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Best Relaxers for Coarse Hair in 2023 – Our Top 8 Picks

For most women, the best way to tame coarse hair is by using a hair relaxer. Hair relaxers were developed to divide or break down the disulfide bonds in our hair’s cortex layer. By doing so, these can straighten curly and coarse hair.

However, it can be challenging to find the best relaxers for coarse hair as some relaxers tend to cause more harm than good. This is the reason why we decided to write this buying guide.


Best Hair Relaxers for Coarse Hair

Before we dive into the best relaxers for coarse hair, let’s talk about the considerations you should keep in mind first. These are as follows:

If you have regular hair, choose a no-lye relaxer as its pH is nearer to our hair’s pH level so it will do less damage. However, this tends to promote calcium build-up. To combat this, use the relaxer with a clarifying shampoo.

  • If you have a sensitive scalp, choose a relaxer that contains natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or sage that can soothe and minimize scalp irritation.
  • Since you have coarse hair, choose a hair relaxer with super strength.

With that covered, it’s time for us to explore the different relaxers for coarse hair that you can find in the market. Here they are:

1. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer

SoftSheen—Carson Hair Relaxer is a No-lye relaxer that promises to preserve all 5 signs of healthy hair—moisture, strength, softness, shine, and body. It contains shea butter which can soften and tame coarse hair.



  • This comes in two strengths—normal and super strength.
  • It also has Jojoba Oil and avocado oils that can help maintain hair body.
  • The relaxer comes with a post-treatment that is infused with proteins that maintain hair strength.
  • It also includes a recovery shine cream that’s infused with coconut oils.
  • The Recharge Moisture Mask comes with castor oil to prevent hair dryness.



  • It will take you too long to wash out the relaxer.
  • This may strip off hair color.
  • The relaxer is too thick and hard to distribute on the hair.


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

This is another hair relaxer from SoftSheen Carson, and this one is known for its extreme conditioning effects. This is because it’s infused with coconut oil and strengthening ceramide. It also comes with whipped oil moisturizer, which delivers 90% less breakage.



  • This only takes 6 steps to relax your hair.
  • It comes in a cream formulation for easy use.
  • This doesn’t contain lye.
  • It’s affordable.
  • This is infused with patented strengthening ceramide.



  • This isn’t recommended for bleached and colored hair.
  • It’s difficult to mix the activator with the cream evenly.


3. ORS Olive Oil Zone Relaxer Kit

The ORS Olive Oil Relaxer Kit is a type of relaxer specially designed for targeted touch-ups. This is the best option you have if you want to straighten a small section of your hair like the edges of your hair or the hair in your side and back.



  • This is free of dairy.
  • It’s recommended for all hair textures.
  • This is infused with olive oil which protects hair from damage.
  • The rich crème formula ensures easy application.
  • This comes with shampoo and conditioner.



  • One sachet does not have enough content to straighten the entire hair.
  • This only has a few reviews.


4. TCB No Base Creme Hair Relaxer with Protein

This no base crème hair relaxer is one of the easiest relaxers to use as it only requires one step. If you’re in a hurry, this is one of the best options that you can use.



  • This was developed for use by licensed cosmetologists.
  • The relaxer is infused with DNA and protein to strengthen and nourish the hair.
  • The relaxer comes in a durable plastic tub packaging.
  • It comes in a super-strength formulation.



  • This contains lye.
  • It’s difficult to remove from the hair.


5. Revlon Professional Relaxer Super Conditioning Cream

The Revlon Professional Relaxer is a no-base formula that’s specially designed for coarse hair. This conditioning cream is fast and easy to use so you can straighten your coarse hair no matter how busy you are!



  • This removes hair frizz.
  • You only need to leave this in your hair for a few minutes.
  • No mixing needed.
  • The effects last long.



  • This contains lye and other strong chemicals.
  • The new formulation is not as effective as the original.


6. MO33815 Motions Classic Lye Relaxer Formula

If you’re worried about dry hair, the Motions Classic Relaxer formula is a great product to check out. This formulation contains a good blend of emollients and moisturizing ingredients that can prevent hair dryness.



  • It contains coconut oil which deeply conditions and moisturizes the hair.
  • The formula also includes Argan oil which keeps hair shiny.
  • This also has shea butter which protects and strengthens hair.
  • The use of this formula no longer requires mixing.
  • It’s affordable.



