Turning curly hair into sleek and straight is a daunting task. The most obvious option is to use a flat iron or blow drier on a daily bases, sometimes for an hour a day. Then there’s the option to get semi-permanent or keratin treatments at the salon, but that can be expensive. Now, don’t you wish there was a simpler alternative? Something that doesn’t require a visit to the salon and daily maintenance?
A keratin treatment is a long-term commitment, whereas daily heat straightening is damaging in the long run. Your best at-home option is a hair relaxer. What a hair relaxer does is it chemically alters your hair’s structure. It is either a lotion or a cream with a very potent formula that leaves hair straight for about six to eight weeks.
This is our list of best hair relaxers you can buy on Amazon for an affordable price. So, don’t worry about pesky curls, as these formulas are strong enough to de-curl all hair textures to make your strands straight and silky.
What is a hair relaxer?
A hair relaxer is a cream or lotion that makes curly hair straight and sleek. Basically, it loosens hair’s natural curl pattern. It is a way for women with curly hair to make the hair “relax” or lose its curl for several weeks at a time. A hair relaxer penetrates the hair cuticle and shaft and loosens the curls.
So, if you are sick of your curls and want smooth, straight looking hair, try one of the hair relaxers on our list.
This type of product is not for everyone. After all, curly hair is beautiful. However, many women want straight hair to make styling easier. Keep in mind that hair needs lots of maintenance, especially when you use hair relaxers. There are many pre and post-treatments to help hair stay healthy and keep its straightness.
Who is the best candidate for a relaxer?
As I mentioned above, hair relaxing is not for all women. It is useful for women who don’t want to wear their hair naturally curly. Hair relaxers also help you style your hair more easily. If you have trouble detangling your hair after washing it, a relaxer will make it smooth and combable.
Finally, if you live in a hot and humid climate, a relaxer can make it easier to maintain beautifully styled locks. In a humid climate, hair relaxers are often the only way to avoid frizzy, wavy, and curly hair.
Beware, once you start hair relaxer treatments, you can’t go back to your naturally curly hair anymore. Therefore, only choose this type of treatment if you’re committed to straight hair.
Now that you’ve decided you want to try a hair relaxer check out our list of budget-friendly products that actually work.
Best Overall Kit: Avlon Affirm Fiberguard Sensitive Scalp Relaxer 9 Kit
For dry, damaged, and colored hair, a hair relaxer can seem like the ultimate enemy. But, it doesn’t have to be that way with this kit. It is suitable for people with a sensitive scalp, so it works well on all types of curly hair. The main reason this product is excellent is that it comes with an adjustable formula that allows you to use as much or as little as your hair needs.
The formula is infused with strengthening polymers that help hair stay straight for longer. The formula also contains moisturizing ingredients so that your hair strands are infused with moisture. Finally, this formula works to help your hair retain its elasticity post-relaxer. Therefore, there’s no need to worry about dry or damaged hair.
- Hair retains most of its elasticity and body, so the damage is minimal.
- This formula is customizable – you can add as much or as little activator as desired, depending on the strength your hair needs.
- The product is affordable and comes with clear instructions as well as a measuring cup for precision.
- Since this is a no-lye product, there will be some calcium build-up on the scalp, and you have to use a chelating shampoo.
Best for Sections: ORS Olive Oil Zone Relaxer Kit
This is the ideal product to use if you want to straighten specific sections or areas of your hair. It is designed to be used on even hard to reach parts of your hair. Therefore, you can zone-in on the sides of your head, the edges, and the back of the scalp area. This way, you can use this formula to straighten only strips or parts of your hair for a cool and edgy look.
You’ll be glad to know this product is made with olive oil, an oil that is rich in fatty acids. It has nourishing and conditioning properties to help eliminate the dryness in your strands. Consider this to be the most nourishing relaxer because it also contains other hydrating oils like jojoba. The kit includes an olive oil shampoo, conditioner, and a setting mousse to give you healthy-looking hair.
- This formula is ultra-nourishing since it contains olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and honey.
