I went Olaplex mad last year (after vowing not to buy any more hair products) and bought No.5, the hair oil. This ‘madness’ also saw me buy the Olaplex Holiday Edition set comprising No.3, 4 and 5.
I read about Olaplex No.0, so-called because it’s a ‘primer’ you can use at home to complement and supercharge Olaplex No.3 so, like a sheep, I bought a bottle.
Here’s the breakdown of the numbers (quite literally) from 0 to 7. There is a fairly recently launched No.8 product which is a Bond Intense Moisture Mask which I won’t be buying as I have more than enough hair masks.
I probably will buy it.
OLAPLEX NO. 0 INTENSIVE BOND BUILDING HAIR TREATMENT
Use as the first step in a two-part at-home system with No.3 Hair Perfector to strengthen and repair all types of damaged hair.
HOW TO USE
Apply No.0 to dry hair, fully saturating each section. Let process for 10 minutes. Do not rinse.
Then apply No.3 Hair Perfector over hair with No.0 applied to it, combing through as needed. Let process for a minimum of 10 minutes. Rinse, shampoo & condition.
I’ve used up a full bottle – I managed four applications, a measured amount is marked on the side of the bottle. I won’t be repurchasing, mainly because it’s not user friendly and I didn’t see any real difference to my hair over 6 weeks.
By the way, Olaplex 0, 3, 4, 5 and 6 have the most frustrating packaging I’ve ever used. Tiny openings with hard to dispense products.
No. 0 is no better. It’s a nozzle type cap but the product drips out painfully slowly. Some people decant it into a spray bottle for ease of use which I thought at first was a good idea, then I read that Olaplex do not recommend this practice, because the particles are not meant to be airborne – Erm…Do we think that’s a bit worrying?
There is not enough of the measured amount to saturate my ‘below shoulder length’ hair fully. As the first 4 inches of my hair hadn’t been coloured and was now born again virgin hair, I applied the product from halfway down. It makes sense that the worst damage will always be towards the end of the hair and down the lengths.
I left it on for 10 minutes as directed and then saturated my hair with water (from a spray bottle). Olaplex No.3 will not activate on dry hair.
As long as hair remains damp you can leave No. 3 on for as long as you like.
OLAPLEX NO. 1 AND 2
Not to be touched by us mere mortals, these are both used exclusively by professionals in the hair salon. The Olaplex Salon System comprises 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 usually given a bottle called Treatment No.3 (Hair Perfector), for use at home to ‘top up’ the treatment. Now of course you can buy No. 3 to use at home.
OLAPLEX NO. 3 HAIR PERFECTOR
A weekly (every 10 days really) at-home treatment, not a conditioner, that reduces breakage and visibly strengthens hair, improving its look and feel.
- Repairs damaged and compromised hair
- Strengthens and protects hair structure
- Restores healthy appearance and texture
The Holy Grail of hair repair. A pre-wash treatment that really works. Don’t get sucked into the other Olaplex numbers trap, this is the only product your hair actually needs.
There are a few variations, but here are the basic instructions:
- Apply a conditioning treatment to towel-dried hair.
- Soak towel – or a towelling hair turban, in very hot water.
- Use rubber gloves and wring out a towel/turban so it’s not dripping wet.
- Place over hair asap.
- Put a shower cap on over this to keep heat in.
- Wait 10-30 minutes depending on your conditioner instructions.
- Rinse hair in lukewarm water.
The steam temporarily opens the hair cuticle and allows the conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft.
THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
The first time I did this deep conditioning treatment, I used a different method known as the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ following a YouTube tutorial. I was due to have my hair highlighted the next day, but because of the condition – very dry, frizzy and completely unmanageable, I kept cancelling – I had scary visions of my hair snapping off.
- Put a shower cap directly on top of your conditioned hair – I used Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor for Damaged Hair, I was determined to make it work for me.
- Then place the hot towel over the shower cap.
- Seal in the steam with another plastic cap or plastic shopping bag actually, as a shower cap’s not big enough, just make sure the handles are tucked in and no steam escapes – I used a lot of cling film instead.
