Five Alternatives to Olaplex

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Gaga

Frequent coloring can leave your hair dry, porous, and prone to breakage. Hair color and bleach contain chemicals that lift the cuticle to allow the dye to penetrate the hair. While necessary to the coloring process, those harsh chemicals have some unwanted effects. They can damage the cuticle and weaken the internal bonds that keep your strands strong and healthy.

Fortunately, some products help to strengthen your over-processed hair and protect it from future damage. Thanks to the latest revolutionary technology for hair protection and innovative products called bond builders you can have both – your dream color and healthy, shiny hair.

Bond-building products are designed to prevent damage and keep the integrity of your hair during chemical processing. Bond builders work to create new bonds or reconnect damaged ones, making your hair even stronger than it was before coloring.

African-American woman with colored hair treated by bond multiplier

Bond reinforcing products also repair and smooth the hair’s cuticle, giving your hair natural shine and softness. If you are concerned about chemical damage due to regular coloring, you should talk to your colorist about incorporating bond-multiplying products in your coloring service.

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Bond Builder Brands for Damaged Hair

1. Pronexa Hair Bond Repairing Complex by Hairgenics

Pronexa Bond Repair Complex uses a patented combination of ingredients designed to reconnect the disulfide bonds that have been broken by constant coloring, chemical treatments, or excess heat. The product repairs structural damage inside your hair and forms stronger disulfide bonds.

The two-step process that is common for competitors’ products can be time-consuming. The good news is that the Pronexa is a multi-tier repair system in one bottle. Once the bonds are relinked, a blend that includes Castor Oil, silk proteins, Retinol, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin E works to deeply condition hair and strengthen the new bonds. This two-step process in one bottle helps restore strength and the healthy appearance of damaged, over-processed hair.

Individuals with damaged hair can notice a significant improvement in the condition of their hair after 2 or 3 applications. In some cases, hair appears healthier than it was before damage-inducing chemical treatment.


  • Reverses the damage and strengthens the inner hair structure
  • Improves elasticity and helps to reduce hair breakage
  • Minimizes damage from heat styling
  • Leaves hair strong, shiny, and healthy-looking
  • Helps control frizz
  • Improves the look of dry ends
  • Leaves hair softer and silkier
  • Keep pH levels balanced

How to Use

Pronexa Bond is easy to apply due to its creamy consistency and it’s also easy to wash out in the shower. Apply about 1/2 ounce (for medium-length hair) to clean, damp hair and comb through. Wait at least 15 minutes, then rinse and shampoo as usual. If your hair is very damaged, the product can be used as an overnight mask. Use once a week for moderate damage or twice a week if your hair is severely damaged.

2. ONC Artofcare QUINOAPLEX R3 Rapid Hair Renewal Formula

ONC Artofcare QUINOAPLEX R3 is an organic bond builder and protein conditioner. It is developed to restore protein lost during coloring, bleaching, shampooing, and exposure to sunlight. This product claims to make hair stronger, smoother, and shinier.

QUINOAPLEX R3 uses Quinoa protein, which is virtually identical to human hair protein. Quinoa protein bonds together with protein in human hair to reverse the damage, and revitalize hair. The effects are visible instantly.

When used before coloring or bleaching it helps reduce breakage, improves color retention, and enhances color vibrancy. It can also be added to color or bleach to protect hair from chemical damage without interfering with the color results.

When used between shampoo and conditioner QUINOAPLEX R3 restores missing protein making hair stronger and fuller.

As a stand-alone treatment, it can be used once a week. For severely damaged hair, the treatment can be applied more than once a week.

QUINOAPLEX R3 Natural Hair Repair Tutorial – Video by QUINOAPLEX R3

3. B3 Brazilian Bond Builder

B3 Brazilian Bond Builder is one of the latest innovations in bond-building color additives. This one-step professional product can be added to your bleach or color mixture to prevent chemical damage during the coloring process. It also claims to increase shine and improve pigment retention.

