What looks like cotton candy but feels like straw? My hair after being bleached from brunette to platinum.
My silky hair was so damaged that no amount of conditioners, oils and serums could tame it. Every time I brushed my hair, my lap was covered in little broken bits. I wished I could rewind the clock to go back in time to when my hair was soft and smooth. Well guess what. I discovered with Olaplex, you can go back.
Yes, Olaplex really does work. It’s a three-part system. Parts 1 and 2 are meant to be used in the salon during chemical processes but can also be used as a standalone treatment. Part 3 is to be used at home for ongoing maintenance.
I got the three-piece kit and did the standalone treatment myself at home which is as easy as putting conditioner on your hair. Anyone can do it, and you should do it yourself because you’ll save a lot of money. I’ll get into the details later and show you my before and after photos.
Before I went ahead and plunked down $100+ for a kit, I had a few questions that you may have as well. Here’s what my research uncovered, in brief and simple terms, to answer the most commonly asked questions about Olaplex.
The most asked questions about Olaplex
What is Olaplex?
Olaplex is a compound called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Its purpose is to repair bonds in the hair that are broken during chemical processes. It was invented by chemists and patented.
It comes as a three-part system, labeled as #1, #2 and #3. The same ingredient is used in each part, with #1 having the highest concentration of the active ingredient and #3 having the lowest. Number 1 is called a bond multiplier, #2 is called a bond perfector and #3 is called a hair perfector.
Olaplex is free of silicone, sulfates, phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, and is never tested on animals.
Why should I use it?
Because it mitigates the damage done during a chemical process. While the bonds are being broken during bleaching, Olaplex #1 is repairing them at the same time. Not all of the bonds are repaired during this step so #2 is used right after the chemical process.
How can you use it to repair hair?
Besides using it in a chemical service, you can also use it to repair damaged hair as a standalone treatment. If the hair is really damaged, you can do a treatment using #1 and #2. After that you can use #3 once a week for maintenance and to repair ongoing damage done to the hair.
What’s the difference between Olaplex and knock off brands?
All the knock off brands only coat the outside of the hair and mask the damage. They don’t mitigate or repair the damage. Olaplex is the only product on the market that can actually reconnect broken bonds in the hair shaft.
Will I get any benefit from using #3 even if I don’t get my hair colored?
Yes, it’s good for everyone. When Olaplex was tested on virgin hair, the hair sample that was treated had more shine and felt softer to the touch than the original untreated sample. It had an overall healthier appearance than the control sample.
Are the effects of Olaplex permanent?
According to the manufacturer, the reconnected bonds will not break again unless compromised by additional thermal, mechanical or chemical services.
My experience with the Olaplex standalone treatment
Olaplex traveling stylist kit
I ordered the Traveling Stylist Kit which contains one bottle of #1, two bottles of #2, one bottle of #3, along with an instruction card for standalone treatments and for use with chemical processes.
I did the standalone treatment following the instructions on this card:
Olaplex standalone treatment instructions
Here are some pictures taken during the first treatment.
Squeezing .5 oz of Olaplex #1 into the tube
Pouring the contents into bottle with 3 oz water
Putting Olaplex #2 on my hair (looks like conditioner)
My hair saturated with Olaplex #1 and #2, waiting 30 mins
It’s important to note that, contrary to what Kim K has said, sleeping with the product in your hair is not necessary nor more effective. After the product dries out it stops working, therefore the maximum time to leave it in your hair is 30 minutes. No further benefit will be gained by leaving it in longer.
Step by step Olaplex video tutorial
This brief video shows how to do the standalone treatment. When you do this at home by yourself, you should put a towel around your shoulders because the first part is very drippy.
My hair before and after Olaplex
My before and after photos are a little different from most people’s. The before photo shows my hair after flat ironing and with serum, and it still looks like a hot mess.
The after photo is my hair without any heat styling, oils, serums or conditioners. With flat ironing it looks even smoother but I wanted you to see it in its raw state.
Before Olaplex and with heat styling and hair products
After Olaplex. No heat styling or hair products.
After the treatment my hair was so soft, I couldn’t stop touching it! And the breakage—gone.
My evaluation of the claims made by Olaplex
I did the standalone treatment twice the first week, followed by weekly maintenance treatments of #3 for the next two weeks. Then I didn’t do any more treatments for six weeks.
During that time I only washed my hair once a week and used the flat iron once a week on the lowest setting. I let my hair air dry, something I was unable to do before using Olaplex because my hair would turn into a puffball.
My point here is that I did not do a lot to damage my hair, but after six weeks with no treatments it started to break off a little bit more. So I started doing weekly maintenance treatments again.
While my hair’s strength improved dramatically following treatments, it was never quite the same as before being damaged by bleach. And the restorative effects were long lasting, but not permanent.
Olaplex is the most remarkable product and I don’t want to be without it. It’s allowing me to keep my hair long while the bleached part grows out. The kit I got will last many months and I will definitely repurchase once it’s gone.
Update after using Olaplex for a year
It’s been nearly a year since I started using Olaplex and I wanted to show you how great my hair is looking now. It doesn’t break off in little pieces any more when I brush it and it’s gotten longer. So let’s take a look at some pictures.
Ten months of using Olaplex. Styled with flat iron.
I only do a treatment every month or two and I still have quite a bit left from the kit I purchased. I’ts definitely been worth the money!
To find answers to more questions about Olaplex, please visit their education center.
To buy maintenance treatment #3 directly from the manufacturer, please click here.
For a more technical evaluation of the product, please read this report.
Please add your comments
Have you used Olaplex? What do you think of it?