I’ve been an extremely bad girl when it comes to my hair.
Basically, since I was about 15 years old, I’ve been taming the beast that is my curly-haired mop into submission using a plethora of heat tools, many of which were, well, completely shit to be honest. Given your hair straightener and any curling tools should be, at most, set to 180C… let’s just say mine were well over the 200 mark for most of my life, ok?
Because of this, my ends are fried. I’m talking snapped strands, weird frizz you can’t manage because it’s basically just exploded hair shafts all over the joint, the works. Not good – especially since I’m trying to grow my hair into some sort of Gigi Hadid-esque mane.
I’d heard amazing things about Olaplex. It’s not new in the slightest – hairdressers have been onto the revolutionary treatment for years, in fact. It’s basically a multi-step, part-salon part home treatment program designed to repair bonds in the hair shaft. Doing so results in hair that looks and feels less damaged, is easier to work with, and will likely grow faster – not because it’s magic, but because half the issue with growing your hair is bloody split ends snapping your lengths off.
Here’s a more complex scienc-y explanation from their website.
Olaplex is a bond multiplier containing a single active ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Olaplex works by finding single sulfur hydrogen bonds and cross linking them back together to form disulfide bonds before, during and after services. Disulfide bonds are broken via chemical, thermal, and mechanical processes.
ANYWAY. Who cares about science! The point is, people rave about it. Blondes, especially. I have THAT many bleach-blonde friends who say Olaplex changed their hair forever – turning straw-like strands into manageable manes in one salon visit.
I was curious – my hair badly needed a treatment (and one that actually worked), so I hit up Olaplex for a road-test. Here’s how it went down.
I headed to Hair & Harlow in Surry Hills to receive the in-salon treatment. This started with my hair being shampooed with the Olaplex shampoo, to remove any product or build-up from my hair so the treatment could do it’s job.
Next, No. 1 Bond Multiplier is added to my hair. This is the first stage of the treatment, and if you’re getting your hair dyed and your hairdresser is using Olaplex to minimise the damage, they’ll likely mix it in with the colour. HOW GOOD IS TECHNOLOGY OR SCIENCE OR WHATEVER, right?
If not, then like me it’ll be applied directly to your damp hair. This is left on for around 15 minutes. So it’s all pretty quick. You generally stay at the basin (I did) and then No. 2 Bond Perfector is applied – this is a creamy formula, like a hair mask. This “links” disulfide bonds after the No. 1 treatment, essentially setting the newly strengthened strands. This was left on for like, 20 minutes.
Then it was shampoo and conditioning time, which involved the famous hairdresser’s scalp massage, but was generally pretty normal.
My hair afterwards didn’t necessarily look that different, but it definitely felt stronger through the day as I ran my hands through it/brushed it at night. Here’s the post vibes (excuse the Instagram Story copy, I’m an idiot and this is just the type of person that I am, the type who forgets to save photos without captions):
Then I’m sent home with the at-home treatment pack. It’s No. 3 Hair Perfector, a weekly treatment designed to top up the effects of your salon experience, plus the shampoo and conditioner.
This is the good shit, you guys. The salon experience is vital to getting the most out of Olaplex, but without following the home care you may as well… not, you know? The thing is, hair damage is constant – even if you’re cautious with your heat tools, always use protectant, don’t brush wet hair and so on, the environment (sun damage) and general life (your bag catches on your hair and BAM! Snapped ends) means that you need to be continuing your care at home.
The treatment is a bit time consuming. You have to put it in after shampooing, into damp hair. THEN you need to leave it on for 20 minutes – which means getting out of the shower. That being said, one week I just had a bath (LUSH) while waiting for it to do it’s thing, another week I cleaned my room… you make it work, you know?
Overall I’ve found the treatment has definitely improved the elasticity of my hair – it feels stronger, less prone to breakage. Before, ANYTHING would snap my strands – even brushing dry, gently. I’m seeing less fallout while brushing and that is surely a sign things are good hair-wise. I haven’t seen an increase in shine per se, but my hair was never dull to begin with – perhaps the shine improvement is a blonde thing? But in terms of how it sits – my curls look bouncier, and there’s less frizz around the mid-lengths and ends.
It’s not cheap. But it’s also not ridiculously expensive – Olaplex at Hair & Harlow, for example – which includes steps 1, 2 and 3 in salon, will cost you $100. But it doesn’t include the take home pack, which will set you back $124.85 for the set, which you can buy online.
That being said, the products will last you a solid 6 months I predict. I’ve been using them now for a month and have barely made a dent.
My take? 100% worth it.Image: Instagram / @olaplex