Best Relaxer for African American Hair | Top 5 Relaxers & Usage Guide

African-American hair is curly or kinky hair and such hair could become quite a hassle to style or maintain, so many women like to straighten or relax their hair, to make it manageable and easy to style.

A relaxer is a chemical that helps stretch out curly hair and reduces the curliness of the hair strands, making the hair look longer and straighter. Relaxer treatments are permanent, which means the user does not have to go through the hassle of straightening their hair every day.

Relaxer treatments are popular among African-American women, as many of them prefer to keep their hair straightened permanently. It is convenient and easy to do at home, and the best part is that the results are permanent. 

List of Top 5 Relaxers for African American Hair

  1. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer
  2. Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye Relaxer
  3. ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer
  4. Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System
  5. African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer

How to Select the Best Relaxer for African American Hair?

  • Relaxers can be of two types, one is made with lye (Sodium Hydroxide) and the other one is made without lye. Lye is a very strong chemical, and it can easily lead to scalp damage or hair loss, so it is always a good idea to opt for a no-lye hair relaxer, as it will not burn your scalp or hair. If you are using a relaxer at home, it is especially important to use a no-lye formula.
  • Relaxers are strong chemicals, so when you are choosing a relaxer, always look for the ones which have conditioning pre and post-care included in the box. It is important to protect the hair from damage, and conditioning treatments greatly improve damaged hair and reduces breakage. Some of these relaxers are infused with conditioning treatments, which is great for African-American hair since they are quite prone to breakage. 

Top 5 Best Relaxers for African-American Hair

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

This hair relaxer is enriched with nourishing shea butter, to ensure your hair is relaxed without losing its moisture, shine, strength, softness, or body.

The relaxer kit comes with several conditioning treatments and post-care treatments, to make sure that your hair does not break or feel unhealthy.

This is the perfect relaxer kit for African-American hair as it is made especially for coarse black hair. It is a no-lye relaxer, which means you do not have to worry about any burns or hair loss.

Key Benefits of SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer:

  • This relaxer kit will help you achieve straight, smooth, and silky hair that looks and feels healthy.
  • The post-conditioning treatments help reduce damage and help you achieve a silky finish.
  • No-lye formula in SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer ensures that your scalp does not burn.
  • The moisture mask is enriched with castor oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil, to provide nourishment to your hair.

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

The Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson No-lye relaxer is great for curly and kinky hair, it promises to reduce breakage up to 90% more effectively than other relaxers, and help you achieve straight yet shiny soft hair.

The kit comes with a pre-treatment protective cream, as well as post-care items. A special whipped moisturizer is included in the package, which helps restore the hair’s natural moisture balance and provides intense hydration. T

The no-lye formula in SoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye Relaxer ensures that your scalp or hair does not suffer from any damage, while it delivers healthy straight hair.

Key Benefits of Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye Relaxer:

3. ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer

The ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer is trusted by many African-American women for its hair as it delivers beautiful straight results without causing any irritation to the scalp.

The no-lye formula in ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer is perfect for those who have sensitive scalp or fragile hair, as it ensures that your hair or scalp does not burn easily.

The kit includes everything you need for the treatment including an elixir oil which is enriched in Mediterranean Olive, African Shea, and Brazilian Pequi Oils, that hydrate and moisturize your hair thoroughly. 

Key Benefits of ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer:

  • This relaxer kit helps keep your hair strong and minimizes breakage during the process.
  • The no-lye formula is excellent for finer hair textures and for those with a sensitive scalp.
  • This kit will give your hair a salon-like straight finish that is shiny, smooth, and strong.
  • ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair Relaxer helps to make the hair more soft and shiny. 

4. Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System

Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System is a relaxer kit specially made for kinky African-American hair. This kit includes the no-lye relaxer, activator, neutralizing shampoo, and deep conditioner.

The formula is enriched with Olive oil and herbal extracts, which help strengthen your hair and give you a shiny silky straight finish.

The deep conditioning treatment using Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System is particularly good at restoring moisture to your hair and keeping them healthy. 

Key Benefits of Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System:

  • The dual conditioning system helps nourish the hair while being relaxed, which makes sure that your hair does not suffer from breakage.
  • Olive oil and herbal extracts ensure a shiny silky smooth finish.
  • Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer System is not harsh on the scalp and does not cause burning.

5. African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer

The African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer is great for African-American hair, it produces a silky smooth straight result while maintaining the stability of your hair.

