6 Ways To Prevent A Silk Press From Causing Heat Damage

Changing your style shouldn’t cost you your curls.

A silk press for natural hair shouldn't permanently ruin your curl pattern.
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There’s so much beauty in the versatility of Black hair. A silk press, a technique that uses a blow dryer and a flat iron or hot comb to straighten natural or curly hair without chemicals, is just one of the many ways that coils can be transformed.

“Recently dubbed glass hair, the [silk press] is a smoothing process used on higher textures to leave hair bone-straight with a silk finish and high shine,” celebrity hairstylist and Mizani global artistic director Tippi Shorter Rank explains to Bustle. “The hair is left super straight without body or curl, but still has tons of movement.”

The process completely changes the texture of natural hair. “The term ‘silk press’ comes from a process popular when I started my career called silking the hair,” says Dailey Greene, hair stylist, colorist, and owner of H2 Salon in Brooklyn, New York. Ideally, your strands will revert once wet. But since silk presses include two forms of heat, the threat of weakening or permanent damaging your curls is real.

With expert advice from Rank and Greene, you can enjoy the luxuries of a flowy silk press without ruining your curl pattern. Read on for what not to do when getting a silk press, straight from the pros.


Not Managing Your Expectations

Before getting a silk press, think about what types of activities you’ll be doing and where you’ll be. If exposure to humidity is unavoidable (i.e. a tropical vacay), it may not be worth getting a silk press.

“It’s important to manage your expectations before getting a silk press,” Greene says. “For example, if you’re coming in for the style and you’re planning on going to a wedding in July, consider a different hair look. A silk press just won’t last.”


Not Using A Heat Protectant

The best way to protect your curls is to use products that will keep your hair healthy prior to and throughout the silk press process. Rank suggests using Mizani’s Press Agent Line — which includes a shampoo, conditioner, serum, and cream — to protect coils from heat, while hydrating with coconut and argan oils.


Not Protecting Your Hair At Night

Not using a silk scarf, bonnet, or pillowcase while sleeping is a major natural hair no-no, even more so when you have a straighter style. Rank says it’s big culprit of a silk press that doesn’t last.

If you get warm at night and silk scarfs make you sweat, Greene says you can also pin curl it, and then put on a bonnet or tie it with a scrunchie into a ponytail to give your roots and scalp breathing room.

And for those with thicker hair that’s tricky to wrap, Rank has a wig cap hack that helps longer lengths stay in place.


Sweating It Out


Silk scarves aren’t just for protecting your hair at night. “Working out daily pushes a lot of moisture on the hair and scalp,” Rank explains. She explains that this causes hair to quickly revert back to its naturally curly state, so keep a silk scarf or headband handy during the day as well, especially when you’re getting your sweat on.


Getting Silk Presses Too Often

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Keep in mind that getting silk presses regularly will alter your curl pattern (and for some, that’s totally fine). “I would suggest that people who want their hair straight often get a silk press every two weeks,” Greene says. “Just know that your hair will become heat trained, and some of your curls will loosen.”

And if you only want straighter strands occasionally, Greene suggests only getting a silk press every two months for less heat damage.


Not Listening To Your Stylist’s Advice

If your stylist tells you your hair isn’t healthy enough for a silk press, follow their advice. Your curls will thank you for it. “Stylists want to keep the integrity of your curly hair,” says Greene. “A silk press may look good temporarily but if that’s at the expense of your hair’s health, it’s not worth it.” As cute as the style is, skip it if your hairstylist says it could comprise your coils.