6 Relaxer Lines that Have Gone Natural: How Their Products Stack Up

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I spend a lot of time in Sally’s. In Target. In Ulta. In beauty supply stores in general. If a store has a hair aisle, I’m on it. Perhaps you’ve noticed that stores are cropping up with “Natural Hair” sections on their aisles. It’s been a long time coming… started from “Ethnic Hair” now we here! Haircare for Black women has been a booming industry for decades. In fact, we spend millions of dollars a year just to keep it looking right and tight. Over the past 6 years, we have all witnessed the popularity of natural hair soar — and the subsequent decline in the profitability of perm kits. The dip in sales of relaxers and related straight-hair products coincide with the rise in popularity of natural hair products, bloggers, and vloggers.

 

There’s nothing like a pinch in the pocket that makes an industry listen. Here are a few lines known for their relaxed products that have rolled out natural lines in an effort to win you back:

 

1. Naturally Silk Elements

Silk Elements, widely known for their relaxer and heat straightening line rolled out a natural hair line recently. Their line includes Moist Cream Shampoo, Deep Nourishing Conditioner, Leave-In Conditioner Cream, Curl Defining Pudding, and Curling Cream Gel. With all products ranging from $8.99 – $9.99, this is generally accepted as the standard pricing for natural products. Silk Elements got it right when they eliminated parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum and alcohol. Where they missed the mark is not including the oils and extracts that most naturals need to have soft, moisturized hair. I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying $10 for a “nourishing” conditioner, I am expecting some oils, vitamins, a free cup of Starbucks, or something. I’m in no rush to try this line.

 

2. Dr. Miracle’s Curl Care

No longer do you see the hand in the mirror (fast forward to the 40 second mark), helping ladies turn their played out kinks into buttery smooth straight hair. Dr. Miracle’s recently decided to help ladies embrace their natural textures, through a line including Soft Hold Creme, Weightless Moisture Cream, Boosting and Defining Leave-In Conditioner, Curl Friendly Blow Out Foam, and Strong Hold Gel. This line’s price point falls right in the typical range — $8.99 – $9.89. Unfortunately, many of the Feel It Formula founder’s products contain mineral oil — a red flag for many naturalistas. Whatever natural products Dr. Miracle is dealing out of the bathroom mirror, he can keep. There are plenty of other inexpensive oils that work great on our hair, helping to soften, retain moisture, and nourish — mineral isn’t one of them.

 

3. Dark n’ Lovely Au Naturale

Softsheen Carson is definitely double-dipping in the natural hair care pot. The Dark n’ Lovely brand recently launched their Au Naturale lineCurl Defining Creme Glaze, Coil Moisturizing Souffle, 10-in-1 Styling Gelee, Sheen Sealing Nectar, Hydrating Soak Shampoo, Knot Out Conditioner, and a super cute product label (lol). Their products are all around $9.99 each, again within that general range. The shampoo contains sulfates, and is definitely not worth $10. Some of the other products contain isopropyl (drying) alcohol which is a no-no for those with already dry textures. If I do get around to trying something from this line, it will only be the 10-in-1 Styling Gelee. I’ll pass on everything else. Better yet, I’ll just go for Softsheen Carson’s other natural line (told ya’ll they were double-dipping), Roots of Nature.

4. Motions Naturally You

This line is currently on clearance at Sally’s. You can find most of the products for $5 or less. I smell a repackaging and new product formulation coming soon. The perm-turnt-natural line rolled out a Smoothing Conditioner, Moisturizing Cleanser, Radiating Gloss, Deep Conditioning Masque, Hydrate My Curls Pudding, and Define My Curls Creme. Apparently, Motions didn’t get the memo about the different needs of natural hair — their conditioner is ‘cone-heavy, and styling products are based in mineral oil.I won’t be going after this line anytime soon. I’ll wait for the new stuff to roll out, and see if it is any better.

 

 

5. Sof n’ Free Gro Healthy Nothing But

The Nothing But line features a Clarifying Shampoo, Healing Mask, Cleansing Conditioner, Mold & Hold Wax, Pure Pudding, and Curl Wake-Up Spray. Just like everyone else, their products are $7.99 – $10.99. With the exception of two products (Cleansing Conditioner and Curl Sealer both contain mineral oil), Sof n’ Free got it right for naturals. The oils may not be as high up on the list as I prefer, and I’m a little concerned about the artificial fragrance, but there are some products in this line that I would give a try. The other bonus here is that Nothing But products don’t contain any artificial coloring, which I totally respect. I personally find it awkward (and a bit alarming) when hair products are artificially colored. What are you hiding? I will definitely be picking up the Nothing But Intense Healing Mask on my next trip to Sally’s.

6. Design Essentials Natural

There’s been a lot of buzz about the salon-level line, Design Essentials. Of all the new lines that have rolled out recently, theirs is easily the most expensive. Their line touts a Moisturizing Conditioner, Curl Defining Creme Gel, Curl Stretching Cream, Curl Enhancing Mousse, Twist and Set Lotion, Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and a Curl Cleanser. Their products start at $12.99 and go all the way up to $29.99. Their line is definitely natural-friendly; not a mineral oil, petrolatum, or drying alcohol found in sight. The Curl Stretching Cream is the $30 product in this bundle. If you’re truly fascinated with sweet almond butter (the base in this product), try Hairveda Almond Glaze for under $10.

Well, it looks like many  relaxer-based companies heard the demands for natural hair products loud and clear — from gentle cleansers to hold and styling products. Apparently, some of them haven’t fully gotten the message that there are certain things naturalistas don’t want to see in their products. But at least they are headed in the right direction (so they can take all of our money, haha). What other straight-hair lines have you seen go natural recently?

