De-mystifying certain ingredients, clarifying how to apply products, and revealing everything you’ve always wanted to know about skin types; Eliza Explains will fill you up with beauty knowledge.
The term “game-changer” is thrown around pretty loosely in the beauty industry; we’re often fed a lot of false promises about the “life-altering” properties of a new nail polish or mascara, for example. So I do not mean it lightly when I say that when hair brand Olaplex entered our collective consciousness – and our shopping baskets – in 2014, it actually was game-changing.
Beauty lovers around the world have added its cult products to their wishlists ever since – and whether you’re a seasoned Olaplex user or a newbie to the haircare range, you’re in luck. Olaplex is currently on offer at Amazon. It’s time to stock up.
Need a little more information before you invest? Welcome to the School of Olaplex: here’s everything you need to know.
What is Olaplex and how does it work?
If you haven’t heard of Olaplex before, or you aren’t quite sure what it does, listen up.
In a nutshell, the science behind Olaplex is as follows. The brand uses a patented molecule (bis-aminopropyl diglycol, if you want to impress your mates) that works from inside your hair to mend any broken bonds.
The products strengthen hair by fixing broken bonds (which occur thanks to colouring, heat and general wear and tear). Essentially, this means that no matter how damaged your hair is – colouring addicts and heat tool fiends included – Olaplex can transform struggling locks with ease.
Who else is a fan of the brand?
If the beauty industry had a body-building competition, then Olaplex would have a hefty collection of gold medals, that’s for sure. Thanks to its promise to breathe new life back into all hair types, the brand even has got a host of celebrities fighting to be in the fan club, with Spiderman actress Laura Harrier once joking, “I’m a member of Olaplex fan club – probably president actually.”
Everyone from Anya Taylor-Joy to Kim Kardashian are also self-confessed devotees of the hair-strengthening stuff, with Kim notably crediting it for saving her hair during many long bleaching sessions.
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Where did Olaplex come from?
Olaplex started as two in-salon treatments (Olaplex No.1 and Olaplex No.2), designed to be used by professionals as an add-on for customers who frequently bleach or dye their hair, as it prevents breakage during the colouring process. These still exist today and are only available in salons, rather than at home (so get booked in ASAP).
Over the past few years, Olaplex swiftly moved into bathrooms all over the world and gained a firm fan base for its highly recognisable pre-wash treatment, the No.3 Bond Builder.
There are now 10 at-home hair products, from wash day shampoos and conditioners to an assortment of styling options. Plus, the brand has now expanded into lash care with the latest Olaplex LashBond Building Serum, £64, LookFantastic – find out what happened when one writer trialled it here.
What’s the latest addition to the Olaplex line?
Alongside the numbered haircare line, which ranges from treatments to serums, Olaplex has now branched into styling products with its Volumising Blow Dry Mist, £28, LookFantastic. The multitasking formula offers several benefits in just a few spritzes, from speeding up drying to protecting hair from heat damage. It works across all hair types, forming a mist over stands to provide hold and bounce, while also protecting against pollution and humidity. An all-round hair hero.
Which order should you be using the products in?
The Olaplex haircare line uses the same number system as the salon offerings, and they are all designed to keep hair healthy, glossy and strong. But which one does your hair actually need?
Here, I’ll break down what each of Olaplex’s products does, how to use them and how to find the right one for you.
Olaplex No.0 Bond Builder
What it is: Essentially, this is a primer for your hair. This leave-in treatment contains the highest concentration of Olaplex’s patented molecule outside of the in-salon treatments. It not only rebuilds hair bonds to strengthen and protect your hair, but also gets it in tip-top shape for absorbing other Olaplex treatments.
How to use: Whether you’re using the original nozzle tip or the new spray bottle design, drench your locks in the stuff from root to tip, leave for 10 minutes and apply your No.3 product on top. Leave this for the recommended time, then shampoo it all off.
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
What it is: This is Kim K’s favourite hair mask and one of the brand’s original best-selling products; one sells every three-and-a-half seconds! No.3 is a pre-shampoo treatment that works to improve hair strength and softness.
How to use: Designed to be used weekly, apply 1–3 teaspoons of product to damp hair and comb through. Leave for up to 30 mins or use as an overnight treatment before washing it out in the morning.
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
What it is: This hydrating option is a souped-up version of your regular shampoo, kind of like a little coat of armour for your hair. It fixes broken bonds but also works to protect your hair from things like straightening, drying, colouring, and pollution.
How to use: Just like a normal shampoo, it’s totally fine to be used every time you wash your hair.
Olaplex No.4-P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo
What it is: A saviour for blondies, that’s what. The unique bond-builder system within Olaplex shampoos works to turn dry, brittle, often over-processed hair into the soft, silky locks you’ve always dreamt of. But this one brightens and tones too, illuminating hair and removing any unwanted warm or brassy hues.
How to use: Because it’s so effective at brightening, you don’t need to use this as often as you would other purple shampoos. I’d suggest swapping out your regular shampoo for this one once or twice a week.
Olaplex No.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
What is: This member of the Olaplex family is like a detox for your hair. The clarifying formula gives locks a proper deep clean, removing product build-up, dirt, pollution and anything else you don’t want. But it crucially doesn’t lift any of the shine or colour. Naturally, it also helps to re-strengthen broken bonds and restore the health of your hair.
How to use: Apply to wet hair, massage into the scalp and work through the ends. Leave for five minutes and rinse. Want to maximise your strength-training session? The pros recommend that you follow this with the No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner or No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask.
Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
What it is: The final step in Olaplex’s “everyday” products for your hair routine, this stuff obviously has the brand’s signature magic complex and works to actually repair split ends and damaged hair, while also smoothing and softening.
How to use: Post-shampoo, apply to ends and try to leave on for a few minutes before rinsing. It’s best used alongside one of the brand’s shampoos.
Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother
What it is: The ultimate protection from heated tools, this smoothing cream is kind of like the equivalent of a face serum for your hair; it hydrates dry, processed strands like a dream.
How to use: Use post-wash, while hair is still damp: comb through the mid-lengths and ends and style as usual. The results are meant to last up to 72 hours, so you should only need to use this a few times a week.
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
What it is: An oil that takes your hair from average to amazing in just a few drops. This stuff adds shine and vibrancy to even the dullest of locks and doesn’t weigh hair down or make it look or feel greasy and flat. Oh, and it’s got added heat protectant benefits, too.
How to use: Run a coin-sized amount through dry or wet hair before styling and voila.
Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
What it is: A four-in-one product that promises to fix broken bonds, restore moisture and even add body and shine – this is one hard-working mask.
How to use: After shampooing, work this through the mid-lengths and ends while hair is still wet, leave on for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum
What it is: This daily serum helps to protect hair from all the usual damage we put it through – including pollution and UV rays from the sun – for up to 48 hours. Red Algae is the hair saviour here; the extract acts as a shield against pollution and neutralises those damaging UVA and UVB rays. A seriously smart serum.
How to use: Before styling, add a small amount to damp hair, use your palms to smooth it through, and then dry or style as normal.