Best Hair Relaxers For Men
When you think of hair relaxers, the image that typically comes to mind is a woman with perfectly straight, shiny hair on the box of an at-home relaxer kit. However, women aren’t the only ones who choose to relax their hair. While it’s possible to use the same products that women use, many men like to look for products that are specifically catered to them. However, most relaxers out there are totally suitable for unisex use. But that doesn’t mean that all hair relaxers are alike. There are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a relaxer. Here’s a guide to the best hair relaxers for men.
1Consult With A Professional
How well a relaxer works on your hair depends on how straight you want your hair to be, how the relaxer is applied to your hair, and how resistant your hair is to chemical processes. If your hair has never been relaxed and/or you’ve never done an at-home chemical process before, your best bet is to see a professional stylist. Even though at-home relaxer kits are widely available, relaxing hair is still a delicate process that can be dangerous if it’s not done correctly. A knowledgeable professional will also be able to assess the health of your hair and let you know if it’s in good enough shape to undergo a chemical process.
2Lye Vs No-Lye Relaxers
There are 2 main types of relaxers: lye and no-lye. The difference between the two is that lye relaxers, as the name suggests, are made with sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, and no-lye relaxers are made with calcium hydroxide. There are pros and cons to both types of relaxers. Most, if not all relaxers you’ll find at the drugstore or beauty supply store will be no-lye relaxers. As for Lye relaxers, they are less accessible because they should really only be applied by a professional. Lye relaxers are stronger than no-lye formulas, which increases the risk/severity of scalp burns. No-lye relaxers are generally not as strong, and they are easy to find in stores. However, they leave calcium deposits on the hair, which often leads to dry, brittle hair that’s prone to breakage.
3Before Your Relaxer
Relaxers come in different strengths: super, mild and regular. If you have fine hair or hair that is loosely coiled, choose a mild or regular formula. If you have coarse hair and/or hair that’s resistant to chemical processes, a super strength formula may work better. Do not wash your hair right before getting a relaxer. To be on the safe side, wait a week after your last wash to apply a relaxer. Washing your hair can cause tiny abrasions on the scalp, which can and will burn if the relaxer touches your scalp. For this reason, also be sure not to scratch your head in the days leading up to your relaxer. Try to keep your hair in a stretched, detangled state so that you don’t have to manipulate it too much.
4Relaxed Hair- Doing It Yourself
If you do choose to do your relaxer at home, choose a no-lye relaxer kit and be sure to follow the instructions included. Perform a patch test before applying to your whole head, to check for adverse effects. The relaxer should never be applied directly to your scalp – only your hair – but it can be difficult to get close to the roots without any of the cream touching your scalp. For this reason, some kits include a petroleum base for your scalp. If your kit does not include one, you can coat your scalp with vaseline to help protect it from burns. Start at the back of your head, working your way to the front, and always do your edges last. Have a timer handy so you can easily keep track of how long the relaxer has been on your head. Rinse the relaxer from your hair as soon as it is time (or earlier if it starts to burn). Be careful not to get it in your eyes, as this can cause serious injury. Most relaxer kits come with a neutralizing shampoo formulated to stop the chemical process and help restore your hair’s pH balance. Most neutralizing shampoos turn the suds from pink to white to indicate that all the relaxer has been removed from your hair. This is one of the most important steps in the process and should never, ever be skipped!
After you’ve washed out the relaxer, follow up with a conditioner. If one is not included in the kit, you can use whatever conditioner you typically use. Follow up with a leave-in conditioner before styling. Try not to use too much direct heat on your hair. If you choose to blow dry and/or flat iron, apply a heat protectant first and use a low heat setting. When your hair is freshly relaxed, it won’t take much to achieve sleek, straight styles. A roller set is another option that is gentler on your hair because it uses indirect heat; it will also give your hair more body and volume.
6Maintaining Relaxed Hair
If you relax your hair with a no-lye relaxer, a chelating shampoo can help get rid of the aforementioned calcium build-up on your hair. Chelating shampoos are also helpful if you have hard water and/or if you swim often and your hair is exposed to chlorine. You don’t need to use a chelating shampoo every time you wash, so you can alternate it with a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo. Use a conditioner each time you shampoo your hair. Wait at least 8 weeks between relaxer touch-up applications to avoid over-processing your hair.
7Relaxers vs Texturizers
Contrary to popular belief, texturizers and relaxers generally contain the same ingredients. The difference is that a texturizer is left on the hair for a shorter period of time, which prevents the hair from becoming completely straight. Texturizers are ideal if you want to loosen your curl pattern but you don’t want your hair to be bone straight. The margin for error can be greater with a texturizer because the timing has to be just right. If you leave it on too long (even just a few minutes longer than instructed), your hair may end up straighter than intended.
