What is Olaplex and How Do I Use It?

If you love mixing up your hair look and enjoy a bit of bleach here and there, your hairdresser has probably suggested Olaplex to you.

Over the past few years, Olaplex treatments have become haircare heroes. The shine! The soft texture! It’s even what A-listers swear by to keep their processed locks looking healthy.

But what’s all the fuss about? What does Olaplex even do? And you might be wondering, is Olaplex worth it?

This need-to-know guide has the answers to the Olaplex questions you’ve been pondering.

You can also watch Adore Beauty's hair expert, Millie explain the difference between all the Olaplex products in the video below!

What is Olaplex?

Nothing is more fun than playing with colour to spice up your hair. But repeatedly blasting your hair with chemicals and heat will leave tresses looking less than tip-top.

Dry, dull hair is hard to manage, and before long, it will be too damaged to take any more colour. That was until Olaplex walked in!

When hair has been bleached, coloured, chemically treated, or overheated, disulphide bonds are broken. Olaplex is basically a bond multiplier that contains a single active ingredient: Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate.

Olaplex works by hunting out damaged hair bonds and cross-linking things back together to form disulphide bonds.

A firm favourite with beauty and salon insiders, the stand-alone Olaplex treatment helps rebuild even the most bleached, processed hair.

And if you’re wondering, Is Olaplex vegan? It sure is! Is Olaplex cruelty-free? Yep! And is Olaplex sulphate-free? It really, truly is. It’s a caring system that’s kind to hair and kind to animals.

But what exactly does Olaplex do?

Helping restore hair from the inside out, the Olaplex system works hard to get hair back to its strong-bond best. Olaplex is a step-by-step system that starts the moment you have your hair coloured at the salon.

Olaplex strengthens hair right at the molecular level, helping rebuild strands if they’ve been in distress.

With patented technology, an Olaplex treatment helps actually rebuild damaged hair once it’s been processed.

Did you know it’s natural to lose up to 100 strands of hair every day? That’s why your partner is always moaning about finding your hair everywhere!

If you’re worried about too much shedding or you just want your hair to grow really, really long, you’ll notice a difference when using Olaplex.

Most people who bleach or highlight their hair swear by the strengthening Olaplex hair repair effects. They see Olaplex hair growth results from both the in-salon treatment and the at-home products.

Olaplex helps repair split ends by smoothing each strand from root to tip. And the good news is you don’t need to colour your hair or have used Olaplex No.1 and No.2 at the salon to benefit from the at-home Olaplex system.

If you’re trying to grow your tresses, then your uncoloured, virgin hair will drink up the strengthening effects of Olaplex too.

My bleached blonde hair eats this elixir up! I leave it on over night and my hair feels stronger the next day.

★★★★★ Teagan (Adore Beauty Customer)

How do you use Olaplex?

Olaplex No.1 is mixed in with your colour and applied directly onto your hair at the salon. Olaplex No.2 is applied once your hairdresser has washed out your colour. They’ll leave the treatment on for 20 minutes to replenish the hair after the dyeing process.

You can use Olaplex No.1 and Olaplex No.2 only at a hair salon. And how often can you use Olaplex 1 and 2? Ask for it to be applied every time you get your hair coloured.

Olaplex No.3, Olaplex No.4, Olaplex No.5, Olaplex No.6, and Olaplex No.7 continue to bolster the good hair vibes once you’re home. This at-home strengthening system works on all hair types and builds hair back up to give it a thicker, stronger, shinier effect.

So many professionals swear by the restorative, bond-building Olaplex at-home system. It’s a must-have for anyone heading towards a lighter look.

Who should be using it? Who is Olaplex best for?

Olaplex is targeted at people who colour their hair with harsh chemicals. But really, anyone will benefit from the well-thought-out system. There’s Olaplex for damaged hair, Olaplex for bleached hair, and Olaplex curly hair. And then there’s Olaplex for anybody who wants well-loved, restored, nourished, and hydrated hair every day. So, that’s all of us then!

Olaplex No. 3 is where you can start to take charge of your damaged, dull-looking locks. But the big question is, How to use Olaplex 3? Neither a shampoo nor a conditioner, this little pre-wash treatment works to nourish hair and has many Olaplex benefits.

You don’t need to have experienced Olaplex No.1 or No.2 to use Olaplex No.3. Just a dollop once a week will help treat colour-processed, heat-damaged lengths. You can use Olaplex 3 on natural hair or on colour-treated hair. Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 Home Treatment contains the same active Olaplex ingredients as the salon-only Olaplex No.2 treatment, but at a lower concentration.

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is the only product of its kind. It has eight worldwide patents publishing soon, so you won’t see the same effects from any other product. To see the softening effects of Olaplex 3 before and after, simply dampen hair and apply from roots to ends before you shampoo. Make sure you comb Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 Home Treatmentthrough properly so each strand gets the attention it needs.

