Buzzy salon services often sneak up on you. They start as whispers among stylists and trickle down through social media and beauty blogs. If you color your hair, the current "it" service you should be asking your stylist about is Olaplex.
Billed as a two-step process to rebuild and perfect the hair’s disulfide bonds, Olaplex lightens hair with less damage--which is why it has become something of a holy grail to hairstylists worldwide. It's an add-on that usually runs about $15.
I recently walked across town with a box of Italian pastries (my number one bribe) to visit friend and former colleague Drew Calloway at Laicale Salon in SoHo. He showed me what Olaplex was all about while upgrading my ombré with his signature hand-painted balayage.
Here's the process: Olaplex's Bond Multiplier is mixed with the lightener to enter the hair strand while color is processing. Then, immediately after rinsing, Olaplex's Bond Perfector goes on.
The dual application of lightener and Olaplex claims to stop breakage in its tracks. Still, as Drew mixed up a formula of 40 volume bleach and Olaplex, I shuddered to think of the potential for damage, especially on my pre-lightened hair. Visions of spaghetti strands washing down the drain ran through my head as I PRAYED that Olaplex would deliver on its claim.
The entire treatment works so seamlessly with a normal color service (formulate, apply, process, wash) that I barely knew it was happening. Drew used bleach and a light, caramel brown tone, both of which blended magically with my existing colors. The result is a warm, cinnamon and cider look, with ribbons of caramel.
The Olaplex did its part, not only preventing damage, but also rebuilding bonds long broken from previous exploits. I can't even express how excited I am over this product, and what it means for the hair color world.
After the rinse and Bond Perfector sesh (around five minutes), Drew used my beloved Oribe Signature Shampoo and Conditioner, which is even more luxurious when applied by someone else. He also used some of Oribe’s Split End Seal before styling, which I was stoked to try, as everything from O has thus far has been fab.
One quick and perfect blow out later and my brightened, NO DAMAGE 'do was revealed.
As a former stylist, I was truly blown away by Olaplex. It really kept the bleach from damaging my hair. I do have questions about what it's made of, though--since it's so new, that sadly remains a trade secret. Some amateur Internet beauty chemists think it’s a polymer that is activated by peroxide, or some type of silicone that penetrates and coats the hair, but we can only speculate on its magical powers.
P.S. you can totally ask for Olaplex without a color service.
- Have you TRIED this goodness?
- Any questions about my experience? Ask away in the comments!
Photos by Darnell Scott