18 Silk Press Hairstyles to Elevate Your Silky, Smooth Blowout

A new look right this way

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a collage of silk press hairstyles on a blue background
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The colder months call for a super sleek style that won’t budge in the harsh weather. So, in honor of what natural hair girlies have coined “silk press season,” we compiled all the ways to rock the classic look—only you don’t have to confine these styles to winter. They work all year round. Whether you’re sporting a short bob or prefer a little bounce to your straight locks, we have you covered. We tapped eight hairstylists to share the most popular silk press hairstyles to try out. 

Meet the Experts

  • Miko Branch is a hairstylist and co-founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s, a haircare brand catered to curly and coily hair. She has worked in the industry for two decades, working on product development, curl education and facilitating the brand’s salon.
  • Michelle O’Connor is a hairstylist and global artistic director at Matrix. She is a five-time North American Hairstyling Awards winner and has two decades of experience in the industry. She has skills in cutting, coloring and styling all hair textures, which enable her to work with countless brands such as Victoria’s Secret, J.Crew and Ulta Beauty.
  • Kimberlee J. Blakley is a celebrity hairstylist, licensed trichologist and senior director of product development at MAV Beauty Brands. She has more than 15 years of experience working with brands such as L’Oréal, Moroccanoil and DevaCurl.
  • Takisha Sturdivant-Drew is a celebrity hairstylist and owner of TSDHairExtensions. She has over 20 years of experience in the industry with her work shown in film, television and theatre. Her previous clients include Kerry Washington, Ariana Debose and Tessa Thompson.  
  • Maya Smith is a hairstylist and co-founder of The Doux, a haircare brand for natural hair. She has two decades of experience as a licensed cosmetologist and a salon owner. Aside from her brand, she has launched two salons that specialize in textured hair.
  • Larry Sims is a celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Flawless by Gabrielle Union. He has over two decades of experience doing editorial, red carpet and brand campaign looks. He has a long list of credits, including Vogue, Allure, Essence Magazine and Elle, andhis previous clients include Janet Jackson, Zendaya, Regina King, Kerry Washington and Tracee Ellis Ross.
  • Dereq Clark is a hairstylist and a brand ambassador for Wella Professionals. He has more than 12 years in the industry, specializing in cutting and coloring services in the Atlanta area.
  • Kya Bilal is celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles. She has 19 years of experience in the industry and heads some of Hollywood’s most iconic looks. Her work has been featured on The Idol, Lucifer, Station 19 and Insecure. 

Before We Get Started: What’s a Silk Press? 

A silk press is a straightening technique used primarily on natural hair without the use of a relaxer or other chemical treatments. After blow-drying hair, the stylist runs a flat iron over the sections again for smoother finish. Then you finish off the look with a lightweight oil (or hair serum) for a glossy effect. 

Keep reading for the top 18 silk press hairstyles you will definitely want to bookmark. 

How to Do a Silk Press at Home Like A Professional

silk press hairstyles a photo of megan thee stallion rocking a classic silk press
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1. Classic Silk Press

Let’s face it: The classic silk press will never go out of style. It’s a timeless look we can always rely on. “This style is what most people imagine when they have a silk press. It’s suitable for any hair length and it’s extra chic and sexy, especially on those with medium to long lengths,” says Branch. For a boost of shine like Megan Thee Stallion, Branch suggests a hair oil to hydrate the hair and scalp and revitalize the sheen of your locks. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of zendaya rocking flicked ends
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2. Flicked Ends

Zendaya is a prime example that a silk press needs some fun ends. Consider using a round brush (or heat rollers) to flick the ends up for a playful look. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of oprah winfrey rocking a layered silk press
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3. Layered Silk Press

Yup, layers can definitely be incorporated into your silk press—just look at Oprah’s stunning look on the red carpet. “This style is sophisticated, classy and effortless. The layers create depth, movement and texture,” says Blakley. “This technique is also often used to add volume and dimension to the hair, allowing it to frame the face beautifully.” Need help combating frizz? Blakely suggests a small amount of hair oil on the mid-length and ends to prevent it from curling up and adding a boost of shine. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of michelle obama rocking voluminous curls
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4. Voluminous Curls

If you want some silk press inspo, look no further than Michelle Obama. The former First Lady had a signature style that kept it sleek on top with large swirls on the bottom, accented by a deep side part. Lucky for us, we found the secret to recreating her look right at home. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of eva marcille rocking a lob
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5. Lob

This silk press hairstyle is just what you need to add some pizzazz to your lob. As Blakley shares, “This cut is versatile, stylish and edgy. It’s great for all hair types and face shapes.” The shoulder-length and curled ends also provide some movement that’s rare for traditional silk presses. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of kerry washington wearing a blunt bob
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6. Blunt Bob

A silk press is not only for long locks as proven by Kerry Washington’s look above. If you’re rocking a short length, consider a blunt bob; it’s super chic these days. 

silk press hairstyles 90s blowout
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7. '90s Blowout

Don’t sacrifice the bounce! “[The ‘90s blowout] is a smooth, silky hairstyle that moves with a lot of shine that’s never going to revert,” says Sturdivant-Drew. To recreate Ariana Debose’s look, Sturdivant-Drew suggests applying a smoothing creme and letting it sit for about ten minutes before applying a hair serum and curling the ends. Complete the look with a finishing spray to prevent humidity from seeping through. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of quinta brunson rocking a slick back
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8. Slick Back

