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9 Best Sensitive Scalp Relaxers

by Gabbi

Having curly hair is a blessing, but everyone likes variety. Hence, the popularity of hair relaxers. Hair relaxers are products that can straighten your hair semi-permanently (usually for 8 weeks) using special chemicals that change the structure of your locks.

With hair relaxers, you can get pin-straight, shiny, and healthy-looking hair without having to spend your mornings using flat irons and other styling tools.

Sound like a dream? It sure is! And although hair relaxers truly do work this well, there is one downside: they can be harsh on the scalp.

And if you already have a sensitive scalp, using a hair relaxer can leave you with itchy, flaky, and even burning patches of skin on your head. It’s not fun!

Many hair relaxers need to be used with intense precision to avoid accidentally burning or irritating the scalp. 

Luckily, hair relaxers have come a long way since they were first invented. Today, there are lots of hair relaxers that have gentle formulas and are specifically designed to be used on a sensitive scalp.

So what are the best sensitive scalp relaxers? The best sensitive scalp relaxers are those you can buy and use at home that have no-lye formulas and gentle ingredients.

In this article, we will go over our top choices of relaxers for people with sensitive scalps, so keep reading!

Sensitive Scalp Relaxers – Buyer’s Guide

If you have a sensitive scalp and you’re looking to permanently straighten your hair, you’ll need to make sure you’re choosing a relaxer that has the gentlest formula. Here are some things you should look out for:

Lye Vs. No-Lye

There are different types of relaxers on the market that are distinguished by their main ingredient. For a long time, hair relaxers relied on lye to weaken the disulfide bonds in the hair.

Weakening or breaking the bonds changes the structure of the hair from curly to straight.

The problem with lye is that it has some harmful effects, including burning and irritating the skin. If you’re someone with a sensitive scalp, lye can be a real problem for you. 

Enter no-lye relaxers. These relaxers were invented specifically to give people a gentler and safer option for relaxing hair. Instead of using sodium hydroxide as lye relaxers do, no-lye relaxers rely on other chemicals like potassium, lithium, or guanidine hydroxides. 

No-lye relaxers are much gentler on the scalp. If you’re looking for a relaxer that won’t irritate your sensitive scalp, it’s best to start your search with no-lye relaxers.

Nourishing Ingredients

Although no-lye relaxers are gentler on the scalp, the process of relaxing your hair still has its problems.

Repeatedly relaxing your hair can make your locks weaker, drier, and more brittle. Not to mention, your scalp will still be exposed to strong chemicals that might be irritating, even if you use a no-lye relaxer.

Thankfully, many relaxers these days contain nourishing ingredients designed to prevent irritation and flakiness. 

Look for a relaxer with coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, or other oils that are known to moisturize the skin and hair. These ingredients go a long way in preventing pain and irritation on a sensitive scalp. 

Some relaxers also contain keratin and other proteins that help strengthen the skin and hair. 

Ease Of Use

If you’re planning on using a hair relaxer at home, you’re probably already comfortable being your own stylist.

That being said, some relaxers are easier to use than others! Make sure to read the instructions for each relaxer you are considering using to make sure the process isn’t too complicated.

It’s easy to make a mistake when there are 12+ steps you need to go through. And relaxer-related mistakes carry a heavy cost. You can seriously damage your scalp, and in some cases, even lose some of your hair.

The best relaxers for sensitive scalps are those that come with clear and simple instructions so that you know exactly what you’re doing.


Speaking of user-friendliness. Some relaxers come in complete kits that include everything you need to relax your hair at home. Usually, these kits come with an activator, a relaxing cream, a neutralizing shampoo, and tools like gloves and spatulas.

Other relaxers come without any of the bells and whistles, so you’ll have to make sure to buy additional things separately. It’ll be important that you read the instructions and make sure you have all the tools you need before you begin relaxing your hair.

For example, if your relaxer needs to be neutralized, but doesn’t come with neutralizing shampoo, you’ll be in a lot of trouble if you find yourself without it after you’ve applied the relaxer to your hair. Your hair can break and your scalp could burn if you don’t wash the product out with a specific shampoo.

Because of this, we always prefer using kits. There is no risk of forgetting something or using the wrong kind of neutralizer. 

If you’re someone who is more experienced, you might already have a neutralizing shampoo and a spatula at home, so buying a kit might not be as important to you.

