What Is Olaplex and How Do You Use It?

Last Updated on November 30, 2021

What Is Olaplex, and How Do You Use It?

So you’ve probably heard the brand Olaplex being thrown around, advertised on social media, and maybe even offered as a service in your local hair salon. It’s fair to say Olaplex has taken the world by storm.

But what is Olaplex anyway, and should you be using it?

Olaplex has made a name for themselves as “one of the best hair care brands around,” all because of their scientifically researched and extreme damage repairing formulas that work wonders on hair.

Their main ingredient, “Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate,” is a single molecule that dramatically improves hair strength, protecting and repairing from the inside out.

I know what you’re thinking; what on earth is that?

It’s fair to say it is a mouthful and a half, but this ingredient helps the hair pair the single sulfur hydrogen faster, so the three oxygen cannot pair with this molecule to prevent damage.

In layman’s terms, it helps repair broken hair bonds by helping the hair form new ones.

But don’t worry, I will go into detail as to why our hair gets damaged in the first place and how Olaplex can help repair even severely damaged hair.

So let’s jump into everything you need to know about Olaplex and why it’s the best brand for all hair types and why it is often offered as a hair treatment in the salon.

What Is Olaplex and How Do You Use It

What Is Olaplex?

Our hair is made up of millions of disulfide bonds that make up the structure, giving your hair its strength and stability. When these bonds are broken, that is when damaged hair occurs.

Broken bonds cause our hair to become brittle, leading to split ends and breakage. Olaplex works to repair compromised hair and help repair these bonds caused by thermal, chemical, environmental, and mechanical damage.

They use the main ingredient, “Bis-Aminopropy Diglycol Dimaleate,” which works to repair your hair’s broken bonds and works to repair the hair shaft from the inside outwards.

Olaplex works to repair these bonds and keep them intact and aligned, so you’re left with healthy, stronger, and soft hair.

What Causes Damage & How Does Olaplex Help?

There are four most common causes of breakage and hair damage, caused by thermal, chemical, mechanical, and environmental factors. So let’s talk about these in more detail:

Thermal Damage: 

High levels of heat from curling irons, blow dryers, flat irons, and other heat-styling tools can break down the bonds in your hair which results in damage. Constantly exposing your hair to heat without any form of protection can cause it to become brittle and split.

Using styling tools without any form of heat protection can also strip the moisture from your hair strand, so your hair feels dry and brittle.

The steam produced is trapped underneath the cuticle within the cortex and cuticle membrane, and the vapourization of water forces spaces in the hair to expand, which can destroy the protein.

This will leave hair feeling brittle and damaged.

Chemical Damage: 

When we take a trip to the salon, hairstylists may be using professional products, but these chemicals can still cause damage to your hair, even more so if you use a cheap box color or bleach from the store on your hair.

Chemical factors like color treatments like coloring and bleaching and chemical treatments like perms and relaxers can cause prolonged damage to your hair strands.

Perming chemicals break down the disulphate bonds, which hold together the polypeptide chains of keratin; this can cause extreme damage.

Bleach raises your hair’s outer cuticle in order for the bleach to fully penetrate. This can permanently raise the cuticle, which can cause continuous loss of moisture from the strands.

Mechanical Damage:

Brushing, pulling, and tugging your hair can cause mechanical damage, especially when your hair is wet. You shouldn’t tug or pull on strands when your hair is wet, as this can cause unnecessary breakage as your hair is weakest when wet.

While you can prevent mechanical damage by investing in a wet brush or detangling brush and only brushing your hair when dry (unless you have curly hair).

Something as simple as using a cotton towel can cause mechanical damage to your hair. The friction and texture of the towel can cause small holes in the hair shaft.

Instead, there are many benefits of using a microfiber towel instead. It is much more gentle on hair and prevents breakage so pairing this with an Olaplex treatment can help repair your hair.

Olaplex works to reform the bonds broken by mechanical factors.

