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11 Relaxer Alternatives for Black Hair in 2024

If you’re tired of relaxing your hair or don’t get the results you want from chemical relaxers, then it’s time to look for another option. Here are some great relaxer alternatives for Black hair that will leave your strands looking smooth and manageable — without all those harsh chemicals!

What Are Relaxer Alternatives for Black Hair?

Chemical relaxers, which alter the structure of the hair by changing its curl pattern, have been used since the 1920s to make natural hair lie flat.

But over time, chemical treatments can cause damage to your natural hair and make it harder for your hair to retain moisture — resulting in more breakage and less shine.

There are many alternative treatments for straightening hair that don’t involve the use of chemical relaxers, including oil treatments.

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Method 1: Oil Treatments

Woman spraying oil in her hair for a piece on the best relaxer alternatives for black hair


If you’re thinking about relaxing your hair — but you’re worried about the chemicals, or don’t want to spend the money — you should know that there are natural and effective ways to smooth your hair.

Oil treatments are great because they help lock in moisture and prevent environmental damage, which are both key factors in keeping your hair healthy. Avocado, coconut, and olive oil are some of the best oils to use, but you can also try jojoba oil or castor oil.


  • Probably already have one of these oils in your kitchen
  • Done at home instead of in a salon
  • Less expensive than other options on the list


  • Might need to add a second type of oil for added benefits
  • Oil may weigh down hair

Avocado Oil

If you’ve been looking for a way to improve the look and feel of your hair, you might want to consider using avocado oil. Avocado oil is made from the fruit of the avocado tree and is packed full of vitamins A, D, and E, which are great for your hair.

Avocado oil absorbs easily into your hair and scalp, which stimulates cell growth. The fatty acids in avocado oil help hair feel softer, so if you’re looking for shiny hair that isn’t weighed down by residue from other products, this is a great one!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most versatile oils out there. Coconut oil is especially beneficial for Black hair. It helps prevent sun damage and breakage, which is especially important because Black hair tends to be dryer than other hair types. 

Coconut oil benefits skin and hair because it contains lauric acid and vitamin E. It moisturizes your scalp while also helping to strengthen your roots.

Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, preventing dandruff and other scalp issues. Coconut oil adds protein to your hair, helping it grow healthier and stronger.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has been used for thousands of years as a natural moisturizer. Olive oil is still used today to strengthen your hair by helping it retain moisture. It also helps prevent dandruff and protects from environmental stressors like heat and sun damage. 

Olive oil is readily available at grocery stores and health food shops, so you can easily pick some up for yourself — although the price may vary depending on where you live.

Read Next: What Oil Is Best for Hair?

Method 2: Heat Styling

Image of a black woman straightening her hair with heat for a piece on relaxer alternatives for black hair

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Heat styling is a great way to tame frizzy hair and give it some definition. Choose a heat tool ideal for your hair type. Ceramic flat irons or a curling wand with tourmaline technology protect hair well. 

Prices of flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers vary depending on the brand and features. You can expect to pay anywhere from $25-$200 for a good quality styling tool. 

It could take up to an hour or more to get your hair straightened using a flat iron or curling wand. The process also depends on how long and thick your hair is. 


  • Doesn’t cost as much as going to the salon
  • Allows you to style your hair at home
  • Can be used with almost any type of hair


  • Styling your hair can take an hour or more
  • Applying heat can damage hair


Flat irons are one of the most effective ways to straighten hair without damaging it. They work by smoothing out the kinks and curls of your natural hair and layering it into a sleek style that will last for days. Always use a thermal protectant on your hair before using a flat iron!

Blow Drying

Try blow drying your hair straight with the help of a round brush or pick. This method uses heat to change the structure of your hair, making it smoother while removing any unwanted curl or wave.


A curling iron can help you create waves in your natural Black hair. Use a wand-style curling iron to smooth your hair and make loose waves. Curling gives your locks plenty of volume while still giving them that sleek, shiny appearance.

Read Next: How to Straighten Hair Without Heat

Method 3: Keratin Treatments

Image for a piece on relaxer alternatives for black hair featuring a keratin treatment


Keratin treatments are a great alternative to relaxers. They introduce keratin protein into your hair and seal the cuticle, making your hair stronger and shinier.

