Silk Press vs Flat Iron

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: What Set Them Apart From One Another? [With Examples]

Silk press is a blessing in disguise when it comes to hair care and modern styling. On the other hand, flat iron is one of the most helpful consequences of technological advancement. Many people with curly hair like myself find these two to be a regular part of our styling routine and overall lifestyle.

But when it comes to hair care literacy, there has been a gap in knowledge regarding the matter of silk press vs flat iron. While these two terms come up together frequently, there are some significant differences between the two.

I believe all of us should know what each of these are and what are the contrastive aspects between them to understand our care routine thoroughly. Thus, I’ve put together this article to highlight the differences between silk press and flat iron and provided surrounding knowledge for your convenience!

Silk Press vs Flat Iron: Clarify Your Concepts

I’ve had many people roll their head over understanding the differences between these two concepts. Even some of my friends use these two terms synonymously like, “I’ll flat iron my hair” or “Give my hair a silk press”. However, silk press and flat iron aren’t interchangeable terms and you’ll learn why shortly.

Silk Press

Silk press is basically a process. It includes steps like preparation to post-care guide that are all described in detail here. Silk press tends to straighten your curly hair without using any sort of material. Thus, it’s a process not as safe as the natural ones, but is healthier compared to chemical-induced one that removes the hair’s natural moisture as I’ve learned first-hand.

Flat Iron

Flat Iron

Flat iron is a device or a tool that we use to straighten or dry up our hair, while some have even gone to the extent of trying it out to dry their clothes. Flat irons have their unique characteristics and settings that allow us to use them for our particular needs. This is a vital instrument for silk pressing our curly hair into something fine & smooth in a very short time.

So, the key difference that strikes out between the two is that, silk press is a procedure, among which flat iron is an instrument for use. It means, flat iron is never the name of the process. It’s like, if you’re baking in the oven, the baking is equivalent to the silk press and the oven denotes the flat iron device.

These two are intertwined in many ways for this process, as particular flat irons have proven to be superior to the other when it comes to silk presses. Such flat irons have the necessary properties to keep the hair safe & healthy during such procedures. Also, knowing the right temperature for hair’s curl level is another aspect that generates finer results.

Benefits Of A Silk Press Over Flat Iron

Benefits Of A Silk Press Over Flat Iron

As I’ve been a huge fan of silk presses all my life, I believe pointing out its benefits over a flat iron should be of great help in your own venture into this procedure.

Chemical-Free Procedure

Chemicals is always a big no for me. I keep my hair as far from chemicals as possible, yet there are very few alternatives when it comes to straightening my curly hair. Although chemical treatments will straighten my hair for a prolonged duration, I won’t compromise my hair’s integrity for any lucrative proposition.

This is where I’ve found the benefits of a silk press & flat iron that come hand in hand and it’s a tie between them. Neither of them require any chemical and a good flat iron from ghd, BaByliss or Chi helps me retain my natural properties during a silk press without frizzing up my hair.

Ease Of Work

Unlike other straightening methods with a flat iron, the silk press is relatively very easy to do. Every time I’ve given myself a silk press at home or at a parlor, it took me at most a couple of hours including the cleaning and drying part.

However, doing any styling process with a flat iron or drying my hair in general takes a certain amount of time, slightly longer compared to a silk press. Even with high volume, I never found a silk press to be difficult and I’d pick this procedure any day over any other technique.

Short-Term Commitment

If you’re someone like me who wants to try out different hairstyles out of a whim, then silk press is your perfect call. Because treatments like chemical ones are made for a long-term commitment to one style.

But trying out curtain bangs or beach waves with a flat iron requires much finesse on a consumer’s account, and not to mention the amount of time. Thus, the silk press has been the ace up the sleeve that’s allowed me to explore different variations of hairstyles effortlessly and I prefer it more than a general flat iron process personally.

Reverting Differences

Once I am committed to a chemically straightened hair, there are only a few options that allow me to go back. And such reversion is often more damaging to the hair in general as I’ve experienced in the past, and does more harm than good.

