Best Products for Straightening Natural African-American Hair – Top 5 Best Picks

Desperate for that sleek, silky blowout look? If you have very curly hair, you’ll know how difficult it can be to straighten. Luckily for you, you’re about to meet your new best friend: hair straightening products.

When choosing the best products for straightening natural African American hair, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

There’s a huge array of options available, and you want reassurance you’ll get a product suited to your hair type, that guarantees shiny, voluminous locks without breaking the bank.

The good news? We’ve done the hard work for you, reading a ton of reviews so you don’t have to! We know that some manes prefer balms while others love a killer heat protectant spray, so we’ve handpicked a mix of the most effective solutions out there.

One of these picks is sure to be your perfect match, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Wondering why Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil isn’t featured in this list? Well, after reading a lot of reviews, we found that there are plenty of products that do just as effective a job at fighting frizz, without the eye-watering price tag!

Comparison Table

Products

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BEST FEATURE

JUNIOR LABS

PROCTECTOR & DETANGLER



L'OREAL PARIS

HEAT PROTECTION

FANTASIA

DAMAGE PROTECTION

SOFTSHEEN-CARSON

RELAXER

BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT

POWERFUL SMOOTHING EFFECT

Top 5 Hair Straightening Products for Natural African American Hair

straightening products afro american hair image

1. JuniorLabs - Protector & Detangler

PROS
1. Provides incredible glossy shine
2. Suitable for extensions
3. Handy detangler
4. Lightweight formula avoids product build-up
5. Vegan and cruelty-free
CONS
1. May be too light for severely damaged tresses
2. Slightly pricier than some budget options

This is best for a salon-quality look. Created by JuniorLabs, the Straight Silk Spray Heat Protector & Detangler is a miracle in a bottle.

Why is it so popular? Because, aside from protecting your locks from temperatures of up to 450°F, its salon-grade formula is packed with Moroccan Argan Oil, a gift from the hair gods that’s bursting with goodies such as vitamin E, fatty acids, and antioxidants.

We love it because…

As many reviewers commented, this product has an amazing ability to deliver high-shine, straight, and frizz-free results, ideal when you’re working with natural afro locks.

Better yet, Straight Silk Spray incorporates color-safe protection, so if you like to color and flat iron your tresses.


2. L’oreal Paris – Heat Protection

PROS
1. Incredibly affordable
2. No sticky residue
3. Excellent smoothing powers
CONS
1. Lacks natural ingredients
2. Noticeable fragrance

This is best for a budget-friendly shine. L’oreal’s Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream is a fabulous budget-friendly straightening cream for black hair.

Dry or tangled locks can be a nightmare to heat style and straighten, but this lightweight cream perfectly preps your tresses for blow-drying and flat ironing. It instantly smoothens the cuticle while providing excellent heat protection – everything a girl could want.

We love it because…

You get impressive results for such a reasonable price – in fact, many reviewers commented on its ability to recreate results usually delivered by much pricier products.

This clever cream doesn’t just spare you the pain of tugging through knots: it uses fibralock technology to tame that persistent pest: frizz. Reviewers praised its frizz-fighting powers, citing great shine and volume as additional reasons for their repeat purchases of it.

Ok, so there are more luxurious salon-grade products out there, but if you want to enjoy affordably glossy tresses with minimal heat damage, this is your product.


3. Fantasia – Damage Protection

PROS
1. Easy to apply
2. Fights humidity and frizz
3. Delivers high shine
4. Budget-friendly
CONS
1. Might be too lightweight for thicker tresses
2. Some reviewers found it oily

This is best for humidity-resistant magic. Known as one of the best flat iron sprays for African American hair, Fantasia’s Heat Protector Straightening Spray is a lighter version of their popular serum.

A blessing for those with finer locks, this heat protection spray is the ultimate multi-tasker, leaving your strands soft as silk, frizz-free, and voluminous.

Why do we love it?