And they also last for 6 months or longer, depending on how often you wash it. They work best on dry and damaged from straightening or relaxing.


  • Keratin treatments at home or in the salon
  • Lasts 6 months or longer
  • Saves hair from damage from repetitive treatment


  • Costs $600-$800
  • Results don’t last as long with at-home treatments
  • Some formulas contain formaldehyde

Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Brazilian keratin treatments are becoming increasingly popular. These treatments are different from at-home keratin treatments. A Brazilian keratin hair treatment should be done only in a salon, and it lasts three months.

A liquid form of keratin melts onto the hair with a hot iron. The heat seals the liquid onto the strands of your hair. Keratin functions as a protective layer that keeps your hair smooth and soft throughout the day.

Method 4: Silicones

Woman with hair cream pictured squirting it in her hand for a piece on the best relaxer alternatives for black hair

Bernardo Emmanuelle/Shutterstock

Silicone creams are an effective alternative to chemical treatments. They do not require heat or other special tools but should be applied only when the hair is nearly dry.

Silicone works well for those who have trouble getting their straighteners to work properly on their natural hair. The silicone acts like a molding agent, keeping it in place until you shampoo.


  • Safe to use at home
  • Inexpensive option
  • Washes out of hair


  • Temporary solution
  • Washing out difficult

Silicone Creams

Silicone cream for Black hair is a must-have for anyone who wants to protect their hair from heat styling. Work the cream between your hands. Then add it to your hair, paying attention to the ends. Use a hair dryer or flat iron to leave your hair feeling smooth, silky, and soft.

Method 5: Extensions, Weaves, and Wigs

Black woman relaxer hairstyles featuring wigs on mannequin heads

EKS Design/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for an alternative to relaxers, consider extensions, weaves, and wigs. These are long-term solutions that can protect your natural hair while making it possible to get the look you want.


  • Protects natural hair
  • Customizable hairstyle
  • No harsh chemicals


  • Professional installation
  • Requires regular maintenance


Clip in or sew in extensions that use human hair, synthetic materials like acrylic or nylon, or a combination of both. These will let you add length to your hair quickly and easily.


Bonded weaves use glue or tape to attach hair wefts onto braided hair, while sewn-in weaves are sewn directly onto braided hair. Both types of weaves can be installed at a hair salon by a professional or hairdresser, but they require some maintenance and need to be removed by an experienced stylist to keep your hair healthy.


Wigs are another option for adding length and volume without damaging natural hair. They can be styled however you’d like and come in many styles and colors (including multicolored options). The only downside is that it can take some time to get used to wearing one — but the benefits will be worth it!

Read Next: Types of Wigs and Where to Buy Good Wigs Online

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman with curly natural hair in a white shirt in a white room


Let’s review some frequently asked questions about relaxer alternatives for Black hair.

How can I make my Black hair straight without a relaxer?

Several options can help you achieve straighter hair without damaging your natural texture. These include keratin, oil treatments, silicone creams, straightening and blow drying, weaves, and wigs.

Does a relaxer ruin your hair?

Relaxers weaken hair by penetrating the shaft to change the structure of the hair shaft. This makes it weak and easier to break. In some cases, relaxers cause chemical burns or even permanent hair loss.

How can I soften my natural hair without chemicals?

Moisturize your hair often. The best way to do this is by adding oil to your hair before shampooing it or using a deep conditioning mask once a week.

How can I relax my curls without chemicals?

You can relax your curls without chemicals by using avocado, coconut, or olive oil. First, wash your hair. Then apply a thermal heat protectant. Finally, use a round brush and hair dryer to dry your hair straight.

What is the best relaxer alternative for Black hair?

Olive oil and coconut oil are good relaxer alternatives for Black hair. Add a silicone cream to dry hair for additional straightness and hold.

So, What Are Relaxer Alternatives for Black Hair?

If you’re looking for a way to straighten your hair that won’t damage it, relaxers may not be the best option. Relaxer alternatives for Black hair can offer a solution for straighter hair with minimal damage and side effects. Happy styling!