Best Relaxers For A Sensitive Scalp

Here are our top choices for the best sensitive scalp relaxers that will keep your hair and scalp healthy and flake-free:

RankProductKey Features
1.PHYTO PARIS PhytorelaxerThe best of the best for sensitive scalps with a natural formula
2.Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp RelaxerSpecifically designed to prevent itchiness and dandruff
3.SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely RelaxerGreat at straightening coarse hair and contains lots of protective plant oils
4.Linange Alter Ego Shea Butter Cream RelaxerShea butter-infused cream relaxer. Doesn’t come with a kit
5.Hawaiian Silky No-Lye RelaxerStraightens hair with minimal scalp irritation thanks to Jojoba and Mink oils
6.SoftSheen-Carson Optimum RelaxerStrongest relaxing power with the least amount of scalp irritation
7.Soft & Beautiful No-Lye Sensitive Scalp RelaxerSimple and gentle relaxer for those who don’t have colored hair
8.Gentle Treatment No-Lye RelaxerGentle relaxer infused with aloe vera to soothe and protect the scalp
9.ORS Olive Oil Built-In Protection No-Lye Hair RelaxerA popular relaxer that straightens coarse hair and contains olive oil to soften and moisturize the hair and scalp

1. PHYTO PARIS Phytorelaxer

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This lye-free relaxer is gentle, hydrating, and safe for sensitive scalps. It’s the only one on the market that uses all-natural ingredients to achieve the same relaxing power as others.

The formula contains nourishing ingredients like eggs and soy protein, which keep your hair and scalp super moisturized and healthy. The natural formula also includes keratin, mallow extract, and mineral-rich cinchona to hydrate and nourish your scalp and hair.

The no-lye formula straightens 95% of your natural texture so your hair is left with more body.

This product is easy to use so you won’t have to worry about accidentally burning your scalp. It comes with a pre-treatment cream, the straightening cream (aka the relaxer), a neutralizing emulsion that stops the process after your hair is straightened, and a milk restructurer which serves as a conditioning and strengthening treatment.

The reviews for this relaxer are overwhelmingly positive. Many professional stylists use this product. One writes, “I am a master cosmetologist and I will not use another relaxer, it’s great for smoothing unruly hair!”

If you want the best of the best – this sensitive scalp relaxer is the top choice.

2. Avlon Affirm Sensitive Scalp Relaxer

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Another cult favorite, this Avlon Affirm relaxer was designed specifically with sensitive scalps in mind.

The formula contains ingredients that target itchy scalp and dandruff. The hair gets straightened with a soothing and conditioning relaxer technology.

Many people who use this relaxer found out about it from their stylists. This product is well-known in the industry as one of the best relaxers for delicate scalps.

As a bonus, the gentle formula prevents over-processing of the hair, meaning you’re less likely to mess up your tresses.

One stylist left this review: “I have a few clients with a dry itchy scalp. I really liked how much better their scalp looked after I used this relaxer.”

Each box comes with 9 individual cream relaxers, a liquid activator, and a spatula for easier application. With this purchase, you get a lot for your money!

3. SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Relaxer

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This no-lye relaxer is chock full of softening and moisturizing ingredients that will be kind to your hair and your scalp.

This Relaxer kit helps preserve the 5 signs of healthy hair: moisture, shine, strength, softness, and body. This strong formula is perfect for coarse hair. This brand also has a “medium” strength option for those with finer hair.

The star ingredients in this relaxer are jojoba oil, avocado oil, silk protein, and shea butter.

They work together to soften and strengthen your hair while nourishing and moisturizing the scalp. This formula is great for preventing itchy or burned scalp.

The kit comes with a moisture conditioner, a gloss cream, and an exclusive Silk Keratin Serum for softness and body. There are detailed instructions on how to use this product to achieve the hair of your dreams. Most hair will become straight within 15 minutes of application.

The best part? This is one of the most affordable relaxers on the market. With so many great reviews and feedback about how gentle it is, we had to include it as one of our top choices.

4. Linange Alter Ego Shea Butter Cream Relaxer

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This shea butter-infused cream relaxer is made it Italy and has loads of positive reviews from people with curly hair. 

One of the things people love most about this relaxer is that it work incredibly well without damaging the hair or hurting the scalp. Even those with sensitive scalps have no issues using it.

