11 Best Relaxers For Black Hair 2020; For Afro 4a, 4b, And 4c Hair Types
Here at That Sister we’re supported by you, our sisters. If you buy via a link on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This doesn’t cost you anything & it doesn’t influence the products we talk about.
If you’re looking for a new relaxer, you’re in luck sister!
As a woman with relaxed hair, I’ve been in the situation where I’ve looked for a relaxer that doesn’t damage black hair.
I know what’s in chemical relaxers and I know how to keep my hair healthy and strong while using them.
And yes, your hair can be both even when it’s relaxed.
With that in mind, here are some of the best relaxers for black afro hair.
Looking to save time? Here are the best options for you:
Affirm Fiberguard Relaxers By Avlon
If you want to protect your hair while you relax it, the Affirm Fiberguard Relaxer Kit is one item to put on your list.
As you probably know, relaxers can be damaging to the hair because of the chemicals within the system.
Even so, you still don’t have to give up your silky locks.
You might spend weeks trying not to scratch your scalp so you don’t burn during the application.
Doesn’t it always seem like you start burning anyway?
While you should always stay away from scratching your scalp, it’ll definitely help if the relaxer you’re using is for sensitive scalps.
Say goodbye to trying to grin and bear it through the pain!
Plus, with ingredients that include argan oil, pequi oil, and cupuacu butter, this relaxer will also help moisturize your hair instead of stripping it of its moisture.
And while you’re at it, this particular Affirm Relaxer Kit will last you for four applications so you’ll be covered for the entire year!
Linange Alter Ego Shea Butter Relaxer
Helping the hair retain its moisture is a very important aspect to any relaxer.
Another relaxer that won’t strip your hair is Linange’s Alter Ego Shea Butter Relaxer.
The big selling point about this relaxer is the Shea butter that can be found within its name and seen on its packaging.
Shea butter has a ton of benefits for the hair.
One, it’s considered a powerhouse for dry or damaged hair.
Two, it can protect your hair from weather damage and brittleness.
Three, it absorbs very quickly.
And last, but not least, Shea butter can hydrate your scalp without clogging up your pores.
All in all, Shea butter is a great ingredient to use in processed hair, and that’s why Linange makes it on this list.
With 16 ounces in the tub, you can use this cream relaxer for multiple applications!
Now that’s how we save some coins!
SoftSheen Carson Dark And Lovely Healthy Gloss Moisture – A Popular Relaxer For African American Hair
Of course I had to mention SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy Gloss Moisture.
When it comes to #GrowingUpBlack, we all know that Dark and Lovely was a huge part of it.
Whether you had someone applying it in your house, or you saw it at the beauty supply store, this brand is cemented in black culture.
They might be recognized as the #1 Hair Color Brand Designed for Women of Color, their relaxer is also something to consider.
Another product that includes Shea butter, Dark and Lovely make quite a few promises with their no-lye relaxer.
We can only hope they’re not lying!
One, the product promises straighter, sleeker, and shinier hair.
I would definitely sign up for that!
Two, they say that they’ll help preserve the 5 signs of healthy hair.
They are: moisture, shine, strength, softness, and body.
You mean we can get that bounce without having to wrap our hair?
With Softsheen-Carson’s Dark and Lovely always coming through with the colors for us black women, we’re sure their relaxer will do us justice too.
Hawaiian Silky Signature Collection
If you want to take advantage of the benefits of olive oil, look no further than the Hawaiian Silky Signature Crème Conditioning Relaxer.
This strong formula is meant for extremely coarse hair which might have some worried about what kind of damage over-processing might do.
Over-processing is always damaging, but when done right, the other ingredients in the formula can help balance out the chemicals.
While we’re already used to seeing Shea butter on this list, the Hawaiian Silky brand uses olive oil.
Put down the skillet because olive oil has a number of benefits for your hair.
One, it’s great for moisturizing the scalp.
Two, it can help prevent damage which is great when you’re relaxing your hair.
Lastly, it nourishes and conditions the hair!
This alone is what puts this product on our list.
Plus, Hawaiian Silky promises that not only will this relaxer help improve shine, but it’ll help with scalp health as well.
Wella Wellastrate Straight Cream
Truth be told, there’s nothing particularly fascinating about the Wellastrate Straightening Cream.
Similar to most other relaxer systems, it includes the relaxer as well as a neutralizing shampoo and conditioner.
With promises of making your hair smooth and silky, it might be just what you’re looking for if you naturally deal with coarse hair.
While this product doesn’t seem to have some of the ingredients I mentioned before (argan oil, Shea butter, or olive oil), they do provide some great and explicit tips for relaxing your hair.
