Best Relaxers for Black Hair in 2024: Detailed Reviews

Summer is just right around the corner, and one of this season’s essentials is a perfect summer look.

You may have the perfect string bikini to go with your glistening skin and the foxy body, yet don’t have the frizz-free hair that matches this paraphernalia, well that is an absolute NO.

Blowdryers and straightening irons? And see your hair stand up after a few hours? No thanks!

Lye relaxers have been around since early 1917. This product keeps the fuzzy hair away, permanently smoothening and straightening it out by chemically modifying the structure of the hair. Be that as it may, it damages the hair in the long run.

This is due primarily to the active ingredient Sodium Hydroxide introduced in it. Still and all, worry not because the Non-Lye Relaxers have made their way to the market.

Top 6 Best Relaxers for Black Hair Reviewed

  1. PHYTO PARIS Phyto Specific Phytorelaxer Index 1 Top Pick 
  2. Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp Conditioning Relaxer Runner Up 
  3. ORS Olive Oil Full Application No-Lye Hair Relaxer Budget Pick 
  4. Design Essentials Conditioning Relaxer for Black Hair
  5. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Professional Relaxer for Black Hair
  6. Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Gro Balm

Hair Relaxers are made of chemicals that can cause serious side effects if not used properly. It is very important that hair relaxers should always be applied with the necessary protection.

In order for the hair relaxers to produce the desired results you want, you should do your work upfront and choose the best relaxer for your hair type. This way you can avoid the side effects some people get from relaxers. Check out our reviews of the best products stylists use and recommend.

1. PHYTO PARIS Phyto Specific Phytorelaxer Index 1 –  Top Pick 

phyto relaxer

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You can also find this product on Walmart.

Formula: No-Lye
Hair Type: Delicate and fine hair
Size: 50 Milliliters

Hair types vary from one individual to another and sometimes can be linked to one’s genes or ethnicity. African-American hair can be described as somewhat wavy with thicker density to super curly and that’s why a reliable hair relaxer can be a big help if you want to improve the texture as well the appearance of your hair.

Good thing through modern technology and developments in beauty science, some companies are able to manufacture quality-made hair relaxers or natural hair straightener treatments.

One notable product to consider is the revolutionary Phyto Specific Phytorelaxer that is made with active relaxing ingredients that are purely 100% natural.

Phyto Specific Phytorelaxer is a mild but effective relaxing treatment for fine and delicate hair. It can significantly help tame wavy or curly color-treated hair. Made entirely from naturally sourced ingredients, Phytorelaxer is free from hydroxide.

It has an exclusive egg and soy-based formulation that is effective as a hair relaxing treatment, lye-free and odorless. Specifically formulated to treat delicate and fine hair, Phytorelaxer Index 1 is an effective permanent DIY relaxing treatment that is absolutely chemical-free.

what we like:

• Relaxes delicately fine hair that straightens about 95% hair texture.
• Made from all-natural ingredients.
• Adds movement and natural shine on hair.
• Provides superior hair conditioning.
• Suitable for color-treated hair.
• Has a gentle and safe formulation.
• Comes in a complete hair care kit.

9.7Expert Score

Straightening Performance

2. Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp Conditioning Relaxer –  Runner Up 

avlon affirm relaxer review

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You can also find this product on Walmart.

Hair Type: All
Size: 255.15 Grams

African-American hair comes in a variety of textures, ranging from curly, coarse to straight. Therefore, when hairstylists think about caring for natural African-American hair, they usually think of Affirm Relaxer Applications.

Affirm Sensitive Scalp Relaxer is intended for people who are prone to dry hair and scalp irritation. Its carefully selected ingredients will provide deep hydration to the scalp and make your hair perfectly smooth.

Another of its advantages is certainly simple shampooing and rinsing without creating an additional oily film on the hair. According to the manufacturer, positive changes in your hair should be visible after just one use.

However, keep in mind that Affirm Conditioning Relaxing System is a chemical service. When preparing and using this line, follow the instructions carefully and we guarantee that you will not feel any unwanted outcomes.

Some will find the product a bit expensive, but if you catch a good sale this whole kit will cost you significantly less than a few trips to a professional hair salon. This kit has a lot of satisfied consumers behind it. Are you one of them or would you never buy this kit again? Let us know your impressions. We look forward to them.

9.5Expert Score

Straightening Performance

3. ORS Olive Oil Full Application No-Lye Hair Relaxer –  Budget Pick 

ors relaxer for black hair

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You can also find this product on Sally, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Formula: No-Lye
Hair Type: All
Size: 7 Count

Next up on our list is the Full Application No-Lye Hair Relaxer by ORS Olive Oil. As the name suggests, this product is free from Lye, a common hair straightening ingredient that has been known to cause breakage and hair damage.

