What is Olaplex and what is this hair treatment really for?

In a nutshell, Olaplex is the hair care line that all hairstylists worth their salt in keeping strands healthy.

You see, it doesn’t just cover the cracks, making the hair smoother. Olaplex actually improves its structure.

The Olaplex range includes nine steps, two of which are salon treatments for those who frequently bleach or dye their hair. These prevent breakage during the staining process and ‘stick’ together the resulting broken bonds. It doesn’t matter if you

Then there are seven home products. These include the now infamous Olaplex No. 3 Mask, by which Kim Kardashian swears: “When your hair is really damaged, if you sleep in it, it really works. I notice a huge difference.

All of them offer shine, strength and manageability to all types and textures of hair, colored or not.

In other words, Olaplex is a complement to the other rules for healthy hair.

But what do the experts think? We spoke to a leading stylist and trichologist, and tested the range ourselves …

What is Olaplex?

Olaplex was founded by Dean Christal, who partnered with scientist Dr Craid Hawker and Dr Eric Pressly to create a new molecule that works from inside strands of hair.

Each of the nine Olaplex products contain varying amounts of this heroic active ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which repairs broken disulfide bonds in hair.

Nicola Clarke, Creative Color Manager at John Frieda Salons, explains to us: “Olaplex is the biggest game changer in hair color. It maximizes hair resistance by reconnecting sulfide disulfide bonds. These are normally broken down during the coloring process or when the hair is subjected to regular heat treatments.

“It allows you to rebuild the structure and integrity of the hair and is compatible with all hair types,” she continues.

This includes afro hair as it will help reduce frizzy hair and make curls more defined.

Olaplex: before and after

Olaplex: a review

by Fiona Embleton

Six years ago, I saw Nicola Clarke at John Frieda’s after a hair color disaster at another salon.

To cut short a long traumatic story, my colourist left the bleach on for waaayyy too long and, in the ensuing frenzy to pull out the sheets, I ended up with chunks of broken hair.

I felt like an angry child had put a pair of scissors in my hair. It was so bad that I even gave up my usual color session for 6 months – which is as controversial as a Strictly pro who skips the self-tanner.

But old habits die hard, and I desperately wanted to sunbathe and beach for the summer. “Not yet,” Clarke said, leading me to the back room of the living room.

Here she pushed a test tube containing Olaplex # 3 into my hand. She had turned it away from the first British sample tested at the salon. “Use it three times a week without fail and come back in three months,” she whispered.

I felt like I was in possession of fairy powder and applied it religiously, praying to the hair gods for a miracle.

Little by little, the softness and elasticity returned. It was as if I was resuscitating lifeless hair.

By the time I saw Clarke again, she was in possession of Olaplex # 1 and # 2 in the living room, so we tried that with my color. The only difference was the extra 20 minutes added to my appointment time for the Bond Perfector to be applied after the leaves were rinsed off.

For the first time in ages, my new color not only looked stunning, but my hair was actually strong – not tousled – when I ran my fingers over it.

What about the products?

With such good results, of course I followed all the products at home.

Special thanks go to Olaplex No. 6, the darling of a styling cream and leave-in conditioner to smooth the ends of my hair.

Meanwhile, hair oil was my nemesis. I hated it and more often than not I would end up with a hot greasy mess when I used it on my thin hair.

Olaplex No. 7 changed all that – light, effective, it nourishes my hair but is also ideal in place of a heat protectant spray. Read more about my relationship with Olaplex Binding Oil here.

All of this, I know, costs a pretty penny. So have I lost my mind trying to save what grows on it?

I asked trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver what she thought.

“Olaplex is a brilliant product, I actually bought mine to take it to my colourist and used it for my last three sets of highlights,” she says. “My personal experience is that my hair is stronger after coloring than it normally would.”

So should we believe the hype? It’s a big resounding yes from me.

Olaplex: the nine steps

Ideally, the system is numbered so that you know exactly in which order to use the products …

David R. Brewer

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