Woman with silk pressed hair
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How To Silk Press Your Natural 4C Hair

Say goodbye to wigs.

BY Mercy Kipchilat

Mar 22, 2023, 11:37 AM

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All of us with 4C hair, or hair with naturally tight curls or coils know the struggle that sometimes comes with styling our hair. Yes, our hair is the most versatile in the world and we can literally style it into anything and look terrific, but sometimes, achieving the right look takes too much time and there are days when we don’t have that time.

Of course, some of us may resort to shaving our hair short or getting dreadlocks which are easier to maintain. But what about the woman who wants to rock her hair straight and soft without using chemical relaxers? Well, the answer is a silk press.

Here is a look at everything you need to know about a silk press on natural 4C hair, including how to do it right, and how to maintain it well so that it lasts longer.

What Is A Silk Press?

Photo by Urban Hair Nairobi
A silk press is a hairstyling technique that uses heat and tension to straighten naturally curly or kinky hair

The name "silk press" comes from the fact that the end result is hair that looks and feels as smooth as silk.

Silk Press And 4C Hair.

Although a silk press can be done on all types of hair, it has gained popularity, particularly with 4C hair as it is one of the few chemical-free techniques to straighten this type of hair.

In addition to being a safer option for straightening hair, since it’s chemical-free, a silk press also makes 4C hair more manageable and versatile as it can be styled in different ways.

How Is A Silk Press Done On 4C Hair?

Photo by @silkpress.princess
The silk press is a multi-step process that requires the use of some specialized products and tools. Here is a step-by-step guide to how to get a silk press properly done:

1. Washing.

The first step in getting a silk press is to detangle the hair with a brush and then pre-wash it with a shampoo of choice to remove any product buildup and dirt in the hair and on the scalp.

2. Deep Conditioning.

Next, the hair must be deep conditioned to lock in the moisture and protect the hair from the damage of the heat in the next steps. 

The deep conditioner is left in the hair for between 10 to 15 minutes to properly penetrate the hair shaft.

3. Blow Drying.

After the hair has been washed and deep conditioned, the next step is to blow dry it to stretch out the hair and remove the excess moisture.

During blow-drying, it is advisable to set the blow dryer on low or medium heat to prevent damaging the hair with excess heat.

4. Flat Ironing. 

Once the hair has been stretched out using a blow dryer, the next step is to smooth it out and straighten it further using a flat iron.

The stylist will typically divide the hair into small sections before passing the flatiron over each section of hair multiple times until it is straight and smooth.

5. Finishing Touches.

Finally, a serum or a lightweight oil is applied to the hair to give it an extra shine and prevent frizz, then the hair is styled as desired.

How To Maintain A Silk Press.

Photo by @silkpress.princess
A silk press can last between two and five weeks, it all depends on how it is maintained. Here are a few tips that can make your silk press last for a longer time:

1. Avoid moisture. Moisture is the biggest enemy of a silk press style as it reverts hair back to its curly natural state. Use a shower cap when you shower or when swimming to keep the hair dry.

2. Tie your hair with a silk or satin scarf. The silk/satin scarf is especially helpful at night when you go to bed as it will prevent your hair from rubbing against cotton sheets and pillowcases which might cause the hair to be frizzy and break.

3. Use a heat protectant. Make sure you deep condition your hair and use a heat protectant before blow drying and flat ironing it to prevent the hair from being damaged by heat.