The last time I tried to straighten my hair myself, it was kind of a success, but with a few drops of rain, my fro fully reverted (that is, returned to kinky) before church was over!
Two weeks ago, when I booked my Silk Press appointment to have my natural hair straightened, I did not know that it would last, but the people at the salon were confident that it would, and after spending 10,000 Naira, of course I was going to be optimistic and try my best to stretch my money! LMAO.
I wore my hair straight for 8 days, and I’m positive I could have stretched it for at least, 1 (one) more week. But I got bored, and so I wet the hair to style it, haha. This resulted in my best twist out everrrrr, see here!
Here’s what I learnt about successfully wearing natural hair straight:
Get it Right From The Beginning
This goes without saying, but if you’re going to wear your natural hair straight for 2 weeks, in this legendary Lagos humidity, you want to start right, lay a solid foundation. You’re applying heat to your hair, you don’t want it to be in vain. You also don’t want to apply more heat after the first time so, products matter. Technique/ expertise matters. Whether you’re doing your hair yourself, or you choose to go to a salon like I did, don’t fry your hair or weigh it down with oils. Smoothing/ Anti-Humidity products are designed to postpone reversion temporarily. Do your research. Some product lines are great, others have woeful reviews. Get it right. At the salon, the Mizani Thermasmooth System was used for my silk press.
A Little Hitch
After getting my hair done, I was advised to wrap my hair at night with a satin scarf. The salon wasn’t selling any, so I went to the only place I knew I could get one on Saturday night, Casabella. I got this TINY scarf for a whopping 2350 Naira. Because the scarf is small, I’m still a little mad lol. I followed this tutorial on YouTube, meaning that I:
- Wrapped my hair round with a brush
- Pinned my hair flat with bobby pins and hair combs
- Tied a satin scarf to secure it all
UHM, BAD IDEA.
Brushing the hair to wrap round, left me with NO CURLS the next morning. I was like:
My hair was still straight, but my strands were absolutely weightless, they were EVERYWHERE.
I went through Sunday like this but I knew I couldn’t deal, and that I was not prepared to apply heat to my hair again.
After my silk press, I had bouncy curls like my mother on a Sunday evening, so in hindsight, I should have taken a page out of her book. The tutorial is great if your hair has been pressed into a bob, I think. But for the big curls that I had? I don’t think so.
How did I make it through the week, then?
1. My Nighttime Routine: Perm rods and a Satin Scarf.
Perm rods helped give my hair bounce and body. If you’re a pro at curling your weave at night, you will do great with this. And if like me, you are not, you can still slay. The more perm rods you have, and the smaller the rod size, the curlier your results but remember that the curls will not last days because, dry straight hair lacks curl memory and applying product to the hair is not advisable if you don’t want it to revert.
2. Have a Scarf With You Always!
I didn’t, because I always forgot, but I wish I did! If you’re walking up a windy street, or you’re speeding past traffic in a Keke Napep, you want to have a scarf. Naturally kinky hair stands kamkpe! It is not easily moved or shaken by the wind. When your hair is straight, it’s back to relaxed days, boo. You can’t enjoy a little wind in your window. Your hair is going to be all over the place if you don’t hold or pin it DOWN.
3. Avoid Water, Avoid Moisture At All Costs!
Working in an air-conditioned office, I didn’t have to deal with Lagos humidity, except for during my lunch break. Because this is Lagos, my scalp still got a little sweaty, so like 1 centimeter of my roots were kinky. This reassured me that I did not have heat damage. But avoiding moisture was real!
> I did not exercise, lol yes, that serious.
> I did not spritz my hair or apply any products to it during this time.
> I also made sure to touch my hair only with perfectly dry hands.
> In church that first Sunday, I even expertly dodged holy water! Not that I’m an ogbanje or anything lol- I timed it in such a way that the water touched my face, but not my hair. That serious bruh! I wasn’t taking any chances!
> Also, for my warm showers (to be honest, warm baffs) I wrapped my perm rodded hair with the satin scarf, and then wore my satin bonnet over it. My Satin bonnet is from Elizabeth Cress, which was like 2 or 3 bonnets! The ankara outer of the bonnet is like a shower cap sometimes. I was FORTIFIED.
> Be prepared! Have reinforcements! In the afternoon of Day 8, I went out shopping (my cousin turned 3 so we were pulling a last minute birthday thing) and it looked cloudy on my way out. I had an umbrella in the car, and I made sure to wear a scarf over my hair and secure it, before even opening the umbrella.
This must all sound pretty dramatic but it was really not that big of a deal.
You just know what you’re avoiding & avoid it well. I must say, that my hair was still nourished by the humidity in the air. It still felt soft and stuff.
All in all, my silk press was actually really low maintenance. I had a lot of fun styling it! If I wanted to just throw it into a bun for the whole week, I could have. But wanting curls, I had to curl my hair at night and the results were always worth it!
How Long Can Straight Natural Hair REALLY Last?
I was advised by the salon that the Silk Press treatment can last 4-6 weeks. If you do not use a clarifying shampoo during this time, you can wash your hair per usual and easily blow dry it, or flat iron if you want and have it looking pressed.
2 weeks without moisturising your hair is quite a stretch! I do not recommend going longer than this. You can only safely go so far!
If you have any more questions about my Silk Press and my brief straightness, feel free to ask in the comments and I will respond!