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Can a White Person Use a Hair Relaxer? | Detailed Guide

Hair relaxers can help you achieve the sleek, straight hair you’ve always desired, but can a white person use a hair relaxer? Check out this post to learn all you need to know!

Can a White Person Use a Hair Relaxer?

Just as any person of any ethnicity, white people can use a hair relaxer. These hair straighteners are effective on everybody, irrespective of their ethnic background.

Nevertheless, hair-straightening lotions are predominantly advertised for ethnic hair. The reason is simple; many women worldwide aspire to achieve silky, sleek hair. In quest of this goal, many opt to use permanent hair relaxers.

Hair relaxers are chemicals designed to soften hair, which means it doesn’t matter what skin color. So if you have wavy or curly hair and want to straighten it for easier handling, you can use a straightening lotion, irrespective of your ethnicity.

Unfortunately, there’s a considerable misunderstanding regarding relaxants and who could use them. While it’s normal for black people to apply hair relaxers, most white people question if they can use them too. Don’t worry — you’re in the right place.

What Hair Relaxer Should You Use? What Happens?

Read on if you’d like to know what relaxer is best for you and what to expect when using this hair care product.

The Different Types of Hair Relaxers

There’s no relaxer developed exclusively for white people. Relaxers are available in various strengths, but none of them are race-specific. The different kinds of straighteners include:

Sodium Hydroxide Relaxers

Often referred to as lye relaxers, sodium hydroxide straighteners are appropriate for curly or wavy hair but are best used on mild to rough hair types. These straightening creams’ abrasive nature causes them to easily damage delicate hair types.

Calcium Hydroxide Relaxers

Calcium hydroxide straighteners, also known as lye-free relaxers, are appropriate for persons who cannot endure lye relaxers because of scalp irritation. These hair relaxers are easier on the scalp but could be tougher on hair than other hair straightening solutions.

Ammonium Thioglycolate Relaxers

ATG relaxers aren’t as effective in hair straightening as the relaxers mentioned above, which explains why most people don’t use them. These straighteners aren’t strong enough to relax tough hair and are also under-advertised. Nevertheless, these relaxers could be an excellent alternative for white people whose hair isn’t too wavy.

When You Should Use a Hair Straightener

If you’re white and have curly or wavy hair that you’d like to straighten with a relaxer, it’s recommendable to utilize the ATG hair relaxer.

Generally, Caucasian hair is highly susceptible to damage from stress and chemicals, which means that if you use a strong hair relaxer, you could easily harm your hair. On the other hand, if you regularly dye your hair or excessively treat it with bleach, you should avoid hair relaxers.

A moderate to light-strength hair relaxer is suitable if you’ve utilized a semi-permanent or temporary dye on your hair. But always remember not to dye your hair and use a hair straightening product simultaneously, as it could prompt permanent hair damage.

Typically, the effects of hair relaxation will last anywhere between six and eight weeks. After this period, you’ll have to graft any growing hair with a straightening cream. Never apply the fresh straightening cream to already relaxed hair.

At-home hair relaxation isn’t recommended as it could result in inconsistent results, or you may select a hair relaxer that’s unsuitable for your hair type. For the best hair straightening outcomes, it’s best to have it done by an expert.

The Risks of Hair Straightening

Here are some common risks associated with using hair relaxers:

Scalp Damage

Hair relaxers could trigger hair damage or scalp irritation, particularly if you’re susceptible to irritation. Avoid using a straightening product if you have scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc.

Even if you don’t have any scalp condition, a hair relaxer could cause scalp irritation and concerns like itching, chemical burns, or stinging. Apply Vaseline to your hairline to keep the straightening cream from contacting it.

Read Next: How to Treat a Chemical Burn on a Scalp

Life-threatening Conditions

While it’s exceedingly rare, research indicates that lye relaxers could trigger various conditions that could harm your general well-being. Some disorders induced by overusing hair relaxers include certain cancers, cardiac illness, reproductive issues, and mental issues.

Hair Loss

Using sodium hydroxide relaxers is frequently associated with hair loss. Whether used correctly or inappropriately, hair relaxers sometimes irritate the scalp and damage your hair, which results in irreversible hair loss.

Pros and Cons of Using Hair Relaxers for White People

Now that you’re familiar with the essentials of hair relaxers for white people, let’s discuss their advantages and disadvantages.


  1. They’re easy to apply. The hair straightening treatment takes approximately 15 minutes. After that, you can wash it with shampoo and conditioner.
  2. You achieve smooth, sleek hair instantly. Hair relaxers are the best alternatives if you have wavy hair and want to achieve permanent straightening.
  3. Straighteners make hair styling easier. If you have wavy hair, it’s common to struggle with hair styling as it requires constant detangling. With a hair relaxer, styling becomes easier because your hair gets softer and susceptible to tangling.
  4. Relaxed hair is more resistant than naturally coarse or wavy hair in humid conditions. If you achieve relaxed hair, you don’t need to worry about humidity-induced frizz.


  1. Straightening products eliminate hair curling, which means you cannot curl it manually unless you use straws, rollers, etc. 
  2. After around eight weeks, you must visit the salon to have your hair roots straightened. Contrary to popular belief, straightened hair remains straightened only for the treated parts. Once new hair grows, you’ll need to re-do the straightening on the growing hair.
  3. Hair relaxers disrupt the chemical makeup of your hair, which results in the weakening of your hair strands. The effects of this weakening will depend on your hair type and whether you’ve treated your hair before.
  4. For some people, despite their scalp protection strategy, for instance, applying Vaseline, hair relaxers still cause irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman who used a hair relaxer on white hair

Sofia Zhuravetc/Shutterstock

Here are some of the commonly-asked questions.

What will happen if you use a relaxer on Caucasian hair?

Anybody who utilizes hair relaxers, irrespective of race, will have sleek, straight hair. It’s irrelevant whether a person is white, yellow, or black.

What alternatives are there to hair relaxers?

Try hair chalks, a hair rinse, hair paint wax, or hair color spray. DIY is a great aspect of being natural today, but it’s best to see an expert stylist for rinses, permanent dyes, bleaches, and other treatments.

Are relaxers suitable for black hair?

Relaxers provide permanent straightening for black hair. The different hair relaxers available come in various formulations and brands. You should understand the basics or see a professional to identify which hair relaxer is appropriate for your hair.

Can white people utilize black hair products?

Yes, white people can use hair products created for black hair. Notwithstanding the apparent variations, both black and white hair benefits from strengthening and moisturizing hair products.

What’s the difference between hair straightening and keratin treatment?

Hair straightening doesn’t compare to keratin treatment in any way. For straightening, you’ll achieve straight, relaxed hair. As for keratin treatment, it works similarly to a strong conditioner.

So, Can a White Person Use a Hair Relaxer?

Ultimately, anybody can use a hair relaxer, regardless of their ethnicity. The misconception that hair-straightening products are only appropriate for persons with kinky hair, because they’re the demographic that frequently utilizes relaxers.

If you’re a white person, you should opt for low-strength relaxers and understand the risks associated with using these products. That said, it’s not impossible. Just know what you’re getting into before you use it on your own hair.