Written by Morgan Fargo
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Two experts break down everything you need to know about the revolutionary haircare system, including the brand new serum, No.9.
Yes, it’s been around for a while but that doesn’t make Olaplex any less worth shouting about. The revolutionary haircare system designed to repair, rebuild and nourish dry, damaged hair was originally only for salon use. Now, seven years post-launch, Olaplex has a range of eight products created to transform hair at home.
So, to save you the time (and effort) of finding the best ones for you, we asked the experts to break down exactly what Olaplex is and how Olaplex works.
What does Olaplex do?
“Olaplex was made famous for its ability to rebuild the hair on a molecular level using the patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate,” explains hairstylist Tom Smith, the first hair professional to launch Olaplex in the UK.
“Originally, Olaplex was an in-salon service that repaired the hair and also offered a take-home version of that treatment to maintain the effects for longer. Initially, it was only Olaplex No.1, 2 and 3 that were available.
“Olaplex No.1 and 2 can be mixed in with all types of hair colour but can also be used alone to prevent, repair and rebuild any damage done to the hair by heat, chemicals and wear and tear.
Which Olaplex products are best for damaged hair?
“All Olaplex products contain the patented ingredient that originally made it famous in varying amounts. I recommend my clients prioritise the use of No.0 and No.3 at home which contain it at the highest level,” says Smith.
Should you use the Olaplex system in a particular order?
“The Olaplex system is reasonably self-explanatory – use the shampoo and conditioner as you would normally, leave No.6 and No.7 on clean wet or dry hair as desired to protect and nourish the hair. No.8 is used in place of your usual rinse-out conditioner, as more of an intense moisturising mask.”
Smith goes on to explain that No.3, Olaplex’s cult hair “perfector”, can be used in a number of ways to get great results, so long as you leave it on for the recommended amount of time.
“The correct way to use Olaplex No.3 at home is on towel-dried hair and leave it on for a minimum of 10 minutes,” he explains. “Olaplex No.3 keeps working on the hair as long as it remains damp and so it can be left on much longer for stronger effects.
“Make sure to shampoo and condition the hair afterwards, either using the Olaplex shampoo and conditioner or your favourite alternative. If you’re using Olaplex No.3 at home, there’s no need to damp the hair first, use Olaplex No.0 to pre-wet the hair, leave for 10 minutes and then layer on No.3 for as long as possible.”
What is Olaplex No.9?
The latest innovation in the Olaplex family, the No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum was created to help protect and treat dry, damaged, unhappy hair from the effects of pollution, free radicals and environmental stressors.
Designed to be used after your wash routine, the serum can be applied to towel-dried or damp hair. Then, you can continue your usual styling routine – the serum will protect against heat up to 232°. Available from 31 March, the serum costs £26 and is suitable for all hair types.
Your full guide to every Olaplex product
Stéphane Ferraira, senior colourist at Live True London, breaks down everything you need to know about every single Olaplex product.
Olaplex No.0 Bond Builder
“Olaplex No.0 is an at-home treatment formulated with the highest dose of Olaplex’s patented formula.
“It primes your hair for Olaplex No.3, targets highly damaged hair and helps to repair the hair from the inside out – resulting in super-strong, healthy, and noticeably shinier hair.”
Shop Olaplex No.0 Bond Builder at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.1 (professional use only)
“Olaplex No.1 is the primary treatment that can be added to the colouring product, to help disulphide bonds stay strong. It also helps prevent future damage made to the hair as well as repairing it.”
Olaplex No.2 (professional use only)
“Olaplex No.2 seals the treatment into the hair and accentuates the repairing and rebuilding agents. This part is applied after the colour service but before the shampoo.”
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
“Olaplex No.3 is a deeply restorative at-home treatment that strengthens and repairs your hair. It also prolongs your in-salon treatment and keeps improving the look of your hair.
“Something to note: No.3 is not a conditioner but a full restorative treatment and a must-have for chemically treated, heat-treated and mechanically treated hair. It helps to regenerate the bonds and moisture in the hair as well as repairing damage.”
Shop Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
“Olaplex No.4 is a shampoo that can be used daily. Designed to repair damaged hair and split ends, it has an anti-frizz agent that will help when styling, making your hair easier to manage, shinier and healthier.
“Colour-safe, vegan, paraben-free and suitable for all hair types, it’s proven to reduce breakage and strengthen the hair by reconnecting broken bonds.”
Shop Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.4-P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo
The newest Olaplex product, this blonde-enhancing toning shampoo transforms dry, brittle strands into soft and shiny tresses. It’s suitable for a full head of colour, balayage and natural blondes.
Shop Olaplex No.4-P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
“Olaplex No.5 is a highly-moisturising and reparative conditioner that helps to repair any broken bonds within the hair and maintain the look of coloured hair for longer.
“Designed for coloured and/or damaged hair, its formula will protect the hair and not weigh it down while also being deeply nourished and hydrated.”
Shop Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother
“Olaplex No.6 is a protecting styling cream that smooths the hair, fights frizz and reduces the time it takes to blow dry by repelling water from the hair.
“It is moisturising and strengthening and will help you to maintain your style for up to 72 hours.”
Shop Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil
“Olaplex No.7 is a reparative styling oil that’s highly concentrated, in a nourishing weightless formula that controls frizz, flyaways and protects your hair from heated tools up to 232°C. It also provides a beautiful gloss and shine.
“Rember, No.7 can be used on wet hair before a blow-dry or dry hair as a serum.”
Shop Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil at Cult Beauty, £26
Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
“Olaplex No.8 is an intense moisturising mask that rebuilds your hair deeply.
“Apply after your shampoo so that deep restorative properties are left in your hair before you go on to style.”
Shop Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask at Cult Beauty, £26
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