Lots of products claim to repair damaged hair, but very few of them actually do. Olaplex is one of those diamonds in the rough that has a special formula that truly does return some glow to your hair and get it back to full health after a rigorous dying regimen. Which means if you’re constantly dying your hair (mostly looking at you, ladies), you’re probably already fully aware of Olaplex and its products.
The company launched in late June 2014 with seven products (numbered 1-7) specially formulated to repair your hair’s natural strength. It quickly gained recognition among beauty bloggers, professional stylists, and other influencers. I had to contact the brand to try it for myself.
I may be a guy, but I dyed my hair a ton in my youth, from leopard and dalmatian spots to tiger stripes, rainbows, and more, my hair was a battleground of artistic expression throughout my teens and twenties. I then shaved it for most of my late 20s and 30s. Now approaching 40, I’m very protective of just how thick and full my hair is. I was basically born with a large forehead, so it’s often mistaken for a receding hairline, but I have no signs of balding. But my hair is starting to gray, and from this point on, hair dye will be a common consideration to stay from looking elderly.
And don’t get me started about the damage done using straighteners, curlers, and other heat treatments. It’s no wonder everyone’s losing their hair.
Thankfully, Olaplex understood my plight and was willing to send some free product for both me and the Spears Sisters (Sarah and Heather) to try out. Check out their site if you haven’t already. They’re great girls to work with and very intelligent with the influencer and entertainment business out in L.A.
For Haircare Professionals Only
Olaplex No 1
Olaplex No. 1 is mixed into your lightener, bleach, color, or whatever chemical you’re using to dye your hair. It repairs the disulfide bonds that get broken when you use heat treatments and chemical styling. This is accomplished using a compound called bis-aminopropyl digylcol dimaleate, which is a patented formula. These disulfide bonds are what give your hair its shape, and, while peroxide helps, this included ingredient throughout the entire process does its job, and the highest concentration is found in No. 1. Use it any time you dye your hair.
Olaplex No 2
No. 2 also has a high concentration of the active ingredient, This is more of a gooey texture than the thinner liquidy No. 1. It’s meant to cover any spots No. 1 missed and should be applied after rinsing the dye out on towel-dried hair. From there, you have to wash it out with shampoo and conditioner. This is not a leave-in conditioner, and it’ll weigh your hair down, making it feel gummy, so wash it out. This should be used after dying your hair every time.
For General Consumers
Olaplex No 3
No. 3 is very similar to No. 2, although it has a lower concentration of the active ingredient. This hair protector, like No. 2’s bond perfecter, should be applied to towel-dried hair and left in for 30 minutes or so (depending on how much time you really have) and washed out with shampoo and conditioner. This should be used once a week for best results.
Olaplex No 4
No. 4 is where Olaplex finally gets into normal shampoo and conditioner, except these products are anything but normal. There’s a lot of ingredients packed into such a tiny bottle, and it foams up fast. The active ingredient in this shampoo is a much lower concentration than the bond treatments above, which is why it’s labeled maintenance. Mix it in with your regular rotation of shampoos for best results.
Olaplex No 5
The No. 5 conditioner is similar to the shampoo. The active ingredient is in a much lower concentration and it can be mixed into your usual haircare regimen. I used both for a week and didn’t find them to be bad at all, but they aren’t magical enough to replace some of my go-to’s like Shea Moisture.
Olaplex No 6
No. 6 is one of the newest members of the Olaplex family. This leave-in conditioning cream hydrates your hair while providing trace amounts of the active ingredient. Using this treatment once or twice a week will keep your hair looking better longer.
Olaplex No 7
No. 7 Bonding Oil is the latest release from Olaplex, coming out in summer 2019. This styling oil adds a layer of shine to your hair, along with UV protection. When combined with the previous 6 steps, No. 7 oil adds that final layer of frosting to the cake without any of the residue and extra weight added by other leave-ins.
And that’s it – all 7 of these products are essentially well-made variations of the same active ingredient. They each use different concentrations and add a few other things to the mix, but overall, they’re meant to repair the chemical bonds in your hair that get weakened by chemical and heat treatments. And from the sound of cheering coming from the beauty blogger and vlogger corner of the industry, it’s a safe bet that this brand will be coveted for years to come.
Final Thoughts on Olaplex
Personally, my hair does feel a lot more manageable. I always get worried when a hair product is meant for professionals only or contains strange chemicals I can’t pronounce. That usually is a sign that I’m going to go bald. But the exact opposite happened with Olaplex. I wish I knew more about chemistry to truly appreciate what it’s doing.
Unfortunately it doesn’t come cheap, and you’ll be spending $20-$70 or more at a salon for each bottle, especially of the 1 and 2, which you can’t buy direct from Olaplex. I definitely noticed and appreciated the fuller body in my hair, but I don’t know that I can recommend it for daily use at this price.
There’s no better treatment to add to your normal hair coloring schedule though. It’ll protect your hair from the damage you’re doing with all those harsh chemicals and heat treatments.