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The 5 Best Hair Relaxers to Get Straight & Easy to Manage Hair

With the rise of the natural hair movement, more curly girls are shying away from using a hair relaxer. If you do feel you want one, there’s nothing to be ashamed about it, though. It’s your hair, so it’s your choice, girl!

While using this product is based on your personal preference and not other people’s opinions, there are certain guidelines you need to keep in mind to make sure that the hair relaxer you’ll choose won’t cause damage to your hair.

Here are some of them:

  • If you want to reduce the risk of hair damage, opt for the milder no-lye formulas.
  • For people with sensitive scalp, go for hair relaxers that contain different types of oils, shea butter, or aloe.
  • As much as possible, stick with hair relaxers with normal/regular strength to avoid hair damage.

Armed with this knowledge, we do not doubt that you’ll find the best hair relaxer for your needs! We have listed the top hair relaxers here to review and get the suitable one for you.

Product ImageSoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye RelaxeSee Price
Product ImageORS Olive Oil Relaxing Hair DyeSee Price
Product ImageSoftSheen Carson Lovely Healthy-Gloss Moisture RelaxerSee Price
Product ImageAffirm Moisture Plus Conditioning RelaxerSee Price
Product ImageMotions Classic Formula Hair RelaxerSee Price


How Do Hair Relaxers Work?

How does hair relaxer work

Hair relaxers work to change your hair’s structure, “relaxing it” from curly to straight. Hair relaxers contain strong chemicals that penetrate the hair follicles to alter its structure and break down the properties that make up curly hair.

The effects of this relaxing process usually last a month or longer before you need to use another hair relaxing product. Hair consists of both strong and weak bonds within the hair structure.

Heat can easily break down the weaker bonds, temporarily creating straight hair. Flat irons and hair dryers straighten your hair by breaking down these weaker bonds.

However, since these bonds are weak, they will go back to their normal state (curly) once exposed to water or humidity.

To have straight hair hold up to these elements, you will need a product to break down the stronger bonds. Once these bonds break, the hair will remain straight for an extended period, even when exposed to water and humidity.

But, since you cannot permanently change hair follicles, any new hair will grow out in its natural state. Eventually, your natural hair will overtake the relaxed hair, so you will need to re-apply the product to maintain relaxed hair.


Types Of Hair Relaxers

Different Types Of Hair Relaxers

There are two types of hair relaxers: ones with lye and ones without lye. Lye hair relaxers contain the chemical sodium hydroxide, and non-lye hair relaxers contain other chemicals like lithium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide.

Hair relaxers may also include various vitamins and nutrients to help lessen the product’s sometimes harsh effects. Before applying any hair relaxer, you will first need to apply a base to prepare your hair for the straightening process.

Some hair relaxers have this base mixed in with the relaxing chemicals; others require a separate base product. Be sure to check the packaging to determine if your chosen hair relaxer has a base in it or not.


Best Hair Relaxers

To make the search easier for you, we’ve decided to share some of the best products we’ve found in the market. If you’re ready, let’s get started!

1. Affirm Moisture Plus Conditioning Relaxer – Our Top Pick

If your hair is prone to dryness and damage or you have a sensitive scalp, you may want to check out the Avlon Affirm Moisture Plus Conditioning Relaxer.

Infused with Avlone’s well-known fiber strengthening complex, it can straighten the hair and improve its texture while strengthening it at the same time.


  • The relaxer doesn’t leave any residue or oil.
  • All inclusions have been pre-measured for your convenience.
  • It has a 9 relaxer cup system, which makes it easy to use.
  • The kit includes a sensitive scalp solution that would come in handy for people who want to protect their scalp.
  • It has a subtle yet pleasant scent.


  • The kit is expensive.
  • The relaxer is not suitable for thin and fine hair, as it may cause unwanted shedding.


2. Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson Defy Breakage No-lye Relaxer

The Optimum Care by SoftSheen promises not just to straighten your hair but also to reduce hair breakage in just one use. Its patented formula containing ceramide, it delivers hair strength-building packettes that can transform dry and over-processed hair to a healthy and beautiful one. With this defy breakage, no-lye relaxer, you can enjoy 90% less breakage.


