Silk Press VS. Flat Iron - let's See the Differences and Right Choice

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

Pros & Cons of silk press vs. the flat iron. Compare: Which one lasts the longest, gets your hair straighter, and is the easiest, safest, and fastest to use?


Ok,  since I never had to do a silk press on myself, the first time I saw a pressing comb and cordless marcel irons with a stove (like the one in the picture) was in beauty school.

Some of my fellow students were already familiar with the silk press process, and they styled hair with the carefree ease that only comes from years of experience.

The silk press and the hot pressing comb have a fantastic history worth mentioning.

I appreciate our predecessors of cosmetology who were concerned that only qualified professionals use this tool and NOT the untrained consumer who could ruin their hair. Smithsonian

  • Here we will consider which is best for you?
  • A traditional silk press vs. the modern flat iron, we explain the Pros and Cons of
  • Which lasts longer?
  • Which gets your hair straighter?
  • Which is the most comfortable and fastest?

 Defining The Term "Silk Press"

  • The term silk press is using a pressing comb or hot comb to straighten, curly, kinky or Coily hair types in their "natural" state. Or that have not been chemically treated and straightened with a relaxer.
  • The word Silk refers to your hair's appearance after pressed silky smooth.
  • A silk press is also called a press and curl.
  • But a press and curl service, not only refers to the straightening process of silk pressing but also to the styling process of using marcel curling irons or another styling tool.
  • Because of the many advances in hair tools over the past few decades, many now commonly refer to as a silk press, a straightening service done with a flat iron on natural hair where the hair is left silky smooth and practically bone straight.

Silk Press With Pressing Comb (aka Hot Comb)

  • Conventional pressing combs heat up with a stove or electrical heater; they don’t have precise heat control. That is why experienced professionals are so talented.
  • A safer alternative is needed, especially if you’re going to try silk pressing your hair at home. The Andis company makes an electrical pressing comb.  With 20 Heat Settings, you can get it to just the right amount of heat and Auto Shut-Off for safety.
  • Nothing straightens hair as well as a traditional silk press.  You can get next to the scalp because of the small size of the comb 

    Canvas Hair Studio explains why you need a pressing comb

  • With a traditional silk press, you don’t need to juggle a regular comb in your other hand as when using a regular hair straightener. Use your free hand to put tension on the hair.
  • Silk press hot combs are more economical than a regular flat iron.

TraceBeardee shows you the technique of silk press using a pressing comb.

  • Skin Burn potential since the hot comb is exposed, It isn’t as safe for children who like to wiggle around a lot.

Flat Irons and Hair Straighteners

So what do flat irons have going for them?

  • You can press and style with one tool. No need for a hair curler or separate styling tool. Especially when using a 2-in-1 flat iron
  • Flat irons are safer than silk press hot combs. Some models of hair straighteners have cool touch tips for added safety
  • Flat Irons also have modern elements like smart heat-sensing titanium plates.
  • Some flat irons have 4-5 preset heat controls. I find that a more precise range of temperature is best. Ideally, a flat iron has increments of 5 or 10 degrees.
    1. ISA
    2. KIPOZI
    3. Babyliss

Janay Mickles explains:  How to do a silk press with a flat iron.

  • If you want smooth hair while using the flat iron, use the comb and chase method. But you might need to grow a 3rd hand.

In Conclusion

  • Which gets your hair straighter?

Silk press because of the dry heat

  • Which lasts the longest?

Both depending on how well you care for your hair. Meaning you must always wrap your to protect your style from humidity and while sleeping

  • Which is easier?

For the consumer, a flat iron is the safest and best. Flat irons are more convenient because you don’t need additional styling tools

  • Which is faster?

Silk press gets really close to the scalp and is truly a one pass Styler

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