Olaplex and Keratin are two very popular hair restoration and strength conditioning products. None of them are miracle fixes for damaged hair but they help a lot in developing strong, beautiful hair.
They are both used to reverse thermal and chemical damage and prevent hair breakage. Your hair dresser will most likely recommend one of them when you are dyeing or relaxing your hair. They protect your tresses from weakening and damage.
But the two conditioners work differently and each has its own strengths. So it’s important that you buy the right one that is right for your hair.
What are they?
Olaplex is a bond-repairing hair conditioner developed by two renowned chemists, Doctors Craig Hawker and Eric Pressly. The product uses science-backed ingredients that seek out broken bonds in hair and re-link them.
The main active ingredient works on a molecular level. It looks for broken disulfide bonds caused by thermal, mechanical or chemical damage. It repairs the bonds, making your hair stronger and reducing damage.
There are three stages of Olaplex treatment: No.1, No.2 and No.3.
Olaplex No.1 is the first salon step. The ingredients immediately begin repairing damaged hair and preventing further breakage.
Olaplex No.2 is the second step. It perfects the work of No.1, repairing any remaining broken links and further strengthening your hair.
The final step, Olaplex No.3, provides continuous protection from hair weakening and breakage.
Keratin is a protein-based treatment long used to condition hair. Like Olaplex, it strengthens hair, thus preventing breakage and restoring damaged hair.
But it works quite differently from Olaplex. While Olaplex works on the inside of the hair strengthening molecular bonds, Keratin works from the outside. When sealed in with a flat iron, keratin coats your hair shafts, strengthening them and preventing breakage.
Keratin also tends to have a more noticeable aesthetic improvement on hair than Olaplex. It makes hair appear more glossy and shinier. It can also help in creating more natural-looking curls and straight tresses
Olaplex vs Keratin: Which one is best?
None. Both are effective hair treatments with a lot of great benefits. The right choice for you will depend on the current state of your hair and what your goals are.
When to use Olaplex
Because of its penetrating nature, Olaplex is recommended when you need extra strengthening power. For instance, if your hair is badly damaged from over-styling, it could benefit from Olaplex.
The conditioner is more aggressive in its approach, going deep inside your hair to repair broken molecular bonds.
But as I mentioned in the beginning, none of these conditioners are miracle cures. Don’t think that you can do anything to your hair and then reverse it with a couple of Olaplex treatments at the salon. Severely damaged hair may need a bit more work. Olaplex can help you get started.
Olaplex is also highly recommended for those colour-treating their hair. You should ask your hair dresser to use the conditioner during – not after – the dyeing session. The treatment is often mixed with the hair dye.
It protects your hair, ensuring you don’t experience weakened tresses and breakage as you transition to another colour. If you ever decide to remove the dye, Olaplex can also help protect your hair from the stress caused by bleaching.
When to use Keratin
Keratin is recommended for mildly damaged hair. If your hair is not extremely over-styled and you are experiencing only mild breakage, you don’t need a deeply-penetrating conditioner to restore hair strength. A coat of keratin on your tresses should do the trick.
The salon may recommend several treatments over several months to fully restore your hair.
Keratin is also a good choice if you want to reduce frizz, get straighter hair or make your curls appear more natural. Generally, Keratin is better when you want to improve the look of your hair. Keratin-treated hair often looks glossier and livelier. It has that celebrity look.
A lot of times, Keratin is used in conjunction with Olaplex. Olaplex is used to treat the inside of your hair while Keratin works on the outside.
As I mentioned, there is no superior treatment between Olaplex vs Keratin. Each is good for different situations. Consider the state of your hair, what styling you want to apply and your salon’s advice to decide the right treatment.