Silk Press vs Flat Iron

Silk Press vs Flat Iron featured photo

The beauty world has an array of hair styling products and techniques to help consumers achieve beauty. Because there are many to choose from, many are often confused about what each has to offer. One common question floating around is silk press vs flat iron.

Comparing silk press to flat iron is like comparing apples and oranges. A silk press is a hair straightening technique that uses a flat iron and other styling tools and products to achieve results. On the other hand, a flat iron is a hair styling tool that can give users straight, curly, or wavy locks.

A silk press and a flat iron differ not only in what they are but also in their processes, results, and the hair types they serve best.

In this article, we’ll go into detail on the differences between a silk press and a flat iron. We’ll also go over their entire processes, styling results, and which of the two should you choose.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: What’s the Difference?

From straightening to curling to coloring, there are quite a number of ways to achieve your personal hair goals. There are also various styling methods to achieve various hairstyles.

But with the many hair styling techniques out there, it’s common to be confused by some terms we often encounter.

One of these is the silk press. More often than not, many confuse it with flat irons.

The query ‘silk press vs flat iron’ is mostly an unfair comparison because they don’t even fall in the same category. One of them is a styling technique and method while the other one is a styling tool. 

To help settle it, we will be detailing all the important differences between the two.

Silk press

A silk press is a hair straightening technique that uses a flat iron in the process, along with other hair styling tools and products.

Unlike straightening perms, this doesn’t use relaxers or chemicals, all of which could potentially be giving hair irreversible damage.

Silk press gives naturally curly, coiled, and kinky hair a straighter, smoother, and shinier finish. It also gives locks movement and body, without the stiff look.

It’s also important to note that the silk press only straightens naturally curly hair. You can’t silk press natural hair and expect results or texture other than straight.

Flat iron

A flat iron is a heat-styling tool mostly used to straighten hair. Some flat irons, depending on the shape and size, can also be used to achieve big, voluminous curls or loose, carefree beach waves.

A flat iron has two plates. The way to use a flat iron is by pressing these two plates together and dragging the tool from the roots to the ends of the hair.

Today’s market is full of flat irons with different materials and styling settings.

A flat iron is one of the most famous and most-used styling tools in the world. No matter what your natural hair texture is – straight, wavy, or curly – a flat iron will do your hair wonders.

Whereas the silk press is a styling technique, a flat iron is one of the styling tools used in the silk press process.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: The Process

To further understand the differences between a silk press and a flat iron, let’s dive into each process.

Silk press

Silk pressing hair takes several hours.

While you can silk press your own hair at home, it would be best to have it professionally done at salons specializing in the process. If you’re doing it at home, make sure you know exactly what to do.

Step 1: The silk press process requires clean hair and scalp. Start by washing and shampooing your hair. Get maximum results by washing your hair about two to three times to remove all dirt, residue, and buildup.

Step 2: Next, you can go right ahead with a deep conditioner. This detangles hair, especially for very curly locks. This also boosts your locks’ moisture level, which will help minimize heat damage.

Step 3: Before applying any heat to your hair, apply a generous amount of heat protectant to further minimize hair heat damage. Some heat sprays also include a detangler formula, which is great to use at this step if the deep conditioner didn’t work well enough.

Step 4: The next step is to blow dry the hair. This will help prep the hair before using the silk press flat iron.

Step 5: And when the hair is completely dry, proceed to silk press with a flat iron. You will need a flat iron with temperature settings of 420°F to 450°F.

Press the flat iron together and drag it from the roots all the way to the ends of the hair. Do so with smaller sections of hair to even out heat distribution. Make sure you don’t pass the same area too many times as this can increase heat damage.

Step 6: Once you’re done, you can spray a generous amount of hair spray for additional shine and hold.

Flat iron

Styling hair with a flat iron doesn’t take up much time. And you can easily do this in the comfort of your own home. The process of flat ironing hair is simple and fairly straightforward.

Step 1: Before applying any heat to your locks, apply a generous amount of heat protectant as well, to minimize heat damage.

Step 2: If your hair is wet, go ahead and blow dry your hair.

Step 3: When your hair is all dry, grab your flat iron. Any commercial flat iron with typical temperature settings from 250°F to 400°F will do.

Grab small sections of your hair and drag the tool from the roots to the ends. And as we’ve mentioned above, you can also achieve waves and curls using a flat iron.

Step 4: Once all your strands are styled, you can apply some hair serum or hair spray to give it a hold and some extra sheen.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: The Results

One can also determine the differences between silk presses and flat irons by observing the results.

Silk press

The silk press process results in straight and smooth hair. What sets it apart from simply flat ironing hair is it adds bounce and movement to your locks.

And staying true to the name of the process, a good silk press gives hair a silky and shiny finish.

Silk-pressed hair is also longer-lasting than simple flat ironing hair. Straightening hair with silk pressing can last from a couple of weeks to about a month.

Flat iron

Styling with a flat iron leaves hair smooth and typically frizz-free.

However, flat-ironed hair can look and feel stiff and dry, unless, of course, you apply some hydrating serum to finish off.

Flat iron hair results are rather short-lived, lasting for about a day or two.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: Which One Do I Need?

So after going through a detailed comparison, which between a silk press or a flat iron is your best bet?

A silk press is better if…

While anyone with any type of hair can get a silk press at their local salon, it’s mostly recommended for naturally coiled, kinky, thick, curly, and coarse hair.

It’s also the best choice for anyone hoping to get longer-lasting straight hair results but doesn’t want the damages from permanent straightening and chemical relaxers.

A flat iron will do if…

Any hair type can enjoy hair styling results, but it offers exceptional results for those with thinner hair.

With a flat iron, you can easily style your hair in the comfort of your own home so there’s no need to drag yourself to salons.

A flat iron doesn’t limit users to only straight hairstyles. You can add waves and curls to your hair with the very same tool.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: Which is More Damaging?

Both silk pressing and flat ironing the hair use heat so there is some damage from both. This is why boosting hair’s moisture level and using a heat protectant are always recommended for both.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: Costs

Silk pressing offers its best results when done professionally in salons. It can range anywhere from $60 to $100. This could change and vary depending on your hair, which salon you’re getting it from, and your hairstylist’s skills.

Flat irons could cost as low as $20 and as high as $500. How much they sell would depend on the brand and styling modes.

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: Summary Table

Here is a summary of the key differences between a silk press and a flat iron:

Silk PressFlat Iron
What it isStraightening techniqueHeat styling tool
Temperature settings420°F to 450°F250°F to 400°F
Hair typeCurly, kinky, coiled, and thicker hair typesAll hair types
ResultsSmooth, shiny, and silky straight hairSmooth and frizz-free but can be dry and stiff – can be straight, curly, or wavy
DurationSeveral hours at a hair salonQuick and easy at home
How it lastsSeveral weeksA few days
Cost$60 to $100 per session$20 to $500 per tool


The hair and beauty world is saturated with various hair styling techniques to take your locks to the next level. With all these different techniques, many get confused about what this or that means. And speaking of confusion, many often ask what the differences are between a silk press and a flat iron.

A silk press is a hair straightening method and technique that uses a flat iron among other hair styling tools and products. On the other hand, a flat iron is a heat-styling tool capable of either straightening or curling hair.

Be sure to check out the best titanium flat irons for silky smooth hair.

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson