How Do I Choose the Best Hair Relaxer?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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Choosing the best hair relaxer depends upon hair texture, ease of application, and general state of hair health. If hair is not in good condition, choosing a no-lye or organic hair relaxer may be the best choice. A common ingredient in a hair relaxer is lye. Although effective in relaxing the hair, relaxers that contain lye can cause irritation and scalp burns. Many people prefer a lye-based hair relaxer because it can help the hair retain moisture.

Sometimes a no-lye hair relaxer is preferred over lye-based products. These are typically sold in boxes that contain shampoo, relaxer cream, conditioner, and activator. In addition, the box typically contains protective gloves and an applicator. Sometimes, no-lye hair relaxers can be drying to the hair, but since they are gentler on the scalp than products containing lye, they are often preferred.

Applying a hair relaxer is not a complicated process. Hair should be healthy prior to the application. If it's not, all attempts should be made to get the hair back in top condition before relaxing it. The process should be done in accordance with packaging directions and time requirements should be followed precisely. Keeping the product on for more than the recommended period of time may result in hair breakage and other scalp injury.


As new hair growth appears, another application may be desired. It is recommended that six weeks go by before other application is performed. Typically, however, most hair care professionals recommend that at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) of hair growth be present before another treatment is applied. The hair relaxer should only be applied to the new hair growth so that the remainder of the formerly processed hair will not get damaged.

Prior to relaxing the hair, a strand test should be done to determine if a person will have an allergic reaction to the product. In addition, the test can help determine how long the product needs to stay on the hair to achieve the desired results. Relaxers should not be used on the hair of children who are six or younger. Also, if the relaxer gets into the eyes, flushing them with copious amounts of water may be necessary, as may visiting an eye doctor.

If a weaker relaxer is preferred, people can purchase a product that reads "mild" on the box. It is important to note that a children's hair relaxer is not less damaging to the hair and should not be used when a mild solution is preferred. If the relaxer causes a scalp burn or other irritation, a doctor should be consulted. At the first sign of burning or irritation, the scalp should be thoroughly washed to remove any traces of the product to avoid further injury.


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Post 3

If anyone is looking for a mild hair relaxer, you're better off going for a texturizer instead. A texturizer and hair relaxer are basically the same thing but a texturizer is milder and will loosen curls instead of straightening them. I even know people who "tex-lax" hair. This is when a relaxer used to texturize hair by keeping the relaxer on the hair for a shorter time.

Obviously, things can go bad when chemical hair relaxers are used for purposes other than what they were created for. So I wouldn't recommend doing any of this if one doesn't have years of experience relaxing hair. I've been relaxing my hair for more than five years and I still don't have courage to tex-lax.

Post 2

@burcinc-- You might want to ask your hair stylist.

I have used both lye and no-lye hair relaxers in the past. They both worked okay for me but I know that many people get better results with one than the other. But it's not possible to predict and you may have to try both to see which works best for you.

Regardless of what type you use, there is bound to be some hair damage and dryness because they both contain chemicals. I think how long you keep the relaxer on your hair and how much moisturizing ingredients the relaxer contains are more important than the active ingredient.

Discuss your options with your hair stylist. Since this

will be your first time using a relaxer and since your hair is in good condition right now, you might want to skip both and just go for an all natural hair relaxer. Because once you get started on chemical relaxers, it's very difficult to go back and you might regret it. I know I missed my natural hair after several years of relaxing.
Post 1

I'm getting ready to have my hair relaxed for the first time. I can't decide if I should have the stylist use a lye relaxer or a no-lye relaxer. My hair is thick and healthy, I just want it to be straight.

Has anyone used both? Which would you recommend for me?

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