Every once in a while, a new product comes to the market and promises us a miracle. Not that I don't believe in miracles, but after being in hair industry for so long, I’ve become a bit of a skeptic and have to try things for myself before I believe the hype.
So, when a product is created in sunny California and has taken celebrity colourists’ hearts really quickly, I had to find out if the miracle was real or just another Hollywood fairy tale.
As the story goes, the creators of Olaplex (hairstylist Dean Christal and two chemists Craig Hawker and Eric Pressly) were actually working on creating a different product, when the chemists raised a question about what was the most requested service or the most common problem in hair industry. As we all know, our clients want to be lighter and brighter without damaging their hair. Olaplex is something that helps achieve these goals faster with the least amount of damage on the way.
Olaplex was introduced to hairdressers as a bond multiplier. It’s not moisturizer, nor a protein based treatment. It actually works on linking broken bonds of hair back together. Olaplex can be used in many ways. You can add it directly to your colour, use as a treatment, or do it before your hair straightening or perming services.
I am going to skip talking about how to use the product because you can find all of that on the website or the special app for your smartphone. However, I would like to talk about my personal experience with Olaplex.
My first try was adding it to lightener for Balayage. The result was amazing!! The hair didn't felt like I had done a lightening service. After using and experimenting a couple more times, I realized that I prefer to do things a bit differently from the rules. The instruction says that if you add Olaplex to lightener, you should rinse it all after the processing time. Then, gloss or tone the hair as needed and after, apply Olaplex number 2. But, after experimenting for a while, I found out that I prefer the opposite. After rinsing the lightener, I apply Olaplex 2 and then my gloss. I feel this method makes my color result from the gloss better, shinier, and brighter.
If you are doing highlights on the root area, then maybe it makes more sense to add Olaplex number 1 to your gloss after highlights and apply it all over. Then, follow with Olaplex number 2, so the Olaplex can penetrate everywhere.
My favourite is using Olaplex as treatment though. It’s like magic how many split ends disappear, leaving the hair looking healthier and stronger. Again, don't forget to explain to your client that this is not a moisturizing or protein treatment. In many cases, after treatment, their hair actually feels thicker and coarser - but who said that’s a bad thing!
I had a problem with the product only once when I was colouring a fellow hairdresser's hair. We talked and decided to use 40vol with the lightener. She insisted on keeping the product in longer and she actually wanted her hair under the heat, which I denied because Olaplex can create its own heat. Anyway, my friend ended up with a lot of broken ends and she had to cut her hair a few inches shorter. I spent all evening thinking about what went wrong. Then, I remembered that she had done some Balayage a year ago. Her hair was darker by this time but we processed anyway. We should have only used 20vol with Olaplex on the ends of the hair. The important thing to remember here is that while Olaplex might be a miracle product, the magic won’t work if you have done a poor consultation and haven't considered the full history of the hair.
The only thing left to say is that I wish I could bring back everyone one of my past clients and redo their balayage and ombre from scratch using Olaplex.