  • The treatment involves 6 easy steps– protective pre-treatment, conditioning cream, reconstructive treatment, neutralizing and activator shampoo, and leave-in hair fortifier.
  • With its coconut oil content, the relaxer can replenish hair moisture and leave it soft and healthy after use.
  • Its effects last up to 6 weeks.
  • The product is affordable.


  • The ingredients are not suitable for thick hair.
  • It’s also not recommended for colored hair.


3. ORS Olive Oil Relaxing Hair Dye

From its name, the ORS Olive Oil Relaxing hair Dye contains ingredients that stimulate and nourish the root of the hair. These include Brazilian pequi oils, Mediterraneanoil, and African shea. With its formulation, it can help you achieve a silkier, straighter, smoother, and stronger hair.


  • This formulation includes plenty of nourishing ingredients such as castor oil, coconut oil, and hydrolyzed collagen.
  • It has a good blend of natural ingredients.
  • This is recommended for fine-medium hair.
  • It doesn’t contain lye.
  • It has a long-lasting effect.


  • It’s not recommended for curly hair.
  • Upon application, there might be a tingling and burning sensation.


4. SoftSheen Carson Lovely Healthy-Gloss Moisture Relaxer

Featuring three new ingredients, this kit comes with their exclusive Silk Keratin Serum Healthy Gloss-5 Hair Cream and Moisture Conditioner. They work together to produce sleek and shiny hair with the right amount of body, smoothness, and softness.

Take advantage of this amazing combination of ingredients, and you can enjoy moisturized and glossy hair with amazing volume!


  • It’s formulated to preserve the 5 natural signs of healthy hair– moisture, body, strength, shine, and body.
  • It has a moisture-sealing conditioner formulated to revive and replenish the hydration of dry and damaged hair.
  • The formulation contains all-natural oils that nourish and protect the hair.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • The content of the relaxer can last for up to 6 weeks.


  • The amount of shampoo included in the kit is not enough.
  • The relaxer is difficult to wash off.
  • It’s not the best relaxer for long hair.


5. Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer

Specially formulated for medium-textured and non-resistant hair, the Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer contains cationic conditioners that lock moisture into the hair strands. These ensure that the hair will remain protected and hydrated during the relaxing process.


  • This formulation is extremely hydrating and nourishing because of its argan oil, coconut oil, and shea butter content.
  • Since this is a no-base formula, you can skip the prepping and go straight to relaxing your hair.
  • This is very affordable.


  • It won’t yield the desired results in coarse and thick hair.
  • The product is not formulated for colored hair.


The Verdict

You must choose a relaxer that will work well on your hair type. That’s why our recommendations would be based on the type of hair you have.

If you have sensitive scalp and hair, the Affirm Moisture Plus Conditioning Relaxer is the best option because of its mild yet effective formulation. On the other hand, we recommend the Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer for medium-textured hair.


When you have naturally curly hair, you may want to change it to give yourself a different look. Perhaps your curly hair is unmanageable that no amount of styling can tame. Or maybe you don’t like how curly hair looks on you. Whatever the reason, you can semi-permanently straighten your hair by using a hair relaxer.

Hair relaxers work to break down parts of your hair to straighten it for an extended period, usually a few weeks. Your hair will remain straight even after washing, working out, and even in the worst humidity.

There are many different types of hair relaxers on the market today, and no two are created equal. Some of the best hair relaxers may work better for your particular hair needs, and some may not work for you at all. So, how do you decide which one is best to tame your curls? Here is all you need to know about hair relaxers.


How To Choose A Hair Relaxer

How To Choose A Hair Relaxer

Figuring out which hair relaxer to buy depends on your hair type, structure, and needs. It also depends on how sensitive your skin and scalp are. Using a hair relaxer can help tame even the curliest of hair. Straightening your hair can also eliminate frizz, making hair easier to style and maintain.

Lye hair relaxers are appealing because they work quickly but may not last as long and can be very harsh. But, if you have a sensitive scalp, reach for a non-lye hair relaxer, but be aware that it may dry out your hair.

Looking at and comparing the ingredients of each type of hair relaxer you are considering will be pivotal in deciding which one is best for you and your hair. If you have questions about different types of hair relaxers, consider going to a salon for the first application.

A professional stylist can help you navigate the different chemicals and weigh each one’s pros and cons as they relate to your specific hair. They can also teach you the proper way to apply the hair relaxer to minimize damage to both your scalp and your hair.


