step 5: Press
Ahh! Most definitely my favourite part of the entire process. Watching the hair go through the ceramic plates on one end and coming out a shiny, and straight on the other is definitely the part I obsess over and look forward to every time! For a really straight, sleek result, I always part and straighten the hair in thin sections. How many times should you go over each section with the straightener? I usually do a maximum of three passes depending on the coarseness of the hair. But often time, it’s possible for me to get away with one, slow pass if I’ve been able to get the hair really straight during the blowdrying stage.
The Wide Iron hair straighteners
Another cult favourite of mine for this part would be Cloud Nine The Wide Iron Straightener.
How long does a silk press last? Silk presses tend to last anywhere between 5days to 2 weeks with good maintenance.
Is it damaging to the hair? Like anything that requires a lot of heat, silk presses can be damaging if done back to back to back – and even more so if not done by a professional or under the careful guidance of one. Consider a silk press a style worth saving for a special event or to be done on occasion.
TIPS – how to get your silk press to last as long as possible
- Keep away from water, and that goes for steam too! How showers are my favorite, but if you’ve just had a silk press, they can cause the hair to revert back to its natural state. I’d also avoid plastic shower caps, as they provide little to no ventilation causing steam to build up inside the cap, which will slowly undo the straightening process – especially along the hairline and roots.
- Do NOT re-straighten. If you do see your hair slowly reverting back to its natural state then it’s time to wash it out. While the more appealing option would be to go back into the hair with a straightener, constant straightening of the hair can cause severe and often time irreversible heat damage.
- Keep your hair wrapped when sleeping. The best way to do this would be to wrap the hair in a circular motion and into a headscarf – silk or satin headscarf’s are ideal.
- Want extra protection and lasting power? I recommend a silk pillow case. Not only will they maintain the hair’s natural lustre, but it will protect your silk press should your headscarf go wandering off in the middle of the night. Blissy 100% mulberry silk pillow case for the win!