From lemon-juice highlights to multi-step salon color processing, all hair color techniques rely on science to work their transformations. Chemical reactions lighten and re-color strands, but amateur and professional colorists use post-process conditioners to keep locks strong and shiny. This after-the-fact treatment doesn't prevent the breakage or "burning" that occurs in color processing.
Enter Olaplex company founder Dean Christal, who recruited scientists Craig Hawker and Eric Pressly to create a new haircare product. Olaplex is a two-step addition to salon hair color. According to Christal, Olaplex works by reconnecting and strengthening the disulfide bonds which contribute to hair's integrity. It also prevents the acidic oxygen reactions that eat away at hair during lightening.
"There is a chemistry that stylists can use to push the limits of your hair, lifting color and making your hair blonder without it breaking," he says. "It's a big promise to make, but it really does work."
When using Olaplex with a color treatment, stylists add the company's "Bond Multiplier" to the dye and developer and rinse with its "Bond Perfector." For the client, this won't feel any different than a typical color processing service, but Olaplex users see dramatic changes in their end results. Instead of a thin, damaged mane with split ends, hair remains thick and plush. Some clients report that their hair comes out of a color session in better condition than before.
For stylists, Olaplex assuages the fear of permanently damaging their client's hair.
"The vast majority of stylists and colorists that start using it ... say 'I will never color hair without Olaplex again,'" Christal says. "They say, 'I have freedom now. My anxiety is gone; I'm no longer stressed out throughout the day worried that I'm going to ruin a client's hair.'"
The treatment is especially relevant if your color regimen involves dramatic lightening. Over time, repeated use of bleach followed by dimensional color (think ombre or combination highlights) can lead to the frizzy, fried appearance many color-assisted blondes dread. Olaplex also works as a protectant during texturizing services, like permanent waves or straightening. The "Bond Perfector" acts an easy refresher with your next haircut.
Though Olaplex is currently only available to licensed beauty professionals, the take-home "Hair Perfector" conditioner is available to the public. It is generally inexpensive ($10-$20 per treatment), though prices may vary. In New Orleans, the product is available at Paris Parker (citywide; www.parisparker.com) salons.