Humidity can undo hours of work styling naturally kinky or coiled locks. However, Fantasia’s spray is designed to maintain the ideal balance of moisture when you use heat appliances on your locks, shielding them from thermal damage while combating frizz.

Reviewers remarked on its ability to make the entire straightening process easier, detangling knots and producing a vibrantly shiny and manageable mane. They also commented on the product’s wonderful smell, adding that a little goes a long way, providing maximum value for money.

If you have super dry or thick tresses, this spray might be a little too lightweight for you, but it seems there are few manes this spray can’t tame.


4. SoftSheen-Carson – Relaxer

PROS
1. Able to straighten even the curliest tresses
2. Affordable price
3. Long-lasting results
CONS
1. Contains harsher chemicals than some products
2. Not suitable for damaged locks

This is best for people with extra curly locks. SoftSheen-Carson’s Optimum Care Defy Breakage No-Lye Relaxer Kit is a great permanent straightening product for those with sensitive scalps and extra curly locks.

We love it because…

Designed to level out African American hair without heat, this kit combines a professional-strength relaxing formula with whipped coconut oil and fortifying ceramide to deliver salon-sleek results, while minimizing damage.

Reviewers remarked on this relaxer’s ability to soften and smooth manes without totally flattening them – the best looks are full of bounce, after all! Unlike some relaxers, this product has a nice, light fragrance, so you won’t be overwhelmed by that dreaded chemical smell.

As a chemical relaxer, it’s not ideal for deeply damaged, dry curls. However, this kit conditions tresses before and after treatment, rebuilding and nourishing them, to combat breakage.

You get incredible value for your money, as a protective pre-treatment and reconstructor treatment come as part of the kit.


5. BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT - Balm

PROS
1. Low maintenance
2. Nourishing properties
3. Powerful smoothing effect
CONS
1. Less budget-friendly price
2. Can cause build-up if too much is used

This product is best for luxury nourishment. One of the best heat protectants for African American hair, Brazilian Blowout’s Acai Protective Thermal Straightening Balm uses a heat-activated formula to smooth curls and frizz while fighting heat damage and humidity.

We love it because…

This luxurious balm gave reviewers straight – Shiny hair for days, thanks to its exclusive Brazilian Super-Nutrient Complex.

It is a clever blend of ingredients that simultaneously strengthens and rebuilds weakened strands while forming a smoothing protein layer that seals the hair cuticle. This gives your mane an incredible shine and improving its overall condition.

Reviewers praised the product for its ability to smooth even the thickest mane without weighing it down or making it greasy, fighting humidity while creating an incredible blowout look that demands minimal effort.

Sounds like the dream, right? Who doesn’t love a ton of volume, coupled with amazing shine? While it isn’t the cheapest product on the market, it seems it’s well worth the spend.


What to Look for When Buying a Hair Straightening Product for Black Hair

Ingredients

Straightening Afro hair without heat protection can lead to long-term damage and brittleness. When picking a product, it’s important to look for naturally conditioning ingredients such as vitamin E, fatty acids, and argan and coconut oils.

You should also look for products that contain keratin protein. This super-powered ingredient helps reduce breakage and repair damage. Ceramide is another one to watch out for, as it’s capable of boosting shine and strengthening tresses.

Effectiveness

It’s a good idea to read some reviews before you take the leap and commit to a product. Some of us have fine dos, while others have curlier, coarser manes, so it’s not a case of one size fits all.

Likewise, if your hair is damaged, prone to dryness, or frequently colored, you may need a more heavy-duty straightening product.

Reading reviews will help you work out which kind of product would be most effective for your natural curl pattern and hair condition.

Safety

Not everyone is suited to certain products. If your curls are in a poor condition, chemical relaxers could do serious damage, so it’s best to seek advice from a professional stylist, should you have any doubts.

You should also perform a patch test on a small area of skin - behind your ear, for example - before using any chemical treatment. If you have any allergies, check the ingredients on any product before use, ensuring it doesn’t contain anything that could trigger an allergic reaction.

