Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Women with relaxed hair understand that they now need to keep their tresses as healthy as possible. Still, most people are usually looking for ways to maintain lightweight, bouncy hair. It can be easy to weigh down straightened locks, especially if your mane is already fine or semi-fine. When it comes to product picks, choosing the best ones for relaxed tresses often means looking for lightweight options.
Look at ingredient labels to make sure you avoid heavy ingredients like petroleum/petrolatum and mineral oil. You might also want to steer clear of too many sulfates and parabens. While many women already know that sulfate-laden products are drying, they can also lead to protein breakdown, which is the last thing relaxed hair needs. Parabens may be linked to harmful hormonal activity, so it's best to avoid them too.
We've rounded up some of the best, most lightweight products that won't weigh down relaxed hair—everything you'll need, from leave-in conditioners to finishers like sheen sprays and serums.
It's a 10 Leave in Plus Keratin
A good leave-in can help you maintain the moisture levels you so desperately need. This one, by It's a 10, also contains keratin to help to strengthen your hair. Keeping your tresses strong is crucial when they've gone through the process of relaxing. The added protein helps to fill in gaps in your hair cuticles, reducing frizz and increasing shine. This spray-on conditioner is light though, so a little goes a long way—you don't have to use much to notice its effect. We recommend it for people with high-porosity hair, as low-porosity hair is sensitive to protein and it could do further damage.
Ouidad's Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner
This leave-in conditioner by Ouidad is another lightweight option, and can be used in the shower. Prickly pear extract helps soak moisture out of the air and into your mane. Not only does this leave-in work as a moisturizing conditioner, it also performs multiple duties as a detangler and a light heat protectant.
When it comes to oils, you have your choice of products that range from extremely light to very heavy. Steer clear of castor oil and olive oil unless you're doing a hot oil treatment or oil rinse, and look for lightweight, non-toxic versions. Argan oil is a common favorite, for people of every hair type. It's light, smells heavenly, and is really good for your hair. It works well on a finished hairstyle, too; adding sheen and reducing frizz. Regular use, if you focus on the ends of your hair, should lead to growth retention and healthier locks overall.
If avoiding bad ingredients is important to you, Carol's Daughter is a solid go-to—after all, the brand has a storied history of creating products designed to maintain healthy hair. This sheen spray is perfect for creating a finished style with shine and lots of movement. The convenient size makes it portable enough to stash in your handbag for midday touch-ups if you need them. Containing just a handful of ingredients, including almond and soybean oils, the Black Vanilla line is a favorite for many due to its amazing scent and its promotion of healthy locks.
DevaCurl's styling cream will basically have your hair doing anything you want it to, which is perfect for relaxed hair. The thing that makes it even more perfect is that it will hydrate and nourish your strands while helping you fix them in place. The styling cream utilizes tapioca starch to help tame any frizz that might get in your way, while still keeping hair healthy.
Another way to create a beautifully finished hairstyle, this spray oil adds a sheen, and a dose of environmental protection, to relaxed hair without leaving hair feeling heavy. Best applied to hair pre-styling, it protects your strands and adds the perfect finishing touch. Don't expect hold, just sheen and protection. While sprays are perfect for getting your style finished at the start of your day, they're also a very light way to add manageability when putting your mane up for the night.
When creating hairstyles with wet sets, you want light products that give a lasting hold. This Carol's Daughter styling foam does exactly that. It's been a fan-favorite for a while, and whether you create a roller set or use flexi-rods, expect flexible-but-defined curls. The best part, though, is how moisturizing it is—and relaxed hair needs moisture.
This inexpensive option is a great way to add shine to relaxed hair while maintaining lots of body and volume. Plus, it's a frizz fighter. Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to serums. Start with a tiny amount and only add if needed. This smoothing product from Garnier can work on straight or curly relaxed styles. Expect lots of shine and softness. Like many serums, this one contains silicones, which help repel frizz. Some tresses can tolerate "cones" better than others. If you know your mane is sensitive to silicone products, you'll probably want to avoid serums and stick to sheen sprays instead.