For more from Christina check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

 
  • Maria

    Hi,just want to know,I have grey hair and would like to try your Dr. Miracle relaxer,but everytime I relax my hair, turns yellow and although I wash it with silver shampoo to get the yellow out it still remains yellowish.

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    • TWA4now

      When I use to relax my own hair at home, it rarely turned out right. Please let a professional help you with it and the issues you are dealing with or try going natural like I did and just embrace what grows out the scalp and the grey! All the best to you.

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  • Dee

    I’ve seen design essential products discounted at JC Penney Hair Salons…fyi

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    • http://www.kellyannskanka.com kellyann

      your old could you just stop using the chemical products in your hair it damage at times

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  • http://www.newoptionshaircare.com Errol

    [file]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/IMG_20130416_160734.jpg[/file]

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  • http://www.newoptionshaircare.com Errol

    Remember New Options Hair Care.

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  • Leslie MacFadyen

    I personally recommend the 10 in 1 Gelee by Soft and Natural. It’s really wonderful for coil-outs specifically on my hair.

    The other brands have not worked well at all with my hair – seems like the general rule is a company that has spend decades catering to relaxed hair is not a good source for natural hair products.

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  • Kadisha

    I saw the Dark n’ Lovely au naturale line in Trinidad, but when I read the label and saw that it contained sulfates, I put it back and its really expensive too.

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  • http://www.coffeeandfingernails.com coffeeandfingernails

    I think it’s great that this is happening. It’s an indication of the size and strength of the natural community and should bring down prices of natural products, many of which were ridiculously pricey when I first went natural just 3 years ago. I don’t really care whether these companies “really care” about naturalistas–I honestly don’t even know what that means, like does the CEO care? the head of marketing? the chemists? As natural hair becomes more accepted and even mainstream, we’ll have to accept that this will become less and less of a community dominated by youtubers and ladies mixing up homebrews to sell online and will consume more and more of the billion dollar industry that is black hair. There are things that will be lost and things that will be gained in the process, but that shift is inevitable.

    All that being said, knowing exactly what I’m putting on my head (because I made it myself) is a habit I’m not ready to kick just yet. Apart from my Organix conditioner (or possibly Trader Joes–nap85 has nearly convinced me to switch), I’m not likely to be buying anything other than raw ingredients from the drug store any time soon.

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    • Ms Brown

      You are saving a lot of money so no need to kick the habit of homemade products. The moment the number of women with unprocessed hair increased, that’s when all these natural companies new and old (MOST OF THEM NEW) started distributing all of these HIGH PRICED products taking advantage of women.(Some women have been spending more Natural than they did when they were relaxed)

      When I did noticed Natural Hair care products that were reasonably priced on the shelves and also realize a lot of them were from Relaxer Companies. Business is Business so they make sure to continue providing their customers with products whether Natural or Relaxed. What they don’t make from the Relaxer Sales they’ll make from Natural Product Sales. Even if Relaxers became Obsolete (doubt it) they will still thrive because HAIR BUSINESS IS BIG MONEY MAKING BUSINESS.

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  • Zee

    I tried the dark n’ lovely au naturale moisturizing souffle and it is actually very moisturizing :)

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  • http://cottoncandylocks.blogspot.co.uk/ cottoncandylocks

    long live unrefined shea butter!

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  • naomi

    Nothing But is a has a pretty good clarifying coditioner and their intense healing mask is great.

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  • Hansy

    What I noted about these lines is that they are usually filled with silicones, mineral oils and lots of cheap fillers. I’ll pass.

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  • Sarah

    Ive tried the dark and lovely leave in style mango butter creme and it didn’t do anything but make my hair smell like a fruit salad and feel greasy. It didn’t moisturize my hair at all.

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  • Jenn

    I actually like the Naturally Silky line because it’s free of nut oils which I am allergic to. Maybe they can add extra oils like rice bran, avocado and olive oil. Especially to their deep conditioner because that dried my hair out.

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  • Lucky

    I know I’m tardy to the party, but I have no love for these companies. They know Black women spend more money on haircare than any other race/ethnicity and they know the natural hair biz is BOOMING! It doesn’t matter if the market is for relaxed or natural sisters (talk about double dipping!) either way, these companies are making big profits. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll stick to companies like Shea Moisture, Eden Naturals and others along with my occasional splurges from Oyin, KBB and Qhemet Biologics.

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  • mardieya

    i am thinking of going natural but I have a very stubborn and a hair that never relax . i live in Belgium and haven’t seen any of the natural hair relaxers or products in any shop. please can i get a recommended site where I can buy natural hair products on the website? any recommendation please ?

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  • DNor

    I use Hugo shampoo to keep my grey hair from turning yellow or looking dull. Also Aubrey hair care products work for me too. Check out these products on their respective websites and perhaps you will decide to give them a try. I find these products at Whole Foods or Sprouts in my area; however the websites will provide you with locations for your area. Hope this information will help you in choosing great products for your hair care.

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  • Cecret

    All I have to say is I loooove Design Essentials. I use the shampoo, conditioner, and almost every thing they make. It always gives me soft shiny hair and smells ohh so good . :D

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  • Lilibeth

    You may first use a (sulfate free) flattening shampoo and conditioner (sulfates dry out your hair) then after you condition it, pat your hair dry with a towel and use a pump of argan oil. It’ll smooth the frizz down and make your hair look nice and soft. It’s not oily or heavy, or at least the one I have isn’t, mine is by the Pro naturals brand which is only sold online. It doubles as a heat protectant too so your hair won’t burn when you have it relaxed.

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