It all seems a bit long-winded and time consuming, but if your hair is severely damaged by colour or processing then using one of the above methods with Olaplex No 3 will help to repair the damage. The golden rule as always is to keep the hair damp, but the steam should do this.
Olaplex wasn’t around when I first used this process (although it did save my hair) and my hair is no longer damaged, but I think I will do it again with Monpure’s Protein shampoo first and Olaplex No.3.
OLAPLEX NO. 4 & 5 MAINTENANCE SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
No.4 shampoo repairs and protects hair from everyday stresses — including damaged hair, split ends, and frizz — by re-linking broken bonds. Leaves hair easier to manage, shinier and healthier with each use. No.4 is colour-safe and proven to reduce breakage and strengthen all types of hair.
No.5 is a highly-moisturising, reparative conditioner for all hair types that leaves hair easy to manage, shiny and healthier with each use.
I grudgingly admit that when I use the shampoo and conditioner together, my hair does have a sleek ‘salon fresh’ quality to it, but hand on heart they’re too expensive and I have a lot of shampoos and conditioners that do the same thing.
OLAPLEX NO. 6 BOND SMOOTHER
A highly concentrated leave-in smoothing cream strengthens, moisturises, and speeds up blow-dry times.
No.6 is excellent for all hair types, including coloured and chemically treated hair, and eliminates frizz and flyaways for up to 72 hours.
You need Incredible Hulk hands to prise any product from this bottle. I have to unscrew the lid and tease out the styling cream out with a cotton bud. Olaplex is being cheap by using the same containers for nearly all of their products.
I don’t care for it anyway, it’s too highly fragranced and heavy on the hair. I can’t even describe the scent, the closest I can liken it to is unperfumed washing powder.
OLAPLEX NO. 7 BONDING OIL
A highly-concentrated, weightless reparative styling oil that dramatically increases shine, softness, and colour vibrancy.
No.7 minimises flyaways and frizz while providing UV/heat protection of up to 450°F/232°C.
You’ve only got yourself to blame if you fry your hair at 232°C. Does anyone wear their hair poker straight anymore anyway?
I’m not sure I’ve given the oil enough of a fighting chance, but it didn’t seem to do anything for my hair. The finish wasn’t as smooth and shiny as I was expecting from all the rave reviews.
In fact, I’ve gone back to one of my favourite old-timers, L’Oreal Mythic Hair Oil. But, No.5 was £25.00 for 25ml so I will force myself to use this oil more often.
UPDATE – OLAPLEX NO. 6 and No. 7 USED TOGETHER!
I can’t remember when I got this tip from, but it’s been a saving grace. Mix together a large blob of bond smoother with a good few drops of the bonding oil and apply at night to hair. Hair laps it up and surprisingly, it doesn’t go all nasty and greasy.
Rinse, shampoo and condition the next day. The result is gorgeously soft, shiny hair.
I feel so much better now. From feeling annoyed I wasted £52.00 (the utter shame of it) of my money just because of a brand name. I now have a deep conditioning overnight treatment.
I still wouldn’t go out and specifically buy these two products, but if you already have them, then this is a great solution to make them work for you.
Olaplex No.0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment 155ml £26.00 – Highly rated by lots of people but not me, plus only 4-5 applications in the bottle.
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector 100ml £26.00 – The only one I truly recommend, hard to find it cheaper than £26.00 anywhere.
EDIT – That’s a lie, I have found it cheaper, see below!
Olaplex No.4 Maintenance Shampoo 250ml £26.00 – Not really necessary
Olaplex No.5 Maintenance Conditioner 250ml £26.00 – Not necessarily worth it if you already own a good conditioner
Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother 100ml £26.00 – Give this one a wide berth. Weighty on hair and heavily fragranced
Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil 30ml £26.00 – It’s OK, but too expensive for a hair oil
In 2020, Olaplex launched a new Holiday Kit box with four full-size products – No.3, 4, 5 and 6 for £60.00. I missed that one and only got the three-pack. But right now you can get the 20% saving individually from AllBeauty. *
I have only just found this, but the prices are correct as of today, 18th May 2021. AllBeauty *