For example, rinse with cold water as hot water can further damage the hair.
With Wella being a big cosmetics company, this straightening cream is worth a shot.
Luster’s Shortlooks Colorlaxer 3-in-1 Diamond Black
Are you looking to color and relax your hair at the same time?
You should look into Luster’s Shortlooks Colorlaxer 3-N-1.
There’s a very big rule that women need to follow when it comes to both coloring and relaxing their hair:
NEVER DO IT AT THE SAME TIME.
It boils down to your hair not being able to handle all the processing that needs to be done.
Coloring and relaxing systems each have their own set of ingredients that are meant to be used at one time.
In fact, if you both color and relax your hair, you should wait at least a week after coloring to apply the relaxer.
Now, with Luster’s product, you don’t have to do the wait.
The product is specifically made with ingredients that won’t over process your hair the same way two separate applications would.
This three in one system is meant to do it all for you… at the same time!
One, it’s going to color your hair.
Two, it’s going to relax it and smooth out your texture.
Three, it’s going to condition your afro hair.
Now there’s a reason this product has “Shortlooks” in its name.
This relaxer is for women with short hair and said it’s for hair up to 4 inches in length.
Another great thing about this product is that it includes that ingredient we’ve been talking about: Shea butter.
With instructions based on your hair texture, this product will leave you with relaxed, colored, and even healthier hair.
TCB Hair Relaxer For Afro Hair
When it comes to our hair, all we want to do is protect it.
You can easily do this with TCB Naturals Hair Relaxer.
Do you know what else is easy?
Applying a relaxer isn’t always an easy thing.
Often times, they come with an activator that we might have to measure before pouring into the base.
While this is fine sometimes, other times – ain’t nobody got time for that!
Luckily, TCB Naturals is one relaxer that you don’t have to worry about that with.
Their relaxer is a “no base crème” which means there’s no mixing involved.
Plus, the relaxer comes with a bunch of ingredients that make it worth trying.
With protein and DNA listed as being a part of the formula for the relaxer, what does this mean for your hair?
Protein is amazing for hair because our hair follicles are mostly made up of protein.
In fact, not having enough protein could lead to hair loss!
The relaxer also includes natural oils that are going to help moisturize and condition the hair.
With over 15 ounces in their jar, you can use this TCB relaxer for months to come.
Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer, Mild
Next on your potential list of hair relaxers to try is the Motions Classic Formula Hair Relaxer.
Now there are a few things to go over with this one.
First, this is a mild formula, so it’ll work great if you have fine or color-treated hair.
Second, relaxer also has some of the great relaxer ingredients we’ve previously talked about.
There’s argan oil which can help with hair elasticity and shine.
It also has Shea butter which I’ve mentioned has great protection and hydration capabilities.
This product is also adding coconut oil to its list of ingredients.
While we can all probably agree that coconut oil smells great, one of its many benefits is that it can stimulate hair growth.
It is also great for the scalp and joins argan oil in being able to add to your hair’s shine.
This is all great, but there might be one thing to be apprehensive about with this relaxer.
You’ll see quite a few hair relaxers mention that they are “no-lye.”
Lye is considered corrosive; however, they are more effective than no-lye relaxers and will only become painful if you leave it on your scalp for too long.
All in all, use this Motions relaxer at your own discretion!
While it will leave your hair smooth and silky, you’ll have to be the judge on whether you want to take the chance and use it!
ORS Target Zone Relaxer Kit For Black Women
Another relaxer I couldn’t leave off this list is the ORS Target Zone Relaxer Kit.
Similar to Dark and Lovely, ORS is a popular brand that most black women know.
I mean, how else are you living without their olive oil products?
While you probably know them for their hair lotions or edge control, you might need to check them out for your touch ups.
You shouldn’t be processing your hair too often, but what happens when you sweat it out?
Whether you’re working out regularly or it happens to be the dog days of summer, it’s easy for your roots to get out of control while the rest of your hair is silky smooth.
Sometimes, you might want to hit your hair with a straightener, but this is only a temporary solution.
Plus daily use of your straightener can easily cause your hair to break off.
Instead of going through the process of re-relaxing your hair and potentially causing further damage, all you need is to touch up your roots, especially if your hair has been growing.
This ORS relaxer is specifically for new growth.
If you have very kinky, coarse hair, the difference between your relaxed hair and your natural hair can be very obvious.
Instead, this product will keep your hair looking right!
With olive oil as a key ingredient, this product will smooth, soften and shine your hair while preventing it from any further damage.
ISO Maintamer Straightening System KIT
Last, but certainly not least, on our list is the ISO Maintamer Straigtening System.
