Get silky relaxed hair with or without flat ironing and smooth natural hair with low heat
There is something therapeutic about getting your hair done, particularly when your stress levels are high. Self-care am I right? Sometimes you just want a hairstyle that shows the length and lustrous bounce of your own hair without using chemicals. The best thing for that of course, is a silk wrap.
A silk wrap offers the aesthetic appeal of silky straight hair and will also give you a short break from the detangling marathons and breakage that can occur from tangled curls if you are natural. For those of us who are relaxed, by choosing to style your hair with a silk wrap you can get silky hair with or without flat ironing.
The first thing you should know is that a silk wrap is not a Dominican or Brazilian blowout. These methods require the use of super high heat, heavy manipulation as well as temporary anti-reversion products such as shampoos, conditioners and heat protectants.
A Brazilian blowout on the other hand, involves using keratin and other chemicals to keep the hair straight after which high heat from a flat iron is used to seal in the keratin into the strands.
Although direct heat is used in all these methods the degree of heat is very different and much, much lower for a silk wrap.
Now that you know what a silk wrap is not, you should know what it is! It is a healthier alternative to the methods previously mentioned, since it uses considerably less heat.
Silk wrapping your hair is a relatively simple technique of wrapping your hair while already dry and straight with a bit of serum and shine spray and sitting under a hooded dryer*. Remember that it helps if the products you use have silk proteins.
The purpose of this treatment is to give relaxed hair the ‘flat ironed and silky’ look without the heat trauma involved. For natural hair that has been straightened, the treatment will serve the same purpose with the added benefit of reducing the volume of the hair for a ‘flatter’ look. No harmful chemicals are used for this process at all.
For natural hair, since your curls must be straightened before doing the silk wrap, heat is critical since it allows you to reshape the bonds of your hair temporarily so the strands can maintain a stretched form. Now, the temperature of the flat iron must be between 300- 400°F or 150 – 200°C in order to achieve a decent silk wrap. Temperatures below that will just give you a typical flat ironed look which means the hair will look textured and there will be low to no sheen. To figure out the best temperature to use for you hair, click the tab above or the link in the description.
How to do a silk wrap on natural hair:
1. Start on washed and detangled hair.
3. Depending on your hair type, you may be able to roller set your hair for smooth straight results. Those with looser curl patterns will be able to achieve this. Section and roll the hair onto large rollers and secure, ensuring the hold is taut to prevent slippage that would cause inconsistency in the way the hair is molded. Sit under a hooded dryer for one and a half hours to allow the indirect heat to stretch your hair. Take down the rollers and comb out your hair to remove the part lines.
4. If you have type 4 hair, a roller set is unlikely to give you satisfactory results. Instead, blow out your hair on a cool to warm setting using a comb attachment or a detangling brush to stretch it out. Follow this up with a flat iron at the appropriate temperature for your hair type to smooth it out. You may also use the flat iron to create curls after all your hair has been straightened.
5. Trim off any damaged or weathered ends. If they remain they will take away from the flawless look and feel of the style.
6. Take a small amount of your silk containing serum and apply to your hair concentrating on the ends.
7. Brush your hair into a smooth wrap around your head. Try not to use any bobby pins* or hair clips as they will leave creases in the final look. You can spray your hair at this stage with an oil sheen spray if desired.
8. Apply the saran wrap, also known as cling film, around your head ensuring all your strands are covered and your hair is as flat as possible against your scalp. Sit under a hooded dryer* for 15-20 minutes.
9. Comb out the wrap to reveal a lustrous silky mane.
How to do a silk wrap on relaxed hair:
1. As with natural hair, start with clean, detangled and moisturized hair.
3. As with the natural hair, trim any weathered ends to ensure a flawless final result.
4. Take a small amount of your silk containing serum and apply to your hair concentrating on the ends.
5. Brush your hair into a smooth wrap trying not to use any bobby pins* or hair clips as they will create creases in the finished look. If desired, spray your hair lightly with an oil sheen spray.
6. Apply the saran wrap over your head quite firmly to ensure that your hair is flat against your scalp.
7. Sit under a moderate to hot dryer for 15-20 minutes
8. Comb out the wrap to reveal bouncy, silky and super shiny hair.
You can also use the silk wrap method to refresh an old flat ironed style without worrying about applying direct heat to your hair again.
If done correctly your natural hair will not revert as quickly with the silk wrap method but instead will remain smoother for longer. You may even be able to stretch the style for two weeks, if you can stand to go that long without washing your hair of course!
As long as great care was taken during the flat ironing stage, the silk wrap will wash out when your hair is drenched with water, leaving no heat damage and your curls intact. For those with relaxed hair, the integrity of your strands should remain as they were before.
A word of warning, even though the silk wrap doesn’t pose as high a risk for heat damage as the other straightening methods mentioned earlier, if you use a flat iron as part of your silk wrap, you can sustain damage over time if you are doing this too frequently.
So there you have it, silk wrapping is indeed the best chemical free method for getting silky straight hair.
Here is the process on thick natural hair:
And here is the process on relaxed hair: