Most people have heard of Olaplex. Many salons advertise Olaplex treatments. What most people don’t know is what Olaplex does. Stylists will recommend it, saying that it’s good for your hair or goes well with a color treatment. What does Olaplex really do? Can you use Olaplex for hair growth?
What is Olaplex?
The first thing to know is that Olaplex is a treatment, not just one product. It’s actually three different products used one after the other. So if you see a bottle that says Olaplex, keep your cash, that’s not the whole thing.
Olaplex is a ‘bond builder’ (more on that in a bit). It claims to strengthen or repair your hair, especially after getting a chemical treatment – like bleaching and coloring – and to protect your hair as the ‘ultimate breakage insurance’.
How does it work?
Ok folks, lab coat time again, we’re about to get sciency. Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin.
That keratin is not strong enough on its own and is reinforced by bonds. Bonds are when certain molecules like each other enough to stick together.
The bonds that reinforce our keratin contribute about 33% of your hair’s strength.
There are three bonds that do this, and the strongest of those bonds are disulfide bonds. This is the bond that makes hair curly.
If you get a perm to make your hair curly or get a relaxer treatment to take out curls, you’re modifying your disulfide bonds.
As I said before, Olaplex is a bond builder or bond multiplier. It specifically works to strengthen and repair the disulfide bonds in our hair.
It does this with its own special molecule (it’s called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, for now we’ll call it BADD) that’s able to act as a bridge between broken disulfide bonds.
How and when do I use it?
Please note that you have to go to a salon to have the first two treatments done. Olaplex is a treatment designed for in-salon use.
In the past, you could not even buy the first two steps officially if you don’t work at a salon. But the treatment can now be found at retail outlets such as Amazon.
If you’d like an Olaplex treatment then you should swing by your favorite salon.
However, the Olaplex Number 3 treatment is readily available for home use.
When coloring or bleaching your hair
As for when, you will hear Olaplex most recommended if you get color.
Next to dipping your hair in a pit of lava there is nothing more damaging for your follicles than bleach. It especially breaks down disulfide bonds.
You’ve probably heard the horror stories of someone getting too much bleach or trying to go too light in one session and leaving half their hair in the sink from breakage.
Olaplex is designed to prevent this. The first step of the treatment gets mixed right in with the bleach.
It lets stylists do more with your hair, and it can give them the freedom to go lighter and brighter than they could without.
When using heat and relaxers
But that is not Olaplex’s only use. Using too much heat too often on your hair and getting perms can also damage your disulfide bonds.
Another big reason to try out this treatment is if you use a lot of relaxers.
For those of us with tight curls or afro hair, I have news, relaxers can also damage that bond.
Olaplex can help strengthen your hair so it can stand up against those kinds of treatments.
Does Olaplex help hair growth?
Olaplex helps with hair growth. Your hair strands can be damaged after a treatment like bleaching, preventing them from growing.
Olaplex can help prevent them from being damaged and can promote hair health. Healthy hair is growing hair.
A close friend who has used the Olaplex treatment had a great experience with it. In 2018, she had issues with her hair due to excessive damage after a bad reaction to hair dye.
Her hair was on the edge as it had completely lost its life and was breaking easily. She needed a solution to repair her hair and restore its luster and shine.
A hairstylist from a different part of the city recommended Olapex.
After using the Olaplex treatment for a while, the results were astounding. Her hair had noticeably increased in length.
The hair also looked healthy and shiny once again.
Is Olaplex good for fine thin hair?
Yes, it is. The main work of this product is to repair the broken bonds of hair restoring it in the process.
This means the fine hair gets stronger as a result. The main ingredient in it is patented and its main purpose is to repair these weak and broken bonds.
Olaplex works by detecting all bonds in need of mending on every strand of hair.
They are reconnected, whether they are completely broken or just weak.
Fine thin hair is highly affected by hair dyes as its already weak so dyeing it results in weaker and even broken bonds.
This is the type of hair my friend has.
When the damage occurred, she wanted to try out a new color and this resulted in her hair getting weaker, dry, and damaged in the process.
By using Olaplex, her hair became stronger and even appeared fuller after some time.
After her three-month routine, she is now able to take care of her hair at home but also goes to her stylist regularly so that she can check on her progress.
Olaplex scalp reaction: Does Olaplex cause an itchy scalp?
Olaplex does cause an itchy scalp and even more effects like redness if you have sensitive skin.
It has the same reaction if your scalp was recently affected by dyes, bleach or highlights.
The chemicals that are used to manufacture this product can cause harmful reactions to skin that is prone to breakouts.
Many people who use it have color, highlights, or bleach on their hair. This means their scalps were exposed to the chemicals in the dyes or bleach and may cause sensitivity.