It keeps your hair strong and moisturized because of the shea butter and vegetable protein. 

The only downside is that it doesn’t come in a kit, so you’ll have to buy your own neutralizing shampoo, spatula, gloves, and whatever else you like using when relaxing your hair. 

It’s also pretty easy to use. One reviewer says, “The process was precise and easy. I timed it for 16 minutes (start to finish) and my hair was lustrous and beautiful afterward.”

This is a great product for more experienced users who don’t mind buying everything separately or already own these tools.

5. Hawaiian Silky No-Lye Relaxer

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This formula straightens hair with minimal scalp irritation and burning while Jojoba and Mink oils protect and nourish the hair and scalp. 

This extraordinary relaxer leaves the hair smooth and silky and is available in mild, regular, and super to accommodate a variety of hair textures.

Another great reason we love this product is that it’s made in the USA with many natural ingredients. It’s easy to use and requires no mixing. You’ll have to purchase the neutralizing shampoo separately. 

At 20 oz, this relaxer will likely last you a while. You can use a part of it at a time and users report that it stores well. 

6. SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Relaxer

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Another great product from SoftSheen-Carson, this no-lye relaxer promises to defy breakage and replenish moisture leaving you with soft, healthy, bouncy, and straight hair. 

It has detailed instructions on how to use its 7-step formula. The kit comes with everything you’ll need, including the scalp protection cream. This cream is a great solution for sensitive scalps. 

You apply it all over your scalp and the very roots of your hair. The cream acts as a barrier and prevents any of the relaxer chemicals from getting on your skin. 

Even though the formula is lye-free and gentle on its own, the added barrier from the scalp cream ensures that you don’t end up with burns or flakes.

This product is incredibly well-tolerated by people with a variety of different hair textures, and everyone reports that the results are impressive: this relaxer will give you that bone-straight hair you’re looking for.

For those who want the strongest relaxing power with the least amount of irritation to the scalp, this SoftSheen-Carson relaxer is a great option.

7. Soft & Beautiful No-Lye Sensitive Scalp Relaxer

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This kit comes with a no-lye relaxer and some great ingredients that make it gentle for your scalp and hair. Also included are activator, neutralizing shampoo, and nourishing leave-in conditioner.

The relaxer contains shea butter and coconut oil to keep your hair and skin hydrated. It also contains tea tree and aloe, which helps keep the scalp healthy and itch-free. Olive oil and Vitamin E are added for hair and skin repair.

With those wonderful natural ingredients, this relaxer is a great choice for those looking for a simple easy-to-do at-home relaxer that won’t damage their scalp.

One downside of this particular relaxer is that it doesn’t perform well on previously-colored hair. So if you’ve recently dyed or bleached your hair, you should look for a different relaxer.

8. Gentle Treatment No-Lye Relaxer

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This relaxer by Gentle Treatment is a no-lye relaxer that uses the soothing and moisturizing powers of aloe vera to keep your hair and scalp healthy.

Mainly designed for fine and fragile hair, this gentle formula straightens the hair while protecting it from dryness and breakage. It also helps keep your scalp nourished and hydrated to prevent burns, itchiness, and flaking.

The kit comes with a relaxer, activator, neutralizing shampoo with a color activator, and a leave-in conditioner. 

Together these products work to maintain the health and beauty of your hair long after you’ve finished relaxing it.

The neutralizing shampoo has a color-activating technology that changes color while you’re washing the relaxer out of your hair. It helps you make sure that you’ve washed all of it out, which helps prevent scalp burns and other damage to the hair.

9. ORS Olive Oil Built-In Protection No-Lye Hair Relaxer

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The ORS Olive Oil relaxers are a household name because they get the job done.

You can usually find one of these at your local corner store and almost everyone who regularly relaxes their hair has used this brand at least once.

The ORS Olive Oil No-Lye relaxer has a lot of benefits: it’s easy to use, it’s gentle, and it contains Olive Oil from the Mediterranean which acts as an emollient that softens and moisturizes the hair. Olive oil is also very good for the scalp as it helps protect and nourish your skin.

Some reviews are mixed because as gentle as it is, this formula is very strong. So it’ll straighten even the most stubborn coarse hair, but it can also be harsh on softer finer hair. 

It seems that the best results are achieved when the instructions are followed to a T. Don’t keep it on your hair longer than recommended to avoid burning your scalp or causing your hair to break.

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