We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Lye Relaxer?

Alex Tree
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
BeautyAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At BeautyAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Some pros of a lye relaxer are that it can straighten hair faster than a no-lye relaxer and it does not need to be mixed with an activator. No-lye relaxers can take more than 20 minutes, while lye relaxers can take as little as 10. In addition, it is ready to use instead of needing to be thoroughly mixed with other bottles of ingredients. Lye relaxers have cons, such as being capable of causing more damage in less time than no-lye relaxers. Any kind of relaxer should always be applied by a professional hair stylist to avoid burns and hair loss, but lye relaxers in particular are very dangerous when used by someone without experience.

A lye relaxer works more quickly to straighten hair than a no-lye relaxer. Some people note that it produces better results in addition to working faster. This is because it contains a stronger chemical than the no-lye alternative. Lye relaxers were the first type of hair relaxers, discovered around 1910 by a former slave working in a sewing machine repair shop. The discovery was an accident, but Garrett Augustus Morgan went on to create a line of beauty products.

Another pro of using a lye relaxer is that it does not need to be mixed with an activator, like no-lye relaxers. It is ready to use and can be used multiple times. The instructions on a no-lye relaxer usually state that any leftovers must be thrown away.

Both lye and no-lye relaxers are capable of producing disastrous results when not used properly. Severe hair damage, hair loss, and burns on the scalp are some potential side effects if a relaxer is left on a person’s head too long. A lye relaxer, however, is made with a stronger chemical that can cause these effects faster than a no-lye relaxer. Both kinds of relaxers are best left to professional use.

Due to the nature of a lye relaxer, it is generally advisable to find a professional to apply it. Such an application can be expensive, especially if a person has a lot of hair. In addition, a lye relaxer needs to be touched up as the person grows new hair, which can be equally as expensive because it is time consuming. Stylists must be careful not to apply the relaxer to already relaxed hair, because it can cause the older hair to break off due to excessive damage.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.

Discussion Comments

By SarahGen — On Nov 01, 2013

@fify-- The downside of no-lye relaxers is that they leave mineral deposits in the hair. So after a while, it makes hair dull and you can see the grayish residue. Lye relaxers don't cause this because they work differently.

By fify — On Oct 31, 2013
@donasmrs-- I know that lye relaxers work better for some people but they don't work for everyone.

I think every individual needs to figure out the best type of relaxer for their hair on their own. Everyone's hair is different and has different needs. I, personally, get much better results with a no-lye relaxer. Lye relaxers are more damaging for me and cause a lot of shedding several weeks after the treatment.

It's probably a good idea to consult with an experienced hair stylist and ask for a recommendation. I don't want to advise anyone to use a lye relaxer or a no-lye relaxer because I can't predict the results you're going to get with either. It depends on the type of hair you have and how damaged it already is.

So I think that these recommendations online should be taken with a pinch of salt.

By donasmrs — On Oct 31, 2013

Lye relaxers are stronger than no-lye relaxers but for some reason, they're not very damaging to my hair. I used no-lye relaxers for a few years and had terribly damaged, dry hair. After switching to lye relaxers, I've noticed that my hair is not as dry and I don't have as many split ends as I used to. I think lye relaxers are much better for this reason.

Alex Tree

Alex Tree

Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.