Environmental Damage: 

The last top common cause of damage is from environmental factors like UV damage from the sun, humidity, and extreme changes in hot/cold weather conditions. UV damage is the top culprit as it can cause as much damage as a styling tool.

Humidity tends to damage the bonds in your hair because it causes a change in the way that the protein bundles in your hair bind together. It breaks the hydrogen bonds causing the hair follicle to swell, which explains why your hair goes frizzy when the weather is humid.

Winter and extreme weather changes can be very harsh on hair; it can make it very dehydrated, making it more prone to breakage than the warmer months. It is important to keep your hair hydrated during these months.

Olaplex not only repairs the bonds in your hair but deeply nourishes the ends of your hair to offer protection from all types of damage.

How Does Olaplex Work To Help This?

Olaplex’s Patented Bond Building Technology works on a molecular level. Their main ingredient, “Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate,” is a single molecule that dramatically improves hair strength, protecting and repairing from the inside out.

You will notice immediate results from using Olaplex.

All hair types (natural, curly, fine, straight, etc.) all benefit from using Olaplex. We derive most of our integrity from healthy, properly paired disulfide bonds. When hair is damaged, these bonds are broken apart, which results in breakage.

But what happens when disulfide bonds break?

Well, there are two reactions that take place, the first being that the single sulfur hydrogen component pairs with a single oxygen molecule. This makes the perfect pair and reduces any further damage from taking place.

While the second reaction is when damage occurs, this is when the single sulfur hydrogen molecules pair with three oxygen molecules, which creates Cysteic Acid, which eats the protein out of the hair, which inevitably results in damage to the hair follicle.

Olaplex works by helping the hair pair the single sulfur hydrogen faster so the three oxygen cannot pair with this molecule to prevent damage.

Olaplex products

Benefits Of Olaplex:

There are some serious benefits of using the Olaplex hair treatments in your hair care routine, especially to help repair hair and help revive the hair’s bonds and restore compromised hair.

Let’s talk about a few of the top benefits of using Olaplex:

Repairs Hair From The Inside Out:

The main ingredient, “Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate,” works to repair the broken disulfide bonds in our hair.

Instead of letting the broken hair strands connect to three oxygen molecules that cause damage, it helps heal the hair before this can happen. This will help restore your hair strands and works to strengthen your hair.

Their patented Olaplex Bond Building Technology works on a molecular level; the “Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate” dramatically improves hair strength, protects from within, and offers immediate results.

Olaplex is also capable of taming and restoring damaged hair and split ends using this molecular technology to link broken bonds and reduce split ends.

It also uses products that can help tame frizz. The no.6 is brilliant at taming frizz and flyaways for up to a whopping 72 hours– plus, here’s the kicker, it doesn’t weigh hair down!

Olaplex No.3 also works to protect and repair hair from mechanical damage caused by tugging your hair with the hairbrush or using a cotton towel to dry your hair.

It works to repair damaged bonds within the damaged locks and then strengthens the hair to prevent these bonds from breaking again. That being said, you should switch to a shower brush or tangle teaser when brushing wet hair and switch to a microfiber towel instead to protect your hair further.

Protects Hair From From Chemical Damage:

Many hairstylists offer Olaplex in their salon treatments. Many stylists use No.1 and No.2 in their bleach and chemical treatments as it works to repair bonds from within.

However, it can slow down the bleaching process, so a 20vol developer would become a 10 vol developer. So many stylists need to use a higher developer to get the same volume in their chemical treatment.

This is why there are mixed reviews about the Olaplex No.1 treatment. But the rest of the range works wonders for repairing bonds caused by chemical treatments.

If you have very brittle and damaged hair from overbleaching your hair? Then Olaplex offers an intense bond treatment (No.0) which uses similar qualities of the No 1 and 2, but anyone can use it.

Olaplex works wonders for repairing damaged hair caused by hair color or bleach; it is the ultimate breakage insurance. Olaplex hair treatments make a noticeable difference in repairing broken disulfide bonds caused by chemical, thermal, environmental, and mechanical damage.

