Product Reviews, Self-Relaxing

Stash Showdown: Neutralizing Shampoos

hair-care-stash-showdown-neutralizing-shampoosThere are currently three neutralizing shampoos in my hair product stash and it’s time to figure out which one is best.  The showdown is between Design Essentials Milk & Honey Neutralizing Shampoo, Elasta QP Stop Action Shampoo and Mizani pHormula-7 Neutralizing & Chelating Shampoo.  I will say that none of them are horrible, but there is a very clear winner in my mind.  And to confirm my opinions, I actually used all three of them with my last relaxer day for a same day comparison.

design-essentials-milk-honey-neutralizing-shampoo-fancyflairladyDesign Essentials Milk & Honey Neutralizing Shampoo

Claims: Developed to neutralize and condition the hair after straightening.

  • Removes all traces of chemical residue
  • Color indicator ensures that all residual relaxer is removed
  • Neutralizes hair restoring it to a normal resting pH
  • Nourishing botanicals replenishes hair with vitamins and minerals
  • Neutralizes, conditions and softens hair for greater manageability

My Opinion: I bought this shampoo when I switched relaxers.  Something about using the entire line, just made me feel a lot more comfortable trying something new after years of the same.  My first experience wasn’t too good,  but I now realize that it was because I hadn’t thoroughly rinsed out all of the relaxer from my hair before starting to shampoo.  On my second go around with it, I made sure to rinse all of the relaxer from my hair.  And I will say that it does what it claims.  It smells nice, it made my hair feel conditioned — not stripped, and the suds eventually turned white after two lathers.

My main con is that I don’t trust the color indicator.  Both times when this shampoo’s color indicator let me know that my hair was properly neutralized, I used another neutralizing shampoo with color indicators/alarms, which indicated that my hair was not yet properly neutralized.  That just did not sit well with me.  Unfortunately, this overshadowed the otherwise good performance that this shampoo showed.


elasta-qp-stop-action-neutralizing-shampoo-fancyflairladyElasta QP Stop Action Shampoo

Claims: Instantly neutralizes and cleanses all traces of relaxer while leaving hair incredibly soft, silky-smooth with radiant shine.

  • Color/pH Indicating Formula: pink when relaxer is present, white when absent
  • Deep-cleansing removes all relaxer residue
  • Acid-based formula effectively neutralizes relaxer alkalinity
  • Concentrated formula provides extra value

My Opinion: This is the “other” shampoo with color alarms that I used after the DE Neutralizing shampoo. And honestly, after I’ve run through my other neutralizing shampoos this one will likely be the one that I continue to purchase again and again.  I’ve been using it since the very first time that I attempted to relax my hair on my own and it’s been holding me down.  Compared to the DE neutralizing shampoo, my hair feels softer and smoother.  Plus I trust the color indicator/alarm on this shampoo a lot more, which is why I always use it as my final check.


mizani-phormula-7-chelating-neutralizing-shampoo-fancyflairladyMizani pHormula-7 Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo

Claims: Dual-purpose shampoo removes traces of relaxer to restore natural pH level

  • Neutralizes & restores pH balance.
  • Helps remove mineral build-up.
  • Helps minimize dullness in hair.

My Opinion: This neutralizing shampoo was my ride or die as well.  When I self-relaxed the first time, my hair was super dry days later and I couldn’t figure out what went wrong.  That’s when I learned about no-lye relaxers and their mineral deposits.  This was the first shampoo that I found that could neutralize and chelate (i.e. remove mineral deposits from the hair shaft that cause seemingly incurable dryness).  I simply used this shampoo on the next wash day and the dryness was no more.  It.was.amazing.  Ever since then it has been my first and second lather on relaxer day.  It not only neutralizes and chelates, but it leaves my hair feeling amazingly soft, smooth and brings out the natural shine.  Definitely the best of the three that I’ve mentioned here and the perfect companion to a no-lye relaxer.

Unfortunately it has one drawback — no color alarms/indicators letting me know when I have properly neutralized. And I have come to rely on color alarms as a self-relaxer.  It’s why I’ve always kept the Elasta QP Stop Action with me as a final lather/check.  I’ve mentioned this product in so many posts it’s clear the love I have for it.  But since I’m sticking with lye relaxers for now, I won’t be repurchasing this one after it’s done.  It’s an extra step that’s just not needed at the moment.

And so the winner is…

Elasta QP Stop Action (unless you use a no-lye relaxer then maybe it’s Mizani pHormula-7 Neutralizing and Chelating Shampoo, lol — can you tell it’s going to be hard for me to let this one go?)

What neutralizing shampoo are you currently using?

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