Ease of Usage

Straightening super curly hair requires plenty of patience (and time), so you want products that are as easy to use as possible.

Again, a great deal of this judgment rests on the condition of your hair. If you have relatively healthy, fine locks, spritzing a good flat iron spray over them before styling should work well.

If you have thicker or damaged hair, you may find that a detangler spray isn’t robust enough, when trying to smooth out your curls. In this instance, a thermal balm or cream may be easier to apply, speeding up the straightening process for you.

Cost and Pricing

It’s easy to be tempted into thinking that a more expensive product will guarantee superior results. The reality is that, often, this isn’t the case. There are plenty of budget-friendly straightening products for black hair that are packed with the same nourishing ingredients found in pricier options.

Of course, if you want to stretch to a high-end item, it’s worth doing your homework before you splurge. Check out reviews, so you know you’ll be getting good value for your money.

Hair Straightening Terms That You Must Know

Temporary Straightening

Afro hair can be temporarily straightened by using a blow dryer and pressing comb in conjunction with a flat iron. If you like to mix it up and switch between your natural texture and a straighter look, it’s best to go for this option, as it will revert to curls after moistening.

Permanent Straightening

This is when black hair undergoes a texturizing or chemical relaxing treatment (often referred to as a relaxer or perm) that results in a permanent change in its natural curl pattern.

By permanent, we mean that the effect of straightening will not disappear until the hair grows, is cut, or breaks - there is no other method of removal.

Relaxer

A relaxer is a chemical treatment that can permanently smooth or loosen curls featured in kinky or coiled tresses. Women with extremely curly hair often opt to use relaxers for straightening, as, for them, a flat iron is unable to do a satisfactory job.

To return to your naturally curly state after chemical relaxing, a ‘transitioning’ period is required, during which you grow out the chemical treatment.

Pressing

This process temporarily straightens black hair, so it’s a good option if you like to alternate between curly and straight styles. It involves pulling a hot comb through the hair, which softens the curl pattern until it’s re-moistened.

You can heighten the effect of pressing by using more heat, creating an extra sleek effect - just make sure you use a good thermal protectant.

Reversion

This term is used to describe the process during which temporarily smoothed out hair returns to its natural curl pattern.

This would typically involve straightening your hair with a flat iron, enjoying the results, then washing it, so it can go back to its curly glory - perfect if you only like wearing straight styles for a few days at a time.

Texturizer

A texturizer is a gentler version of a relaxer, permanently softening curls instead of totally straightening them. It causes the hair less stress, as it alters the natural curl pattern less drastically.

Texturizers typically come in lye or no-lye solutions, the suitability of which depends on the sensitivity of the user’s scalp. Like relaxers, once you use a texturizer, the only way to return to your tresses to their natural state is by ‘transitioning’ - growing the treatment out.

Flat-ironing

This involves the use of a flat iron - two heated flat plates - to temporarily smooth out your mane.

If you use high heat and a good product, you can completely straighten your tresses with a flat iron. Alternatively, if you want to minimize thermal damage or go for a softer look, you can use moderate heat to slightly loosen your curls instead.

Methods of Straightening African-American Hair

Heat

Black hair can be straightened with heat using a blow dryer, flat iron, or pressing. Easy to do in minutes from the comfort of your own home, it’s an affordable temporary option that can be repeated whenever you wish.

The effects last a few days and can range from completely smoothing out the hair to simply improving its manageability. Each time you use heat styling methods, it’s essential to use a reliable heat protectant if you want to maintain a healthy mane.

Relaxing

Wondering how to straighten African American hair without heat? The secret ingredient is a relaxer.

A relaxing treatment involves the application of chemicals that break down the disulfide bonds featured in the hair’s cortex layer, reconstructing them in a straight pattern to create a sleek effect.