  • This is not readily available in beauty stores.
  • It leaves a strong smell that lasts for days.
  • The formulation may be too strong for the skin, so you need to wear gloves.


7. PHYTO SPECIFIC Index 2 Botanical No-Lye Relaxer

The Phyto Specific Index 2 Botanical Relaxer is an award-winning no-lye relaxer with carefully chosen naturally derived ingredients that can preserve hair strength and elasticity. Its egg and soy-based formula are odorless and suitable for sensitive scalps.


  • Its formulation is free from parabens, talc, silicones, phthalates, and many more.
  • This is also cruelty-free.
  • The relaxer has received various beauty awards from 2017 Instyle Best beauty Awards, Marie Claire, Allure, Elle, Star People Products, and many more.
  • It contains soybean extracts that restructure hair shafts so you can enjoy straighter hair for longer.
  • It also has wheat proteins which strengthen and repair hair strands.


  • Some of the products contain alcohol which may dry the hair.
  • It also contains artificial colorants.


8. Hawaiian Silky No Base Relaxer

If you’re afraid of the burning sensation that is commonly felt with some relaxers’ application, you may want to try the Hawaiian Relaxer. This formulation has protective oil blends that coat the scalp and prevent it from burning.



  • This contains keratins and vitamins for nourished and stronger hair.
  • The company offers 100% satisfaction moneyback guarantee to buyers.
  • This is made in USA.
  • It’s manufactured in a facility that strictly follows good manufacturing practices (GMP).



  • The packaging breaks easily.
  • This may cause hair breakage.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the responses to the most commonly asked questions regarding hair relaxers:

Q1. How Long Do Hair Relaxers Last?

Ans. How long a relaxer lasts can vary, and it depends on your hair type. A relaxer will typically leave your hair straight for 6 to 8 weeks. Relaxing your hair is not a permanent fix, and you will need to get touch-ups from time to time


Q2. Can Hair Relaxer Kill Lice?

Ans. There is some limited research that suggests that the chemicals in a relaxer can kill lice.

However, it is not advised to do so as relaxers can be dangerous to children. Relaxers can cause headaches, itching, burning, redness, and even nausea.


Q3. Are Hair Relaxers Safe?

Ans. Relaxers are safe when professional hairstylists take the necessary precautions when applying the treatment. The chemicals in relaxers are powerful and can easily penetrate your hair, causing damage to your strand’s chemical structure.

You will want to be very careful not to cause scalp irritation as the chemicals in relaxers are notorious for this when not applied correctly. It is crucial to follow the instruction manual when putting in a relaxer.


Q4. How Do Hair Relaxers Work?

Ans. Relaxers use an assortment of powerful chemicals to straighten curls by breaking the disulfide bonds found in the cortex layer of the strand. These bonds become reshaped and reformed as the hair stays in a straightened pattern.

Furthermore, the cortex layer under your cuticle consists of twisted protein strains; this is the layer that relaxers work within.


Q5. Does Hair Relaxer Damage Hair?

Ans. Relaxers are an assortment of chemicals designed to change the pattern of your hair from curly to straight, which means that the ingredients are powerful enough to break down and reconfigure your hair strands.

Consequently, if relaxers get misused, your hair can suffer significant damage. Relaxers can leave your hair weak, prone to breakage while causing itching and burning as well.

At worst, they can lead to hair loss. Furthermore, never apply relaxers to hair that is already damaged and weak.


Q6. Do Hair Relaxers Cause Fibroids?

Ans. While there has been no proven direct link for the increased frequency of women with fibroids who use relaxers, there has been some research that found a correlation between the two.

A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology, conducted in 2012, stated that there was a risk associated with using fibroids and using hair relaxers.


Q7. What Does Hair Relaxer Do to Curly Hair?

Ans. Hair relaxers straighten curly hair by breaking the disulfide bonds found in the cortex layer of hair. These bonds are then reformed as the hair stays in a straightened pattern.

Relaxers will hold this straight pattern for 6 to 8 weeks at which time your hair will require a touch-up.


Q8. Are There Any Natural Hair Relaxers?

Ans. The simple answer is no. There are no naturally occurring chemical-free products which possess the power to break down disulfide bonds found within your hair.

Therefore, the only way to straighten highly textured hair is through chemical means.


Q9. Can I Use a Hair Relaxer While Pregnant?

Ans. The evidence in this regard has been inconclusive. Essentially there is no evidence to suggest that relaxers are harmful to your pregnancy in any way.