8Alternatives To Traditional Chemical Relaxers
If you’re looking for a more natural or temporary alternative to relaxers, you have a few options to choose from. The first option is a “natural relaxer,” which you can make at home using ingredients such as milk, honey, coconut cream, and/or olive oil. Natural relaxers do not completely straighten your hair and the results are not permanent. However, with repeated usage, they can loosen your natural curl pattern, making it easier to straighten your hair using (direct or indirect) heat. Another alternative is using a texture manageability system. The products included in these kits will not straighten your hair outright, but they will make it easier to straighten your hair using heat. They contain ingredients that help stop your hair from reverting back to its natural state, so even if you cowash your hair or use a mild shampoo, your hair still won’t completely revert. But never fear, if used correctly, your natural curls should bounce back after using a clarifying shampoo, which will help remove all those anti-reversion ingredients left behind.
9Hair Relaxer Products – Pros and Cons
Of course, there are pros and cons to relaxing your hair. As far as pros, some guys find it easier to style relaxed hair and obviously it is much easier to achieve sleek, straight styles on relaxed hair. Relaxed hair is also generally much easier to detangle. As far as cons, the chemicals in relaxers are very strong and can cause irreversible damage to your hair and scalp if you are not careful. Relaxers are also permanent, so there is no way to reverse the process. Although some find relaxed hair to be more low-maintenance, you do have to touch up your roots regularly to maintain the look. Now let’s take a look at some of the best hair relaxers for men.
10Organic Root Stimulator
Both men and women find success using the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil No-Lye Relaxer System. This particular formula is better suited for coarse hair that is resistant to chemical processes. The kit also includes a neutralizing shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner.
Mizani is one of the most highly rated relaxers available, popular among both men and women. This combination pack includes 4 jars of relaxer cream, four bottles of activator, and four wooden spatulas, bundled at a very affordable price. This particular formula is great for those with sensitive scalps and includes ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter to help restore moisture to the hair. You will need to purchase a neutralizing shampoo separately.
The Optimum Care relaxer kit by Soft Sheen Carson is another highly rated brand. This particular kit contains a protective pre-treatment, relaxer cream, activator, neutralizing shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner, making it a great bargain.
13Dark And Lovely Healthy Gloss Relaxer Kit
Dark and Lovely has been making at-home relaxer kits for decades. Over the years, they’ve made changes to their formulas to be less drying. This formula includes shea butter to help restore some of the moisture that’s stripped away during the relaxing process. The kit also includes a neutralizing shampoo and Dark And Lovely’s Healthy Gloss Conditioner for additional moisture.
14Dr. Miracle’s Relaxer
Dr. Miracle’s No-Lye Relaxer is ideal for both men and women looking to straighten their hair. The kit includes a protective gel for the scalp, a jar of relaxer cream, activator, neutralizing shampoo, and a leave-in conditioner. This product is formulated for hair that has not been bleached or dyed.
This Affirm relaxer is one of the most highly-rated relaxers available on Amazon. This kit includes enough for four applications, however, it only includes the relaxer cream and activator, making it a little more pricey than other brands. However, many users find the results to be well worth the price. This relaxer works best with other products in the Affirm line.
16Mizani Relaxer For Color-Treated Hair
If you have color-treated and/or fine hair, this Mizani formula is an ideal choice. It’s specifically formulated to be more gentle on hair that is more vulnerable. For the best results, use it with the Mizani neutralizing shampoo and follow up with a Mizani conditioner.
17Hair Relaxer for Men – Things To Keep In Mind
There are many factors at play when it comes to hair relaxers. It’s important to rememberer that everyone reacts differently to hair relaxers. Your hair’s porosity plays a big role in how long it takes for the relaxer to do its job. Porosity is often discussed in terms of your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, but the term basically refers to how open your hair’s cuticles are. If you have high porosity hair, your cuticles are raised, allowing products to absorb into your hair quickly and easily. If you have low porosity hair, on the other hand, then your cuticles are tightly bound, making it more difficult for your hair to absorb products. This often means that it takes less time to process high porosity hair, so it’s extra important to do a strand test if this is your first relaxer and be sure not to leave the relaxer on for too long. On the other hand, low porosity hair is more resistant to chemical treatments, including relaxers, and it may be necessary to leave the relaxer on the hair longer to achieve the results you want. However, you should exercise caution because leaving a relaxer on for too long can be dangerous and may lead to breakage, hair loss, and/or scalp burns. Those with coarse hair may also find that their strands are more resistant to relaxers. If you have more resistant hair, one alternative is to use a stronger formula (super or extra strength), just be sure to follow the instructions carefully.