Olaplex Treatment No. 1, 2 & 3 FINAL UPDATE

Olaplex Treatment No.3

There’s been lots of hype in the last few months about Olaplex, a hair salon treatment that claims to repair, strengthen and restore, bleached, dyed and heat damaged hair. It’s not a conditioner per se, but a ‘bond multiplier’ that works by repairing bonds within the hair shaft to drastically reduce breakage from chemical treatments.

Most of the salon reviews on the net are from young women under taking extreme bleaching i.e. dyeing hair platinum white à la Kim Kardashian last year, who managed transform back to black from white blonde with minimal damage.

It’s not proven that Kim used Olaplex at that time, but she is definitely on record (because there’s a video *aherm*) singing its praises:

I like to do a treatment called Olaplex. When your hair is really damaged, if you sleep in that, it really works. I noticed a huge difference.

I assume she talking about Treatment No 3, after an in-salon Olaplex treatment.

The Olaplex Salon System comprises of Treatment No.1 (bond multiplier), to be mixed with hair dye/bleach and No.2 (bond perfector) to be used after the dye’s been rinsed clear. Clients are then given a bottle called Treatment No.3 (hair perfector), for use at home to ‘top up’ the treatment.

OLAPLEX™ is a single active ingredient, designed to reconnect the disulphide sulfur bonds broken by the process of permanent hair coloring and lightening. OLAPLEX™ is free of silicones, oils, aldehydes and parabens.

My hair’s in lovely condition at the moment and tempted as I am to have an Olaplex salon treatment (£50-70.00 in London), not that many places offer it as a service at the moment and more importantly, I’m very pleased with my current hair colour and I wouldn’t want another colourist near my hair, although Olaplex doesn’t affect the colour in any way. #scaredycat

However, an Unfading Beauty reader bought a bottle of the No.3 treatment and I went out and did the same.

Olaplex

Here are the questions I asked for us both with regard to Treatment No.3.

Is Olaplex suitable for older (50+) hair? 

Olaplex is suitable for all hair types, regardless of age.

Is it a salon or at home standalone treatment or both? A reader has bought “Treatment 3” in a bottle, but asks if she needs a salon treatment first?

It’s an in-salon treatment that can be used as a standalone reparative treatment or within a colour treatment to repair hair bonds whilst colouring.

No.3 Hair Perfector can be used without having the salon treatment, however the user will see best results by having the in-salon treatment.

The No.3 product is a pre-shampoo treatment that you apply to damp hair and leave on for as long as possible before shampooing and conditioning as normal. No.3 product can be used once a week in-between trips to the salon to continue to rebuild hair and keep it in fantastic health and condition.

Is Olaplex suitable for uncoloured or naturally grey hair?

Yes Olaplex is suitable for all hair types including uncoloured or naturally grey hair. Olaplex will also repair damage from earlier colouring, perming, straightening and heavy use of thermal heated tools.

You will have a more dramatic change if hair is already chemically treated, however Olaplex will benefit any hair type.

Can it be used over a Keratin Smoothing Treatment?

Olaplex can be used over a Keratin Smoothing Treatment to repair the damage that occurs during this type of chemical treatment.

FIRST THOUGHTS

My mum’s having her hair tinted and highlighted tomorrow, which is a heavy-duty process. Despite regular deep conditioning treatments, her hair does, understandably, become very dry afterwards.

I applied Olaplex to her hair pre shampoo, as directed, yesterday and I will apply another treatment next week. Admittedly, it was silky and soft afterwards, but it will be interesting to see how her hair looks and feels next week.

SHOPPING INFO

It’s not that easy to buy, probably because it’s sold as part of the in-salon treatment. My reader bought her No.3 bottle from eBay. I wouldn’t trust eBay with such a new product, so I bought mine on Amazon UK (£18.00) from the official Olaplex shop.

WEBSITE

Olaplex UK This looks like a trade (i.e. salon) only website. There is information, but it’s a little tricky to navigate.

The official Olaplex Facebook page is easier reading, with lots of photos showing off the results of this hair treatment.