Advantages Over Competitors’ Products:

  • B3 Bond Builder claims to rebuild all three types of hair bonds: disulfide, hydrogen, and salt bonds, unlike competitors’ products that only repair disulfide bonds.
  • B3 is simpler and faster to use than Olaplex or colorpHlex because it’s a one-step product that you can simply mix into your color formula.
  • Unlike Olaplex, B3 doesn’t affect the color processing time and you don’t need to adjust the level of the developer.

Some experts believe that b3 Bond Builder performs better in preventing damage than in repairing existing damage.

This bond builder/color strengthener comes with a home care kit that includes the b3 Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner duo and the b3 Instant Restore & Protect Reconstructor, as a weekly reconstructive treatment.

4. Joico Defy Damage Protective Masque

This at-home bond-strengthening treatment repairs internal bonds to restore the integrity of chemically treated hair.

This bond-regenerating mask helps to rebuild broken hair bonds and transform lifeless hair into silky soft and shiny locks. It replenishes moisture, tames frizz, and makes hair easy to brush. This mask also seals the cuticle to help maintain color vibrancy. It prevents damage from the blow dryer and straightener, which results in less breakage and split ends.

The product is supposed to be applied to damp hair. Leave it in your hair for up to 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Apply once a week.

Attractive blonde woman with a bond builder treated hair

5. Redken pH-Bonder (also available at Walmart)

The three-part Redken process that protects your hair from chemical damage when you are using bleach includes: 

1. pH-Bonder’s bond protective additive is supposed to be added to your bleach/color formula. The pH-Bonder protects hair from damage and reduces breakage during and after bleaching and coloring services.

2. After rinsing the color from your hair, your stylist will use pH-Bonder’s fiber-restorative pre-wash concentrate to repair damage and align hair cuticles for added shine and softness.

The PH Bonder service can also be performed as a stand-alone salon treatment to restore over-processed and damaged hair.

3. The salon treatment is followed up with the Redken pH-Bonder Post-Service Perfecter– a take-home product, that should be applied once a week before shampooing.

Related Products

Matrix BOND ULTIM8 Bond Protecting System (Available at Walmart)

Bond Ultim8 is formulated to protect bonds during coloring and lightening processes and to make hair stronger, shinier, and more manageable.

The formula uses active ingredients that protect the hair by trapping damaging lightener residues.

Bond Ultim8 System includes 3 products:

Step 1- Amplifier—a liquid additive, which needs to be added to your lightener/color mixture to protect the bonds, preserve hair fibers, and reduce breakage during chemical processing. The product doesn’t require any additional timing or reformulation.

Step 2 – Conditioning sealer treatment—supposed to lock in the benefits of Step 1, restore weakened bonds, and prevent further breakage.

Step 3 – At Home Sealing Treatment—designed to provide ongoing nourishment. This treatment should be done weekly, to help maintain hair strength.

Bond Ultim8 can be incorporated into a hair glossing treatment or it can also be performed as a standalone rejuvenating hair bond treatment to improve the overall condition of your hair.

Blonde hair after bond-repairing repairing treatment

Schwarzkopf Fibreplex Bond Enforcing System

The Bond Enforcing System uses Magnesium Citrate in its formula to maintain the pH level and stabilize the inner structure of delicate lightened and colored hair.

The system includes the following three products:

  1. Bond Booster is added to the bleach or color mixture to protect the structural hair bonds from damage and reduce breakage.
  2. Bond Sealer is an intensive treatment that helps create new bonds, seals the cuticle, and provides softness and shine.
  3. Bond Maintainer is made for home use to protect the hair from mechanical damage and keep it strong.

Bond Angel Plex Effect, Bond Multiplier Treatment Kit

Bond Angel is a three-step hair-protecting system designed to restore damaged hair and prevent damage from bleaching and coloring. It helps multiply hair bonds, eliminating the risk of hair breakage after chemical processing.

