This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.
No matter how much you love those lovely, bouncy curls, there are times when you just want a different style.
But going through the same exhaustive loop of straightening your hair only to have it return to its natural wavy or curly state after one wash can be frustrating.
So, you scheduled a salon appointment and had it relaxed.
However, the hair-relaxing process puts your hair through a lot of stress.
Now, you’re diving deep into the internet to look for the best shampoos and conditioners for relaxed hair.
Well, you’re definitely on the right track! One of the secrets to the best-looking relaxed hair is to ensure it’s kept clean and healthy through shampooing.
Caring for it properly is also the best way to main the smooth and straight tresses you paid to achieve.
We take a closer look at the best shampoos for relaxed hair.
- Deeply nourishes treated and dehydrated hair
- Leaves intense shine
- Provides gentle cleansing
- Mildly cleanses the hair
- Boosts moisture and shine and makes thin strands look plumped and volumized
- Protects and prevents hair from damage
- Balances hair’s pH level
- Induces strength repair for less breakage, and less visible split ends
- Intensely conditions
Hair Relaxing vs. Rebonding vs. Keratin Treatments
It is a hair straightening technique used for over 100 years.
It uses chemicals such as sodium hydroxide or ammonium thioglycolate to straighten and soften tight curls but leaves some texture to the hair.
Those with tight, coiled, or 4c curls often use this technique for temporary straight locks. However, it doesn’t always get their hair as straight as they might like.
If your hair is curly, you may have to straighten it out again afterward if you want it completely straight. Still, it’s more cost and time efficient compared to rebonding.
The standard process time for a relaxing session usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes but varies depending on the texture, thickness, and length of your natural hair.
Hair relaxing results are semi-permanent. You may need to have it redone every 6 to 8 weeks to keep it straight. But this also depends on the relaxer product used by the salon.
Hair rebonding is another chemical straightening procedure with a longer-lasting and more refined result than relaxing.
It’s also called Japanese straightening since it’s widely practiced in Asian communities, specifically in Japan, where it was invented.
Rebonding is done by using rebonding chemicals and neutralizing agents. The hair is straightened with a flat iron in between applications (usually 2-3, depending on your hair).
The process works by breaking down the hair’s natural bonds and restructuring it to give you lasting and fully straightened hair.
Compared to relaxing, the procedure alone is more expensive, not to mention the maintenance it’ll need.
The process takes about three or more hours. But the results will be consistently visible for 6-8 months.
However, rebonding isn’t recommended for African descent or those with 4c-type curls, as the chemicals may be too harsh for their particular hair type.
Those who have undergone bleaching or other chemical treatments should also have a professional consultation before rebonding.
You may opt for keratin treatments to err on the safer side of hair straightening.
With or without treatments, keratin is already present in your system as a structural protein in the hair, nails, and skin.
But for hair straightening purposes, keratin hair treatments contain hydrolyzed keratin proteins with formaldehyde derivatives to penetrate and break the bonds, reposition them straighter, and seal them with a nice shine.
Most common results leave users with de-frizzed, smoothened, and stronger hair.
The procedure may take up to 3-4 hours, depending on the hair’s volume, length, and condition, and the results may be visible for up to 3-6 months.
For a safer treatment, look for products with glyoxylic acid instead of formaldehyde. But if you want to eliminate the curls, this option might not work.
Types of Relaxers
Now that you know a little more about the different straightening products, let’s look a little closer at the different types of relaxers.
Suitable for: Wavy, coily, and curly hair.
This relaxer is the most commonly used on wavy, curly, or coily hair.
Its main active component, sodium hydroxide, quickly penetrates the hair’s cortex, breaking down the hair bonds, resulting in a much quicker straightening and softening progress.
Although it has strong chemicals, it tends to rinse off quickly. This relaxer treatment must be repeated every 2-3 months to keep up with the regrowth.
There are also low-lye relaxers with the same active ingredient but a much lower sodium hydroxide content of 2.5%. It can still straighten the curls, make them manageable, and retain some texture.
No Lye Relaxer
Suitable for: all hair types
No-lye relaxers, on the other hand, are designed for most hair types and those with sensitive scalps.
This type is often in the range of these components: lithium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and guanidine hydroxide.
This relaxer is ideal for sensitive scalps due to its lower pH and more mild chemical content. However, it can make hair drier due to calcium buildup.
The interval between treatments for this type of relaxer may be from 6-12 weeks.
Suitable for: fine, wavy, and curly hair.
This relaxer is also called the ammonium thioglycolate relaxer based on its active ingredient. It’s the same ingredient used for perming hair.