UPDATE 8th March 2016

For whatever reason (hormones?) my hair started to ‘play up’ and I lost the lovely swishy look I’d previously been enjoying, so I decided to apply the treatment on my hair, using the second official bottle of Olaplex (sorry mum!) although fortunately, there was no difference between the two of them.

The thick and creamy/slightly gel like mixture doesn’t have a particular fragrance, I’d describe it a ‘hair salon’ scent.  It was easy to apply and comb through. Because I knew it wouldn’t affect or alter the colour of my hair, I did a ‘half Kim Kardashian’ and left it on for 4 hours.

I rinsed it off and shampooed and conditioned my hair as normal. I was going out in the evening and thought my hair would look spectacular. It didn’t work out that way. My hair felt thicker, which I suppose translates into stronger, but it wasn’t at all shiny or particularly soft – very different from my mum’s hair.

Truth be told, it was actually a bit on the dull side and remained that way after 3 more washes during the week, the flyways were the same too.  I put it down to not having had Olaplex salon treatments 1 and 2, which I think would have kick started the process and made for better results with the home ‘top up’ treatment number 3.

Roll on a week and my hair was highlighted as normal. As usual, it was glossy and smooth in the salon, which I always expect. Interestingly though, my hairdresser did remark on how much healthier my hair looked – and this is the biggie, how much better it felt.

I’ve washed my hair a few times since, using the lightweight TommyGuns Pomegranate & Orange Flower shampoo and conditioner (everyone loves the scent), but with the same ‘salon’ results.

Unlike a NanoKeratin treatment – 90 seconds to 80% dry hair, it does still take the normal amount of time to blow dry, but my hair is smooth, sheeny, as opposed to shiny, I think you know what I mean, and flyaways are greatly reduced i.e. lying flat – I still can’t see how they can be ‘physically’ repaired (I need to read up on the Olaplex technology again), but there is a tangible difference. It also still retains that ‘thick’ feeling, which I’ve not see as a result on anyone else’s reviews.

I really need to use the bottle up before I can say for sure, that it’s the Olaplex treatment 3 that’s done this, but I will continue to use the product once a week as directed.

If, when I’ve finished the bottle and I see continued improvement, then I will definitely book a salon treatment (I’d buy treatments 1 and 2 and take into my regular hairdresser). This could be a viable alternative to my beloved NanoKeratin treatments. Olaplex is much cheaper and has zero down time.

UPDATE 12th & 21st March 2016

Two updates in one, because I did the same thing each week and had the same results each time. On both of us, I left the Olaplaex treatment on (covered in cling film, with a plastic shower cap on top) for over 3 hours.

On my mum’s hair, which has an all over tint and fine highlights woven through the top layer, her hair was, once again, soft and shiny immediately after blow drying.

On my hair (just highlighted), my hair wasn’t noticeably shinier at all, in fact it was (once again) fairly dull after blow drying and needed a couple of more washes to look shiny again.

I was wondering why we have such different results and the obvious conclusion is that my mum’s hair has all over tint. I’m beginning to think Olaplaex works best on all over colour, or all over bleach.  This makes sense when you see the after photos of women with white, silver, pink bleached hair. Their hair is softer and shinier, like my mum’s hair.

However, the good part for me is that I’m still enjoying the feeling of  ‘thicker’ hair and other people have noticed as well. There are less flyaways too.

UPDATE 20th April 2016

One of my readers, Max, sent me an email about Olaplex after reading the above review on treatment 3 and kindly allowed me to post her findings here.

I swear by Olaplex. I’ve had the 1 & 2 stage treatments every 6 weeks at my hairdressers. My hair has grown and is thicker, and longer than it’s been for years – menopause hair!

This is a great opportunity to get answers from a real person and not the official online blurb, so I asked a few questions.

SALON OLAPLEX 1 & 2? OR HOME TREATMENT 3?

The No. 1 and 2 treatments are the ones that have totally turned my hair around (before menopause!).

I have it done every 6 weeks and just bought the number 3 home one to use in between, but have to say I’m not raving too much about No. 3.

WHAT TYPE OF HAIR DO YOU HAVE?

I’m a red-head with some white sneaking in now, so I go every 6 weeks for some foil highlights and have the treatment straight after.