- The formula is thick and creamy, which makes it easy to apply.
- You can use it for straightening specific areas of your hair for unique hair-dos. It is especially great for use on short hairstyles.
- Some customers note that this product gives an intense burning sensation.
Best Price and Value: Revlon Professional Conditioning Creme Relaxer Regular
This big tub of product is affordable, and it is very effective. It is created for normal to medium textured hair, and it is the best value hair relaxer out there. This formula does contain lye, so you can be sure it acts potently on hair strands, turning them soft and straight. The best part about this formula is that it is fast-acting so that you can relax your hair at home in no time.
This product should be applied to hair that has not recently been colored. It is so easy to use because it is a no-base formula, which means that the relaxer doesn’t need to be mixed with other chemicals before use. As well, you don’t need to use any priming hair care products; you can use the relaxer directly.
- Revlon is a popular drugstore brand with very affordable hair relaxers. This costs around 10-15 dollars.
- The formula leaves hair silky smooth, so your newly straight strands look healthy.
- If used in combination with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, your hair will stay straight for a long time.
- This product does not work on bleached, colored, and tinted hair, so it can only be used on natural hair colors.
Best Texturizer: Linange Shea Butter Cream Relaxer
Looking for straight hair without sacrificing all the hair’s natural texture? Try this nourishing hair relaxer from Linange. This is a two-in-one product since it straightens as well as texturizes your hair. This product is ideal if you don’t want to remove your curls completely. Instead, this cream will re-texturizes soft curls, which makes them look subtle. So, if you don’t want pin-straight locks, this is a great option.
The product is formulated with moisturizing shea butter, which helps fight dryness and breakage. Therefore once you use this relaxer, you are going to have healthy-looking hair that doesn’t look lifeless or flat. Plus, you don’t need to use an activator with this product.
- The product doesn’t have that strong chemical scent like many other hair relaxers. Therefore it doesn’t irritate most users.
- Since the formula is infused with shea butter, it doesn’t destroy your roots and leaves hair looking hydrated.
- The effects of this cream are long-lasting; therefore, you don’t need to re-apply frequently.
- This is one of the most expensive hair relaxers on Amazon and costs over $45.
Best Mild Product: Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer Mild
If you have normal to medium curly hair, you probably don’t need an extra-strength formula to straighten your locks. By using this gentle, mild formula, you are not damaging your hair. The formula is excellent because it contains coconut oil, shea butter, and argan oil. These nourishing ingredients latch onto the hair follicles and condition them inside and out, so you can have shiny, smooth hair.
This is a no base formula so you can skip the prep and get straight to hair relaxing. The cream is easy to use and apply as it covers the hair strands completely. You’ll notice how your hair is losing its curl soon after you use the product. Don’t forget to use a neutralizing shampoo to wash out all of the relaxer.
- This formula is very hydrating and conditioning because it contains argan oil, shea butter, and coconut oil.
- Even though the product is labeled as mild, it is highly effective at straightening.
- This relaxer is cheap and suitable for all budgets as it costs around $10.
- If you have thick hair or dense curls, this product does not give effective results.
Best for Touch-Ups: Dr. Miracle’s New Growth Thermaceutical Intensive No-lye Relaxer Regular Kit
Are you looking for a hair relaxer meant for touch-ups? Here is a no-lye relaxer that straightens, smooths, detangles, and softens your hair. It is a perfect option for you if you want to minimize hair damage and choose a safer formula. This formula minimizes hair-breakage and brittleness. It is ideal if you are looking for a very natural look.
Experts recommend that you use this product for touch-ups every two or so months. It works well on stubborn curly spots at the root of the hair. Since it’s not a damaging formula, you can use it confidently on the roots and around the hairline.
- The ingredients in this product maximize the health of your hair follicles and scalp.
- This product is cheap and costs under $10.
- The formula is made with many natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, aloe vera, soy protein, and vitamins.
- The product comes in a small container, so it is only enough for touch-ups, so you can’t cover your whole hair if you have medium to long lengths.
