How to Press & Curl Thick Ethnic Hair

Although many people consider it somewhat traditional, if you have naturally curly or kinky hair, pressing and curling your hair is a great natural alternative to a perm or relaxer. Admittedly time-consuming, it does take some concentration. However, practice does make the process easier as you go along.

Wash and condition your hair with a moisturizing or vitamin-rich shampoo and conditioner. It is important to restore moisture to your hair whenever possible because of the heat involved in the straightening process.

Apply a heat protectant spray and comb hair to the ends with a wide-tooth comb. Blow your hair dry while combing through to remove tangles. Plug in an electronic pressing comb or place a manual pressing comb on the burner of a stove on high heat.

Part hair into four sections. Start with section at the bottom right. Pin up the remaining three sections. Make another part along the bottom hair line and pin up the remaining hair in that section.

Eliminate the extra heat from the pressing comb by gently blowing on it. Run the pressing comb through a 3-inch section of hair. Be sure to run the comb straight down to the end of the hair strand. Repeat until hair is smooth. Return the electronic pressing comb to a heat protected surface. A manual pressing comb should be returned to the stove burner. When done, make a new part and perform the same process for the rest of the section. Once the section is complete, continue this process in the remaining three sections. Take your time, and concentrate on each section to ensure that all hair gets straight and that you don't overprocess your hair.

Comb through all hair once the straightening is complete. Use the curling iron to curl hair. Place the top section (closest to the scalp) of a 2- to 3-inch section of hair between the clamps of the curling iron. Run the curling iron down to the end of the hair.

Hold the tip of the curling iron with the other hand. Roll the remaining hair around the curling iron. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and release. Repeat the process, working through the remaining sections of the hair.