Smooths, Adds Shine & Nourishes Dry Hair:

Many people know this as the “Olaplex Shine,” which is a type of shine that occurs when the hair is well and truly healthy and not packed with oils and shine serums to make it that way.

Olaplex offers shine from the inside out.

Treating the hair with Olaplex rebuilds the bonds in the hair internally, making it stronger than ever before and every time. Olaplex uses patented technology that improves the health of your hair.

Olaplex works to permanently rebuild broken bonds; the key to healthy hair is stronger bonds. It will mean that your hair color will last longer and look more luscious for longer.

Protects Hair From UV and Environmental Damage:

So when summer comes around, we always reach for our SPF for our skin, but what about our hair? Many of us often forget that our hair needs protecting just as much as our skin.

Our hair is not only damaged by chemicals and heat tools but is also prone to damage from environmental factors such as UV rays, wind, swimming in a chlorinated pool, and extreme weather changes.

Olaplex works wonders for protecting your hair.

For starters, Olaplex numbers three and two are known to protect hair from harsh chemicals. Since Olaplex No.2 is for professional use only, you can make the most out of the no. 3 by dampening down your hair and applying it to the ends before a swim.

This will help prevent the harsh chemicals and chlorine from being absorbed into your hair while you’re in the water. Then once you’ve finished your swim, hop in the shower and wash and deep condition (I recommend Olaplex no.8 for this), and then you’ll be left with healthy and shiny hair!

What about wind and UV protection, though?

Well, whether you’re sunbathing on the beach, beside a pool, or catching a cool ride in a convertible or motorcycle, wind and UV rays can cause all kinds of damage to your hair.

It breaks the bonds within your hair, causing straight-up damage to the cuticle. The best way to help this is to use Olaplex No.3 once a week to repair the existing damage.

Then when going out, I would recommend using No.6 and No.7 when styling; this will help protect your hair from the wind and those harmful UV rays. You can also pop your hair in plaits to prevent any tangles and matting; they both fit easily in your purse too!

Protects Hair From Heat Damage:

We all love styling our hair; there’s nothing better than a bouncy blowout with curls on the ends, but styling our hair on the day to day has a real toll on our hair.

Olaplex No. 3, 4, and 5 will help repair the bonds within your hair to strengthen hair and repair the existing damage of the broken disulphide bonds.

No. 6 and 7, however, work to protect your hair from any further damage. The No. 6 contains a heat protectant for blow-drying and eliminates frizz, while the no.7 protects hair from further stylings, such as using heated tools like a flat iron on the ends of your hair.

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil can protect hair from both UV damage and heat style damage up to 450° F.

There are some pretty incredible Olaplex dupes that offer similar benefits but at a cheaper price point, if you’re thinking of investing but not sure on the price just yet. Check out my full guide for some more details on where to buy!

Olaplex no 3

How To Use Olaplex:

 There are ten products across the Olaplex range. However, you don’t need all of them. For starters, a few of them are for salon use only, and others are from seriously damaged hair.

If your hair is a little damaged but all in all in pretty good condition, then the Olaplex No. 3, 4, and 5 with your chosen heat protectant will be enough to protect your hair.

But enough of me rambling, here’s how you can use the Olaplex treatments for the ultimate healthy hair.

How To Use Olaplex 0 Intensive Bond Building Treatment

Olaplex No. 0 is a deep bonding treatment; it primes the hair for maximum repair. Just like when we do our makeup, most products work best after using a primer. So No.0 is used as a primer for the No. 3 treatment.

It is part of the two-part process for an intensive at-home reparative treatment. But how do you use Olaplex 0 and 3 together?

It works best on dry hair, No. 0 is a watery liquid that dries quickly, but when No.3 is applied over it, it helps keep the hair damp so both products can work together to offer maximum repair and bond restoring. It is scientifically proven to offer 68% more repair.

The No. 0 contains less of the active ingredient than the Standalone treatment as it was created during COVID-19 lockdown so clients could perform the treatment at home, so they didn’t need to spend as much time in the salon.