Perfect for people with wavy and sensitive hair, this hair relaxer contains several exotic oils such as Shea oil, Brazilian Pequi Oil, and Mediterranian Oil that creates a protective barrier around each hair strand, resulting in silkier, shinier and stronger hair.

Despite its gentler formula, this hair relaxer is effective on even the curliest of hair and can turn your wavy, kinky hair bone straight without drying or damaging your locks.

When you purchase the ORS Olive Oil Built-In Protection Full Application No-Lye Hair Relaxer, you get more than just your base relaxer and normal strength activator. The kit comes complete with the Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo, Olive Oil Replenishing Pak™ Conditioner, and a sachet of Olive Oil moisturizing lotion so you can give your hair the full salon treatment at the comfort of your home.

The hair relaxer kit is a time-tested favorite of people of color everywhere and has produced astounding and long-lasting results no matter how kinky or thick your hair is.

ORS Non-Lye Hair Relaxer’s olive oil deeply penetrates the hair shaft, adding moisture and intense shine from root to tip. Lye relaxers have the tendency to irritate or burn your scalp, but not if you’re using this.

This product also has several other exotic oils such as; African Shea, Mediterranean Olive, and Brazilian Pequi Oil which helps protect the hair from any damage during the whole process, making it healthier, softer, and more manageable. All in all this product gives you everything necessary to gently relax your hair.

9.4Expert Score

Straightening Performance

4. Design Essentials Conditioning Relaxer for Black Hair

design essentials relaxer for african american hair

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You can also find this product on Walmart.

Formula: Lye
Hair Type: Normal
Size: 4lb

Dealing with dry and unhealthy hair can be a real struggle, especially if you are the type of person who always wants to have a ‘good hair day’.

In order to treat hair-related problems, there are various products to assist you in doing so but nothing beats this very Design Essentials product that shall whole-heartedly fix all of your hair problems and give it life once again.

The Regular Conditioning Relaxer is yet another marvelous Design Essentials product. Made out of nature’s treasures shea butter and olive oil, it perfectly helps strengthen the hair, enhance its manageability, and leave it shiny, silky, and absolutely healthy.

Containing HydraStrength Vitamin & Protein Complex, The Regular Conditioning Relaxer guarantees what a woman could ever want: incredibly healthy hair, and, of course, worry less life from having everyday hair problems that can be very frustrating.

That is why the Regular Conditioning Relaxer aims to fix common hair problems such as tangling, split ends, dryness, heat damage, and frizz. The Regular Conditioning Relaxer is rated out of 4.5 out of 5 in Amazon which utterly can be narrowed down to one word: trust.

Women from all over the world purchased the Conditioning Relaxer and affirmed the magnificent results that this very product offered.

9.3Expert Score

Straightening Performance

5. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Professional Relaxer for Black Hair

SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Professional Relaxer for Black Hair

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Formula: Cream
Hair Type: Kinky-Curly-Wavy

SoftSheen’s healthy relaxer kit is full of things you need to make your hair look shiny and soft. The shea butter conditioning relaxer crème makes your hair strong.

The crème activator, silk keratin serum, color signal neutralizing shampoo and conditioner are all created to make your hair look healthy. The SoftSheen relaxer for natural hair is an exceptional product, as it can both smooth and replenish your hair.

It’s especially fitting for those with thick or coarse curly hair who want longer hairstyles without enduring the consequences of harsh chemicals.

Yet keeping this style may be arduous, since you cannot retouch shorter lengths; additionally, its power might not work on some kinky curls- texturizing treatments are needed in these cases.

relaxer for natural hair


  • Contains all the necessary components for relaxing your hair.
  • Offers straightening power
  • Helps preserve healthy hair
  • Contains shea butter conditioning
  • Affordable and effective product


  • Difficult to maintain
  • Results can vary based on individual’s hair type and texture which may lead to disappointment if expectations are not met.
9.2Expert Score

After extensive research, I stumbled upon SoftSheen and knew that this was the perfect relaxer for my thick, coarse curls. It contained all of the ingredients necessary to straighten without harsh chemicals damaging my hair strands; plus it offered superior power on both thick and curly hair types! All in all, this product has been amazing for me! It's not only cost-effective but it delivers remarkable results with minimal damage when compared to other chemical-rich products.

