How To Retain Length This Silk Press Season

Tips to protect your hair against heat damage

Fall, aka silk press season, is upon us! Pumpkin spice latte promotions are great notifiers, but the accurate indicator that the season has changed is when Black women’s hairstyles switch up.

During the Summer, we tend to lean more toward protective styles (braids, twists, etc.) because of the heat and humidity. Cool weather makes it much easier for curly hair to remain straight. Therefore, the silk presses come out. 

After being washed and blowdried, hair is “pressed” with heat to get a bouncy, voluminous, and “silky” look, hence the name silk press. No chemicals are used for the straightening service. Unfortunately, lots of heat is, and too much heat can damage kinky and curly hair.

The goal is to get silk presses while maintaining healthy hair, a science. Therefore, we interviewed two cosmetologists, Ebony Gordon, the CEO of Hairista Studio, and Cierra Powell, the owner of Divine Strands Hair Collection, to get insight on best practices to retain length during silk press season. 

“Get your trims, ladies!” Powell says, “Trims are so important for hair, especially after getting braids and protective styles all Summer. Your trims should be scheduled every six weeks, but some go about eight weeks.”

By getting trims, your strands get stronger. Stronger strands mean less breakage, which means your hair will grow more. Seems easy, right? Key word, “seems.” Once you factor in school, work, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, etc., months go by, and you forget to get a trim. That’s why Gordon’s first response to best practices during silk press season is “Routine.” 

Developing a regiment of healthy hair habits is crucial during the fall. “I would recommend consulting with a professional to analyze hair to see what specific hair needs are to keep your hair healthy. Based on your hair goals, figuring out the cadence of treatments is important,” Ebony adds.

Your natural hair needs tender love and care, or TLC for short. During the Summer, there’s leeway since protective styles are locked in and require minimal maintenance. Now that the fall is here and your hair is exposed, haircare takes more intentionality. “you should be in your stylist chair every 2-3 weeks,” Powell points out.

“Dirty hair does not make your hair grow!” she continued. Another reason routine is so important. Clean is king when trying to retain length. “Shampoos and conditioner matter because they set the foundation for what comes next in your style,” she adds. Therefore, double-check with your beautician to confirm their products will strengthen your hair for the style you’re going for. 

Also, when seeing your stylist, “Always use a heat protectant to protect hair against the damaging effects.” Gordon says.

Dyson, the hair product company, explains that temperatures over 300°F change the shape of your hair’s keratin strands. It converts the ⍺-keratin to β-keratin, eventually weakening the hair and causing it to lose its elasticity. When the keratin is melted, it’s not reversible. (We told you it was a science). Now that you understand the seriousness of heat damage, It’s time to get serious about your regiment. 

While we’re on the routine topic, “Change your sheets and pillowcases just as often as you get your hair washed so that you’re not transferring too many oils and debris. Not changing can cause dryness and breakage,” Gordon says.

In summary, to retain length while getting silk presses throughout the fall and winter months, see your stylist for a treatment catered to your hair type every two to three weeks and get a trim every six to eight weeks, along with throwing your sheets and pillowcases in the washer and dryer whenever you see your stylist.  In the encouraging words of Powell, “If you ladies follow these steps, your hair will be flourishing and flowing like never before.” 

About the author: Shelby Denise Smith is a full-time Social Media Editor and part-time Freelance Writer. She loves writing about news, wellness, and beauty and hosting impactful conversations with influencers and experts.

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