I find this really interesting, I thought that when using Olaplax to repair dyed hair, it only worked on ‘all over’ colour/tint/bleach and that treatment 1 (the ‘active’ solution) needed to be mixed with the colour. Not so. If you don’t want to mix it with bleach for highlights (and there’s a lot of precise measuring and calculating to get the formula right), you can use it immediately afterwards. Plus of course, it can be used on virgin, i.e. uncoloured hair.

WHAT DOES THE SALON DO? 

They wash out the colour, add treatment 1, leave me for about 10-15 minutes, then treatment 2 for about 5 minutes.

HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR THE TREATMENT?

The salon is called La Medusa in Henley-on-Thames.  I have the treatment on top of my cut etc. but I think it’s around £30 (ish).

Obviously cheaper outside London!

MY UPDATE

I’ve been using Olaplex Treatment No.3 at home (and on my mum too), every 6 six weeks and the results have been consistent – my mum’s hair = soft and shiny. My hair = fuller looking.

I’m convinced now though, that I really do need No. 1 & 2 in salon treatments.

DO/DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME?

Although Olaplex won’t alter the colour of your hair, the official line is that only accredited hairdressers can purchase and carry out treatments 1 & 2. But of course, the internet says differently, although the danger lies in buying counterfeit products, which we’ve discussed below in comments.

Research is key here, get the genuine product and watch the DIY videos on You Tube for application tips.

Huge thanks to Gingerkarma for her contribution to this piece.

UPDATE 19th August 2016

I haven’t updated this post for 4 months, but there’s a good reason, my hair salon introduced me to Lisaplex. 

As the name suggests, Italian brand Lisaplex is similar to Olaplaex with a 2 step Bond Saver and Hair Structure Filler process, and can be used for bleaching, colouring, after straightening or as a standalone treatment.

I had one treatment in May after my highlights, and my second one last Saturday.  I thought my hair was feeling stronger, but it wasn’t until my treatment on Saturday that I realised just how well this works.

Admittedly, when I washed my hair 2 days later, it didn’t feel particularly smooth after conditioner, and it was even a bit difficult to run the old Tangle Teezer through. But after styling, it felt smooth and weightless and looks ‘wig’ shiny, especially in direct sunlight.

My advice now I’ve had two treatments, is book a professional in-salon Olaplex or Lisaplex (mine cost £20.00) treatment, before even thinking of buying the home treatment No 3.

7 Comments

  1. February 22, 2016 / 11:27 am

    I have been using Olaplex No.3 on my fine, coloured hair roughly once a week to once a fortnight for the last three months. I found that my hair looked sensationally shiny and felt very soft after the first few uses. It’s not permanent though, imo (although the manufacturers may state that permanent repair is taking place that is not necessarily visible), and I find the ‘conditioning/repariring’ effect diminishes after every subsequent wash. I wash my hair every morning though so other may find they experience longer-lasting benefits. What I like about it is that it’s not heavy or greasy and my hair doesn’t feel weighed down. I like it very much.

    Re. where to purchase. I was put off buying from the Amazon shop because Amazon itself has no control over those vendors in its market place. I find £18 suspiciously cheap (and some of the reviewers cast doubt on the authenticity of the product). The packaging is very plain and would be very easy to counterfeit. I’m on my 2nd bottle now and I purchased from Bornhaircare,com. I have *nothing* to do with the company, no links or affiliations in any way but I would rather pay £31.99 and feel confident that the product is genuine. I agree with you that eBay is a big no-no!

    • February 23, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      Hi Niki,

      Thanks for commenting. I assume you didn’t have the salon treatment first? I wonder if that would make a difference, maybe as you’ve said, you’re ‘rinsing away’ the benefits by washing you hair so frequently?

      You freaked me out by saying that £18.00 was suspiciously cheap, (especially as I used it on my mum’s hair) but I was able to get hold of a bottle that came directly from a salon and I tore round to my mum’s house to compare the two.

      I compared packaging (and you’re right, I could probably print that label out myself), fragrance and texture and fortunately, the cheapo one is genuine.

      The one (in-salon only) hair treatment that I can thoroughly recommend (even for fine hair), is the NanoKeratin Blow Dry – although you MUST go to a reputable salon.

