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Best Pick: Olaplex Bond Maintenance No.4 Shampoo & No.5 Conditioner

Best Pick Olaplex Bond Maintenance No.4 Shampoo & No.5 Conditioner

I raved about this wondrous brand on my personal blog, Twitter, and Instagram a couple of years ago but — as usual — it has taken quite some time to write (and edit) my proper full-page review. That turned out to be a good thing because it has given me a chance to fully test the Olaplex homecare line to an almost obsessive degree. I’m on my third bottle now.

You most likely may have heard about Olaplex; it started off as an in-salon treatment for helping to drastically repair, strengthen, and protect hair structure that has been damaged. It is the kind of treatment that people who colour their hair on a regular basis can’t get enough of. No.1 and No.2 are the in-salon, professional-only parts.

Photo taken in December 2018 and originally posted on Twitter.

Olaplex really only makes sense if you have damage to the disulfide bonds of the hair (or want to greatly minimise the damaging effect during colour service). There’s absolutely no reason to use their products if you have healthy, virgin hair.

Protein and moisture treatments affect the hair cuticles by temporarily filling in the weak spots. They’re needed for damaged hair since they help with elasticity, softness, and shine but they cannot affect the disulfide bonds, which are responsible for hair strength. Break enough of these bonds and hair breaks off. Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate (Olaplex’s main patented ingredient ) works within the cortex to reconnect those broken disulfide bonds caused by chemicals, heat, and styling.

Diagram from Molecular Mechanics of Disulfide Bonded Alpha-Helical Protein Filaments, BioNanoScience (2013)

I have No.1-7, but here in this review, I’m talking specifically about steps 4 & 5, the shampoo and conditioner. They work amazingly well on my colour-treated hair with bleached ashy blond highlights. Even before drying my hair off, I can feel that satisfying silky, healthy hair slip that keeps tangles at bay. They leave my hair feeling so unbelievably strong, smooth, and shiny that I haven’t really felt the need to reach for the stronger stuff.

If your hair is weak, frazzled, and generally just damaged then this stuff is well worth a try. It gives me the weighty, swingy feeling that I love but none of heavy, oily residue that some strengthening products seem to leave.

You can find Olaplex at Sephora and certain salons – 250ml bottles of the shampoo and conditioner are US$28 / CDN$35 / ¥2,800 each without pro pricing. It’s bloody expensive but there are no legitimate alternatives, unfortunately. Olaplex holds and uses so many patents, including Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate so any brand claiming to have the same repairing technology or result is simply lying or infringing on their patents. Be sure to only buy from authorised sellers since there’s a shiteload of counterfeited and diverted products online!

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14 Comments on Best Pick: Olaplex Bond Maintenance No.4 Shampoo & No.5 Conditioner

  1. Hi, sometimes, especially in hot summer I don’t like to use wax, I also don’t color my hair but my hair dries with least frizz with Olaplex shampoo so I used that if I wash hair during day time, however I would still like a bit more control/tame especially when my hair gets a bit longer, would no. 5 or 6 or maybe even 7 help more with that?
    Also, have you tried Orofluido shampoo?, it leaves the hair similary silky as your “Best pick” wash out conditioner, so maybe no need for 2-steps? :p

      • It has been bought by Revlon as I have seen.
        I just bought their conditioner and oil, I haven’t conditioned in more than 6months so maybe that’s why I see a change when I apply no. 3.
        They also have a leave-in elixir/serum but it has the same price as no. 6 (I assume it’s has a similar role).
        I still have that BumbleBumble Invisible oil so I might try using it again, was too heavy for everyday iirc.

  2. Agreed! My bleach blonde hair would not have lasted this long without my hairdresser using olaplex during bleaching and with their otc products at home. I also bawked at the price previously, but there’s nothing like it, you reap the benefits of good hair health everyday.

    • There’re other shampoos and conditioners that give the same instantaneous results but I find their results much like applying makeup — it completely goes away the moment I wash my hair with something else. With the Olaplex, the results stay even when I alternate with other (much cheaper) stuff.

    • I find less is more with Olaplex. If I use too much, my hair looks and feels greasy quicker. I also don’t use it every time I wash my hair. I alternate it with other stuff.

      • I also foam it in my hand because if I try to do that on my head it gets stuck in one or two places places.
        I also found a good replacement for Kao Success in Tangler Tezer new scalp brush, they keep softening/swelling up on me and eventually break down, unless I bought two consecutive counterfeits :s They might be only suitable for shorter hair though due to thinness of the brushes

        • Yes, all shampoos should be used the same way. You should always create a foamy lather in your hands first — just like you would facial cleansing foams.

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