While the product isn’t free, it promises to be free of a lot of things.
This relaxing system has claims of being damage-free, thio-free, lye-free, and frizz-free.
While we’ve covered lye and damage-free and frizz-free should be pretty self-explanatory, what exactly does thio-free mean?
Thio-free means the product is free of thioglycolic acid.
According to SELF, this is a salt that breaks down the disulfide bonds in your hair.
While this product is great, it’s also responsible for something else.
You’re probably familiar with the not so pleasant smell of relaxers, right?
The scent is often due to thio.
Now, with ISO’s Maintamer, you wouldn’t have to worry about that.
There are quite a few other benefits associated with this relaxer as well.
This relaxer has promises of softening the hair while also controlling frizz.
The system also has amazing ingredients that include lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, cherry bark, and soybean proteins.
Overall, this straightening system is going to help you relax your hair in a safe and non-damaging way.
Mizani Rhelaxer For Black Hair
For those looking to relax color treated hair, move Mizani’s Color-Treated Rhelaxer to the top of your list.
While many black women are born with black hair, that’s not always the case.
They could range from the darkest black (#1) to #1B to 4.
Some black women around the country are even born with blonde hair.
Even so, I like to live by a motto of “rich in color, rich in life.”
This normally refers to my wardrobe, but who says you can’t have fun with your hair?
Let’s face it.
Tons of us color our hair.
You might be someone who thinks blondes really do have more fun.
For the colder months, you might dabble in deep browns, and you might even spice up your look with a bold red.
The way our hair works is that once you add something to change its composition, you’re usually weakening it.
Are you applying color?
A process like that normally weakens it.
Are you applying a relaxer?
That would weaken it even more.
Are there options if you want colorful, relaxed hair?
Mizani make their “Rhelaxer” for fine and color-treated hair.
This specific formula is meant to be gentle enough to allow your hair to process without falling out.
It also includes moisturizing butters like Shea butter and cocoa seed butter to help condition the hair during application.
What To Look For In A Relaxer
You might think choosing a relaxer is like choosing a new brand of lotion.
Trust me; it’s more complicated than that.
Or eat least it should be!
There’s more to relaxers than looking at its name and choosing it.
There are quite a few things to look for when choosing it.
Lye vs. No-Lye
I touched on this before and this is one very important aspect of relaxers to consider.
For a brief recap, lye is a corrosive substance.
That means, if you leave it on your skin for too long, not only will it hurt, but it will also damage your skin.
Truth be told, this decision all lies in who might be applying your relaxer.
While it’s recommended to always leave it in the hands of a professional, I can’t pretend that there aren’t thousands of women relaxing their own hair.
If this is you, you should be looking for no-lye relaxers to be safe.
Relaxing your own hair can be a difficult process so it’s best to keep on the side of caution.
If you’re leaving your relaxer to someone else, make sure they’re an experienced professional.
Some hair stylists use lye relaxers and this is because they work faster.
If they know what they’re doing, they should be able to apply this safely and effectively.
The actual ingredients that relax your hair aren’t the only thing you should be looking for in your relaxer.
When looking for a relaxer, you should look for things that are going to beneficial for your hair.
Many of the products on this list touched on some ingredients to look out for.
Argan oil: An oil rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, it works great for dry or frizzy hair.
It can also help improve shine and softness.
Rosemary: While you’re probably used to using this herb on your potatoes and chicken, it’s great for stimulating hair growth.
Coconut Oil: A popular ingredient in many hair care products, this ingredient not only helps nourish and hydrate the hair, but it can also help prevent breakage.
Honey: While sweet to taste, honey also has great benefits to the hair.
It can help hydrate damaged hair and can be very useful for those with dry scalp and dandruff.
How To Choose The Right Relaxer For Your Hair Type
In order to choose the right relaxer for your hair type, it would probably be beneficial to know what hair type you have.
If you’re still wondering what are 4A, 4B, and 4C hair types are and which you might have, we have a great post that’ll help you figure it out.
Once you know your hair type, you can pick your relaxer.
While we’ve covered the important aspects of formula and ingredients, there’s another big factor that comes into play.
What intensity are you using for your relaxer?
It’s actually simpler than you think and there are only three options.
If you have thin, smooth hair, you would most likely use a mild relaxer.
For those with thick, coarse locks, you’d need a super formula.
If your hair is somewhere between thin and smooth or thick and coarse, you’d be fine to use a medium formula.
What You Can Expect After Using These Relaxers In Afro Hair
After using a relaxer (properly), you can expect smooth and straight hair.