With this type of relaxer, the disulfide bonds are permanently broken, leaving you with a result that will last until your hair grows.
Compared to other kinds of relaxers, the pH level on this one is lower, which makes its alkaline component not damaging to the scalp or hair.
It works by incorporating an oxidizing agent into the mixture, but overlapping it with other types of relaxers can cause extreme damage.
Common Hair Problems Associated With Relaxing
Since the hair has been chemically treated to change its natural texture, it also reacts differently to the chemicals and products you use.
Knowing that, when looking for the best products for relaxed hair, you must first assess your hair’s condition after the relaxing treatment.
These are the most common hair problems experienced by those who have relaxed their hair:
- Thinning hair
- Product buildup/residue
- Dry, itchy, and flaky scalp
- Weak, brittle hair that’s prone to breakage
Picking the Right Shampoo for Relaxed Hair
Before you pick the perfect shampoo for your relaxed hair, here are some things to consider to guide your search.
Each hair type reacts differently to relaxers, but they all have one thing in common– they’re all chemically treated. Knowing this, you have a basis when deciding on the best shampoo.
An important reminder is that sulfate-free shampoos are the best for chemically treated hair.
Another essential thing to look for is a mild, 100% organic natural shampoo for relaxed hair.
Since your locks are more vulnerable to further damage, clean and nourish them with a gentle formula shampoo. Avoid hair products containing harsh chemicals like silicones, parabens, and sodium Laureth or sodium lauryl sulfate.
Always do your research and read honest reviews before purchasing a product.
When picking a shampoo with the right ingredients for your relaxed hair, you must consider what can help you clean your scalp and keep your mane nourished and hydrated at the same time.
Opt for shampoos that use the best ingredients to take care of relaxed hair, including moisturizing and soothing components like aloe vera, jojoba, avocado, argan, coconut oil, keratin, honey, and different natural extracts.
Shea butter or cocoa butter are also good sources of moisture, but if you have oily hair, these ingredients might make it greasy.
There’s also one more rule of thumb to remember when looking at the ingredients: the first three to five components on the list are the ones that matter the most because they have the highest concentration.
So look at those first when making your decision.
After relaxing your hair, it will look amazing, and you might not notice any adverse reactions immediately. But you’ll have to assess how it’s acting after a while.
Did the treatment make you develop itching and flaking?
Did it make your hair dry or frizzy?
Did it make your hair lifeless and prone to breakage?
Knowing the answer to these will help you pinpoint the problems you need to address.
The market is filled with shampoos specifically crafted for chemically treated hair. Knowing your hair problems will help you look for the ones with added features depending on your hair condition post-relaxing treatment.
8 Best Shampoos For Relaxed Hair
Now that you know the types of relaxing treatment, the issues that may arise from this treatment, and guidelines to consider when choosing your shampoo, let’s check out our best picks for shampoo for chemically-treated hair.
This shampoo provides many benefits and is stored in recyclable packaging with no harmful environmental impact. Plus, the bottle is transparent, so you’ll see when it’s time for a refill.
Primary Benefits: Deep nourishment for treated and dehydrated hair; intense shine; gentle cleansing
- Cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free
- Leaves a citrus, spicy, and aromatic scent
- Has natural active ingredients from rare fruits and vegetable strains grown in Italy
What’s not to love about a product that does good for the hair and the environment?
Ding! Ding! Ding!
This shampoo will make your relaxed hair feel like it hit the jackpot!
From replenishing the moisture and nutrition of your hair, repairing the damage, and leaving an irresistible citrus scent, NOUNOU Shampoo is one of the best sulfate free shampoos for relaxed hair.
And bonus, it’s paraben free too!
It’s formulated initially in Italy, using the finest ingredients such as Torre Guaceto Fiaschetto tomato and chestnut milk.
While it may sound unusual for a shampoo to have these ingredients, it’s the recipe for this award-winning and globally recognized formula.
Whether your relaxed hair is suffering from dryness, brittleness, or dullness, all you need is a rich, full-bodied lather from Davines NOUNOU to experience a mesmerizing result.
It works for both men and women and infuses the hair with a potent blend of nutrients and antioxidants for strong, beautiful, healthy relaxed hair.
Primary Benefits: Gently cleanses and removes product buildup; strengthens the hair; improves hair health and moisture
- A delightful coconut scent
- Infused with jojoba and coconut oil
- Unisex and safe for color-treated hair
Get healthy hair with delightful summer feels with its fresh coconut scent!