No. 0 is a salon-worthy treatment that works on all hair types and textures (just like their entire line). It is best for those with intensely damaged hair and who want to see results fast!

The best way to use Olaplex No.0 is to apply it to clean, dry hair and comb it through to ensure even coverage. You should use it with the No. 3 treatment as despite the No. 0 treatment working alone, it works better and offers better results when paired with No.3.

Leave the No. 0 treatment on for 10 minutes and then apply Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector directly on top of the No.0. Comb it through again and leave it to sit for a minimum of 10 minutes, but if you want better results, then you should leave it on for longer!

Then once you’ve left it for a while, you can shampoo and condition using the Olaplex No. 4 and 5 for the ultimate results.

How To Use Olaplex No. 1 and 2:

Now for Olaplex No.1 and 2, you don’t need to worry too much unless you’re a professional looking to use it in their salon. But if you want to know what your salon will be using if they offer an Olaplex treatment for your highlighting/bleaching treatment.

The Olaplex No.1 Bond Multiplier and No.2 Bond Protector is exclusive to professionals. The No.1 Bond Multiplier is a concentrated additive to less damage during chemical processing. It is used as the first step in the In-Salon Olaplex System.

It can be used in hair color and bleach, or you can use it with other hair treatments as a standalone treatment if your client’s hair is extremely damaged.

You should mix Olaplex No.1 with your client’s chosen hair color, lightener, or toner to help prevent hair damage and keep the hair in the best condition possible when doing this treatment. You should add 1/4 oz of the multiplier to 1.5 oz of bleach.

The second step of the In-Salon Olaplex System is the Stand Alone Treatment– also known as Olaplex No.2 Bond Protector. It works to rebuild and restore broken bonds, ensuring the strongest, shiniest, and healthiest hair possible.

The best way to use Olaplex No.2 is to apply to the hair after washing the hair; after all processing has been completed and leave for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse. The Olaplex No.0 is a weaker version of this that can be used by clients.

How To Use Olaplex 3 Hair Perfector:

The Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is not a conditioner; it is a weekly at-home treatment that reduces breakage and visibly strengthens hair, improving the look and feel. You can use it as the two-part system with the No. 0 to strengthen and repair extremely damaged hair.

This treatment is what put Olaplex on the map! I created a full guide on how to use Olaplex No. 3 to reap the most benefits, so be sure to check it out!

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is known to visibly reduce breakage and strengthen the hair while improving the look and feel of all hair types. It is recommended to be used once or twice a week (depending on the condition of the hair) on damp hair from roots to ends.

The best way I like to use the No.3 treatment is to hop in the shower after a long day at work to wash my body and then dampen down my hair; I will then comb through the ends of my hair and apply a pea-sized amount to the mid-lengths and ends.

I will then twist the ends of my hair and tie it up in a loose bun on top of my head using a silk or satin scrunchie; I will then go about my evening, and then by the time its time to go to bed, it should be dry enough to sleep in.

The next day I then rinse out the treatment and follow up using the Olaplex 4 and 5 as part of the three-part system.

How To Use Olaplex 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo:

Olaplex No 4 is a bonding shampoo that is highly nourishing and reparative; it protects hairs from everyday stresses such as repairing split ends, frizzy and damaged hair by relinking broken bonds. It is both color-safe and sulfate-free and ideal for everyday use.

It works with Olaplex No.5 Conditioner to add moisture without excess weight, making it ideal for all hair types and textures.

Here’s a pro tip to make Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo last longer: you don’t need as much as you think you do!! Start with a dime-sized amount and emulsify it in your hands to activate and kick start the lather before applying it to your wet hair.

The first shampoo might not lather up as much as the second, but it doesn’t mean you need anymore. The first shampoo works to break down the oils on your scalp, while the second one cleanses and removes them, which is why it lathers up more.