Can you leave Olaplex on too long?

You can leave the treatment in the hair for as long as you like! Some even leave in Olaplex 3 overnight to really reap the rewards of Olaplex 3 hair perfector. The longer you leave the product in your hair, the longer it has to find the broken, damaged strands and help repair them. It’s essentially like an Olaplex hair mask! You can even apply Olaplex on dry hair just before you style it, though it’s recommended you do give hair a quick spritz with water first.

Once you’ve rinsed hair thoroughly, you can continue your Olaplex hair perfector routine with Olaplex shampoo and conditioner.

Once you’ve applied Olaplex No.3, you can wash your hair with Olaplex shampoo. Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is an ultra-reparative formula that nourishes and strengthens hair after every use. Cruelty-free, vegan, and sulphate-free, this gentle cleanser washes away impurities while building the hair’s strength back up. It’s the ideal Olaplex for damaged hair.

Designed for dehydrated locks, Olaplex shampoo includes ingredients such as Olaplex Bond Building Chemistry. And the product’s volumising effect leaves hair shiny and manageable. Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo 250ml is the second of the Olaplex treatment steps and won’t strip hair of moisture. It’s also nut-free and gluten-free, making it perfect for those with allergies.

If you’re still wondering what an Olaplex treatment is, consider step 5 your traditional conditioning step. This genuinely restorative conditioner with signature Olaplex ingredients leaves hair feeling soft and looking healthy. Restoring the bonds in your hair, Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner improves the hair’s hydration and repairs the internal damage of your strands.

Sulphate-free, vegan, and made using the signature Olaplex Bond Building chemistry, Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner 250ml is extremely concentrated to improve your hair’s hydration. Your Olaplex instructions? Apply a generous amount from root to tip, leave for 3 minutes (or longer), and then rinse properly. Your locks will look shiny, and they’ll be so much easier to manage!

Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother is a leave-in reparative cream that’s suitable for every hair type. From supercurly hair to poker-straight tresses, Olaplex No.6 helps revive, strengthen, hydrate, and protect damaged hair. And you only need to work in a small amount to see the nourishing benefits.

With the re-bonding active Olaplex ingredient, this colour-safe formula protects hair from heat damage and should be applied before styling. With antioxidants Vitamin E and Coconut Oil, the Olaplex bond smoother system will restore the hair’s integrity and get even strawlike locks back to their shiny, healthy best. You’ll see the fuzz-free results from Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother for up to 72 hours.

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is the perfect styling oil for strengthening hair. Protecting hair and adding shine, the formula provides heat protection at up to 230°C. That’s hot! Highly concentrated but with a lightweight finish, the oil won’t weigh hair down. Perfect for all hair types, this vegan, cruelty-free hair oil strengthens the hair bonds, helping it regain some shine.

Apply a small amount to either dry or damp, towel-dried hair. Comb through to make sure it’s spread evenly. Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is a highly concentrated formula, so exactly how much you apply depends on your hair length. Start with a small amount and apply more as needed. The unique Olaplex molecule will work with your hair to keep it frizz-free, safe, and shiny as you style.

How to prevent damage when styling with Olaplex

But is it worth it?

Olaplex repairs the broken bonds in damaged hair, so it’s definitely worth giving the system a go if your tresses are looking a little lifeless. And colour always looks better on healthy, shiny hair. Of course, splashing out on the entire system might seem like a leap of faith, but with so many hair benefits, your hair will thank you for it.

The Olaplex Kit

If you want to try each Olaplex product to see if the system works for you, the Olaplex Take Home Treatment Kit is a great investment. With Olaplex No.3, Olaplex No.2, and the Olaplex deep conditioner, this kit will let your hair really feel the benefit of the entire at-home ritual. Dull hair will be transformed with a full-size shampoo, conditioner, and cult Olaplex No.3 treatment. Hair won’t be stripped of shine or weighed down with a heavy conditioner.

The Olaplex Kit

How often should you be using Olaplex?

If you’ve bleached your hair or had highlights added at the salon with an Olaplex treatment, you’re going to want to hold on to that look for as long as possible. If you’re addicted to hair straighteners and love a bit of curling, apply Olaplex No.3 as a weekly treatment and follow up with Olaplex shampoo and conditioner. Olaplex No.6 and Olaplex No.7 will continue to add shine and help bring hair back to life.

If your hair is looking superdull, apply Olaplex No.3 twice a week and leave it in overnight. And how long does Olaplex last? It depends on how you treat your hair. If you’re always applying heat, you’ll need to use the treatment more often to feel the benefit.

So, there you have it! Your essential guide to Olaplex and how your hair will love to drink it up. If you’ve had a hair accident, love the bleach a little too much, or just want those locks to grow, the Olaplex system will set you straight back on the right path.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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