How to Achieve the Perfect Silk Press

Silk press bob cut done by @HairByChantellen on Natural Hair
Photo Credit: Atlanta Hairstylist, @HairByChantelleN on Instagram
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Atlanta hairstylist , Chantelle Nunes-Norman, is known for creating picture perfect hair. With over 100K followers on Instagram (@HairByChantellen) and thousands of reposts of her work, she has made her mark in the hair industry and with natural hair lovers because of her precision hair cut, custom hair coloring and silk press techniques– all while maintaining healthy hair for her clients.

In an exclusive interview, we spoke with Chantelle about her straightening techniques she uses in her salon, Bella Dama, in Atlanta, GA.

Silk press transformation (before and after)

AtlantaStylist @HairByChantellen is an expert at silk pressing and bob cuts.

Silk press transformation (before and after)

AtlantaStylist @HairByChantellen is an expert at silk pressing and bob cuts.

So what exactly is a silk press? Isn’t that the same as a “press and curl”? Not exactly.  An old fashioned press and curl would require the use of an oil based substance (my grandmother used Blue Magic back in the day) to apply to dry hair before applying the hot comb.  The heat from the pressing comb, combined with grease/oil would help straighten the hair.  Well, the problem with this is that it leaves the hair feeling heavy, stiff and downright greasy! Yuck!  Today, many stylists are opting for a silk press, in which titanium or ceramic flat irons are use to “silk out” the hair or straighten it.  Stylist and blogger, LaToya Jones, explains the difference in more detail here.

Silk press transformation (before and after)

AtlantaStylist @HairByChantellen is an expert at silk pressing and bob cuts.

However, just applying the flat irons to dry hair will not give you the results that you see in Chantelle’s pictures.  Chantelle’s silk press process involves a number of key steps:

  1. Washing hair with a clarifying shampoo, followed by a hydrating shampoo
  2. Hydrating the hair (with either a steam treatment or using towel hydration)
  3. Deep conditioning the hair (with either a conditioning mask or deep conditioner)
  4. Blowing out the hair while wet (getting the hair very straight)
  5. Silk Pressing the hair with titanium flat irons
  6. Cutting & styling the hair

Chantelle told us that the key to getting the hair silky is applying moisture back into the hair before straightening it. “If you have moisture in the hair, you don’t have to work as hard to straighten it.”  This is a step many stylists skip, which result in heat damage on their client’s hair– but is not the case with Chantelle’s process.

Silk press transformation (before and after)

AtlantaStylist @HairByChantellen is an expert at silk pressing and bob cuts.

Chantelle says that getting the perfect silk out is not just about the product one uses, but about the process and knowing your client’s hair.  She says that some clients whose hair isn’t as tightly curled don’t need multiple pass throughs with a flat iron. Some of the products that she uses are Keracare, Morrocan Oil and Design Essentials, but no one product is the key.

Silk press transformation (before and after)

AtlantaStylist @HairByChantellen is an expert at silk pressing natural hair.

If you are interested in mastering this technique for your clients, stay on the look out for Chantelle’s silk press classes at her salon,  Bella Dama or follow her on Instagram (@HairByChantellen) for updates!

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Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green is the Founder of Voice of Hair, a platform to help women of color find the best hairstyles and hairstylists! After living in 8 cities and in Sweden within a 10 year span Brandelyn became frustrated after trying to find trusted hairstylists who could help her maintain her natural hair. Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 560K+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find hairstylists, advice and trends. VoiceOfHair provides hairspiration (hair + inspiration) as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair!
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  • Avatar shamya handy says:

    How do you add moisture back into the hair?

  • Avatar Nyokee Jay says:

    Step 2 is steam treatment/ step 3 is deep condition. What product is used in step 2?

    • Avatar Dahlia says:

      I think you can combine Step 2 &3 by Applying a deep conditioner and then sitting under a hair steamer. The heat from the steamer opens your cuticles for the product to absorb so it makes no sense to me to steam hair and then deep condition.

  • Avatar celia says:

    Sou cabeleireira a qui no Brasil amei esta maravilha de produto .que faz milagre nas madeixas.e fantástico .onde posso encontrar .quero muito ter aqui no meu salao .aguardo amciosamente por uma resposta.o brigada

  • Avatar Snazzy says:

    After getting a silk press, what products can be used daily to keep the look fresh and beautiful?

  • Avatar JaKimbra Waller says:

    I have natural hair and I’m not sure if I’m managing it right. What advice can you give me on how to manage natural hair? What are some good products I can use?

  • Avatar Brittany says:

    You should try the Karmin hair straightener, is amazing! 🙂

  • Avatar Satoria says:

    hi my name is satoria and i wanted to ask….could you still do the same job that you do on everyone else’s hair if the hair is uneven?

  • Avatar sharon thompson says:

    Can you recommend a titanium flat iron?

  • Avatar Corene Wood says:

    What would you recommend to someone with natural hair and a heritiary bald spot approximately 4″ X 6″in the crown of the head. The hair on the back of the head is 6+ inches long and half grey.

  • Avatar bebe says:

    hey. i would love to do a silk press but i was wondering if there are natural products to use as substitution for the heat protectant and the leave in. probably coconut or castor oil?

  • Avatar Jackie says:

    Great article and shouts out for promoting the salon. The correct name for the salon is Bella Dama.

  • Avatar Ketah says:

    How do I maintain the silk press? When it starts to looks frizzy?

    • Brandelyn Green Brandelyn Green says:

      One of the best ways to maintain the silk press when it starts to get frizzy is to actually prevent it from getting frizzy/sweat out. I recommend a light natural oil on day 3 or 4 of your press to help it last longer. Then I wrap it after I apply the oil and it seals in the moisture.

  • Avatar Linda Johnson says:

    Which products do I use for SILk press look

  • Avatar Michelle fortune says:

    Hi I had my hair silk pressed, and I washed my hair after two weeks, the front if my hair, came back to it’s natural curls, but the back of my hair, remained straight as a pin,it was never straight like that when I relaxed it,does this mean my hair is damaged by the heat, do I have to cut off my hair🤔😭😭 or will it take sometimes ti get back to it’s natural curls

    • Brandelyn Green Brandelyn Green says:

      Hi Michelle, it sounds like if your hair is not reverting back to it’s natural curl pattern it is in fact heat damaged. If you’ve deep conditioned already (and maybe even tried a protein treatment) and your hair is straight still then the only solution is to cut off the damaged part and wait for it to grow back. I know how much that sucks…trust me I’m going through the same thing. In the meantime avoid heat styles and try to do roller sets, bantu knot outs and other protective styles to give your hair a break. Hope that helps!

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