If you want to cleanse and pamper your hair with enviable moisture, where else would you run to than one of the world’s trusted hair care brands?
Pantene’s Pro-V line was made famous by their one-of-a-kind formula that cares for the hair and transforms it into its healthiest and most beautiful.
And this particular Pro-V product is formulated for relaxed hair.
It has a moisturizing blend of jojoba and coconut oil for frizz-free and break-free hair. Plus, it is packed with antioxidants and pro-vitamins to prevent further damage.
Pro-V Relaxed Moisturizing shampoo is one of the best moisturizing shampoos for relaxed hair. It gently but thoroughly cleanses, replenishes lost moisture, and nourishes the hair without weighing it down.
Plus, no one can blame you for loving its fabulous coconut scent.
This shampoo has all the antioxidants and healthy natural oils and extracts your hair needs!
Primary Benefits: Deep-cleansing; color-safe; restores hair and scalp’s healthy balance
- Suitable for all hair types
- Free from sulfate, paraben, and phosphate
- Infused with various essential oils and extracts, keratin, and panthenol
An excellent clarifying shampoo for relaxed hair that works on other chemical-treated hair textures too.
Our hair experiences a lot of daily stress and exposure to environmental stressors.
This is why it’s essential to use cleansing products while restoring nutrients and nourishing the hair — especially for chemically-treated locks.
Finding a good clarifying shampoo for relaxed hair is essential to help eliminate the buildup that drags your tresses down.
This treatment shampoo helps reset the hair to a clean, fresh canvas and deeply conditions it to restore healthy hair balance.
This hair product is loaded with all the essentials your hair needs, such as argan and avocado for manageability, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, jojoba extracts for nourishment, keratin, and panthenol.
And it also works on all chemically-treated hair, so you won’t have to worry about using it even if your hair is permed, colored, or relaxed!
This shampoo doesn’t just protect the hair from dandruff and keeps the tresses clean and stunning.
Primary Benefits: Minimizes visible dryness; relaxes the scalp and calms itching and irritation; provides superior hydration and nourishment.
- A soothing aloe vera-based formula
- A gentle and effective daily scalp therapy
- Packed with healthy natural ingredients and formulated without harmful chemicals.
See a visibly revived and revitalized crowning glory in as early as 21 days!
Relaxing your hair also means knowing the unique challenges of this type of treatment. One of these challenges is that your hair may be more prone to dandruff.
Chemicals from different relaxers can cause scalp irritation and lack of moisture, weakening the scalp and resulting in itching and flakes.
Pura D’or addresses this problem by targeting the source of this problem straight at the roots.
This aloe vera-based shampoo gives relaxed hair the best remedy for dandruff through science and nature.
It has a selection of the healthiest natural ingredients and potent vitamins, like tea tree oil, argan oil, and biotin, mixed without harsh chemical additives.
It’s also infused with a sweet vanilla scent and lavender essential oils. And in just 21 days, you’ll be amazed by the results!
This shampoo ensures both men and women healthy, beautiful hair!
Primary Benefits: Mild and gentle cleansing for the scalp; replenishes hair moisture; improves manageability and helps with detangling
- Works for men and women
- Contains vitamin-rich olive oil
- Strengthens color-treated and relaxed hair.
Relaxed hair needs some TLC, and this gives you all the pampering you need!
The hair’s pH balance is one of the determining factors for its health. And the regular chemical treatments we do to achieve different hairstyles often mess with this balance.
But Elasta QP Shampoo is the perfect neutralizing shampoo to help address this imbalance.
This shampoo does an excellent job of keeping the hair manageable as it strengthens each bond while restoring the scalp’s pH balance.
It lathers well n the shower and rinses off easily, leaving the hair feeling soft and moisturized thanks to the vitamin-rich olive oil compounds while preventing knots and tangles.
It’s the perfect neutralizing and conditioning shampoo for chemically treated hair.
If you're familiar with Olaplex, this product is one of the closest things to its bond-repairing action.
Primary Benefits: Balances the hair's pH level; induces strength repair for less breakage less visible split ends; intensely conditions
- Formulated with citric acid
- Has a fresh, citrus fragrance
- Vegan, uses clean ingredients, and sulfate-free
Your hair will look and feel luxuriously renewed, and it'll smell great too!
Redken is an international salon staple and a notable name in the hair care industry. It was even listed as a great Olaplex alternative.
And its bond-repairing action is one of the elements that made it famous.
And looking at all its other benefits, it is one of the best sulfate-free shampoos for relaxed hair.