Side Effects Of Hair Relaxers

Since the ingredients found in hair relaxers are strong enough to change your hair’s structure chemically, they often come with some potentially harmful side effects. But, keep in mind different types of hair relaxers will have a different impact on different types of hair.

It’s essential to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work for your specific hair. Applying strong chemicals on your hair can cause it to become weak and break easily. Hair can become more fragile the longer you use hair relaxers.

The chemicals in hair relaxers are sometimes so harsh that they can cause burns on your scalp. These burns can be excruciating and take some time to go away. Other problems with using hair relaxers include scalp irritation, dandruff, and even hair loss.

In some cases, these side effects get so severe that you may have to see a doctor. It’s essential to pay attention to these side effects, and if they get worse, it’s best to stop using the products until symptoms subside or until you can consult with a doctor.


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How To Keep Hair Healthy

How To Keep Relaxed Hair Healthy

Caring for your hair does not stop once you use the hair relaxer. It’s important to use products to boost your hair’s health after relaxing it. Remember, hair relaxers break down bonds in your hair, and this can include stripping your hair of vitamins and proteins.

Developing a routine to keep your hair nourished will lead to shiny and more manageable hair with less chance of breakage. Like different hair relaxers affect different hair differently; other post-straightening products will also have differing effects.

Be Mindful Of Washing

After relaxing your hair, don’t reach for just any shampoo. Instead, look for shampoos that are made especially for relaxed hair. Specially-formulated shampoos will work to condition your hair to prevent it from drying out too much and from breakage. Also, look for a shampoo that is free from drying ingredients, like alcohol.

If you have a shampoo with a moisturizer in it, it’s ok to wash your hair every week. If you don’t, then try to wash your hair every two weeks to prevent more damage. Wet hair is weaker hair, so washing your hair too often can leave it prone to breakage.

This hair washing schedule may take some fine-tuning to get to the right balance, so make sure to pay attention to how your hair responds to washing and how it feels afterward.


Condition, Condition, Condition

Hair straighteners strip vitamins and proteins from your hair as they work to alter its chemical structure. Without these vitamins and proteins, hair can become dry and weak.

Using a good conditioner on your relaxed hair will help restore these vital vitamins and leave your hair looking healthier and shinier. If you are using a shampoo that already has a conditioner, you are all set.

If those products aren’t giving you enough moisture, then look for a separate conditioner and use it after every time you wash your hair. You can also try a leave-in conditioner for maximum moisture. Natural ingredients to look for when choosing a conditioner include coconut oil and Aragon.


Limit Heat

Heat is similar to water when it comes to hair – it makes hair weak and prone to breakage. When you are styling your hair after using a hair relaxer, try to avoid styling tools with high heat, like a curling iron. If you choose to use a heated styling tool, try turning the heat down to limit how hot your hair gets.


Trim Split Ends

Dry and damaged hair can split, causing unsightly split ends, which can prevent your hair from growing. Consistently trimming your split ends will not only help your hair grow but also makes it stronger and healthier.


To Relax Or Not To Relax

Deciding to use a hair relaxer on your curly hair is a tough one with pros and cons. Positives of using hair relaxers include taming frizzy, out-of-control hair, saving time by cutting down on styling time, as well as boosting self-confidence.

On the flip side, there are some drawbacks to using hair relaxers. Using any type of hair relaxer can cause severe side effects like burns and irritation. Relaxing your hair also takes commitment because you need to re-apply the relaxer every few weeks and maintain a consistent hair regime between applications to boost your hair’s health.

Remember, different types of hair relaxers work differently for everyone, so if you try one product and find that it doesn’t work, you should try another one. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the exact products that give you the look and feel you want without destroying your hair.

Another aspect to keep in mind is your hair once you no longer want to relax it. Since hair relaxers use chemicals, your hair will need some time to recover from hair relaxation. Sticking to a hair care routine will help restore your hair to its once-healthy curly state.

Photo of author

Janella Domingo

Janella is a registered pharmacist with over 7 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As part of the Hot Styling Tool Guide Team, her responsibility is to check out and analyze the different ingredients of haircare products to ensure that all the product reviews in our site are accurate, fact-based, and unbiased.