The no-lye formula ensures our scalp does not burn, making it a great choice for those with a sensitive scalp. Enriched with African Shea butter, olive oil, and herbal extracts, this relaxer nourishes your hair while it is being relaxed.

African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer packet comes with everything you require including a hair tonic, that gives you a silky smooth finish to your hair. 

Key Benefits of African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer:

  • This relaxer treatment does not contain any lye, which makes it ideal for those with a sensitive scalp.
  • The infusion of olive oil, shea butter, and herbal extracts helps make the hair shiny.
  • The final result of African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye Relaxer is comparable to a salon finish. 

Comparison of Above Listed for African-American Hair Relaxers




No-Lye FormulaConditioningScalp ProtectionFormula StrengthInfused With
SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye RelaxerYesYesNoStrongShea Butter, Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil
Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye RelaxerYesYesYesRegularCeramide, Coconut Oil
ORS Olive Oil No-Lye Hair RelaxerYesYesNoRegularShea Butter, Pique Oil, Olive Oil
Africa’s Best Dual Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer SystemYesYesNoRegularOlive Oil
African Pride Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-lye RelaxerYesYesNoStrongShea Butter, Olive Oil, Herbal extracts

Usage Guide : How to Use a Relaxer on African American Hair?

A relaxer is quite a harsh chemical, and African-American Hair is quite prone to damage and breakage, so it is usually recommended that you go to a professional for a relaxer treatment.

However, if you are doing it at home, you can follow these steps to safely relax your hair without any burns. You should ask someone to help you with the application process, as it has to be quick.

  • Protect your hairline and scalp with a protective gel, which is usually included in the box. Alternatively, you can also use coconut oil for this purpose. If you have previously relaxed your hair, then you can protect the already relaxed hair with coconut oil as well.
  • Part the hair into several sections, 4 to 8 sections are optimum depending upon your hair growth. 
  • Add the relaxer base to the activator liquid and mix thoroughly.
  • For the application process, you must ask someone to help, so that you do not leave the relaxer in your hair for too long. The person must wear gloves to protect their hand before application. Start by taking a small section of hair and apply only in the middle of the hair, do not touch the roots or the ends. If it is a retouching process, apply only on new growth, without touching the scalp. It is crucial to only apply to the mid-lengths because African-American hair is prone to breakage, and applying it on the roots will allow the solution to process faster, hence causing more breakage. 
  • After this part is done, the person must go back and apply the relaxer on the roots and the ends. Leave out the ends if they are previously relaxed. Smooth out the relaxer on the scalp, and throughout the length of the hair, without pushing it on the skin. Since curly hair is harder to coat evenly, use a popsicle stick to do this process, do not use a brush.
  • Leave the relaxer on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not leave it on for too long, most of the time 5 minutes is enough, if you leave it on for too long, your hair could break, and your scalp may burn.
  • Rinse out the relaxer from the hair with a neutralizing shampoo, usually, it is included in the box. Wash several times, 3 to 4 times at a minimum, to ensure that the relaxer is out of your hair completely. At this point, your hair will already look quite straightened.
  • Apply the conditioner included in the box or you can use any other conditioner of your choice.
  • You can use a hair mask after this, but it is optional and completely up to you. African-American hair loves moisture, so the more hydration you add to your hair, the better it will feel. It is recommended that you apply a deep conditioning hair mask to restore the stability of your hair.
  • The final step is to blow dry your hair and straighten it using a flat iron. You can style your hair however you wish. Do not forget to use a heat protectant at this step, to protect the hair from any damage. Now you can enjoy your silky, shiny straightened hair.

Get Started with Best Relaxer for your African American Hair

Relaxing curly hair can not only give you straight and manageable hair, but it can also make your hair look more shiny and silky. Many African-American women could not grow their hair due to tangles and hair shrinkage, relaxer treatments can help with that process, and allow the user to grow out their hair to their desired length.

Relaxers can be quite hard to use if you are a beginner, however, it can be done at home easily with the help of a friend or family member. Always be sure to read the instruction sheet to understand how the process works and to avoid any injuries.

Choosing a good quality relaxer is crucial for the health of your curly hair and that is why we have listed all the best relaxers in the market in this article. So if you have African-American natural hair, but you would like to change it up, then try relaxing your hair and you can rock a beautiful straight hair look.