Olaplex No. 4P: Recently, Olaplex has also introduced a purple shampoo to their range known as the No 4P. It offers the same benefits as the Olaplex but works to neutralize brassiness and boost brightness on blonde tones.

So for my blondes out there, you can use Olaplex too!

Just apply a small amount in your hands and lather up in your hands like you would the regular shampoo, and then massage into your scalp, focusing on the roots. Then rinse and condition like you would with the regular shampoo.

How To Use Olaplex 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner:

Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is a deeply nourishing, reparative, moisturizing conditioner for all hair types. It works to relink broken bonds while deeply hydrating the ends of your hair. The patented system repairs extreme damage to turn dry, brittle hair into soft and resilient hair.

Before applying Olaplex No 5, squeeze out any excess moisture before applying as this will help the conditioner penetrate more deeply. Use a small amount and massage into the ends, and work your way up to the mid-lengths, trying to avoid roots.

Grab a wide-tooth comb and comb through the ends to ensure even coverage, and then leave it for at least three minutes and then rinse. I tend to wash my hair first and then apply the conditioner and then do things like shave, exfoliate and wash, so you don’t lose time in the morning waiting around to wash out the conditioner.

How To Use Olaplex 6:

The Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother is a highly concentrated leave-in treatment smoothing cream that strengthens, moisturizes, and speeds up blow-drying times. It works to eliminate frizz and flyaways for up to 72 hours; the No. 6 is a serious smooth talker.

This leave-in reparative styling treatment is infused with patented Olaplex Bond Building Technology. It speeds up blow-drying time by smoothing the cuticle.

Start with a small amount for shoulder-length hair, I have quite thick hair, and I don’t need any more than a pea-sized amount of this stuff. But if you do have very long, thick hair, you might need more, but always start with a little bit and add more.

Apply to damp or dry hair on the mid-lengths and ends. I usually apply it after getting out of the shower after shampooing and conditioning my hair before styling.

I apply it after roughly combing through my ends and then comb through again for even coverage.

How To Use Olaplex 7:

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil acts as a heat protectant from both styling heat and UV rays. It is a weightless styling oil that works with No.6 to smooth flyaways and frizz while protecting hair when heat styling. It also offers color vibrancy, smoothness, and shine.

You only need a small amount of this oil; a little goes a long way. Remove the cap and turn the bottle upside and gently tap to dispense a metered drop; you’ll only need a few drops.

Apply a small amount to damp or dry hair and style as desired.

How To Use Olaplex 8:

The last Olaplex product is the Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask. This highly concentrated reparative mask adds shine, smoothness while providing intense moisture to treat damaged hair. It is infused with their Bond Building Technology.

This hair mask can help those with thermal damage, chemical damage, frizz, and it can even be used on curly hair for curl definition.

Use 1-3 pumps and massage into freshly shampooed, towel-dried hair. The highly concentrated formula will fully absorb into the hair.

Work through the mid-lengths all the way to the ends of your hair and then leave it on for at least 10 minutes and rinse. This will give your hair a serious hydration kick and repair it from the inside out.

Plus, if you have naturally curly hair, it will promote your natural curl.

Olaplex before and after

Summary:

 So there you have it, whether you’re a hairstylist looking to take the plunge and use Olaplex in your hair treatments or just a customer looking to buy the Olaplex collection to help repair split ends and weak bonds. From years of damage, it is worth the splurge!

Olaplex is a miracle worker, but it cannot work magic; it can help repair extremely damaged hair, but the best way to get your hair in the healthiest condition possible is to use Olaplex and brace the chop.

Olaplex can only do so much, after all.

But what I love about Olaplex is that it has revolutionized the hair industry, it has changed the game for many people and hairstylists over the globe, and it is definitely worth the investment.

It is so highly concentrated that despite you thinking that the tiny bottle will only last a month tops, it will actually last you far more than that because for most products, you only need a pea-sized amount.

A little goes a long way, so if you’re thinking of making the investment, I would highly recommend it! Want to know the best Olaplex products to get? I broke it all down in a full guide.

Be sure to check it out!

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