In the case of a silk press however, I can revert back any time I want to! As per a procedure made out of flat iron in general, it’s just upsetting that I have to go back to my previous hair-state after such a difficult session I invested in the styling part. A silk press leaves behind less difficulty overall.

Flat Iron Benefits Over Silk Press

Flat Iron Benefits Over Silk Press

I must admit that there are certain downsides to getting a silk press than any other styling with a flat iron or a silk press in general. Knowing all of them will come in handy and will keep you prepared for any unprecedented occurrence.


A major downside to silk presses is that they don’t last long. The duration is subjective however and it’s short when compared to a perm. On the other hand, there’s a rule of thumb regarding the durability of straightened hair with a flat iron, so in a flat iron’s case, you’ll fully know what to expect.

When I maintain my silk pressed hair, I’ve had it last about over a couple of weeks for me. And being carefree gave me a week’s straightened hair before turning back to normal. But there have been instances where a flat ironed style like curls or bangs have lasted slightly longer than that.

Effects Of Water Contact

Although it might sound absurd, water does ruin a silk press. When I got my first silk press, I didn’t know about this and took a shower the next day only to find my silkiness drained away, leaving behind my curly old hair.

Another instance had been quite painful as I was going to a function and got caught by rain which did the same result. Flat ironed styles share pretty much the same properties, but they come on top for bangs or curls in front because you can protect them more easily from water than your entire hair body.

Careful Maintenance

Silk press does demand some maintenance on our account, without which the durability decreased by a significant margin. What I follow is staying away from water, wearing a silk cap while going to bed and generally avoiding touching my hair the best I can.

Flat iron styles vary in maintenance levels. If you go all out with your styling and end up flat ironing your entire hair body, you’ll somewhat face similar maintenance challenges. However, flat ironing a short portion of your hair will save you a ton in the maintenance department and you can be more carefree about your hair!

Level Of Damage

As we all know, frequently exposing our hair to heat can damage its natural properties regardless of fine or curly hair. It means, I can’t simply silk press my hair everyday or even every week. Experts have provided their opinions on the frequency of performing such heat-based operations.

In terms of flat ironing or straightening in general, I can come out on top with using natural ingredients on every occasion – be that styling or curling. It helps me keep my hair a degree healthier and renders my flat iron a safer procedure overall.


Now, I’ll answer a few commonly asked questions regarding the silk press vs flat iron matter to upgrade your knowledge a little bit further.

Q: What products do you need for a silk press?

A: You’ll need only the basic products like shampoo, conditioner, anti-frizz serum, heat protectant and of course, a flat iron for an efficient silk press session.

Q: Is silk press better than flat iron?

A: If you take flat ironing as a general process, then a silk press can often generate finer results than a flat iron. However, in proper terms, silk iron is a ‘technique’ that utilizes ‘flat irons’ to achieve desired results.

Q: How hot should flat iron be for a silk press?

A: It actually depends on the thickness & texture of your hair, but commonly temperatures between 375-400°F should be ideal for a flat iron to perform a neat silk press.


We land at the very end of this article based on the silk press vs flat iron argument. I hope you’ve been able to pick out some key pointers on the matter that’ll help you out in your future hair care endeavors.

In short, flat iron is the instrument that we use to get a silk press done neatly. As an addition to their differences, I’ve stressed on the benefits and downsides of the silk press so that you have a broader understanding before turning it into your habit.

Lastly, I find silk press to be the better option than getting a perm when it comes to fragile, frizz-prone hair like my own. I get to maintain a healthy hair cycle with the ability of trying out the latest hairstyles with a silk press, only I have to make sure that I don’t overdo it!

I am Emily. I am a hair care enthusiast, and I like writing about it. Reading books and styling hair is one of my greatest passions. I have a knack for creativity, and I find pleasure in making art. I love going out in the field and basking under the sun on a cold day. My life motto is: "you only live once."

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