For a very long time, if someone asked me whether I used lye or no-lye relaxer, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I knew that I used affirm, but that was all I knew. As I started to learn more about my hair and decided to start relaxing my hair myself. It became necessary for me to weigh the pros and cons of Lye versus No-Lye relaxers. Oh…the great debate: one minute it’s in vogue to use No-Lye the next minute it’s out and everyone’s using Lye relaxers. But for me, my scalp and my hair, I’ve decided to use a No-Lye Relaxer.
Why I LIKE it: It’s gentler on the scalp; it doesn’t burn the scalp as easily as a Lye relaxer will. And it gets the hair straighter.
Why I DON’T like it: To get the hair straighter it’s harsher on your hair. The active ingredient in No-Lye Relaxers, calcium hydroxide, leaves your hair with calcium deposits. These deposits settle into your hair and prevent your hair from receiving the benefits from your hair products. The calcium deposits are not easily removed and will leave your hair feeling very dry. I remember my first time using a no-lye relaxer the dryness that I experienced was really bad. Nothing that I used seemed to remedy the dryness, even after globbing on moisturizers, deep conditioners, and oils. Thankfully, I learned how to eliminate the dryness.
How I dealt with the dryness:
- Chelating Shampoos. – a strong shampoo that not only removes product build up but it’s formulated specifically for removing mineral deposits (calcium, copper, chlorine, salts, etc). Great for those who have hard water, use no-lye relaxers or swim in pools often. Some popular examples
- Mizani pHormula-7 Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo (pictured below)
- Joico K-Pak Clarify Shampoo — Chelating: Removes Chlorine Buildup
- L’anza Swin Sun Daily Chelating
- Kenra Clarifying Shampoo — Chelating formula for removing dulling deposits
- and many more.
- Ceramide Products. Ceramides are lipids that form a protective barrier around your hair strands ensuring that the moisture and protein added to your hair stays put. They are naturally occurring in your hair but as we manipulate our hair with relaxers, chemicals, heat and styling, we lose some of it. They can be found in shampoos, conditioners, oils and leave-in treatments. Some popular products and brands that use ceramide technology:
- Nexxus Humectress Moisturizing Conditioner (pictured below)
- Aubrey Organics Products
- Redken Extreme Anti-Snap and the Extreme Shampoo
- Matrix Biolage Cera-repair
- Hemp Seed Oil
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- and several other products.
In the end, I’ve learned how to eliminate the dryness from using no-lye relaxers and my scalp is thanking me for it. Since self-relaxing with a no-lye relaxer, I’ve never burned my scalp or had the burning/tingling sensation. Success!