Hair Relaxer Vs Silk Press: Which Is Best For Natural Hair

A flat iron gripping a mall section of hair.

When it comes to styling your hair, deciding between a silk press or a hair relaxer can be a difficult choice.

Hair relaxers are a traditional approach to straightening hair. They can leave the hair looking sleek and smooth for several months at a time regardless of weather conditions. However, they can potentially cause breakage and damage if not applied correctly.

Silk pressing is an alternative to chemical straightening that uses heat, instead of harsh chemicals, to smooth and style the hair. It leaves behind less damage and breakage over time compared to chemical relaxers.

So which styling option is best? The answer ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences.

For instance, if you want a more natural look, a silk press may be the better choice. It will give your hair temporary straightness without sacrificing its health and integrity in the long run.

On the other hand, hair relaxers are great for those seeking longer-lasting results. However, it’s important to note that these treatments require careful maintenance and can damage your hair when not properly done.

Ultimately, the best option for you is one that works with your lifestyle and goals while leaving your hair healthy.

A Guide To Silk pressing Your Natural Hair

Silk pressing is a technique used to straighten and smoothen kinky or frizzy hair. A heated flat iron is used to press the cuticles of the hair shaft down, giving it an incredibly sleek and shiny look.

When done correctly, a silk press can help add body and volume to your natural curls as well as prolong the lifespan of your hairstyle. In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about silk-pressing natural hair.

How To Silk Press Your Hair

Before you begin the silk pressing process, it’s important to take the time to properly prepare your hair. Wash your hair with a good sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Doing this will help to cleanse your scalp and protect your hair from damage that can occur during the silk pressing process. You should also make sure to detangle your hair thoroughly, using a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush if necessary.

Section your hair into four equal parts and apply a generous amount of heat protectant to each section. Then use a fine toothcomb or pick to detangle each piece before using a blow dryer on low heat to dry it. You can also use a brush attachment to help blow dry your hair straight. Once it’s completely dry, you’re ready to begin using the flat iron.

Start by taking small sections of your hair and flat iron each piece from root to tip. Make sure not to press too hard or leave the flat iron on one section for too long to avoid damaging your hair.

Things To Avoid When Silk Pressing

Silk pressing is a great way to tame and manage kinky natural hair. To get the right results, there are some important things to avoid during the process.

  1. Avoid silk pressing wet hair: One important thing to avoid is starting with soaking wet hair. If your hair is wet when you start the silk pressing process, it could result in uneven drying or even burns from the flat iron. For best results, wait until your hair has mostly dried before beginning.
  2. Avoid using high heat: High heat won’t give you a silkier press. Using a flat iron set at too high of a temperature can cause serious damage to your hair and leave it dry and brittle instead of silky. Instead, opt for lower temperatures (300-350 degrees Fahrenheit) that will give you the smooth press you’re after but won’t damage your hair.
  3. Don’t over-press the same section: When silk pressing, avoid passing the flat iron on the same section of hair too many times. This can create too much tension on the strands and cause them to break or become frizzy in spots.
  4. You don’t need too many products: Make sure you do not overload your hair with products. Too much styling cream or other products can weigh down your hair, leaving it limp and greasy instead of silky.

Products and Tools Needed for Silk Pressing Afro Hair

  • Heat Protectant

A good rule of thumb is to use a heat protectant spray or cream before using any heating tools. These products will help create a barrier between the heated tool and your hair, protecting it from damage and over-drying. Make sure to use one that’s specifically formulated for your natural hair.

  • Blow Dryer

A blow dryer being used to dry a black man's curly hair.

A blow dryer with a brush attachment is the best tool to use when it comes to drying your hair before the silk-pressing process. Make sure to set your blow dryer on low heat to prevent any damage from occurring.

  • Flat Iron

Choosing the right flat iron is key when it comes to silk pressing afro hair. It’s best to opt for one that has adjustable heat settings, as this will help you to get the perfect silky look without damaging your hair.

How to maintain your silk press and make it last longer

It’s important to remember that the silk pressing process is only as good as the aftercare that you give your hair afterwards. The following are a few ways to maintain your hair after a silk press:

  1. Apply a quality oil or serum to the ends of your hair after styling to help seal in moisture and protect the ends of your hair from breakage.
  2. Apply a light-hold hairspray to your finished look in order to help keep it in place.
  3. To help prolong your silk press, avoid sleeping directly on your hair or tying it up tightly each night. Instead, wear a silk bonnet to bed to protect your hair from breakage.
  4. To help maintain your style in between silk press sessions, use light moisturizing products on your hair and avoid using heavy gels or creams that can lead to product buildup.
  5. Schedule regular trims to keep your ends healthy and prevent split ends from forming. This will also help maintain the shape of your style.
  6. Washing your hair before pressing will also help to keep your afro hair hydrated and looking great after the silk pressing process.
  7. Try to limit how often you use heat on your hair. Too much heat can weaken your strands causing you to lose your natural curls.
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