While you might think the process is foolproof, it’s not!
Just because you managed to get your hair to the texture you want doesn’t mean that it requires no maintenance.
After you relax your hair, stay away from hairstyles that might tug on your hair or put unnecessary pressure on it.
That means, once you’ve relaxed your hair, give it around two weeks before you use normally protective styles like braids or a weave.
After using these relaxers, you can also expect more dryness than normal.
The chemicals in relaxers can cause dryness so make sure to stay on top of your hair regimen and be sure to moisturize your hair and scalp regularly.
Lastly, after using these relaxers, you’ll have to do a few touch ups to keep your hair in good condition.
New growth is great because who doesn’t love for their hair to grow?
Even so, it’s important to touch up your roots.
Allowing your roots to remain natural while the rest of your hair is relaxed can easily lead to breakage when you comb it out.
To keep your hair smooth and silky from root to tip, make sure you’re applying relaxer only to your new growth.
What Products To Use To Protect Hair From Harsh Chemicals
If you think about the harsh chemicals in a relaxer, that might be enough to stop someone in their tracks.
When I combine my thick, coarse hair with my tender-headedness, I’m team creamy crack all day!
Even so, I can’t refute that there are some pretty harsh chemicals in relaxers.
With that being said, there are a few steps and products you can use to help protect your hair from the chemicals.
Before Your Relaxer
Before relaxing your hair, try a protein treatment.
I previously mentioned the benefits of protein on hair, but let me remind you.
The hair is made up mostly of protein so a protein treatment is going to strengthen your hair.
It’s best to do this a few days before your next relaxer.
During Your Relaxer
Like I said, you shouldn’t be adding relaxer to your already relaxed hair.
Unfortunately, when we do it ourselves, we open ourselves up to mistakes and overlapping.
Instead, coat your already relaxed hair in a petroleum-based product.
This will help protect your hair if any relaxer gets on it.
After Your Relaxer
Once you’ve chemically treated your hair, you might think there isn’t much you can do.
You can still protect your hair from the chemicals used to change it.
Okay, we get it.
Relaxers dry out the hair.
Because of this, you need to use a few specific products.
Shampooing and conditioning are important steps to maintaining your hair.
Shampoos themselves can be very drying, so be sure to pick up a moisturizing shampoo.
Conditioners are also essential to protecting your hair from the dryness caused by the chemicals.
But wait – there’s more!
While conditioners are great, leave-in conditioners are amazing so be sure to apply them twice a week.
What Tools Should You Use For Application
Now, if you’re going to apply your own relaxer, there are a few tools you’ll need to have on deck.
First, you’re going to need a comb and alligator clips.
Separating your hair in sections is the best and easiest way to apply the relaxer.
Next, get yourself some latex gloves.
These are going to protect your hands from the chemicals.
Another tool you can use is a brush.
This can help with application and help the product penetrate the hair.
Now, we all wish we had eyes in the back of our head, but we don’t.
Because of this, you’ll need two mirrors to make sure you’re applying the relaxer everywhere you need to.
Are Perming And Relaxing African American Hair The Same Thing? What Are The Differences?
Back in the day, we all use to call it perming – we were wrong.
Perming is actually when you take straight hair and make it curly.
What black women have been doing to their hair for decades upon decades is relaxing.
A relaxer is a chemical treatment that straightens the hair.
You can probably remember the 1990s and early 2000s where it seemed like everyone’s hair was relaxed.
Then, somewhere during the 2010s, the naturalista movement began.
Women started doing the big chop and cutting off the parts of their hair that was relaxed.
Now, it seems to be that more women are talking about being natural than using relaxers.
To be honest, there even seems to be some sort of stigma around women with relaxed hair.
I still personally relax my hair as it’s what I like.
Best Relaxers For Black Hair Conclusion
It’s no secret that relaxers can be damaging to the hair.
With that being said, there are effective and efficient ways for applying it.
You can easily prep the hair to help prevent damage.
You can take certain steps during application to combat the chemicals.
Certain products will help protect your hair once it has been relaxed.
There are even a lot of myths about relaxers.
You can have relaxed hair that is healthy.
You can have relaxed hair that is soft and shiny.
Relaxed hair is not synonymous with dry, damaged hair.
As black society moved towards being natural, they seemed to cast a shadow on women who chose to keep relaxing their hair.
Well, the same way it is possible to have damaged, relaxed hair, it is also possible to have damaged, natural hair.
Relaxing your hair isn’t something you should do often, but when you do, make sure you do it right.
And the right process starts with the right product.
Be sure to check out some of these relaxers for African American hair if you want to keep your hair soft, silky, and shiny.