On the other hand, there’s no evidence to suggest that relaxers are entirely safe for your pregnancy as well.


Q10. Can Hair Relaxer Be Used on Caucasian Hair?

Ans. Anyone who chooses to use a relaxer will ultimately straighten their hair. The only prerequisite is that you have a curly hair pattern, to begin with.

In short, you can use a relaxer regardless of your race or ethnicity; if you have tight curls and wish to straighten them, then a relaxer will do the job.


Q11. Can Hair Relaxer Cause Cancer or Miscarriage?

Ans. There have been recent studies that have linked hair straightening chemicals found in relaxers to breast cancer. There’s a 60% increased risk of cancer for some women who use them.

There is no definitive evidence that relaxers are harmful to pregnancies. There is no evidence or studies that show that relaxers cause miscarriages.


Q12. Can Hair Relaxer Cause Permanent Hair Loss That Leads to Baldness?

Ans. If used improperly, hair relaxers can indeed cause permanent hair loss. Relaxers contain very powerful and harsh chemicals such as lye, which can cause chemical burns to the scalp and even to the face if they come in contact with it.

Your hair will fall out as a result. To avoid these kinds of injuries follow the manufacturer’s instructions entirely.


Q13. Can I Use a Hair Relaxer for Waves?

Ans. To achieve waves, you would opt for a texturizer instead of a hair relaxer. A hair relaxer intends to straighten the hair, and the only way that you may end up with waves is if you don’t allow the treatment to stay in your hair long enough. That may render your tresses a bit wavy instead of bone straight.

A texturizer is a chemical treatment that seeks to loosen your natural curl, so the outcome will depend on how tight your natural curls are before the process.


Q14. How Often Can I Use a Hair Relaxer?

Ans. After getting a relaxer, it’s recommended that you wait about three months in between touch-ups. It is at this point that people will have had a significant amount of new growth.

That will reduce the chances of the relaxer overlapping with the previous one. Overlapping relaxers leads to overprocessing the previously relaxed strands of hair.


Q15. What to do if Hair Relaxer Burns my Scalp?

Ans. If you’ve suffered a burned scalp from a relaxer, use Aloe Vera Gel as a remedy to heal your scalp.

Rub a modest amount on your scalp daily, and your scalp will begin to heal quickly. Aloe Vera is known for its uncanny healing properties.


Q16. Does Hair Relaxer Expire?

Ans. Hair relaxers contain a chemical called sodium hydroxide. This chemical has a shelf life of one and a half years.

If a relaxer gets used after the expiration of its shelf life the user may get unwanted results. That is because the original formula would have gotten compromised over time.


Q17. Does Hair Relaxer Straighten Hair?

Ans. Hair relaxers straighten kinky and curly hair. It does this by breaking down the disulfide bonds in your hair allowing your curly hair to fall into a straight pattern and remain that for an extended time. A hair relaxer will straighten your hair.


Q18. Is Olive Oil Good as a Hair Relaxer?

Ans. You may be able to find olive oil relaxers, which use olive oil to condition and nourish your hair while you’re undergoing a relaxer treatment.

These types of relaxers tend to have no lye, or sodium hydroxide, which is the active ingredient in most hair relaxers.

Some olive oil-based relaxers claim to be chemical-free, which aren’t as effective for straightening, while some others contain other harsh chemicals.


Q19. Is Keratin a Hair Relaxer?

Ans. A keratin treatment is not a relaxer. However, it is a smoothing treatment that places hydrolyzed keratin deep into your cuticle. The Keratin is then bonded to the cuticle with a flat iron to relax the strands of hair at the sub-cuticle layer.


Q20. Are Hair Relaxers Only for Afro Hair?

Ans. No, hair relaxers can get used by anyone with kinky or curly hair who wishes to straighten their hair. Relaxers are effective on hair of all kinds just as long as it’s curly.


Q21. Do Hair Relaxers Contain Formaldehyde?

Ans. Some relaxers do contain formaldehyde. So if you wish to avoid this chemical, check the contents of the relaxer before purchasing.



The effects of a hair relaxer may vary from one person to another. That’s why you must perform a strand test first before you use to apply the relaxer on your entire hair.

To minimize the damaging effects of hair relaxer, the best thing you can do is choose one with an all-natural formulation like the Phyto Specific Index 2 Botanical Relaxer. Aside from having no harsh chemicals, this has won many awards too, so you’re sure that it has already been tried and tested.

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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.