A Guide to Maintaining Your Silk Press


Growing up, I lived for a silk press, with a standing appointment with my hairdresser every two weeks. Then, of course, I got older, went to college, and experimented with different hairstyles (afros, weaves, braids, shaving my head). But recently, I've been in the mood for a silk press after not putting heat on my hair for almost three years.

One of the most annoying things about silk presses was wrapping my hair and then going to sleep only for my scarf to come off. Or wanting a sleek blunt look and walking out the salon reminiscent of my Easter Sunday press and curl when I was younger. Or, pin curling my hair too tightly and getting the same coiffed effect.

Another thing: my hair always became too oily after a few days or didn't look as fresh, which caused me to keep putting heat on it to keep it perfect. Which then would result in ruining my curl pattern.

This time around, I'm embracing imperfection and versatility and set on getting the sleek, piecey, blunt look that fits with my style. Some of my hair muses: Zoe Kravitz, Laura Harrier, Tavi Gevinson, Solange Knowles, Anabelle Dexter-Jones

Thanks to my two hairstylists, Shelby Samaria (the Global Styling Director for Bread Beauty) and Mickiēla Mbatha, I've been able to get my silk presses looking precisely the way I want them.

Here are some tips I got from them to share with you!

Find a Hairstylist Who Understands Your Hair

I asked Shelby specifically about how to not look like Easter Sunday; she laughed because she, too, could relate. Please raise your hand if you've been a victim of getting your hair curled too tight!!!

"It's important to look for a stylist that aligns with your taste, style, and aesthetic," says Shelby (Which is how I found her!). "Ask for sleek and bodied, but not oily straight hair. Applying any hair oils or heavy products to freshly washed hair is no! There will be no longevity for the style, and that happens often."

Tips for getting what you want:

  1. Always mention how you prefer your hair to move and settle.
  2. Always have a realistic reference on standby. For example, take one photo reference with a similar hair texture to yours and another photo with the hair movement you want.

Keep Heat Limited

The black woman urge tao re-flat iron your hair. Heat damage is why many of us did the "big chop." I am here to tell you that you can maintain a silk press without getting heat damaging your hair.

You should keep reapplying heat at home extremely limited, but if you must, Shelby recommends keeping your sections clean and uniformed and only passing through each section one time, only once a week. She also says to avoid flat ironing right before bed, as you're just going to sleep on your hair and redo in the morning. At the same time, Mickiēla recommends putting your flatiron on the lowest heat setting.

Maintaining Your Silk Press

*At Night: *

I was today years old when I learned you don't have to wrap or pin curl your hair at night to maintain the style. Instead, Mickiēla taught me the importance of satin sleep or Flexi rod rollers to wake up with my hair intact with loose waves. She says: "Make loose braids or soft twists, wrap them with the satin rollers, and secure them with snag-free elastics or velvet or silicon pins." Alternatively, she advises pulling your hair back in a loose chignon, securing it with a hair claw clip, tying your hair with a silk scarf, or forgoing it for a silk pillowcase.

I usually do a mix of both. First, I'll clip the back of my hair, and then the front pieces I'll put in the rollers. If you don't want to maintain your waves, Shelby recommends wrapping your hair with a paddle brush (She's a fan of the large Aveda wooden paddle brush) and rubber prong clips (avoid anything metal) to hold it in place. And then tying with a silk scarf and voila! (My tip: I put a bonnet over my scarf if I'm scared it might slip off).

*During the Day: *

Instead of wearing my hair out all day, I usually keep it back in my hair clip (which is very 90s and cute) during the day. Then, I take it out when I'm going out to dinner with friends, a party or meeting, etc. It's how I maintain my silk press for at least two weeks, and also, not everyone gets to see me as a baddie, okay!!! And, if working out, Mickiēla recommends wearing a sweatband (to keep those edges intact). Shelby says you might have to skip a few gym sessions to maintain those roots and avoid pulling your hair into a ponytail too soon (as it'll create an unwanted crease). For some reason, I don't sweat in my head, and for that, I'm blessed.

Products (and Other Things) To Invest In

Mickiēla recommends investing in a good dry shampoo to help maintain volume in the latter days of the style. She also recommends an anti-humidity spray, which is life-changing. It helps to keep down frizz without the product buildup, especially if you are brave enough to wear a silk press during NYC summer.

Shelby suggests putting a lightweight oil on your ends to refresh the hair mid-week and showering with two shower caps to protect the hair from moisture.

I have recently invested in a wand curler, which is easier to refresh your curls with than a flatiron. And, we can't forget silk pillowcases, silk bonnets, silk scarves, and silk ponytail holders.

Embrace Different Hairstyles

Once your hair is past the point of refreshing with dry shampoo or heat manipulation, it's time to have fun! Shelby recommends braid-outs with hair creams to achieve a soft, full-bodied wavy texture. Some of her other favorite hairstyles to try:

  • Sleek low ponytails (add extensions for the drama)
  • High buns with cute accessories
  • Gelled baby hairs

Happy silk pressing!! Please let me know if you have any tips that I should try! X