For our lovely ladies with thick, curly, African hair, you know that hair relaxers are key to straightening out your beautiful, coarse curls. Sometimes you just want sleek, shiny hair.
Relaxers are a great alternative to in-salon keratin treatments because relaxers come at a fraction of the cost, so it’s a perfect option if you’re on a budget. Even if you’re not on a budget, sometimes the DIY-route is much more convenient and fun.
We have compiled our list of the best relaxers for black hair, or any woman with afro-textured hair, who wants to tame their curly tresses and achieve smooth, straight hair.
Best Relaxers for Black Hair Reviewed
1. PHYTO SPECIFIC No-Lye Relaxer
This no-lye relaxer contains natural ingredients and features an egg and soy-based formula. The soybean extract restructures the hair shaft so it turns your curly tresses into smooth ones. That coupled with wheat proteins, shiitake mushroom salt, and the egg, you’ll achieve the desired results while keeping your tresses strong and healthy.
It’s a five-step system, which includes a milky restructurer, a neutralizing and cleansing emulsion, an inductor, a pre-care balm, and the straightening cream. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before using the products.
It may be a little bit pricey, but hey, sometimes you gotta spend a little to get professional results. And believe us when we say that it is one-hundred percent worth it when you see the results of this permanent hair relaxer.
2. SoftSheen-Carson No-Lye Relaxer
If you’re on a budget, then this is a great option for you. This hair relaxer helps to preserve the five signs of healthy hair: moisture, shine, strength, softness, and body. It’s perfect for coarse, resistant hair and the results last up to six weeks.
Six amazing weeks with strong, sleek hair. Who wouldn’t want that?
On top of that, it’s infused with hair-loving ingredients, such as shea butter, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. All these work together to ensure that you have healthy, soft, and frizz-free hair.
The best part is that this product is perfect if you missed your appointment at the salon and work great if you’re looking to just touch-up your hair a bit. Did we mention that it’s super affordable? Yes? Well, it bears repeating because it’s truly an amazing product at an amazing price.
3. Luster’s Shortlooks Relaxer 3-n-1 Diamond Black
One of the top-rated hair relaxers on Amazon, this brand delivers gorgeous locks. Not only will this straighten out your curls, but it is also a semi-permanent black hair dye so it can color your hair, and it conditions your hair, all packed into one amazing product.
The relaxer is formulated without ammonia or peroxide, so it is completely safe for your tresses and your scalp. It is also made with shea butter to condition your hair to ensure it’s soft and healthy.
One thing to keep in mind is that this works best for shorter hair, up to four inches in length. So if you want to rock a cute pixie cut or a beautiful bob, Luster’s Shortlooks Relaxer will help you achieve the hairstyle of your dreams!
4. Africa’s Best Super No-Lye Dual Conditioning Relaxer System
Another affordable relaxer system, this product is made with olive oil to give your hair intense conditioning and silky smooth protection. It contains a load of natural herbal extracts, all from the Motherland of Africa.
When it comes to any product meant for Black women, we love to see a product that actually is made with ingredients used by African women. And this product delivers just that.
This system has everything you need: the creme relaxer, a deep conditioner pack, and the neutralizing shampoo. However, it does also include a color change activator, which allows your hair to temporarily change color to indicate when your locks are clean and free of any relaxer residue.
Why can’t every hair product have a feature like that? I personally think that would be amazing.
5. SoftSheen Carson Optimum Care Relaxer
This no-lye relaxer is perfect if you’ve struggled with breakage. It guarantees 90 percent less breakage, so you have stronger and healthier hair. The coconut oil in the formula replenishes moisture and keeps your hair smooth and shiny.
The kit includes a protective pre-treatment, conditioning relaxer cream & activator, reconstructor treatment, and neutralzing shampoo. You’ll also get a leave-in strengthener and whipped oil moisturizer with the kit.
What’s more, it’s the perfect relaxer if you have over-processed hair and want to give it some life again while still achieving the smoothness and sleekness of straight hair. It also works for all hair types, and not just black hair.
And the best part is that it’s super cheap, coming in at a great price on Amazon. It’s one of the top-rated brands on the market, with an impressive 4.5 out 5 tar on Amazon.
For those of you that love a product made with natural ingredients, this relaxer is the answer. It’s made with pure aloe vera gel to nourish and condition your hair.
It not only nourishes, conditions, and relaxers your resistant locks, but the formula also provides your hair with the special proteins it needs. This product also contains a color alert to let you know if there’s any relaxer residue in your hair.
