As a super curly girl, Piersten Gaines knew first how hard it was to find a place to press her tresses consistently. Gaines, a Columbia and Harvard Business School graduate, wanted to create a solution to make it much easier for textured-haired women to get silky blowouts. 

Pressed Roots was born – a luxurious salon with highly skilled, highly-trained stylists who know what textured hair needs to keep it healthy and gorgeous. The flagship salon opened in Dallas in 2020 and has earned rave reviews: Best Salon for Textured Hair in the Dallas Observers 2020 Best of Dallas edition and one of the Most Highly Rated Salons in North America by Yelp. Although COVID slowed down her national expansion plans, she has plans to open locations around the country.

We talked to Gaines about the Silk Press and why it might be the ideal solution for many women during winter.

Pressed Roots Founder Piersten Gaines Shares Why The Silk Press Is a Go-To Winter Style

What is a silk press?

A silk press is a non-chemical service used on textured hair to achieve a silky straightened look. 

What is the best way to do a silk press?

At Pressed Roots, a silk press begins with a clarifying shampoo to remove any build-up and thoroughly start the process on a clean slate. We then move to a hydrating wash and conditioning to inject hydration back into the hair in preparation for heat styling. This is followed by blow drying and pressing the hair with a flat iron to achieve a smooth, silky look. While timing for the entire process may vary, depending on hair texture, length, and density, our average silk blowout takes about 90 minutes.

How do you maintain a silk press?

The key to maintaining a silk press is minimizing factors compromising its sleekness, such as moisture, friction, and heat. However, many factors can impact the longevity of the press – including the state/condition of your hair before the press (i.e., if your hair isn’t used to being straight (trained) or if it is accustomed to being braided down), Your lifestyle (i.e., do you walk a mile to and from work each day?) and natural elements (humidity, moisture). Regular care and protective measures can help prolong the life of your silk press and keep your hair looking smooth and shiny. 

Pressed Roots Founder Piersten Gaines Shares Why The Silk Press Is a Go-To Winter Style

Do you have a few tips you can share?

Here are a few:

  • Invest in a Silk or Satin Scarf, Bonnet, or Pillowcase:
    • When you sleep, protect your press with silk! Wrap, pin curl, or flexi rod roll your hair with a silk or satin scarf, bonnet, or satin rollers before going to bed to protect the silk press.
    • Alternatively, consider using silk or satin pillowcases to minimize friction and prevent frizz.
  • Invest in a Quality Shower Cap:
    • Keep away from moisture! Use a high-quality shower cap to shield your hair from moisture during showering.
    • Opt for a cap with a secure fit to prevent steam from affecting the silk press.
  • Dry Shampoo and Lightweight Oil:
    • Depending on how oily your hair naturally is, your silk press may not show the same bounce that it did during the earlier days because it is being weighed down by oil. Extend the life of your silk press by using dry shampoo to refresh and absorb excess oil.
    • Others may notice that after the first few days of their press, their ends feel or appear dry. Apply a lightweight oil to the hair ends to maintain moisture without weighing down the style.
  • Consider skipping a few gym sessions or using a sweatband:
    • Minimize exposure to humidity by avoiding intense workouts that induce excessive sweating.
    • If you decide to exercise, wear a sweatband to absorb sweat around the hairline.

What tools/products should you have for a silk press?

At Pressed Roots, our first promise to our customers is that Hair Health is our Priority. To achieve a silk press that not only looks sleek but also prioritizes the health and well-being of the hair, it is crucial to be intentional about the tools and products you choose. Some key products/tools that we recommend for any healthy silk press are:

Heat Protectant:

Importance: To shield hair from potential heat damage during the silk press process, it’s important to use a high-quality heat protectant spray or serum before applying heat styling tools (before the blow drying process as well as before the flat ironing process)

Condition, Condition, Condition! 

Importance: Hydrated hair is essential for achieving a smooth and sleek silk press, but it is also crucial to achieving a healthy silk press. Ensuring your hair is as moisturized as possible before applying any heat or hot tools ensures the hot tools don’t further dry out your hair, leading to damage. Hydrating products such as deep conditioning masks or add-on services such as steam treatments will help you maintain hair health and your silk press.

Flat Irons with Titanium Plates:

Importance: Titanium plates are known for their efficient heat transfer, allowing for a faster and smoother silk press while minimizing damage. Invest in a flat iron with titanium plates for effective and controlled styling. Also, invest in a flat iron that displays the temperature while in use. The temperature should be adjusted based on your hair type, texture, and density!

Are there any special silk press tips for mastering the silk press?

Surprisingly, the key to mastering the silk press technique has little to do with the pressing or flat ironing. It comes from achieving an impeccable blowdry that thoroughly stretches the hair strands. This crucial step lays the foundation for a seamless flat ironing experience, enabling you to limit the flat iron to just one pass per section. This allows you to maintain the integrity of your hair by minimizing the risk of heat damage. This strategic approach not only preserves the health of your hair but also ensures a sleek and silky finish.

Pressed Roots Founder Piersten Gaines Shares Why The Silk Press Is a Go-To Winter Style

Who does a silk press work best for? Who does it not work best for?

The decision to rock a silk press should be guided by how well it complements your lifestyle. While it’s a fantastic and adaptable choice for many, understanding the impact of factors like activity level and maintenance preferences is crucial to ensuring satisfaction with the results, whether in a salon or home. People who should consider include:

  • Anyone Seeking a Sleek Blowout Look: The beauty of a silk press lies in its universal appeal. Anyone can confidently rock this hairstyle, and the results are bound to be stunning, regardless of hair type or texture.
  • Low Maintenance Enthusiasts: A silk press is ideal for those who prefer a hairstyle requiring minimal upkeep. Its longevity and adaptability make it a convenient option for those seeking a stylish yet hassle-free look.

Who Does a Silk Press Not Work Best For?

While a silk press is a versatile option, certain lifestyle factors should be considered when deciding whether it’s the right choice for you. People with active lifestyles who sweat frequently might find that a silk press doesn’t last as long as desired. The exposure to moisture and heat can impact the longevity of the style.

Will you be visiting a silk press salon this season? Learn more about the difference between a silk press and a blowout here.

Michelle Breyer

Michelle Breyer

As co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the NaturallyCurly.com® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

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