What is Olaplex and how does it work?
If you’ve been to a hair salon in the last year, chances are you’ve heard about the buzzy treatment, Olaplex.
Considered one of the most important advances in the history of haircare, Olaplex has become a top shelf product amongst celebrities and bottle blondes alike. With Drew Barrymore and Kim Kardashian naming it among their beauty heroes, it quickly went from being a salon secret to mainstream must-have. So what exactly is this miracle product? How does it work? And are the experts as obsessed as the rest of us?
We chatted with one of Sydney’s top stylists and founder of Edwards and Co, Jaye Edwards, to find out everything you need to know about Olaplex and get his expert take on if it’s really worth the splurge.
What is Olaplex?
Unlike any other product in the hair market, Olaplex launched as a whole new category on its own, using an original, unique and patented chemistry, explains Jaye.
“Olaplex is a 'bond builder' and its collection of products can be used in colouring to prevent damage or in at-home hair care to repair damage.”
The key active ingredient? Bis-Aminopropyl, which repairs the hair from within rather than simply slapping a smoothing 'bandaid' on damage that’s already done.
It's the only product of its kind with multiple granted patents and over 100 pending worldwide. It’s free of silicone, sulfates, phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, and is not tested on animals.
What does Olaplex do for the hair?
Olaplex works by multiplying bonds within the hair and building cross-links between broken bonds, to both prevent and repair hair damage.
“It essentially fills in holes in your hair to repair damage and prevent breakage," says Jaye.
And what started out as one in-salon-only product, has now extended into a take-home system too, which means you can continue to maintain and restore your hair’s health at home.
Olaplex's at-home products include the No.3 Hair Perfector Treatment, No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo & No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, as well as the latest launches, the No.6 Bond Smoother and No.7 Bonding Oil. The latter are the first of the brand's leave-in styling products, formulated to eliminate frizz for up to 72 hours.
When should Olaplex be used?
Jaye strongly recommends Olaplex is used in-salon at every colour service and especially for blondes.
For at-home maintenance, he suggests using Olaplex’s No.3 treatment once per week.
“Apply a generous amount to towel-dried hair, comb through and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes. The longer it’s left on, the more effective it will be,”
In fact, Kim K said she leaves it on overnight for an intense treatment. But either way you use it, Jaye says it must be shampooed out prior to styling.
He recommends using No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner the same as you would a regular shampoo and conditioner (about 1-2 times a week dependent on your hair type).
Are there certain hair types that shouldn’t use Olaplex?
Not just for blondes, “Olaplex is great for all hair types,” says Jaye. Hair types that will find it most beneficial are those with damaged curly hair (it can revive the bounce!) and those who frequently dye or bleach their hair.
And while Olaplex is commonly used to protect and repair hair during colouring, it can be used for many more in-salon services too, like chemical straightening and perming.
It’s also great for anyone who uses heat on their hair frequently. “Thermal styling can cause the hair to weaken and become dry and damaged too, so even if you don’t colour your hair, it will still benefit from Olaplex.”
How do you know if you need Olaplex?
Prevention is always better than trying to reverse damage, so Olaplex is recommended for everyone to maintain optimal hair health. However, if your hair is particularly ‘scraggy’ at the ends, prone to frizz, and dry and dull, you’ll definitely want a dose soon, says Jaye.
Can you overuse Olaplex?
Apparently you can’t have too much of a good thing in this case. “You can never overuse it, never ever, which is the best part!”
However, Jaye does suggest only using No.7 Bonding Oil and No.3 Hair Perfector 2-3 times a week to avoid product build-up.
Can Olaplex be used in combination with other treatments?
No fear of mixing here. Jaye particularly likes combining Olaplex and Virtue Labs Restoration mask for “incredible results.”
Is it really a miracle treatment for damaged hair or is it more preventative?
Miracle is a strong word, but unlike other products that promise ‘damage repair’, Olaplex is the only one that actually strengthens the disulfide bonds in the hair. It truly does rebuild the strength, structure and integrity of strands, whilst restoring hair to its natural state.
“Honestly, it works miracles. Some you’d never believe if I told you,” says Jaye.
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Have you tried Olaplex? Do you think you need it?