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My recommendations for men planning to relax their hair

There are many men out there who want to straighten their hair or at least make it less frizzy. Their main dilemma would be whether they can use the hair relaxer that is made for women.  Before choosing the relaxer to use, men should identify their hair type and texture. It is better to get help from a professional stylist. For Caucasian men wanting to straighten their hair Japanese straightening might be a better option.

Hair Relaxer and Hair Straightening Methods for MenFor black men’s hair, it is better to stick to the traditional lye or no lye relaxers. Lye relaxers are very damaging to the skin and scalp and always get a stylist to apply it for you. The scalp should be protected with a petroleum based product so that the relaxer doesn’t get in contact with the skin. No Lye relaxers are as good as lye and after relaxing process, you should use a chelating shampoo to get rid of the buildup that some no lye relaxers can cause.

NOTE: Relaxers come in different strengths. Choose the one depending on your with consultation from your stylist. These relaxers below are regarded good when used on ethnic women. Keep in mind, any relaxer is good enough only based on the stylist expertise. If you are planning to apply the relaxer for first time, consult a professional stylist .

Below are some good hair relaxers that men can use

Lye Relaxers

In my opinion, these relaxers should be reserved for professional use only. These relaxers are made of Sodium Hydroxide.

No Lye Relaxers

These  relaxers are made of wide range of chemicals namely calcium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, guanidine carbonate etc.

If you hair has already been processed in some form like coloring or previous relaxing treatment then you need to cautions about which relaxers to use. As the chemicals present in different type of relaxers are not compatible (i.e thio relaxed hair can’t handle lye relaxed hair and vice versa).

When men enquire about the options for straightening their hair I always say them if your hair is good enough to grow up to 10 cm then invest in a good quality flat iron. For some men, hair straightening and relaxing might not be their cup of cake. Though they have the desire to achieve certain look, many men simply don’t have the patience to sit for such prolonged period of time that straightening process can consume. Hence flat ironing might be the best option for them. If they just want to control the frizz then a frizz taming product like frizz-ease can be used.

Also. most men prefer using a texturizer to a relaxer because they are comparatively easy to apply and take just few hours. The most popular texturizer for men seems to be Luster’s S-Curl Texturizer. There aren’t many relaxers in the market that has been specifically designed for men’s hair. But, men can use the relaxers that are designed for women’s hair.

There are some texturizer’s that are designed for men’s hair like Africas Best Organic Texture My Way Kit For Men. It is better to use texturizers instead of relaxer as they are comparatively milder and are capable of achieving the results that most men desire(easy combing and less frizz). If men have long hair and wanted a pin straight look then they might consider using relaxers. The characteristics of men’s hair are quite different from women’s hair and care should be taken to choose a milder relaxer that doesn’t damage hair.


Stylists usually suggest the relaxers made of thioglycolate instead of the normal sodium hydroxide lye relaxers as the scalp damage is minimal in the thio solution. Also, most men prefer the moderately straight hair and not pin straight look. Your stylist should be capable of achieving these results you desire. Before relaxing you can also look at options like flat irons and styling products. Invest in a good quality flat iron and you should be able to straighten your hair easily with a heat protecting serum like RedKen Heat Glide. Hair relaxing poses its risk and men should make a informative and cautious due to the chemicals present in it. If you are capable of achieving the results you desire with styling products or a texturizer then that would be easier option.

Below is a  video on how to apply a relaxer:

Consider looking at the following products based on your hair:

  1. If frizz is the major problem and you just want to tame it then an anti-frizz serum or spray should solve the issue
  2. If you feel your hair is coarse and difficult to comb them a soothing serum should be effective in softening the hair
  3. Leave-in or spray-in conditioners will work for dry hair that needs the moisture
  4. If you just need to style your hair then a mousse or any hair gel would do

Unless your hair is can’t be managed and want to get it relaxed, opt for a styling product as an alternative. When it comes to hair relaxers, the true but bitter fact is it is made of chemicals and are damaging to the hair if not applied properly. Same applies to texturizers but they are milder than relaxers and hence less damaging.  If you choose to go with relaxers, try starting with the milder formulation of the relaxer you choose and do a strand test to check whether your hair can handle the relaxer.

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