      I’ve had 3 very successful ones (the longest lasted 4 months). Super shiny hair that took 90 seconds to blow dry, never frizzed in the rain and never kinked. The downside? The ‘curing’ period meant 3 days of horrible greasy, lank hair you couldn’t get wet or tie back. 3 days of house arrest really.

      Oh yeah and the price tag of £250 upwards…

    • April 20, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      I’ve got to thank you Niki for recommending Bornhaircare.com. I did make a promise to myself not to buy anymore haircare products for at least 6 months, but I’m looking at the KeraStraight range and I’m afraid my credit card’s going to take a bashing.

  2. February 22, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    It’s interesting to read about this. I have to say, an endorsement by a Kardashian would put me off, if anything. I would much prefer to hear real women’s voices and opinions so I’m really interested to see how you get on with this.

    • February 23, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Hi Joanne,

      Ha! Yes, I couldn’t agree more regarding Kim K, but the fact is her hair was absolutely frazzled by the bleaching and I was expecting to see it break and fall out (#schadenfreudemuch?) at the very least. But no, her hair returned to its former glory and apart from the wigs and weaves, she does ‘give’ good hair.

      I’m interested in Olaplaex because I’m thinking if it works to strengthen and repair excessively bleached hair, then why wouldn’t it work on hair that’s been repeatedly highlighted and coloured over 30+ years?

  3. March 10, 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Hi Anne-Marie

    No I didn’t have the salon treatment first – although I certainly would have, if my usual salon offered it as a service. I have seen the ‘Salon only’ products (i.e. Olaplex 1 & 2) for sale on eBay and Amazon. I think it is something you could do at home if you were reasonably competent and had got hold of the instructions – which are quite widely available on the internet.

    I used to do the same with Kerastase treatments – do you remember Aqua Oleum and Vita Ciment? It used to be a salon-only thing, the little glass vial of treatment with the special sprayer nozzle to apply it to the hair at £5 or £10 a pop on top of your cut/colour/blowdry! Then they became available on eBay and in the end I think Kerastase just gave up and starting selling them to the public in boxes of 4! Actually, they were really fantastic (I used to do a treatment a couple of days before a hot date/special event). Oh and L’Oréal Professionnel Symbio (now Chromative), basically a temporary wash-in wash out treatment that the salon charged about £15 a pop to apply I used to buy various shades in the honey/caramel tones (all authentic) from eBay for between £4 and £6 for an entire bottle and do it myself to perk up my hair colour between appointments. A lot of these treatments that don’t involve heavy- duty chemicals or complex techniques (and I’m not under-estimating the skills and expertise of professionals!) can be done at home, don’t you think. Same for skin peels (lactic, mandelic, glycolic etc.). I buy mine from a fab and reputable American site – makeupartistschoice.com

    Apologies for scare-mongering about your Amazon purchase – glad to hear you received the genuine product.

    Thanks for the recommendation about the NanoKeratin Blow Dry I’m going to investigate further.

    • March 10, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      Hi Niki,
      Thanks for all this info!

      If I see genuine results when the bottle’s finished, then I’ll buy 1 & 2 and ask my hairdresser to apply the treatments – although I’ve just had a thought, my hair is only highlighted, I wonder if it Olaplex only works with an all over colour/tint?

      Do I remember Kerastase Aqua Oleum? I still use them at home! I only have 2 bottles left though.
      I even did a post on them last year which you should check out because an at home steam treatment is as good as any you’d get in a salon although it’s time consuming.
      https://unfadingbeauty.co.uk/2015/01/29/easy-home-steam-treatment-for-deep-conditioning/

      I manage to get 2 and half treatments from each bottle because I concentrate on the ends. They used to be sold by Look Fantastic but either they’ve stopped selling them or they’re genuinely out of stock.

      My mum still pays £10/15 for a salon (Regis) treatment using them.

      I’ve not heard of the others, but anyway, I’d be too scared to use colour at home again. I still remember using an ‘ash blonde’ dye (so, so wrong for my hair) and I ended up with green tinged hair.
      I’ll check out the website, personal recommendation is always best!

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