Olaplex is something of an enigma;
Olplex becomes a household name among salon-goers, but very few people understand what it does and why so many hair professionals use it for a product so ubiquitous and a name so well-known. “You can use Olaplex to repair compromised hair, or add it to another service to have the ultimate breakage insurance, according to the brand’s website.” But what does that mean exactly? We talked to colorists and cosmetic chemists to give you a complete description of what Olaplex is all about.
1. To protect the hair from chemical damage, Olaplex is formulated.
As a way of holding the hair of a customer in optimal condition during a chemical procedure, which is ultimately destructive, Olaplex has become a go-to for many colorists. “Often, when we do insane colors most of the time, the dignity of the olaplex hair products of a customer is already badly impaired,” says Yoshiko-Alexis Ogawa, colorist at New York City’s Pierre Michel Salon. Olaplex not only protects the hair from the process of having the desired color, but it also protects the hair from the process.
According to colorist Tina Outen, because of its role, it is called a bonder, which means it reforms the disulfide bonds that make up the hair. “When over-bleaching the hair, these bonds are always damaged, fragmented, or shattered. Using Olaplex basically ensures you can bleach your hair much too light and leave the bleach on for far longer without breaking off and leaving it on your head instead of in the sink.”
2. It is a structure of three sections.
In Sephora, you may have seen bottles of Olaplex, but that’s only the third step of a three-part procedure that begins in the salon, and each step contains the main active ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which restores the hair’s broken disulfide bonds mentioned above. No.1 Bond Multiplier is an active water solution of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate and is used to fix damaged hair in the salon.
In particular, when No.1 Bond Multiplier is applied directly to the color or bleach, it does not add much time to the coloring process, as Outen prefers since it enables it to be taken directly into the hair strands’ heart. “Then, when the bleach or color is washed off and left on for 20 minutes, No.2 Bond Perfector will be added to the scalp,” Outen says. A super-hydrating conditioner will soften the hair strands that often feel crunchy from this step if your hair feels hardened by this step,
3. The Olaplex isn’t just for bleaching damage.
Since bleaching on hair bonds is harder than virtually any other method conceivable, a solution that fixes those bonds is a perfect match, such as Olaplex. “The bleaching process will impact the disulfide bond directly, bringing it to full fragility,” Outen says. Like high-lifting tint, coloring hair with super-lighting blonde [shades] pushes the hair to its full lift level, which can damage hair just like bleaching does.
4. It’s not the only bitter one.
The most recognizable name of the bonders used in salons is arguably Olaplex, but many other brands are available, including the BondPro+ system of Goldwell, the Smartbond system of L’Oréal, the Fibreplex series of Schwarzkopf, and the Brazilian Bond Maker. Olaplex might be a little more costly than the other bonders, but I have been hooked ever since I had the opportunity to try it, “Ogawa says.”
5. The feedback from colorists is mixed.
Even though many colorists are faithful Olaplex users, including Ogawa, not every hair pro is a fan. “It not only slowed down the coloring process, but I also could not achieve the correct baby blonde lift as I always do, it altered my blondes’ vibrancy,” said Sharon Dorram, owner of Sally Hershberger Salon’s Sharon Dorram Color, who was initially excited to have a product that claimed to fix the color damage. “Olaplex, I thought, was a big disappointment. No visible difference was visible.
Hammer points out that the existence of Olaplex could definitely make the coloring process a little slower. “When we consider how this product operates by restoring broken disulfide bonds in the hair, and we consider that these broken bonds are actually formed by the bleaching/dyeing process, it would seem that we could have one process that competes with the other process and/or slows it down.”