Reduces amount of hair loss and breakage (No. 3)
Cleanses hair and scalp without stripping it (No. 4)
Detangles without any heaviness (No. 5)
Olaplex Bond Maintenance System Kit
We put Olaplex's Bond Maintenance System Kit to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
For the last few years, any time I’ve gone in to get my hair colored in a salon, my hair has been graced by the powers of Olaplex from behind the shampoo bowl. I’ve been aware of all the hype colorists have made about Olaplex products, but I naively assumed it was only something to be mixed into the color bowl. I suppose I knew there were shampoos and conditioners for people to use at home, but I never imagined it could have the same transformative power as the products professionals swear by.
After recently trying their Hair Perfector and Bond Maintenance Shampoo and Conditioner on myself, I was left in such disbelief at how much better my hair felt—and immediately—that I had to dig in a little and learn what was responsible for such a promising and effective change to my strands. I also had to text a lot of my friends and family members with colored hair and brittle ends to ask if they’ve tried the formula for themselves. I found myself opting to pay for people to have it because I was left so convinced that this combined treatment of Olaplex’s No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 was the answer to hair woes that we’ve all been asking for.
To put it simply, I’ve become a hardcore convert. And I strongly believe that anyone who isn’t using the Olaplex at-home system right now needs to switch over, ASAP. Read on for my full review.
Best for: Works on all hair types and textures. Especially helpful for hair that feels damaged from hot tools, styling, chemical treatments, and over-processed lighteners; dry, brittle hair caused by weather/environmental exposure; or breakage and split ends caused by mechanical damage.
Uses: Together, these products repair and rebuild broken disulfide bonds in each individual hair shaft, as well as hydrating and strengthening the hair from inside out.
Potential Allergens: None
Active Ingredients: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which works to mend broken bonds and protect hair from future damage
Byrdie Clean?: Yes
About the Brand: Haircare brand Olaplex was founded in 2014. Its superstar ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol, has shifted the hair care industry with its revolutionary bond-building magic.
About My Hair: Medium-density, color-treated waves prone to frizz
I have long, wavy hair that was once considered extremely thick but is now more of a medium-density after having my first baby last year. I got a full-on balayage a year and a half ago with the ambition to keep my strands lighter and brighter, but between a brutal postpartum recovery and a global pandemic, I haven’t gotten any sort of touch-up since.
The last treatment I put on my hair was a toner at home five or six months ago to dial down the brassiness lingering around my ends. Besides that, I have been putting heat on my hair 3 times a week on average. Sometimes I flat iron my waves to smooth them out a bit, sometimes I add more waves near the root to ride out my natural texture, and sometimes I’m testing out a new blow dryer. Styling aside, the hair routine that I am most devoted to is what I use in the shower.
While I typically switch things up and test new products after each bottle is finished, I’ve been relying heavily on shampoos and conditioners from both Virtue Labs and Davines ever since I had my baby to target concerns like hair loss, volume, recovery, and scalp health. I always follow up with a hair oil or cream post-shower to help my strands air dry with minimal frizz and prefer to shower at the end of the day when I’m least tempted to touch it, and the humidity has the lowest chances of messing with my hair as it air dries. When I swapped all of these products out for Olaplex, I continued the same rhythm of washing my hair two to three times per week and air drying it.
The Feel: Lightweight, cleansing, and nourishing
To start, I used the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, which suggests use once a week based on my hair type and the level of damage I have—not much (though you can use it more frequently if you have more damage or excessive treatments applied to your hair). The Hair Perfector suggests applying to damp, towel-dried hair so I got my hair rinsed right away, rang out the excess moisture, and applied their No. 3 formula from roots to ends. Since there wasn’t any lathering or creamy coating, I used quite a bit of it out of uncertainty, not entirely sure I was getting all of my hair because of how lightweight it felt melting into my strands. Then I twisted my hair into a low knot and let it sit for 10 minutes while I shaved my legs and enjoyed some wine and a podcast. No. 3 rinsed out easily, without leaving an oily feel to my scalp or strands.
Next, I shampooed with the No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo. I loved the way it lathered easily, knowing it was a sulfate-free formula. It left my hair feeling thoroughly cleansed without that squeaky feeling that some shampoos leave me with, and without any spots of oiliness lingering around causing me to wonder if I need to wash twice (this sometimes happens to me with other shampoos if I use dry shampoo between rinses!). It honestly felt like a great balance. Plus, I found the grapefruit scent to be very refreshing and energizing.
