Ask an Expert: Hot Combing/Pressing Your Hair

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.

Hot Pressing CombAnswer: Hi. My goal in writing about hot combing is not to convince 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 synthetic 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 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 irreparable 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 nurturing 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 Natural Black Hair Care and click on the link titled “Natural Hair Styling Ideas” you will see what I’m talking about. The two pictures at the top 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).

-Ololade Franklin, My Black Hair Journey

  7 comments for “Ask an Expert: Hot Combing/Pressing Your Hair

  1. bodytreats
    March 13, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I enjoyed your blog. It is power-packed with loads of useful information! If you allow me, I will introduce and talk about your blog in my post (of one these days) – it is always great to share good beauty information around!

    Hear from you babe. :)

  2. TP
    July 2, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I got my very first perm when I was 19 and loved how it bounced and flowed down my back. But, as so many other people have expressed, the maintenance has been a nightmare (costs, long salon visits, etc.) So, eventually I cut my salon visits down from every two weeks to once every two or three months.

    During this time I noticed that my new growth was very wavy and pretty. I liked how it felt to the touch. So, in February of this year (2008), I decided to go ahead and go perm-less. Now at five months in, the growth has really taken over. I noticed that the hair around the edges is starting to grow back in and my hair feels softer and has nice waves at the roots. But that’s about it.

    It won’t lay down, no matter what I try (grease, gel, water). And it is getting harder and harder to get a comb through it. I’m tempted to buy a pressing comb and just wrestle my hair that way, but I’ve heard that this will only damage it.

    I really need to find a way for my hair to look nice as I go through this transition, especially since my job requires a professional look at all times. What would you suggest?

  3. jan
    August 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I have grown my hair out from a relaxer twice. For me the best option for the transition was braiding my with extra hair. Human hair requires more matinance but the type of hair you was would be a personal choice. It can be braided and kept in from 6-8 weeks and your hair should grow a little faster with the braids in. the only other option is to cut it and where a short natural style. Again it’s up to your personal preference…. Good Luck

  4. Rose Perry
    October 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Hi… i straighten my hair like before i go to school in the morning and by the time i get to school it is poofy and not straight anymore.. it makes me so mad… i was wondering if you could help me and give me some tips on what to do with my hair…. : )

  5. January 11, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    hey there, quick question… what was the african-american’s name who invented the pressing comb & what year was she born and when she died. I’m just trying to do some history.
    bone straight,
    vivian thomas

  6. Ali G
    October 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Hmmm………………. I would just like to say a I don’t believe a flat iron gets hotter than a pressing comb. Leave that comb on the stove long enough and those teeth will turn bright red. Plus a pressing comb does ge your hair very straight. It’s all in technique and using the back of that comb for a nice straight sleek look. Plus it also depends on hair type.

  7. Tamara Hibbert
    January 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Has anyone used a good old fashion Pressing/Hot/Straightening Comb to get at the hair root and straightening the hair when using the Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatment

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