The product is designed primarily for blonde hair and helps achieve the desired shade of blonde without serious hair damage.

The Bond Angel Treatment Kit contains three bottles:

1. The Bond Builder in bottle number 1 needs to be added to your color/bleach. It acts as a chemical protector, ensuring that your hair will undergo the coloring/bleaching process without being damaged or broken.

2. The second bottle contains Bond Reconstructor which conditions and restores your hair, keeping it strong and healthy. The Bond Reconstructor has a light, delicious scent.

3. Bond Angel – Bond Fortifier in the third bottle helps intensify the results that you have achieved during steps one and two, keeping your hair strong, healthy, and shiny. It can be used for home care regardless you have performed the previous two steps or not.

The application process: 

Step 1: Mix 0,5 teaspoon of Bond Maker with 1oz of bleach powder and apply it to the hair as usual. When your hair is lightened enough, wash it out thoroughly using water only.

Step 2: Use 3-4 teaspoons of Bond Reconstructor to soak your hair. Use a fine-tooth comb to distribute the product throw the section of your hair. Leave the product on the hair for 15 minutes, then shampoo and condition it. You can also use the Bond Reconstructor periodically, in a similar way as you use a deep conditioner, regardless you have performed the bleaching process or not.

Step 3: This is a home hair care treatment and can be used twice a week. Apply the Bond Fortifier to freshly shampooed hair and distribute it evenly. Let the product sit on your hair for 5 minutes. Rinse and style as desired.

The Bond Angel as a Stand-Alone Treatment

Similar to Olaplex Bond Angel can be used as a stand-alone reconstructive treatment:

  1. Dilute the Bond Maker (Step 1) in drinking water at a ratio of 1:6.
  2. Apply the mixture all over your hair and leave it in for 20 minutes. Don’t rinse.
  3. Apply 4 teaspoons of Bond Reconstructor (Step 2). Use a comb to spread the product evenly. Let it sit on the hair for 20 minutes, then rinse.
Gorgeous blonde woman with bond-multiplier nourished hair

Benefits of Using Bond Builders

  1. This group of products offers greater possibilities for stylists and their clients to create different shades without sacrificing the hair’s integrity.
  2. You can change your color more often without harming your hair. You will experience less breakage after drastic color changes.
  3. Bond multipliers also help prolong the vibrancy of your hair color.

Which Bond Building Product Works Best for You?

Olaplex is the preferred choice for most professional colorists, while others believe that competitors’ products can provide a similar level of protection as Olaplex. Stylists often use Olaplex alternatives because they are more affordable for their clients.

If you want to increase your level of protection during coloring/bleaching, it is best to consult an experienced colorist and determine which product to choose.

All bond-reinforcing products, except home care kits, are supposed to be applied in the salon by a professional colorist.

If you do your color at home, Pronexa Hair Bond Repairing Complex is the easiest to use.

If you prefer using vegan products, try colorHplex.

If you wish to stick to your favorite color brand, you might want to try an “upgraded color service,“ which includes the use of a bond-reinforcing product from the same brand as your hair dye, such as Matrix BOND ULTIM8, Redken pH-Bonder, L’Oréal Professionnel Smartbond, Schwarzkopf Fibreplex or Keune Bond Fusion.

Attractive blonde model with blonde wavy hair

About the author

Dragica Mitrovic Gaga
 | Website

Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


3 thoughts on “Five Alternatives to Olaplex”

  1. This article is poorly written. I know for a fact that bonders do not guarantee your hair can be protected by “coloring your hair as often as you want without burning your hair”? That is pure nonsense. This is why I do not trust these new products and especially these cheap non-trustworthy articles written by people that do not understand or just completely do not attempt to understand what they write about.

    Unfortunately with Olaplex and possibly most of these products you have to rely on your hairdresser actually reading the instructions and putting in the product EXACTLY as it is to be done but even with that I can’t trust that it is wise to EVER go up an entire level “as often as I want” and/or get color or bleach “as often as I want” simply because the label or folk’s that market this stuff say I can.