Forget about parting your hair and just go straight for this edgy look like Quinta Brunson. Use a brush and some gel to lay the hair back for a smoother finish. Plus, laying down your baby hairs with edge control is a nice touch. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of keke palm rocking hollywood glam curls
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9. Hollywood Glam Curls

Who doesn’t want the best of both worlds when it comes to their hair? This glam look gives you the silk press and some impressive curls, as sported by Keke Palmer, above. As Smith shares, “This look can be achieved with any length, the key here is to pin the curls while they’re still warm.” The stylist suggests applying a heat protectant spray before going over each section with a large barrel curling iron and pinning ‘em until they cool. Then you get to wonder at your new swirls once you take the pins out. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of cardi b rocking bleach blonde hair

10. Bleach Blonde

Here’s your sign to try a new color for the season. Now, if you’re not ready to make the full plunge on bleaching your locks, you can follow in Cardi B’s footsteps and put on a wig instead. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

silk press hairstyles a photo of ice spice rocking a side bang
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11. Side Bang

Whether you prefer a flowy fringe or a slicked-down bang like Ice Spice, adding this to your silk press will definitely elevate the look. Sims tells us this style can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Aside from the essentials—a blow dryer and flat iron—Sims suggests spritzing a heat protectant spray to prevent damage and boost shine. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of zendaya rocking a voluminous lob
Daniele Venturelli / Contributor/Getty Images

12. Voluminous Lob

Also known as the ‘box bob,’ this look adds movement and texture to the traditional silk press style. Popularized by Zendaya, Sims says it’s a lightweight, tousled bob that’s great for displaying a uniformed length with a chic finish. One more thing: Consider slicking down your hairline with edge control to give your curls the spotlight. 

silk press hairstyles kelly rowland
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13. Low Ponytail

This low ponytail is great for keeping your silk press intact. Just take a page out of Kelly Rowland’s book and gather your hair at the nape of your neck. It won’t just show off your silky smooth locks, but your impressive length, too. 

14. Body Curls

If you want large curls, this silk press style should be on your radar. Bilal tells us that this look is full of body with layers and curls throughout. The secret to recreating Karen Pitman’s look? According to Bilal, all you’ll need is a blow dryer, a flat iron and a 1.25-inch curling iron. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of jasmine tookes rocking deep waves
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15. Deep Waves

Yup, you can still rock straight hair with a subtle flair to it. The slight bends in Jasmine Tookes’s hair provide a fresh twist to an elegant look.

16. Graduated Bob

If you have short locks, consider this one for some depth and movement. “The hairstyle has a natural flow with a tousled effect and a silky, shiny finish,” says Clark. To maintain the look, Clark suggests a moisturizing shampoo to prevent damage and keep strands hydrated. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of lori harvey rocking a side part
Arturo Holmes/Staff/Getty Images

17. Side Part

We love a middle part, but there’s something about a side part that screams elegance. Add a chin-length bob and glossy tresses into the mix and you have yourself a bonafide pick. 

silk press hairstyles a photo of ciara rocking money pieces
Michael Tullberg/Stringer/Getty Images

18. Money Pieces

When in doubt, give your face-framing pieces the spotlight like Ciara. Whether you put the rest of your hair up or let it flow down, these striking strands are a nice addition. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How to Maintain a Silk Press

The experts say these six tips are essential to maintaining a silk press. 

  • Start with a proper cleansing routine. Blakley says the perfect foundation to a silk press starts with your shampoo and conditioner. She suggests using a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup without stripping away your natural oils before going in with a hydrating conditioner that detangles, softens and improves shine. 
  • Use heat protection. The last thing you want is heat damage, so make sure you’re applying a heat protectant on your locks before using your blow dryer and flat iron. The product will protect strands and maintain moisture for shiny locks. 
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Use styling cream or spray that’s lightweight and hydrating on your hair, so you can fight against any frizz or dryness in the long run. 
  • Minimize exposure to humidity and water. “The best way to maintain a silk press is to avoid getting it wet. Extra moisture of any kind will cause the hair to return to its natural texture,” explains O’Connor. 
  • Book frequent trim appointments. “Regular hair trims and cuts can help prolong a silk press as healthy hair is always a good base for any heat styling,” says Sims. 
  • Protect hair at night. Whether you prefer a bonnet or a headscarf, all the experts recommend wrapping your hair at night to keep your silk press looking fresh for days. Also consider using silk or satin pillowcases (like Grace & Company) to prevent any frizz (ya know, in case your bonnet decides to slip away while you snooze). 

Can All Hair Textures Rock a Silk Press?

Absolutely. As Branch explains, “All hair textures can get a silk press; it’s primarily your hair health that determines the outcome. It’s always good to get regular trims and deep condition strands to keep hair as healthy as possible. Once the hair is straight, it will be much easier to see any damage.”

However, Bilal notes those with fine or thinner hair should tread with caution. She says, “Silk press can work on all types of natural hair and textures, however, it’s better suited for medium to thick hair density. Fine hair types can be more susceptible to heat damage with regular application of heat tools.” 

How Long Does a Silk Press Last?

The experts say a silk press can last about one to three weeks depending on the hair type or lifestyle. “Results can vary from person to person. It depends on moisture threshold and natural oil production. Lifestyle and weather also factors [in], as humidity, sweat, etc. can impact the style,” says O’Connor. 

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Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...