I finished things up with the No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, which I left on for 3 to 5 minutes as suggested. Since I don’t use a hairbrush at all, I use my conditioning time in the shower to rake through my hair thoroughly with my fingers. This is typically when I see the most shedding, but I was surprised to notice I wasn’t shedding as much hair as I normally would.
I think it’s safe to say my hair loss was cut in half while using Olaplex, from two handfuls to one.
The No. 5 formula felt creamier than the other two formulas, but it didn’t feel as heavy as a leave-in conditioning treatment, which I would also leave on my hair for a few minutes before rinsing. It had the same creamy consistency as most normal conditioners do, but I would still say it felt a little lighter. It felt moisturizing without being too heavy.
The Results: Pure magic
The Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector in particular felt like a magic hair potion. After every time I used the treatment before washing and conditioning, my hair felt healthier and softer even as it was air drying. My hair felt great using No. 4 and 5 alone too, but there was just something special about when I snuck the No. 3 into my routine once a week. Sometimes I used it twice a week, even though I wouldn’t consider my hair to be very damaged at all.
I just loved how silky and strong my hair felt. I think the Hair Perfector is the product that has made me fall absolutely in love with Olaplex.
The No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo kept my hair feeling fresher, longer. My scalp didn’t seem to get as oily on the second or third day between washes. For context, I’m not someone to use dry shampoo often—I prefer to just throw my hair up into a braid or bun when it begins to feel oily. But during this trial period of using Olaplex, I found myself pushing an extra day or two between each wash, to the extent that I did use a dry shampoo. That’s a big deal for me. Using dry shampoo and other products, especially products that touch the scalp usually results in my needing to shampoo my hair multiple times afterward and can even result in more hair loss.
While using Olaplex, it never affected how many times I needed to shampoo after using other products or how much hair I lost. In fact, I have seen a consistent decrease in the amount of hair I’ve shed in the shower since I began to use Olaplex. (I don’t even need to ask to know how thankful my husband is about that.) My scalp feels clean and balanced, and I never experienced any irritations of oiliness, itchiness, or any other sensitivities from interacting with other products or eliminating product build-up.
The No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner ended the need for me to use any oils or serums for my hair to air-dry well. My hair felt smoother after each use, and it was noticeably less prone to frizz. I spend a lot of time outdoors with my kid, and that’s normally where the humidity begins to take charge over my hair, even when it's already dry. While using Olaplex, my fear of showering during the day kind of vanished. I could walk outside and trust that my hair would dry into a smooth, soft, frizz-free version of itself.
I can’t say I wasn’t expecting to see noticeable results from using the Olaplex system, but to feel results immediately after a single use left me speechless.
After using these products for the last three weeks, I’ve sort of fallen in love with my hair again.
I feel like it’s given me the confidence and eagerness to get myself more “together”. You know the feeling—when you find a product that works wonders on your skin and makes you glow, and all of a sudden, it makes you want to wear a red lip and mascara? I’m experiencing the hair equivalent and have been loving wearing my natural waves down all day.
The Science: Rebuilding from the inside out
The reason why these three products worked so well is that they share the common ingredient that has given Olaplex its highly regarded reputation: bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. This formula is responsible for rebuilding broken disulfide bonds in each strand and working on a molecular level to get those follicles smooth and strong from base to ends.
Every hair type is made up of disulfide bonds. Imagine them as being the DNA ladders that make up our hair’s unique structure and strength. These bonds are bound to break as a result of mechanical damage, UV damage, heat, and chemical treatments. When disulfide bonds are left broken, they create unwanted symptoms such as frizz, split ends, lackluster color, and dry or brittle hair. Whether you’ve been bleaching your hair for years, use the occasional hot tool, or simply prefer to wear your hair up all the time, these products were literally created to repair and rebuild the inevitably broken bonds that come from our everyday hair decisions.
To dive a little deeper into how Olaplex works, read here.
Ingredients: Clean by Byrdie’s standards
All products—The No. 3 Hair Perfector, No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner—are clean according to Byrdie’s standards. Meaning, there are no sulfates present to cause irritation; no parabens serving as a preservative that could pass through the bloodstream and harm us in the long run; no phthalates in the products to disrupt our endocrine or hormonal health. The vegan, nut-free, cruelty-free, pH-balanced formula found in each of these three bottles has literally been made to accommodate every hair type under the sun (all while keeping it protected from the UV rays).