    If you read through the volumes of prior experiences with Olaplex as an example.I have already read folk’s getting bad results, BURNED, etc. Olaplex is quick to blame others – a) we never said it can be used on “already” damages hair? How do we define this? b) COLOR mixed with minerals in hard water causes the burn, not Olaplex (how do we know this for sure – and even if so, debunks what this article says about never burning)?? c) the hairdresser didn’t apply it correctly, d) the hairdresser didn’t allow enough time.

    Drawbacks are way too many for me – the main one being that I have thin hair and see absolutely no benefit of this product other than me doing what I always do – take extremely good care of my hair in between bleach treatments – do not over bleach, wait months in between (not weeks). Chemicals are chemicals and no one can just do what they want when they want without facing consequences. There are plenty of past testimonials on why this is so true.

  2. I agree with previous commenter. Bleach will wreck Hell – I mean irreparable damage – on your hair regardless of bonding treatment. Over the years of my bleached-blonde life I’ve tried various ones – and NONE have been a “miracle in a bottle”. This year (2020) I switched from bleach to hair color and seeing MUCH better hair quality – ZERO damage – plus fuller shinier stronger hair – just for the fact alone that bleach is no longer part of my hair regimen! And I still add various bonders for “peace of mind” sometimes – just not every time anymore – right now Brazilian Bond Builder is my choice, because it also “seals the cuticle” and that’s great for color retention (but you could also do a vinegar rinse to achieve the same result). Damaged hair is no longer my concern with high lift hair color – I’m more interested in moisturizing and repairing! And for that I recommend Awapuhi Keratin Treatment by Paul Mitchell, (for repair) and an amazing moisture treatment that makes your hair shine – called MiseEnScene Damage Care Treatment (can be found on Amazon). As a conclusion I am not entirely sold on bonders – yes, I’ve seen that they provide a little support but people overestimate how much do they really help, and no, you can’t really lighten your hair “as much as you want” it’s not true at all. If you actually bleach your hair, you must be super careful about how often you do it, make sure your hair is 100% dry, and take all the precautions not to overlap on previously colored hair – otherwise your hair can and will break off – despite Plex. And this is because miracles in a bottle and snake oils don’t exist 🙂 But common sense does. If you find a hair person that is amazing with her/his technique it will go hundreds miles ahead of a stylist who is “experimenting” on you but uses Olaplex. Don’t ever switch your hair person, if they refuse to comply with your demands – a true professional will never be afraid to tell you their honest opinion on what can and can’t be done. They won’t obey your every wish. They are the ones that care – so keep them, and don’t worry which Plex they use! You’ll be fine.

  3. Is the Karen lady up at the top from may dumb or something?? Are you dumb ma’am? I’m Karen too lol and I promise that’s not me 🙂 so… I’ve used Olaplex and please tell me how it’s supposed to burn your hair? There’s no way it can “burn” your hair. My hair was chemically effed up!! BAD! And that stuff didn’t completely 100% restore it back to its a natural state but it did some absolutely amazing work. And I do mean amazing. I can’t vouch for these others. And I was brought to this page bc I want to continue my weekly regimen but Olaplex is a little expensive so I’m curious to know whether anything else works just as good. But I’ll spend the money if I have to and keep buying the Olaplex. I won’t settle for anything less than those results. Soooo. … If I could get some opinions from people who have actually tried bond treatments and know what they’re talking about to let me know what they think about these other products in comparison to Olaplex that would be great! And to the newcomer …. Please do not see the opinion of one I…t who is inexperienced and let it turn you away if you’re hair is significantly damaged, and it is just absolutely hurting your heart to look in the mirror and see it… And you’re willing to spend whatever is necessary to fix it in any way possible… You WILL have positive results with Olaplex .. and possibly these other bonders.

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