What is Olaplex and what else is out there?

Olaplex is one of the biggest in-salon innovations, but what exactly is it and which other bond builders can you choose?

Ever been to a salon for a colour service? Then chances are you’ve heard of Olaplex. Following its initial launch Stateside in 2015, it completely changed the salon colouring game. Fast forward six years, and it’s now a holy grail for in-the-know salon-goers with an expanded line-up of eight high tech hair saviours. The original idea behind it was to create a magical ingredient that would help stop chemical treatments in the salon from damaging hair.

What is Olaplex?

Put simply, it’s a bonding additive that your hairdresser can add to chemical treatments. Not just for colour, it can also be used with smoothing and straightening services to minimise the damage and improve the feel and look of hair. Plex technologies works on a molecular level to seek out broken bonds in the hair and restore compromised hair or prevent breakage. More powerful than conditioners, the technology helps with building bonds damaged during the chemical process, in order to improve the hair condition from within.


Typically, there are three steps involved to help protect and repair. As mentioned, step one is included in the chemical treatment at the salon. Following this, step two is applied to help with bond relinking, cuticle sealing, strength and restoration. Step three is an at-home treatment which can be applied regularly to help with maintenance.

There are others you know…

In the last year few years, there have been massive technological advances in the hair industry. No longer a new concept, many professional hair brands have launched their own bond builders. Wellaplex from Wella Professionals is a three-step system which reduces damage while lightening or colouring. It features a bond maker and stabiliser as the first two stages in the salon, with an at-home hair stabiliser to keep hair strong, smooth and soft in-between salon visits.

Aveda Botanical Repair products

Likewise, Aveda has launched Botanical Repair – a bond building line which is powered by plants to strengthen and repair hair from the inside out. The collection features a professional service as well as a shampoo, conditioner, masque and leave-in treatment to use at home. The professional collection builds bonds in the hair during colouring, with hair appearing visibly shinier in just 10 minutes.

Revlon Professional has also expanded its Magnet range to include a BondIN System to repair hair from the inside out. It’s a protective, rebonding and repairing, multistep system which protects existing bonds, repairs broken ones and creates new ones. It also provides a 360º protective shield around chemically treated hair to fight against external aggressors including pollution.

Similarly, British brand INNOluxe offers bonding products to repairsall hair during colour or technical services. It was designed to add multiple levels of proteins direct into the cortex for healthier, stronger hair. INNOluxe makes colour last longer and creates and rebuilds hair bonds during and after colouring. Likewise, it also helps repair when used with perms, relaxers, keratin services and as a stand-alone treatment.

Some colour has bonding built in…

As well as bond building additives, professional brands have also developed colour lines with bonding built in. LightDimensions from Goldwell is a lightening colour range with integrated BondPro+ Technology to leave hair feeling in its strongest condition. 

Similarly, Matrix has also launched SoColor ranges with pre-bonded toners and permanent hair colour to deeply nourish the hair structure. Each formula is blended with bond-protecting concentrate, which helps to maintain the integrity of the hair colour for flawless results and brilliant shine.

The Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME permanent colour line also features integrated bonding technology to protect hair fibres during the lifting process. To keep hair in top condition, there’s also a corresponding care range which features 3D Bond Creation Technology. Choose from light, rich and detox ranges for All Blondes, a neutralizing range for Cool Blondes and a finishing range of Blonde Wonders.

Image from Schwarzkopf Professional

Likewise, L’Oréal Professionnel Paris has launched a lightening colour line with bonder inside. With a citric acid and glycine bonding complex, the lightening powder protects bonds and keeps the hair strong during the colouring process.

For those who visit Redken salons, there’s also a great way to keep coloured hair in top condition. The Shades EQ colour range, which is a favourite with celebrity colourists, is now bigger and better with added Bonder Inside. It’s an all-in-one toner and bonder that helps to strengthen hair in one step.

Redken has also launched the Acidic Bonding Concentrate shampoo, conditioner and leave-in treatment, which is perfect for use at home. Featuring citric acid, the formulas include a concentrated bonding care complex that helps protect weak bonds in the hair. With regular use, this will help to reduce breakage and increase hair strength of processed locks.

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate