Hair Care Tips & Styling Ideas

All Your Questions About Olaplex’s Damage-Repairing Hair Care, Answered

You may have heard your colorist sing its praises, or read the rave reviews from people who’ve used Olaplex to bring their damaged hair back from the brink. But if you’re not quite sure what, exactly, Olaplex is and how it works, you’ve come to the right place. While the science may be a bit complex (don’t worry; we’ll break it down), the results—healthy, strong, damage-free hair—are easy to see. We checked in with Amy Cherry, Olaplex Retail Manager, to answer all of your most-asked questions about this hair-repairing system.

What is Olaplex?

Olaplex is a system made up of seven products—two formulas meant to be used in the salon by professionals, and five products for at-home use. The products repair damage (from color or chemical processing, heat styling and environmental factors) that results in broken bonds that compromise hair’s strength and structural integrity.

How does Olaplex work?

“All hair types derive most of their integrity from healthy, properly paired, disulfide bonds,” says Cherry. When damaged, these bonds break apart, resulting in single sulfur hydrogen bonds. “Each product within the line contains our patented active ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, which finds broken bonds within the hair and links them back together,” Cherry says. “This leaves you with hair that is stronger from the inside, repairing existing damage and working to prevent future damage.”

Is Olaplex good for all hair types?

Yes, and it’s not just for color-treated hair, Cherry explains. “Because all hair is made up of these disulfide bonds, all hair will benefit from using Olaplex. Even if you don’t color your hair, we break these bonds every single day from something even as simple as the friction of your head on a pillow or a ponytail that was too tight.”

What benefits will I notice after using Olaplex?

“When all the bonds, especially the disulfide bonds, are intact and in alignment, you have healthy, beautiful, shiny, touchable hair,” Cherry says. “You will notice your natural texture begin to bounce back as these bonds are relinked. Curls will be more defined and hair will be more manageable.”

What’s the difference between the Olaplex salon system and the at-home products?

The professional system is for use by stylists during chemical services as well as on its own as an in-salon, full strength treatment, while the at-home products are meant to be used as part of your regular haircare routine. Both the salon and at-home products contain the same active ingredient, and according to Cherry, “The more parts of the system you use, the more added benefits you will have,” though she recommends seeing your stylist for the salon treatment to maximize these benefits.

Can you overuse Olaplex?

No—you can use Olaplex as often as you like, says Cherry. “Since we break these bonds in our hair every day, there is always work for Olaplex to do. We recommend using the No.3 at least once a week and the No.4 through No.7 as your daily maintenance.”

Damage-repairing products to try at home

Ready to try these bond-building formulas for yourself? Here’s what you need to know about adding these products to your at-home hair routine.

  1. No. 3 Hair Perfector
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    No. 3 Hair Perfector

    The hero of Olaplex’s at-home lineup, this weekly treatment repairs and strengthens hair in just 10 minutes (20 minutes are recommended for extremely damaged hair). The concentrated formula should be applied to damp hair and shampooed out. The rave reviews speak for themselves; according to one shopper, “This literally saved my hair!”

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  2. No. 0 Intense Bond Building Hair Treatment
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    No. 0 Intense Bond Building Hair Treatment

    Designed to be used as a first step in tandem with the No. 3 Hair Perfector, this treatment primes strands to absorb maximum nourishment. Apply it to dry hair from roots to ends, leave on for 10 minutes, then follow with No. 3 for the ultimate one-two punch to rebuild bonds and strengthen hair. When used with No. 3, No. 0 is proven to result in 68 percent more repair and three times stronger hair in just one use.

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  3. No. 4 Bond Maintenance™ Shampoo
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    No. 4 Bond Maintenance™ Shampoo

    With this shampoo, your hair can soak in Olaplex’s reparative active ingredient even more often. In addition to the bond-building benefits, this shampoo also hydrates and prevents frizz, and it’s (of course) sulfate-free and safe for color-treated hair. Says one reviewer, “Visibly changed my hair…used 2–3 times a week and people are actually noticing the difference.”

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  4. No. 5 Bond Maintenance™ Conditioner
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    No. 5 Bond Maintenance™ Conditioner

    What’s a great shampoo without a great conditioner? Pair this with No. 4 to maximize your benefits. As one shopper says, “This conditioner has really made a difference with the ends of my hair. It has become stronger, and I have noticed less breakage since I started using this.”

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  5. No. 6 Bond Smoother
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    No. 6 Bond Smoother

    Your damage-repair regimen can continue even after you step out of the shower with this leave-in styling cream that hydrates, fights frizz and protects hair, no matter the type. It even helps speed up blow-drying time as it smooths strands. One reviewer says, “Really helps tame my frizzy hair and adds a touch of shine without looking oily. I would recommend to all my friends!”

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  6. No. 7 Bonding Oil
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    No. 7 Bonding Oil

    This shine-boosting styler delivers Olaplex’s signature bond-repairing ingredient in the form of a lightweight, nourishing oil—and the results couldn’t be better. Not only does it repair damaged hair, the blend of moringa and sunflower-seed oils helps tame frizz and flyaways, provides heat protection and fends off dryness. According to one shopper, “A few tiny drops makes my hair look and feel healthy.”

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Dermstore Content Manager

Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

Wendy Rodewald-Sulz is Dermstore's Content Manager and a lifelong skin care and beauty devotee. She graduated from cruising the drugstore aisles for Lip Smackers as a teen to a career as a beauty editor, where she learned her antioxidants from her AHAs by interviewing top dermatologists. Her skin care must-haves include hyaluronic acid and sleep.