It targets the broken and weakened bonds from heat styling and chemical treatments, helps re-balance the hair’s pH level, and leaves the locks with the optimum repair, condition, and strength.
It also has a delightful scent of citrus and floral, boosted with sandalwood, cedarwood, and amber.
So, even in terms of scent, it’s a whole new experience!
Can’t stay relaxed when your hair gets damaged from a relaxing treatment? OGX shampoo can help!
Primary Benefits: Mildly cleanses the hair; boosts moisture and shine; protects and prevents hair from damage; makes thin strands look plump and full of volume
- Sulfate-free and paraben-free
- Formulated with keratin and amino acids, hydrolyzed wheat protein, polyquaternium 10, polyquaternium 7, and citric acid for maintained and manageable hair health
- It is also rich in omega 6, vitamin E, and antioxidants
Your daily styling aggression and environmental stressors are no match no this!
Aside from the visible damage from a relaxing session, your hair is also at constant risk from daily activities. But don’t worry, you can protect it with OGX shampoo.
This drugstore shampoo product helps wash away all the dirt and impurities and brings new life back to your treated locks.
It uses the finest ingredients and strengthens the hair fiber while adding the necessary nourishment to maintain hair elasticity and keep thin and brittle strands at bay.
Say goodbye to frizz and save yourself from the constant battle of detangling your hair.
Primary Benefits: Moisturizes and conditions hair; detangles wet and dry hair and leaves it straight and shiny; removes excess oil without over-stripping the hair
- pH balanced
- Contains natural botanical extracts such as hydrolyzed wheat protein, polyquaternium 10, polyquaternium 7, and citric acid
Forget scalp-tearing pain! Brushing your hair can now be your favorite part of the day!
You know your hair is in good hands when a haircare product is packed with all the good stuff!
That’s the case with Avlon Keracare Hydrating Shampoo.
It’s packed with botanical oils and uses hydrolyzed wheat protein to help decrease interfiber friction and target the frizz on your hair’s damaged edges.
This shampoo is dual purpose and does wonders for tangled and knotted strands as it cleanses and conditions the hair, resulting in smooth, soft, and shiny bonds.
Plus, stocking up on this shampoo isn’t a hassle because it comes in a gallon bottle! That’s a whole lot of the good stuff!
Relaxed Hair Aftercare
Going through a hair-relaxing treatment can be traumatizing and damaging for the hair if you don’t stick to a healthy aftercare regimen.
Here are aftercare tips you can squeeze include in your newly structured haircare routine to keep your hair looking good and healthy from within
- Deep condition at least once a week to repair and strengthen the hair bonds and improve overall hair texture
- Shampoo your hair at least twice a week to remove dirt and any buildup
- Use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.
- Limit heat styling. But if you must, always use heat protectants for relaxed hair first
- Trim your hair regularly to eliminate split ends to keep hair manageable
- Give your hair and scalp regular nourishment by using hair oils, hair masks, and serums
Frequently Asked Question
How long do the effects of relaxing last?
The treatment can last anywhere from six weeks to three months, depending on how you take care of your hair and the type of relaxer used.
A permanent relaxer can keep your hair straightened until it grows out.
How often should you shampoo relaxed hair?
It’s best to shampoo relaxed hair at least twice a week, but you can extend it to three times if your daily activities involve exposure to sweaty workouts and pollutants.
Look for the best sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners for relaxed hair, and incorporate them into your wash day routine for the best results.
Overwashing weak and chemically processed hair can strip accumulated oil from your scalp, leading to more susceptible hair.
Should you dye relaxed hair?
Relaxers and dye treatments shouldn’t happen at the same time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the best of both worlds.
After relaxing it, give it at least a couple of weeks or a month to breathe and rest before doing another treatment.
If it’s your first dye session after getting relaxed, or you’ll have to go through bleaching and hair lightening, seeking professional help is your best option.
How long after relaxing should you wash your hair?
After having your hair relaxed, it’s ideal to wait at least 3-7 days before washing it. But if you’re feeling gross and want to have it cleaned, make sure you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo.
Still, wait a minimum of three days to maximize your treatment results.
Relax. It’s Just Hair.
Are you tired of hearing people say that whenever you are worried about your hair situation? That’s understandable.
After all, you want healthy and gorgeous tresses, and maintaining them can be difficult.
So it’s essential to start treating the problem before it worsens and bolster your efforts by choosing the best products for your specific hair issues.
For relaxed hair, there are plenty of options you can choose from that will help you keep your hair healthy and enjoy the results of your relaxing treatment.
If you put in a little effort to revamp your hair care routine, it will be worth it!