A relaxing treatment is permanent, which means your locks will only return to their natural state once the treatment has grown out. If your mane is over-processed, it’s best to opt for gentler treatments.

Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Typically performed by a professional, this treatment semi-permanently straightens curls, producing super-sleek results by coating the hair shaft in polymers, forming keratin bonds that keep it straighter for longer.

It lasts anywhere between a few weeks to a few months - ideal if you like the idea of having a straight look for more than a few days, without the long-term commitment. It does contain chemicals, so if you’re an all-natural girl, you might want to opt for another treatment.

Curl Tamer

Simple and fast, this process uses natural hair straightening products to subtly smooth black hair and can be done at home.

By heating certain compounds in specific natural ingredients, the curl tamer treatment gently softens the curl pattern, making tresses easier to manage and straighten.

Lasting only a few weeks, it enables you to straighten your mane using less heat than normal, with longer-lasting results. Best of all, it fortifies and nourishes locks, combating breakage.

Texturizer

If you’re set on a permanently smoother look, but want to retain a little of your natural curl pattern, a texturizer might be a good option for you.

Milder than permanent straightening products, a texturizer is a cream that uses chemicals with a high pH to straighten the hair, following this up with a neutralizing shampoo. Like other permanent treatments, if you wish to return to your curls, you have to grow out of the treatment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I straighten Afro hair permanently?

You can permanently straighten it by using chemical relaxing treatments or a texturizer. While the results can look great, it’s worth noting that permanent straightening treatments do take their toll on afro hair and can dry it out, causing breakages.

If you love the straight look, make sure to use plenty of nourishing masks, and consider trying out a Japanese straightening treatment. Also referred to as Thermal Reconditioning, it’s believed to be less damaging.

Can you permanently straighten black hair without a relaxer?

Yes, you can, by using a texturizer, which is left on for a much shorter period than a relaxer and has less drastic effects on your natural curl pattern and condition.

If you don’t want to use chemicals on your tresses, it’s best to opt for semi-permanent straightening treatment instead, such a keratin treatment. You could also try wrapping it tightly while it’s still wet, using rollers, or tying it into a tight bun, allowing it to dry and set in a smoother pattern.

What are the best products to keep hair straight after straightening it?

Alaffia Repair & Restore Finishing Oil Mist keeps frizzy tresses hydrated after straightening, keeping them silky for days.

Another top pick is Eco Styler olive Oil Styling Gel, an ideal product for natural manes prone to coarseness. This clever gel is great for flattening out flyaways and edges, keeping your mane nourished and sleek.

Do you have some tips on how to flat iron black hair?

Yes! Before you get started, make sure your locks are healthy, well-conditioned, freshly washed, tangle-free, and completely dry.

Apply a straightening product with heat protection and humidity-resistant properties, then divide your hair into small, easily managed sections.

Starting as close to the roots as possible, gently pull the flat iron across your chosen section, placing a comb or brush just in front of the iron for maximum smoothing effects.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a total addict or an occasional heat styling fan, it’s always useful to have a reliable straightening product on hand for that just-left-the-salon look.

Today’s clever products combine robust heat protection with deeply conditioning ingredients that fight frizz and deliver high shine, making your mane look healthy and lustrous while maintaining volume.

When picking your perfect hair straightening product, consider your budget, natural curl pattern, hair type, and any additional personal requirements before you click ‘buy’.

If you’re a high-maintenance girl, you probably won’t mind applying a balm before blow-drying, whereas those looking for a quick-fix might opt for a spray. What matters is that you get the results you’re hoping for, while keeping your locks nice and healthy.

The highest-rated product in our selection is undoubtedly L’oreal’s Blow Dry It Thermal Smoother Cream. Countless reviewers highlighted its incredible ability to recreate the same glossy results as pricier products and treatments.

Used along with heat styling devices, this magic cream tames unruly frizz and protects tresses from thermal damage, all while delivering incredible shine and softness. It’s a winner!