The main difference in Lye and No Lye Relaxers is the active ingredient used to straighten the hair.
Lye Relaxers active ingredient is Sodium Hydroxide.
No Lye Relaxers active ingredient is Calcium Hydroxide or Guanidine Hydroxide.
PH levels in a Lye Relaxer are about 12-14 and No Lye Relaxer is about 9-11. Our hair PH should be about 4-5. The higher PH of the Lye is supposed to make the relaxer work faster.
So what are the Pros and Cons of both type of Relaxers
- No calcium deposits left on the hair so it's easier on the hair. So hair is silkier and easier to stay moisturized.
- Processes Faster
- Easier to texlaxed with
- Swells the cuticle more b/c of it high ph and this could lead to damage
- Harder on the scalp burning with relaxing
- Doesn't always straighten completely (under processed hair)
- Some relaxers are only available at salons
- Can be more expensive
No Lye Relaxer
- Easier on scalp less burning
- Lower PH
- Affordable and easier to find
- Straighter hair
- Leave mineral or calcium build up on hair. Which makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair (Chelating Shampoo can remove deposits)
- More likely to cause breakage b/c it's harder to stay moisturized and b/c it's gentler on the scalp some may leave the relaxer on longer and this can can over processing.
In a nut shell it's about picking what will work best for you and your hair journey. If you are still unsure what would work best for you I strongly recommend discussing it with your professional stylist.