Nonchemical Relaxers for Black Hair

Olive oil or whole milk can help relax your hair without chemicals.

Photo: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Hitting up your local salon for a relaxing treatment like Japanese straightening or a Brazilian blowout might give you super straight locks but it sure does a number on your hair's health. Harsh chemicals can lead to drier, frizzier and even thinner hair, but if you relax your hair naturally, it can actually make your hair healthier, shinier and bouncier.

Coconut Milk

If you have course and curly hair, it takes longer to straighten out than thin and wavy hair, so you'll need to be persistent with your natural methods. Coconut milk makes for a great conditioner that relaxes your hair, but it doesn't pack the same punch as chemical straighteners. To make a relaxer out of coconut milk, mix 1 cup of coconut milk with a few drops of lemon juice and stir it until it becomes a thick paste. Apply this to your hair, and then wrap your hair in a hot towel. Let it sit for 20 minutes before washing it out, and repeat this step every wash for three weeks.

Hot Olive Oil

Hot oil is a powerful straightener and if you use an oil with conditioning properties, it's even better. Olive oil helps repair damaged follicles and eliminate the dryness that causes frizz, which relaxes hair. The more moisture your hair retains the straighter it will be. To use olive oil as a relaxer, heat a cup of oil in the microwave or on the stove -- but don't make it so hot that it will burn you. Apply the olive-oil relaxer to your hair and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it out with shampoo.

Milk

If you've been using a relaxing treatment to get straighter, smoother hair, you might still need an extra boost. Coupling a natural relaxing treatment with a great natural conditioner can pack an even stronger punch when it comes to smoothing your curls. Milk, which you're likely to already have in your refrigerator, can act as a conditioner that's strong enough to kick excess frizz and help your hair absorb moisture that will make it easier to manage. Put a cup of milk into a spray bottle and spray it on dry hair. Let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Tips for Straight Hair

Natural relaxers work by allowing your hair to absorb moisture. Curly hair is inherently dry and damaged, which is why these relaxers will have absolutely no effect if they're not paired with a deep-conditioning treatment. After you use a natural relaxer, you should use your normal conditioner that's catered to curly hair -- sulfate-free to prevent drying and damage. Once a week, do a hair-mask or deep-conditioning treatment coupled with your regular regimen so that your hair absorbs as much moisture as possible.

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