Healthy Hair-Friendly Alternatives to Relaxers

by Tara Smith
[ Hair Stylist ]

As someone who has gotten relaxers in the past, I am all too aware of the relaxer process. The potential discomfort of the relaxer application, the risk of obtaining damage to your hair and scalp and, the annoying notion that in another six weeks, you’ll have to be back at it again for a touch-up.

Though relaxers are an easy, efficient, and, in most cases, affordable chemical process to have done to attain straight hair, they can take a toll on your hair and react differently with every individual. This can lead a person into seeking out alternatives to relaxers that are gentler on the hair and scalp.

The enhanced innovation of the beauty industry over the years has shown how creative we can get when wanting to change up our look. Let’s take a look at some amazing, healthy hair friendly relaxer alternatives! Well start with 

Best Hair Friendly Alternatives to Relaxers

  • Flat-Iron

    • Probably one of the most commonly used hair appliances after the blow-dryer is the flat iron. For good reason too. Flat irons have proven to yield incredible results in hair styling. They are an excellent relaxer alternative because of their easy accessibility, you can buy them at any beauty supply store and even stores like Walmart and Ross.
    • As with most things, you get what you pay for, so if you see yourself using your flat iron on a consistent basis, splurge on a quality one. While you’re buying your flat iron, be sure to pick up some heat protectant for your hair. You’ll see the difference in your hair and end result!

Natural Alternatives to Relaxers

  • One of the main reasons why a lot of people make the choice to stay away from relaxers is because of the harmful effect the active chemicals in a relaxer can have on the hair. Relaxers have the potential to leave the hair weak, dry, and brittle. Thankfully, there have been products designed to act as natural alternatives to relaxers.
  • Relaxing hair without chemicals has been scrutinized by many, however, I personally believe this is because of wrong terminology. Most products that claim to be chemical relaxers, are not that at all, rather they are texturizers, if anything. The result isn’t straight hair, rather it is a loosened curl pattern. A good example is BakaBeauty, an organic natural relaxer that elongates curls and promotes manageability.

Brazilian Blowout/Keratin Treatment

  • These are two smoothing treatments that essentially do the same thing. Their main goal is to infuse smoothness into your strands and smooth out your curls and waves. The difference lies in their makeup. Brazilian blowouts have their own chemical formula while keratin treatments contain the keratin protein that is used in many hair brands.
  • Depending on the individual and grade of hair, these can be a great relaxer alternative! We’ve mentioned this before, but for both of these hair processes it is highly recommended that you go to a salon and have a licensed stylist perform them. The length of time it takes and the chemicals involved make this service a serious process.


  • If straight hair is what you are seeking without getting a relaxer, a sew-in might be a great option because of its versatility and longevity. Sew-in installations have evolved so much that you can have your whole head braided and protected under your sew-in and not even have to touch your hair.
  • Hair bundles can be bought in a variety of textures and lengths. Wanting bone straight? Maybe a little wave? The textures are endless so you can have the hair you want. They also range from 10” to 30” so you definitely have options!
  • If you are ok with having some of your hair out you can do a sew-in with leave out and flat iron your hair to blend with the hair bundles. Hair pieces such as closures and frontals are also available to further protect your hair and ensure it is braided and covered. Check out your local salon to see what they can do!


  • Out of every alternative to the relaxer process that we have suggested, micro-links, another specialty extension process, is probably the most durable, has the most longevity, is the most versatile, and is the most costly. This is because of the time and skill it takes to install.
  • Micro-links are installed by connecting hair extensions bound by small bead to your hair, strand by strand. The end result is an extremely natural look that can be styled virtually any kind of way.
  • Way gentler on the hair than any chemical service designed to retexturize and enhanced manageability make this a great alternative to relaxers. Once again, because of the skill needed to install these, please make sure you head to a credible salon.

I know that getting a certain style just right can sometimes mean doing a lot to our hair that might not be the best for it. Always try to be knowledgeable about the processes done on your hair and how it can affect your strands! This is especially true of relaxers. Relaxers are not the worst thing to do to your hair! However, if staying away from routine chemical services is something you are trying to do then, hopefully, this list will give you some guidance.

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