Silk press + Blowout season is upon us!! For my curly girls like myself (4C standup!), October marks the beginning of safely straightening your curls without fear. And I for one have been patiently waiting.
Why do I silk press?
A silk press or a professional blowout is a curly girls dream specifically in the fall. It allows us to dabble in both worlds, the curly + the straight. With both a silk press and a blowout the hair is straightened using a blow dryer, flat iron and sometimes a roller brush. The hair is treated, straighten and often times trimmed. As a curly person, you do not have to straighten your hair to trim, this is my own personal preference. I prefer this method for trims because I am able to see visually how much my hair has grown as well as keep my layers. Not only did I need a trim, but I wanted to begin my heat training process since I have been heat free for 3 years.
Heat Damage Vs. Heat Training
Whether you are naturally curly or you use products/tools to straighten there is one thing that we all want to avoid across the board when it comes to straightening. And that one thing is HEAT damage. Heat damage is when the proteins that make up the hair follicle is damaged + permanently altered causing the hair to not go back to its natural curly state. Even if you didnt care if your hair was able to go back to its natural state, heat damage also makes the hair dry, brittle and it is a killer of all things moisture. Slowly but surely heat damage will break off no matter what you do.
Heat training on the other hand is the professional steps taken to safely straighten the hair. The methods used to train, gently introduces heat to the hair to straighten without damage. If you continue to straighten, yes curls can loosen and change their pattern. The more you straighten the easier your hair will begin to react to the straightening process. Some prefer this method over using chemicals and products to permanently straighten curls.
Why in the fall?
Silk press and/or blowouts can be done at any time during the year, however fall is that optimal time of year to do it for many reasons. In the fall, depending on where you live it is obviously cooler weather. With cooler weather, you are less likely to sweat in your scalp. Granted you may still sweat, but it will not be the same level as during the warmer months. Also during this time of year, humidity in the air is also much lower. With less or no humidity there is no moisture in the air. This is key. The avoidance of moisture is the key behind the start of any heat training journey.
So you have decided to take the plunge, how do you prepare?
- Research. One of the biggest hiccups when it comes to getting a blowout or silk-press is allowing someone who is not qualified to do your hair. Research THOROUGHLY. Just because the service is listed on their website does not mean they are well versed in straightening. Because the process of straightening is one that you need to get right the 1st time, take your time to not only research stylist but look at their reviews. Things that should be important: amount of time since last review, reviews about your specific type of service as well as cost. The same with buying a product use all the resources to decide on who will go on this hair journey with you.
- Give your hair a moment to just be. As a yoga teacher, I’m heavy on the protective style rotation. So if coming from a protective style or a style that binds the hair, give your scalp + hair a few days before your appointment to just breath.
- Do not shampoo. When getting a silk press or a blowout, the stylist will use specific products to help strip the hair of buildup. This is done to ensure that the hair can be straighten to its best ability. Shampooing at home, even if its just a few days before can cause the hair to be over-stripped, weakening the hair before the straightening process.
- Do DEEP Condition. Sounds strange, I know especially since we are not shampooing. Deep conditioning especially after a protective style is an important step all on its own, but is critical when it comes to the straightening process. Find a thick, highly moisturizing conditioner and allow it to really sit on the hair. I personally deep condition the full day prior to straightening my hair. Deep conditions help add moisture to the hair shaft. I would avoid deep conditioning with a hooded dryer or heat, but would strongly recommend wrapping the hair for the greenhouse effect overnight.
- Stock up on after care supplies. Make sure you have your silk head scarves, bonnets, pillow cases etc. We are not taking all these steps to straighten only for the hair to revert back to curly overnight. You want to have a light oil available like coconut oil for your ends or even to help you re-wrap your hair at night.
Me deciding to start my heat training process for fall has been something in the works for at least the last 2 months, yes it is really that serious. Im not gonna lie, I had some reservations about change and a pinch of fear surrounding loosing my curls. Doing the research and these 5 tips were a huge help to me in feeling prepared. Over the next few weeks as I am going through this journey in real time I will share what is working, what isnt any any products + tips that I find useful along the way.
To any of my curly girls that have gone straight, what products are you loving?