Best for Sensitive Scalp: Syntonics Botanical Conditioning Creme Relaxer
If you suffer from a sensitive scalp and hate hair relaxers because they burn and irritate your skin, try this one. It is a lye-free formula, targeted explicitly for sensitive scalp. What’s great about this product is that it contains a variety of natural ingredients such as green tea, aloe vera, and calendula. Also, it is free from parabens and artificial coloring, which is known to irritate the skin.
This product is considered a gentle hair relaxer. Therefore it doesn’t have as many side effects as regular hair relaxers. In addition to straight hair, this formula leaves locks looking shiny and sleek long after it is applied. If you are concerned about dry or brittle hair, don’t fret because this formula leaves you with soft and silky strands.
- The formula is free from harsh chemicals. It is made with a balanced sodium hydroxide formula and combined with nourishing botanicals.
- It contains natural ingredients like calendula, aloe vera, and green tea.
- The product doesn’t burn and irritate the scalp.
- This product is more expensive than some of the others on the list. It costs approximately $34 for 4lbs.
Best Non-Irritant: Softsheen Carson Precise No-Lye Original Relaxer
Say goodbye to scalp irritation with this innovative formula from Softsheen. This is a no-lye formula that is also free from sodium-hydroxide. It works to penetrate the hair strands and condition them as it makes them relax. Therefore, this product gets rid of flyaway hairs, split ends, and other types of damage.
The conditioner is powerful. Thus it nourishes and makes hair look and feel silky soft. As your hair is straightening, there is no harsh chemical scent, so you can forget about that awful chemical scent you’re used to. Note that you need to use a neutralizer shampoo when you use this hair relaxer, and it is not included.
- This is a cheap hair relaxer that women love for the reason that it is great on all types of hair.
- It is excellent for dense curls, knots, kinky hair, and even fuzzy strands.
- This kit contains enough product for two applications, so it’s excellent value for your money.
- The product doesn’t irritate or cause allergic reactions for most people.
- It is less effective if you use it on grey hairs, as it has a tendency to turn green.
What treatments should I apply post-relaxer?
When a hair relaxer is applied to your scalp and hair, it can cause damage. You may feel a burning sensation, scabbing, and an itchy scalp. This is because hair relaxer is harsh on the hair. Just imagine that these products have to change the hair inside out and modify the hair’s structure.
The number one tip is to apply a nourishing hair mask post-relaxer. Make sure to choose a hair mask that calms and soothes your scalp. As well, you can add some hair oils which nourish the hair strands and make it shiny and sleek.
Finally, you can add some apple cider vinegar if you want immediate relief from the scabbing and dry, itchy patches on the scalp.
There are many DIY hair rituals and treatments you can do at home after using a relaxer. It’s affordable and saves you the hassle of costly salon visits.
Are hair relaxers safe to use?
In general, hair relaxers are tested to meet certain health and safety standards. You can use them to straighten your hair at home without worrying too much. However, as with all chemical products, there are certain risks involved. Lye is a common ingredient that is proven to irritate the scalp.
Here are some facts about hair relaxers to consider before using them.
- Hair relaxers are known to irritate the scalp and the skin. As a result, some users may experience rashes, scabbing, allergic reactions, itchiness, and dryness.
- These products can aggravate or activate asthma or cause a cough for people with sensitivity to chemicals.
- Some relaxers have been linked to hormonal imbalances in the female body.
- Straightening your hair causes the hair to become weak and fragile, which can result in some hair loss and breakage.
But, even though there are risks, it is still okay to use hair relaxers if you truly desire straight hair. At the end of the day, we all know how difficult styling kinky curls can be.
The Bottom Line
Before using a hair relaxer product, make sure you are well-informed and prepared for the outcome. You may never be able to go back to your natural curls in their original state. These hair relaxers are used to give you pin-straight hair that is easy to style, but the hair needs some extra TLC after a treatment. If you use high-quality shampoos, conditioners, and masks, your hair will look healthy, shiny, and vibrant.