Straightening Performance

6. Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Gro Balm

Dr. Miracle's Temple and Nape Gro Balm

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You can also find this product on Walmart.

Hair Type: Damaged
Size: 4 oz

Silky, shiny, and frizz-free hair is the new standard of beautiful hair. With its amazing and extra-strength formula, DR. Miracle’s Temple & Nape Gro Balm promotes strong, shiny, and healthy growing hair.

This formula is perfect for use with any style including thermal styles, braids, weaves, and wigs. With DR. Miracle’s Temple & Nape Gro Balm, you no longer have to worry about dry and damaged hair.

Using some of the best and high-quality ingredients, Dr. Miracle’s Temple & Nape Gro Balm is formulated to promote strong and healthy hair. To see the best results, you must massage the balm into the Temple and Nape directly into the scalp twice daily for 30 days. The results are astonishing.


  • Formula: Wheat Protein, Vitamins A & E and Aloe Vera;
  • Brand: Dr. Miracle’s;
  • Hair Type: Damaged;
  • Liquid Volume: 4 Fluid Ounces.

What we like:

  • Nourishes delicate temples and nape areas;
  • Repairs damaged hair to reduce breakage;
  • Supports hair strength & restores shine;
  • Thermalceutical complex invigorates your hair and scalp.
9.1Expert Score

Are you ready to say goodbye to breakage and frizzy hair? This balm, no doubt, provides enhanced hydration and shine, leaving your hair shiny and soft!

Straightening Performance

Which is the best hair relaxer for African American hair?

There are quite a few hair relaxers available in the market, but there is no generic relaxer that is going to be the absolute best for all hair types. Before trying to find out the best hair relaxer, you need to identify your hair type. Below is the hair type chart that will help you to find out your hair type.

Identify your hair type

If you plan to wear your hair both straight and curly, then it might be best to flat iron the hair. For hair types of up to 3b, you will be able to straighten the hair in a decent time frame with a good quality straightening iron. But, hair relaxers are the best option if you want to wear your hair permanently straight.

Curls of 4c and above are considered real kinky and nappy and would need relaxers designed for coarse or resistant hair. Determining the hair type is a crucial step in finding out the best hair relaxer for your hair.

Hair Characteristics

You need to analyze the type of hair you have. Is it strong and weak i.e easily prone to breakage? If your hair doesn’t respond well to certain treatments it is better to avoid relaxers that have those ingredients. Some people’s hair doesn’t respond well to protein treatments.

For those people avoid applying relaxers that are rich in protein. There are some clients whose hair thrives for protein and hence responds excellently well to protein-rich relaxers such as Affirm Fiberguard range.

Acid or Alkaline-based Relaxers

The next step is to decide whether you would want acid or alkaline-based relaxers. Both relaxers can be damaging to hair and hence should always be preceded and followed by a proper conditioning routine. Generally speaking, hair relaxers are alkaline meaning they will have a pH somewhere in the range of 9-14. But, there are some relaxers that are acidic like the low pH Xenna Curlaway relaxer.

But, acidic relaxers are not the best option when you are looking a pin-straight hair. Acid relaxers can be used to make hair more manageable or for defining the curl pattern. It also helps u reduce the flat ironing time when you want straight hair. The changes made with the acidic relaxers are temporary which means you have to consistently apply them to get straight hair. On the other hand, the advantages are that you don’t have to deal with regrowth, and it makes the transitioning to natural hair much easier.

If you want straight hair and don’t really want the apply an acid relaxer every week then you should go for the alkaline relaxers. Alkaline relaxers are very good at straightening the hair and results are permanent. You still would have to deal with regrowth every few months depending on the rate of hair growth. Alkaline relaxers typically have pH in the range of 9-14. Alkaline relaxers are further categorized into 2 types namely:

  • “Lye” relaxers
  • “No Lye” relaxers

Lye relaxers have the primary ingredient as Sodium Hydroxide. Sodium Hydroxide is also used as a chemical base in a large number of industrial processes. Hence sodium hydroxide relaxers are also known as base relaxers. It is not soluble in non-polar solvents. Due to the high incidence of chemical burns because of the strong nature of sodium hydroxide, you should always use a scalp protecting cream before applying the sodium hydroxide relaxer. In my opinion, all forms of sodium hydroxide relaxers should be reserved for professional use.

No Lye relaxers on the other hand made from calcium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, guanidine hydroxide, guanidine carbonate, etc. No Lye relaxers are a lot milder on the scalp but can cause build-up in the hair. You need to use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the build-up in the hair. Some people love no lye relaxers because the probability of scalp burns is a lot less in no lye relaxers than lye relaxers. But, if your hair is already dry and brittle then the build-up from no lye relaxers can cause the hair strands prone to breakage. It is important to use a deep treatment regularly whichever type of relaxers you choose to use.