My friend was advised by her stylist to start using Olaplex after some time. Even though the dye had damaged her hair, she couldn’t start the treatment immediately.
She waited for three weeks. By the time her stylist was using Olaplex on her, her scalp had had enough time to recover.
This means its best to start using this product a while after changing the natural pigmentation of your hair or after experiencing heat or chemical damage.
Give your scalp time to heal and become strong enough so that the Olaplex treatment doesn’t cause any reaction.
This is one of the reasons stylists recommend using Olaplex at the salon especially for the first two steps, then you can use the Number 3 Hair Perfector treatment at home.
Reactions to Olaplex can cause other reactions apart from an itchy scalp. You can get redness, wounds, and even flaking.
How to use Olaplex shampoo and conditioner
Olaplex products are seven. They are: No. 1 – Bond Multiplier, No. 2 – Bond Perfector, No. 3 – Hair Perfector, No. 4 – Bond Maintenance Shampoo, No. 5 – Bond Maintenance Conditioner, No. 6 – Bond Smoother and No. 7 – Bonding Oil.
No. 4 & 5 are the shampoo and conditioner that are safe for home use. They contain molecules in their formula that aim to repair and rejuvenate damaged strands of hair by bonding.
Damage can be as a result of several reasons as mentioned earlier like heat, using dyes, bleaching or chemical reactions.
After using the shampoo and conditioner, you’ll notice your hair becomes stronger and shinier with more life into it. They even make it softer to the touch.
The shampoo is free from parabens, sulfates, gluten, dairy, and soy, meaning it won’t remove keratin from your hair or cause any allergic reactions.
The conditioner works by adding moisture back into your hair getting rid of dryness while smoothing each strand of hair.
Three times a week
You can use the shampoo and conditioner daily but if you have color on your hair, this makes it fade faster. It’s best to stick to the norm of washing three times a week.
The formula in the conditioner is specially made to reduce the rate at which frizz occurs due to the frequency of broken strands.
It infuses moisture back into the hair but doesn’t leave any grease or residue.
The Olaplex shampoo and conditioner are used one after the other. You start with the shampoo followed by the conditioner. You only need to use small amounts of each to achieve the desired results.
For both products, a little goes a long way. This helps because you get to use the purchased product longer.
Use both No. 4 and 5 in one wash to achieve the best results. Refrain from shampooing only and skipping the conditioner. Both have benefits that your hair needs.
How to Use Olaplex No. 4 and 5
- Wet your hair in preparation for shampooing
- Squeeze a small amount of the shampoo on your palm and lather your hair as you normally do
- Work the shampoo from the scalp to the ends of all strands of hair making sure the whole head is covered
- Rinse out the shampoo and leave the hair damp
- Squeeze some conditioner on your palm and generously distribute it through the hair
- Let the conditioner sit on your hair for three minutes then rinse it out
Things to consider when using Olaplex
The first consideration when using this hair treatment is that it’s an added charge on top of what is usually an expensive treatment already.
Coloring isn’t cheap, so it makes sense why you might want to skip the add-ons.
However, hair health is important, especially when you’re deliberately damaging it, so consider paying the extra for it.
Another consideration is that Olaplex tends to slow down the coloring process considerably.
It can take an extra hour to finish the color treatment with the addition, so don’t try and squeeze it in on a lunch break.
This might be a problem for some people, but in my opinion, an hour of your time is worth keeping your hair safe.
Lastly, coloring isn’t easy. Colorists (at least the good ones) don’t just slap in some color and hope for the best.
They have to carefully consider your hair’s natural color, how porous it is, and how quickly it will absorb bleach and color.
Adding a product to this process can change those formulas, and is an added consideration to an already complex and finicky process.
If you want Olaplex with your color, make sure that you have an experienced colorist.
You will probably want that anyway considering that if they mess up bleaching your hair badly all of your hair could fall out, even with Olaplex.
What about the competition?
Olaplex is a brand, not just the name for a product. That means there are other bond strengtheners out there.
Goldwell Bondpro+, Brazilian Bond Builder, and L’Oréal’s Smartbond are just a few.
It’s hard to measure these products against each other, everyone has different hair. However, it seems Olaplex has the most recognition for a reason.
You would be hard-pressed to find a review that ranks any other treatment higher than Olaplex.
Olaplex is the best solution for damaged hair. It doesn’t matter how it got damaged in the first place. The treatment will help you repair and restore your hair back to its lost glory.
I have seen it work ‘miracles’ on my friend’s hair after suffering serious damage due to coloring.
You can consult your stylist on which steps are best done at the salon and which you can do at home.
Many people have expressed a lot of love for this treatment. If your hair has damage (and trust me, almost everyone has some damage) it’s important to repair your hair.
If you’re getting a lift, a balayage, or even a perm, consider trying out Olaplex. I don’t think you will regret it.