My hair has been blonde for about a few weeks, and while I haven’t noticed a huge amount of damage (although my hair does seem to be a bit more fragile with the way I handle it), I have been concentrating on preventative measures – mainly focusing on my moisture/protein balance, as well as using a toning conditioner that I love (Tigi Catwalk Fashionista Violet Conditioner – but that’s another review!). But still, I know that damage and breakage can pop up over time with bleach, and I didn’t want to risk it. I read about Olaplex awhile back and a stylist recommended that I get a treatment on my Facebook page. I mean, I did leave bleach on my hair for an hour and a half. That can’t be good for Izzy.
So basically, Olaplex is a bond multiplier that reconnects/mimics the disulfide bonds in your hair that are broken during chemical treatments. As a result, breakage and damage are significantly decreased. Sounds like a magic gift from the hair universe for dye heads, right? Olaplex is a three part system (No. 1, 2, and 3) – No. 1 is is Bond Multiplier and mixed with your bleach, No. 2 is the Bond Perfector and applied after your process and links the remaining disulfide bonds in the hair, and No. 3 is the take-home retail version of the system (No. 1 & 2) and meant to be used once a week or more if your hair is severely damaged. For more information, check out the Olaplex FAQ.
No. 1 & 2 are meant to be applied in the salon by a stylist, and the system works best when you start during your coloring process (you can also get it as a standalone treatment after the fact if you want). However, I have salonphobia, so that wasn’t going to work for me. I reached out to the folks at Olaplex, and they confirmed that while it’s best to use the entire system, using No. 3 at home would still be beneficial and prevent damage. You can buy No. 3 from your local salon if they carry Olaplex, but I bought mine from Drugstore.com. Please note, Drugstore.com is NOT listed as an authorized salon distributor of Olaplex, so if you want to buy it, it’s at your own risk. I did reach out to them and they assured me their products are authentic (I’ve also shopped at Drugstore.com for years) per the message below. I paid $28 for a 3.3oz bottle, which seems like a lot but still less than going to the salon and yields multiple uses.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate (main active ingredient), Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Quaternium-91, Sodium Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyquaternium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate
Consistency and Smell: Kind of milky but still fairly thick. It smells good, a light perfumey scent.
Procedure: The directions say to apply the product to unwashed, towel-dried hair, so I wet my hair with a spray bottle and towel dried it (I didn’t feel like getting in the shower), then applied it in four sections. I combed through each section as directed and put my hair up in a bun. You can leave it on for a minimum of ten minutes, or longer if you wish – I read about some people leaving it on even overnight and had both positive AND negative results, so again, at your own risk. I decided to leave mine in for about up to an hour (20 minutes the first time, then an hour), then cleansed and conditioned like normal. The second time I used Olaplex, I sprayed my hair again but did NOT like how it felt combing through my hair (I usually only comb my curly hair when it’s crazy saturated with conditioner) and felt like it was breaking a few pieces of my hair, so the third time I didn’t comb through — I only smushed my hair and ran my fingers through to make sure it was thoroughly saturated. I also ended up leaving it on a bit longer, but I didn’t notice a difference doing this.
Results: Each of the three times I did the Olaplex No. 3 treatment (which is what one bottle pretty much yielded), my hair felt very velvety, if that’s really a word. It didn’t feel like a conditioning treatment and it didn’t feel like a protein treatment. But how it felt was somehow reassuring? I also noticed that my hair hasn’t started to get elastic-like or “gummy” after bleaching, which is a problem that a lot of people have and what causes their hair to snap and break. Overall, I think this treatment is really great for bleached or processed hair, even if you use it after your color. It’s extremely easy to do and a good preventative measure. However, my hair wasn’t going wild with damage after bleaching, so unfortunately I can’t comment on how well it works to truly repair hair. It’s also expensive, but a bottle a month isn’t that bad if it helps you keep your hair on your head. I have another bottle and will continue buying the treatment after I run out, doing treatments weekly for probably around 30 minutes.
Have you ever used Olaplex or had a treatment done at your salon?