The Value: A necessary investment
I didn’t need to use these products more than once to see and feel a change in my hair for the better. After using it for three weeks, I’m honestly not sure how I’ll ever be able to go back to using any other shampoo and conditioning treatment on my hair. Each of these bottles retails for about $15 to $30 depending on the size you get, and you can buy the set for $84. I realize that this is a heavy price to pay for washing your strands on the reg, but I truly believe that this is one of the best investments you can make for your hair’s health and integrity. It’s doing so much more for your hair than just working at the surface.
By regularly using the Olaplex Hair Perfector and Bond Maintenance Shampoo and Conditioner, you’ll be tossing aside other products like hair masks, oils, and heat protectants and deeming them unnecessary. These products feel like an all-in-one hair savior. I don’t get my hair colored often, and I still see a drastic difference in how hydrated and healthy my hair feels, so I can only imagine what it will do for those with a regular highlight appointment.
Similar Products: Hydration vs. Repair
Virtue Labs ($78): Before using Olaplex, I had mainly been using the Virtue Labs Shampoos and Conditioners, alternating from their Recovery system which repairs damaged hair, to their Full system which thickens, volumizes, and hydrates. A full-size version of the Virtue Shampoo or Conditioner bottle is priced at about $40, so in total, it's roughly the same price as the Olaplex set, both ranging from $80 to $90. I also used the Virtue Labs Restorative Treatment Mask once a month and the Un-Frizz Cream a couple of times a week.
The Virtue Labs products also are known for their Alpha Keratin protein formula that deposits itself into any cracks along the hair cuticle. Similar to Olaplex, these products do internal work to your strands and make it worth the price point to alter your hair towards a sustainably healthier state. So what’s the difference between the two?
I’d say Virtue’s products definitely hydrate on a deep level (it's a much thicker and slightly heavier feel), and they tackled my hair woes without complaint. But after using the Olaplex three-step at-home system, I realized that my hair needed more than hydration—it needed mending. Even though I don’t consider myself someone to have highly damaged hair, it was obvious by the way it responded to the Olaplex system that my strands needed a more serious repair. While Olaplex doesn’t necessarily target concerns like volume and thickening, it still managed to bring my hair to a state of health that responds better to what other products, like Virtue, have to offer.
All-in-all, the Olaplex Bond Maintenance System Kit is a product system that we all need to use. Our strands, no matter what we do to them, experience inevitable damage. Olaplex's patented technology makes the damage we inherit reversible and brings hope back to our hair. You can’t put a price tag on that.
- Product Name Bond Maintenance System Kit
- Product Brand Olaplex
- Price $84
- Ingredients No. 3 Water, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Quaternium-91, Sodium Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate.
- Ingredients No. 4 Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycereth-26, Decyl Glucoside, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glycol Distearate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium-10, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Chlorphenesin, Polyquaternium-11, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, C11-15 Pareth-7, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Laureth-9, Glycerin, Trideceth-12, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, C12-13 Pareth-3, C12-13 Pareth-23, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Pseudozyma Epicola/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil Ferment Extract Filtrate, Pseudozyma Epicola/Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Ferment Filtrate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Quaternium-95, Propanediol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, PEG-8, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-8/Smdi Copolymer, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Sodium Polyacrylate, Palmitoyl Myristyl Serinate, Citral, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Biotin, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate.
- Ingredients No. 5 Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPF-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Quaternium-91, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Isododecane, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Phospholipids, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Dimethicone PEG-7 Isostearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PEG-7 Amodimethicone, PEG-45M, Amodimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Polysilicone-15, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, C11-15 Pareth-7, Sodium Polyacrylate, C12-13 Pareth-3, C12-13 Pareth-23, Vitis Vinifera (Grape), Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Laureth-9, Trideceth-12, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Ahnfeltiopsis Concinna Extract, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Acetic Acid, Sodium Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Pseudozyma Epicola/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil Ferment Extract Filtrate, Pseudozyma Epicola/Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil Ferment Filtrate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Quaternium-95, Propanediol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, PEG-8, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Punica Granatum Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, PEG-8/Smdi Copolymer, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Palmitoyl Myristyl Serinate, BHT, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate , Biotin, Citral, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Chlorphenesin, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, PEG-4 Laurate, PEG-4 Dilaurate, PEG-4, Etidronic Acid