Natural Hair Relaxers

There are some relaxers that are found to contain naturally occurring ingredients. If you want a milder relaxer and just want the curl patter reduced rather than obtaining a sleek straight look then natural hair relaxers might be something worth looking at.

Read more: Best Relaxers for Men’s Hair

Characteristics of the best hair relaxers for natural hair

  • Would cause no damage to hair or scalp
  • Relaxing process should produce the desired outcome for your hair
  • Your hair should respond well in the strand test before the relaxing process
  • Price Tag should be within budget
  • More than that you should feel happy after seeing the results from the relaxer and your hair should feel moisturized and nourished with a regular deep treatment

Most hair relaxers marketed in the US are primarily designed for African American people and hence if you are of a different ethnic group you might want to use a milder form of a relaxer. If you are not sure whether your hair is suitable for relaxers, always seek professional help. A strand test in most cases will give you a brief idea about how good your hair is going to respond to the relaxer.

Here is the list of hair relaxers available in the market. There are many products that have similar ingredients. Whether it will suit your hair or not depends on your hair type.

How to Choose the Right Relaxer for Your Hair Type

When considering different relaxers, it’s important to think about the active ingredients in the product. There are two main types of relaxers: acid-based and alkaline-based.

Acid-based relaxers are typically considered to be gentler on the hair and scalp, and are often recommended for those with fine or damaged hair. Alkaline-based relaxers, on the other hand, are more powerful and are best suited for those with thick, coarse hair.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a relaxer is the strength of the product. Relaxers come in different strengths, with “mild” being the weakest and “super” being the strongest.

It’s important to choose a relaxer that is appropriate for your hair type, as a relaxer that is too strong can cause damage or breakage. It’s also important to consider your hair’s current condition and how it has been treated in the past.

If your hair is already damaged, it may be best to avoid chemical treatments altogether and opt for a gentler alternative such as a natural hair relaxer.

Ultimately, the best way to choose the right relaxer for your hair type is to consult with a professional stylist who can take into account your individual needs and recommend the best treatment for your hair.

They also can advice about the use of hair products and the best technique for application, as well as the right frequency to use the product based on your hair and scalp health.

professional relaxer for black hair

How to Maintain Healthy Hair and Scalp While Using Hair Relaxer for Black Hair

When it comes to maintaining healthy hair and scalp while using hair relaxers, it’s important to understand that relaxers are powerful chemicals that can cause damage if not used correctly.

However, with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your hair and scalp healthy while using relaxers. One of the most important things to keep in mind when using relaxers is to not leave the product on your hair for too long.

Leaving a relaxer on for too long can cause severe damage, so it’s important to follow the instructions on the product and have a professional stylist to guide you.

Another important aspect to maintain healthy hair is to use a deep conditioner after each relaxer treatment. This will help to nourish and repair any damage that may have occurred during the relaxing process.

Additionally, it’s important to use a moisturizing leave-in conditioner or oil to keep your hair hydrated. It’s also important to avoid over-processing your hair.

Relaxing your hair too often can cause damage, so it’s best to wait at least 8 to 12 weeks between relaxer treatments. Finally, proper maintenance and care of your hair and scalp will help to ensure that your hair remains healthy and strong while using relaxers.

This can include regular trims, protective hairstyles, regular use of heat protectants, and avoiding harsh chemical treatments or excessive heat styling.

Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

  1. Please explain how you determined which relaxer is best, better than others and why. You have a natural so, I assume, you have tried/tested these on your clients.
    I use ORS professional at home and have good results overall but it does not relax the center back of my hair. So I want to try something better.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment!

      As you said, I mostly base my reviews on personal experience and using them on my clients. For the last 2-3 years I’ve been only using the Phyto Paris and Avlon Affirm relaxers and couldn’t recommend them more.

  2. I have been using Phyto Specific relaxer for over 10 years to help me get different styles with my 4a-b-c, high porosity hair. The protein in the product helps keep my scalp healthy, even though I used chemicals before when I was growing my hair out naturally. Level one is good for people who want a texturizer because it requires thorough rinsing and lathering before it is fully neutralized – meaning you can get any style you want!

  3. How long should I go between relaxers?

    • Eight weeks is generally considered a safe amount of time to wait between chemical relaxers, although some people may be able to go longer or shorter depending on their individual hair health and needs.

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