My Black Hair Journey

Archive for the ‘Pressing’ Category

Question. I’ve got heat damaged ends that won’t revert. Do I just keep on pressing (lighter application of heat and heat protectants)or lay off the heat. I haven’t pressed in about 6 months and the new growth is killing me! Thx.

Answer: I would suggest that you trim the heat damaged ends off, if it is isn’t too much. If your main goal with pressing is to control your new growth, I suggest that you try moisturizing and detangling the new growth with a gentle shampoo and rich conditioner like the ones we offer at http://www.nwscents.com. If you want to try pressing again, use a much lower heat setting and be sure to use a heat protectant that doesn’t contain any kind of grain alcohol (which will be listed as SD-alcohol on the label) or other drying ingredients. I use hair oil, but you may prefer something different. Be sure to follow the tips that we have for pressing on this blog. Don’t make the objective of pressing your hair to have “pin-straight” hair. That is where many people end up damaging their hair. Use pressing as a way to gain more control over your hair. You can also control your hair in it’s naturally textured state with the right products. If you have any more questions, let me know. O. Franklin

I use a regular gold n hot pressing comb when I press my hair. I purchased it at my local Sally’s Beauty Supply. I have a link in some of my posts to a different brand of pressing comb that you can purchase online if there is no Sally’s in your area. The main point to remember when purchasing a pressing comb is that it should be electric and have a temperature control button. That way you can control the heat accurately.

If you would like more information about pressing hair, visit my site at pressing-hair.info. This site contains some more tips, and a few pictures.

Question: I was wondering if hot combing would work for me so I tried it, however, the hot combing style doesn’t last on my hair for more than two days, my ends are also very resistant. Is it because it was done incorrectly or it needs to be done more frequently?. My hair is typical african american hair however much more kinkier/dry than normal and relaxers easily damages it after many usages. Thanks a lot.

Answer:. Hi. My goal in writing about hot combing is not to convice all black women that they need to wear their hair straight, it is simply to show another method of taking care of our hair without chemicals or synthethic hair. What I have found with hair straightening is that the products you use on your hair and the tools you use to press your hair really make a difference. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

1. The products that you use make a difference. I have gotten the best hair growth after I started using Northwest Scents products, because these are designed to be very moisturizing and gentle. My hair doesn’t press “bone” straight, but it is much softer and easier to detangle than it was before.

2. The tools that you use make a difference. If you choose to straighten your hair I recommend an electric pressing comb or a flat iron at a temperature that will gently straighten your hair, but not cause it to burn or to become permanently straight. For me that is setting 14 on my comb with 20 settings. Lately I have been experimenting with a flat iron. The brand I am using is Solia. The flat iron will get your hair much straighter than the pressing comb, but you have to be really really really careful with it because it gets much hotter than the pressing comb, and I think it has a greater potential to do irrepairable damage to the hair if it is used improperly. If you decide to experiment with a flat iron, please keep the temperature low.

3. The condition of your hair makes a difference. If you are trying to press hair that is in a weakened state from chemical relaxers or something else, you will not get the best results. You should first focus on nuturing your hair back to health, without chemicals, and then if you still want to press your hair, try it. I do not have any chemical treatments in my hair.

I hope I have answered your questions. If pressing doesn’t work out for you, don’t despair. Healthy black hair is beautiful both with its natural texture and straight. If you visit http://www.natural-black-hair-care.info and click on the link titled “Natural Hair Styling Ideas” you will see what I’m talking about. The two pictures are my mom and sister wearing their hair naturally. They have dry, kinky type hair too (my sister’s is softer than my hair or my mom’s).

After using the Solia for a while I can say that I’ve been pleased with it’s quality. It heats up quickly, it is easy to clean, and it has true ceramic plates that don’t chip like others that I have seen. However, it is still a flat iron, and I believe that if you use any heated tool you need to exercise great caution with it so that you don’t damage your hair from excessive heat or overuse. I still have to use a pressing comb for detangling at the roots (because flat irons don’t detangle). And it leaves my hair with a flat look unlike the pressing comb which seems to leave waves in my hair. However, I feel that the flat iron does really work the oils into my hair. I use it at about 370 degrees.

The short answer to this question is:
It depends on how you press your hair.

The long answer to this question is:
The word pressing can mean different things if you ask different people. To me pressing means taking a heated hair appliance like a flat iron or a pressing comb and running it through the hair to straighten the hair. There are many factors involved in this process which will determine whether or not pressing is good for your hair.

Pressing Can Benefit Your Hair and Help It To Grow If:

1. You don’t press your hair at the highest temperature on your flat iron or pressing comb. High heat can permanently alter the protein bonds in your hair and cause it to lose it’s naturally curly texture when you wash it. When pressing your hair, you should use enough heat to straighten it until you wash it again, but not to the point of permanently changing the natural texture of your hair. If you are using that much heat, you are damaging your hair.

2. You don’t press your hair every day. Again, applying that much heat to your hair will in most cases cause permanent damage to your hair.

3. You don’t press relaxed hair. Hair that has been relaxed has already been weakened by the strong chemicals used on it. Adding heat to the mixture will cause the hair to weaken further.

4. You detangle your hair before you press it. If you detangle your hair before you press it, it will make the pressing comb go through your hair much easier and with much less damage than if you try to use the pressing comb to detangle your hair. I talk about how to detangle hair before pressing in my book Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair.

5. You use moisturizing hair care products to wash your hair and a thermal protectant, like Northwest Scents™ hair oil, while you are pressing your hair. I have found that one of the differences between hair that presses nicely, and hair that is brittle and breaks while being pressed, is the type of product used on the hair. If you use moisturizing products on your hair, then your hair will be smoother and softer after you press it. My experience is that when using natural products, like Northwest Scents™, the heat of the pressing comb causes the natural oils to penetrate the hair shaft which in turn causes the hair to be softer and more flexible. If you use harsh hair care products, like harsh shampoos which dry out your hair, or products made with lots of synthetic oils, these products will dry out your hair and contribute to breakage while you are pressing your hair.

6. You wear your hair so as not to pull it out. If you press your hair and then wear it tightly braided or pulled into a tight bun or ponytail, you will most likely cause hair breakage.

7. You use an electric tool. It is best to use an electric appliance for pressing your hair (an electric pressing comb or electric flat iron ) so you can regulate the temperature. Remember, you want to use enough heat to straighten your hair until the next wash, but not so much that you damage the protein structure.

8. You don’t get that burnt hair smell. If you smell your hair burning, you are using too much heat and you need to turn the temperature down.

At the suggestion of my mom, I decided to try pressing again. She let me know that it was a way to give my hair a sort of hot oil treatment. It would also help me detangle my hair and allow me to wear styles that wouldn’t pull at my hairline as much. Although I had never gotten good results with pressing I decided to take her advice. I was in the process of developing my own hair care products which I used exclusively on my hair. When I first pressed my hair after wearing it natural for so long, it was thin around my temples and the hair growing from my crown was so short that it couldn’t fit into the scrunchie at the back of my neck. Anyway, a new chapter was beginning for my hair.


Northwest Scents at Amazon.com



Northwest Scents Natural Black Hair Care Products at Amazon.com

J.D. Okahi Ojeikere – Photographs (at Amazon.com)



J.D. Okahi Ojeikere in his book "Photographs" documents some of the traditional hairstyles of Nigerian women.
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