If you’re a hair product junkie, then I’m sure that you’ve heard about the Olaplex hair treatment. If you’re not, but your hair has been feeling like it could break with the lightest touch of a hair brush, then knowing what Olaplex is will surely interest you.
You can find mentions of Olaplex everywhere – hair stylists and colorists are raving about it, as are many celebrities who can thank Olaplex for their hair looking gorgeous despite constant color changes. Fans of Olaplex include master colorists like Guy Tang and Tracey Cunningham, as well as dye-happy celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, and Paris Hilton.
Keep reading to learn exactly what is Olaplex hair treatment, and the different product options that exist both in salon and at home, how it works, who it is recommended for, and what its benefits are. I also explain how to use Olaplex at home, so you can enjoy the treatment even without going to the salon!
Olaplex Hair Treatment Guide: Contents
• What Is Olaplex Hair Treatment?
• How Does Olaplex Work?
• Who Is Olaplex Recommended For?
• All the Olaplex Benefits Your Hair Will Get
• Are There Any Cons to Using Olaplex?
• How to Use Olaplex at Home
The Olaplex hair treatment is a salon or take-home treatment that is meant to repair the hair’s bonds and to prevent damage, especially during hair dyeing sessions. From Olaplex’s own website, the product is meant to “work on a molecular level to seek out broken bonds[…] You can use Olaplex to restore compromised hair, or add it to another service to provide the ultimate breakage insurance.”
There are a few different variations of the Olaplex hair treatment, each one with its own number:
Olaplex In-Salon Treatments
No. 1 is the Bond Multiplier Olaplex treatment that is meant to be mixed with other salon treatments, like lighteners, colors or other chemical treatments. It is meant to repair damage in the hair, but primarily to prevent the damage that would otherwise be caused by the treatments it is mixed with.
No. 2 is the Bond Perfector Olaplex treatment that is meant to be used as a second step either after hair has been shampooed or after dye has been rinsed from the hair. It has a slightly lower amount of the patented active ingredient, but it works after the hair has been dyed to further repair the hair, since No. 1 can only do so much. It can also be used alone if a chemical treatment hasn’t been performed on the hair.
Olaplex At Home
No. 3 is the Hair Perfector Olaplex treatment that should be used at home. This treatment is applied to the hair kind of like a hair mask (I’ll give you the step by step later on in this article), to help repair bonds and strengthen the hair at home. It can be used as a follow up to a hair dyeing session, or even on its own even if you haven’t done the Olaplex treatment in the salon. The treatment can be purchased at Sephora.
No. 4 is the Bond Maintenance Shampoo. It cleanses and moisturizes the hair like any other great shampoo, but it also helps to further repair the bonds of the hair and to prevent breakage. Since shampoos don’t stay on the hair for that long, it can only do so much, but it is still useful. You can buy the shampoo at Sephora.
No. 5 is the Bond Maintenance Conditioner. It moisturizes, strengthens, and repairs the hair, and makes it feel smooth, shiny, and healthy. Additionally, it contains that same bond-repairing ingredient that is active in all of the other Olaplex products. It is best to leave it on the hair for a few minutes, to get the full effect. The conditioner is available for sale at Sephora.
Have you ever heard of disulfide bonds? Probably not, since it is not the simplest of chemical terms, but it is actually a critical part of the integrity of the hair.
You may have already known this, but our hair is made of a protein called keratin. Within the keratin molecule, there is cystein, which connects to the cystein in other keratin molecules in a bond called a disulfide bond.
When we dye, bleach, or heat treat our hair, those bonds become weaker, which makes our hair break with much more ease. It can also lead to the hair looking dry, dull, or flat.
The active ingredient in Olaplex is a patented compound called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. This ingredient, according to Olaplex, is supposed to repair those bonds.
This prevents damage during the dyeing or bleaching process, and after the fact it helps to seriously repair and strengthen the hair. Many colorists rave that it allows them to reach extreme hair colors and very light blonde shades without causing the kind of damage that would normally be expected.
• Most frequently you will see Olaplex recommended for those whose hair has been damaged by dyeing and bleaching. If your hair has suffered any damage from dyeing or bleaching, then you should definitely consider giving the Olaplex hair treatment a try.
• Even if you haven’t dyed your hair too much, but are planning to get a color change at some point, consider adding the Olaplex hair treatment to your next dyeing session. During the dyeing process, Olaplex prevents the hair from getting as damaged as it would without it.
• Hair can also be weakened by heat treatments like regular straightening, curling, or even just blow-drying. If you are a heat styling addict, the Olaplex hair treatment might be exactly what your hair needs.
• Those who perm their hair can use Olaplex as a boost. Perms work similarly to Olaplex by strengthening the disulfide bonds in the hair, so Olaplex can boost a perm and maybe even increase its longevity.
• Breakage-prone hair can also occur naturally, especially for those with curly hair. You can still give Olaplex a try even if your breakage has nothing to do with heat products or hair dye.
• Olaplex will rebuild your hair’s disulfide bonds, which will make your hair stronger and more resistant to breakage.
• It will fortify your hair against any future damage that can be caused by hair dye, bleach, or heat styling.
• Since your hair will be stronger, it will also feel softer and smoother.
• Your hair will be lustrous and shiny even after serious damage.
• Olaplex will allow you to bleach your hair or dye it into crazy colors without fear of damage.
• Olaplex protects the natural curl of the hair against the damaging powers of bleach.
For the people who need it, Olaplex seems to work wonderfully. However, not everyone has a great experience with it. Here are the potential drawbacks to using an Olaplex hair treatment:
• It might not be necessary. If your hair dye isn’t extreme (or if you don’t dye your hair at all), and your hair doesn’t get damaged, it might just be a waste of your time and money.
• It’s not cheap, especially as a salon treatment.
• Olaplex somewhat slows down hair dye action, so you can expect to be sitting in your stylist’s chair longer than you’re used to. However, if you’re a fan of regular hair coloring, you’re probably well aware that it’s never a speedy process.
• It’s a product that strengthens the bonds of the hair – Olaplex won’t condition, moisturize, thicken or soften your hair as its primary purpose. If your hair is simply dry, frizzy, or dull but without the fear of breakage, then you will be disappointed with Olaplex simply because it’s not the product for you.
Using Olaplex at home is super easy! You can use the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector anywhere between once to three times a week, while you can use the Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner every time you wash your hair (as you probably already know, the less often you wash your hair, the healthier it will be).
• You want to start off with hair that is clean and damp. You can hop in the shower and shampoo your hair quickly, or if you’ve already shampooed it earlier in the day, you can just spray it with some water. Make sure it is not dripping wet – just a touch moist.
• Don’t be conservative with the Olaplex hair treatment – dispense a generous amount of the No 3 Bond Perfector, and begin by applying it closer to your scalp, and work it out to the ends of the hair.
• To make sure the Olaplex is covering your hair thoroughly, brush it through your hair with a brush with thick bristles.
• Once your hair is completely saturated with the miraculous treatment, you want to let it sit for at least ten minutes, although most professionals recommend that you leave it on for a few hours, or even overnight!
• As an option you can put on a shower cap, especially if you’re worried about making a mess with all the product in your hair.
• Once enough time has passed, you can jump back in the shower and rinse out the treatment with just water.
• Afterwards, shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would. For best results, use the Olaplex shampoo and conditioner.
Photos via @hairbyjustineeve, @olaplex, @michaelategg