25 Best Silk Press Products 2021 for Silky Straight Hair
As the temperatures cool down, hair salons are heating up—meaning it’s officially silk press season, notably for those of us with natural hair. The best silk press products will transform your luscious curls into the silky straight look of your dreams. But what even is a silk press?
Yene Damtew, the hairstylist known for coiffing former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2021 inauguration hair, says that the process “traditionally uses a stove iron, and over the years I think that the term has been used to describe any straight style that’s done on highly textured hair.” The technique differs from a blowout by the additional thermal tools (beyond a hairdryer and brush) used on clients who don’t have chemically relaxed or straightened hair.
According to professional hairstylist Koni Bennett-Mathieu, “a good silk press should leave a textured client with temporarily smoother, softer, ‘silkier’ hair without compromising the natural curl pattern to heat damage.” In terms of process, she recommends starting with a clarifying and moisture retention shampoo, then a moisture retention conditioner before sectioning the hair for the blow dry and flat iron. She notes that moisture is the key to maintaining your curl pattern and protecting your tresses from heat damage.
The stylist’s core tip is to be kind and patient with your hair while doing this process yourself. “Work in small sections, keep a spray bottle close to keep hair that has not been blow-dried damp, detangle from bottom up, and remember that your hair is delicate.”
Ready to try for yourself? Below, find the expert-approved best silk press products to add to your routine.
“Moisture is key to achieving a good silk press!” says Damtew, who reaches for the Mizani Press Agent line, a favorite amongst Vogue editors as well. She also recommends a hydration treatment or leave-in conditioner, like the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk—a lightweight option formulated to fight heat, tangles, and frizz. Celebrity and editorial hairstylist Mideyah Parker says she loves Aveda’s Smooth Infusion collection to help “combat the humidity.” To remove product buildup, especially after a protective style, Bennett-Mathieu likes the Quantum Clarifying Shampoo—an affordable option if you’re not looking to break the bank.
Oils, Serums, and Heat Protectants
Because a silk press is a smooth, bouncy style, it’s important to use products that deliver the hydration your hair needs without weighing it down—even if it is a heat protectant. Amika’s The Shield anti-humidity spray is one of Damtew’s favorites because “it’s super lightweight and helps combat both frizz and humidity, which is important for maintaining your silk press.” Additionally, she likes the Mizani Press Agent serum, which “helps lock in moisture and tames frizz while protecting the hair from high temperatures,” and Kenra Professional Silkening Gloss for its lightweight finish.