The formula works best for normal to fine hair and there’s even one specifically for gray or white hair. If you choose the one for gray hair, the relaxer is also formulated with Gentle Treatment’s Yellow Out™ formula to keep the hair’s gorgeous silvery glow.
So even if you’re a mature, older woman, you can keep that natural gray hair and still rock it like you’re 21 with this relaxer.
7. ORS Olive Oil New Growth No-Lye Hair Relaxer
We all know that olive oil is an amazing ingredient when it comes to beauty, especially if we are talking about hair care. Olive oil is a natural healing elixir for your hair and scalp and this relaxer made sure to include this wonderful ingredient in it.
The natural fatty acids of the olive oil impart moisture directly into the scalp so it creates healthier and stronger hair. It also leaves hair softer and more manageable than ever before.
This one is perfect for shorter hair or doing quick touch-ups. It is super affordable, super easy, and you will absolutely love the superb results. It is highly rated on Amazon, with 4.4 out of 5 stars and you can order it in packs of one, two, six, or twelve.
Tips On Using Hair Relaxers
If you’re going to try a relaxer for the first time, don’t sweat it — we’ve got you covered! We’ve got some quick and helpful tips so that your first time using a hair relaxer treatment goes as smoothly as possible.
Do a strand test
Just like if you were dying your hair at home, you would do a small strand test before fully committing to putting color all over your hair. The same goes for a hair relaxer — test a small strand of hair before using it all over. Why? Because your hair may not react to the product well and can result in you damaging your hair or burning your scalp.
Follow the instructions
When it comes to using a hair relaxer, it is important that you follow the directions carefully for whichever brand or formula you choose. There are risks of burning your scalp or damaging your hair if you don’t use the product properly. Take your time and ensure that you are doing everything correctly. The last thing you want is to ruin your beautiful hair.
Don’t wash your hair before using
Relaxers work best when you haven’t washed your hair in a while. If you wash your hair before doing the treatment, the pores on your scalp will open up and release all those natural and protective oils, which can lead to the relaxer burning your scalp and hair. It is recommended that you don’t wash your hair for a week before using the relaxer, but you should wait, at minimum, three to four days.
Don’t do a relaxer treatment too soon after doing the first one
Most relaxers work to ensure that the results last up to six weeks or more. A general rule of thumb is that you don’t want to use a relaxer until your new hair starts to grow out. So don’t do another treatment until then or you’ll risk damaging your hair or scalp.
If you need to, ask for help
No shame in doing this treatment at home alone. Don’t be afraid to call a trusted friend or family member to help you out, especially if they’re a hairstylist! Also, use tools like Google or YouTube so you can be confident in doing your hair.
How to Find the Perfect Hair Relaxer
Not all relaxers are created equal — each has its pros and cons, though there are a few key things to consider before purchasing a kit.
A good relaxer won’t have any lye, which is a strongly alkaline solution that is used for washing or cleansing. The reason why you want a relaxer without any lye is that the lye can interfere with your hair and scalp’s natural PH balance.
This is especially important to consider if you have sensitive skin or scalp. A relaxer without lye can also greatly reduce the chance of burning of the scalp and reduce the amount of hair breakage.
Make sure the kit includes a neutralizer
Neutralizer works to restore the scalp and the hair’s PH balance to prevent any damage to your hair. With many relaxer kits, the neutralizer is in the shampoo.
Your hair type and hair color
There are millions of different hair products out there because they all take into consideration your desired look, your hair type, and your hair color. It’s important to look for relaxers suited for your hair.
Is it okay to use on color-treated hair? Will it work for your hair if it is prone to breakage? Considering these things will benefit you and your hair and will save your time, money, and maybe a little heartache.
Conditioner, conditioner, conditioner
For Afro-textured hair, any hair product you use needs to have conditioners in it. And when it comes to relaxers, they can be rough on the hair, so it’s important that the product you’re using includes conditioning ingredients. A few ingredients to look for are jojoba oil, avocado oil, and shea butter, all of which are proven to give your hair moisture and shine.
Beauty has a budget …
As always, be mindful of your budget. There are some amazing relaxers that can be found under $10. Or you can definitely invest a little more to get a little more oomph. Whatever suits your needs, you already know that we’ve listed ten incredible products all at different price points so you can find your favorite in no time.
There are many things to consider when you’re going the DIY-route of relaxing your natural, African curls and coils, but we hope that we’ve made it easier with our top seven relaxers for black hair. Which one are you going to try? Let us know in the comments below.