Olaplex System the Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Andrea Haynes

Written by Andrea Haynes

Olaplex. Have you heard of it? Been curious to try it? Maybe you’re just confused about when to use each product. Wherever you’re at, this incredible brand has held up as one of the top picks for hair restoration. Salon owners and individuals alike continue to use this system with options 0-9 to restore broken bonds to increase shine, strength, and the health of hair. 

Olaplex works in a unique way. Rather than coating just the outer layer of the hair with the product, Olaplex creates organic chemical reactions in the hair, causing the disulfide bonds to link again, which makes hair healthy, shiny, and rejuvenated. It’s a one-of-a-kind system of linked products. 

Each of the 10 options for restoration contains ingredients that repair disulfide bonds, just in varying degrees. And if you’ve experienced any confusion about when to use each product, take a look at the descriptions below. You’ll have it down to a simple science in no time.

hairstylist performing Olaplex treatment in the salon

Olaplex Options 0-9 What Do They Do?

  1. Olaplex No. 1 Bond-repair agent for the colorist to use. It is the first step in this line-up of nutrient-rich products. This one is used by professional colorists. It’s provided in addition to your color service where a small amount of the formula is put directly into the color or bleach. Then it’s applied to your hair. It keeps the amount of damage from the color or bleach to a minimum,  almost like a buffer.
  2. Olaplex No. 2. Also a bond-repair agent for the colorist to use. Once your color or lightening service has been processed, it’s time to shampoo. With Olaplex, you take time after the shampoo to apply Olaplex No. 2, the “Bond Perfector.” What this means is, more bonds are linked back together, much like in the first step. It’s very important for steps 1 and 2 to be used together. Olaplex is a linked system where each item does its part integrated with the rest. You can still use certain numbers as standalone items, but it’s when you use the system that results reach their potential.
  3. Olaplex No. 3.  The at-home Treatment. This can be thought of as the star of the show. The two products before this one are not at your disposal, but Olaplex No. 3 is. You might be wondering, what does Olaplex No. 3 do? Or how does Olaplex No. 3 work? There’s one thing to keep in mind about this product, it’s not a conditioner, even though it looks like it. The brand wants to make it clear that Olaplex No. 3 is a treatment. What’s the difference between a treatment and a conditioner? A treatment penetrates deeper into the hair strands than a conditioner, so it has a different function. But if you want to have Olaplex No. 3 work optimally, you’ll need to partner it with Olaplex No. 0, which primes the hair to receive Olaplex No. 3. They are a team leaving you with beautiful results.
  4. Olaplex No. 4. The shampoo.  It is color-safe, good for every kind of hair, and has a minimal scent. Lathering it into your hair is a pleasant experience. It has a gel/cream consistency that makes the product spread evenly. The lather is even as well, meaning all parts of the hair can be easily covered and nourished.
  5. Olaplex No. 5. The conditioner. It is meant to be partnered with Olaplex No. 4. This little duo leaves your hair feelings gently cared for. The strands are supple and refreshed after use. In a partnership, Olaplex No. 4 and Olaplex No. 5 can address damaged hair together, packing more of a punch than when used separately. Olaplex No. 5 has a creamy consistency and evenly coats the hair from root to tip for easy application.
  6. Olaplex No. 6 The leave-in conditioner for home use. It’s proudly called “The Bond Smoother” by Olaplex. Think of it as a conditioner you get to leave in your hair. But think of it as more than just a conditioner due to its unique properties and abilities. It Is moisture-focused, which means curly hair will benefit and experience more definition. It also contains the molecule for bond repair, meaning your hair will experience protection from the things that create damage. Use it just after you shower while your hair is damp or reapply it to freshen your locks.
  7. Olaplex No. 7 The Oil. Silky, lightweight, and special due to its U.V. protection, the Olaplex No. 7 is essential in your everyday routine. Remember that the foundation of hair product care is your shampoo, conditioner, oil, and heat protectant. When these 4 are right, everything else falls into the place. You can then begin to look at styling products. A good oil though is essential for the everyday health of your hair.
  8. Olaplex No. 8 The at-home hair mask. Olaplex No. 8 is a hair mask to use 1-2 times per week. It provides additional support for hair that needs healing. Think bleach blondes, chemically treated, overly dry hair due to winter air. Or maybe your hair is in good shape and you’d like to keep it that way. Masks provide this additional support to give you that extra edge over the damage.
  9. Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum. The latest innovation in the Olaplex family was created with patented OLAPLEX Bond Building Technology to protect dry, damaged hair from heat, pollution, and future damage. It makes your hair visibly healthier, reduces static, and protects your style. Apply it to clean, towel-dried hair.
  10. Olaplex No. 0 The Primer. This product is used in unison with Olaplex No. 3. The duo function as a treatment to restore damaged parts of the hair, increase shine, and can guarantee that it’s “Scientifically proven: 68% more repair and 3x stronger hair when used as a two-part system in just one use.”

What Makes Olaplex No. 3 So Special?

Treatments are products meant to take things to the next level. While conditioners, leave-in creams, styling products, and heat protectants all serve their functions, treatments are designed to penetrate the cuticle more deeply or target a specific area (think scalp treatments). With Olaplex No. 3 Treatment, your hair will receive a lot of benefits.

What Does Olaplex No. 3 Do?

It works in partnership with the bond-repair primer Olaplex No. 1. This primer sets the stage for Olaplex No. 3 to optimally perform. They will target those broken bonds and heal them, leaving your hair feeling different, healthier, and stronger.

When Should I Use Olaplex No. 3?

It’s a pre-shampoo treatment meant to be left for a minimum of 10 minutes, then you shampoo and condition it as normal. Or when you have the time, you can leave it for 90 minutes or so.

For those who haven’t experienced pre-shampoo treatments, now is the time. They produce incredible results. It’s easy to forget that shampoo itself as well as the water dries out your hair. By applying a pre-treatment, you’ve immediately minimized the habit that causes damage to your hair without you realizing it. Years ago, the company Kerastase came out with one that contained elements of the iris flower. The product was inventive and there was a noticeable difference even after just one use. But the concept was hard to sell at the time. Adding one more item to the shampoo routine seemed tedious.

Now, however, more appreciation is being promoted concerning how you nurture your hair and scalp. This is one way to do that. To slow down, take that time to apply your Olaplex No. 3 treatment, then move on to the shampoo and conditioner. It’s so unique, you have to try it for yourself to experience the wonder and enjoy this act of self-love.

Who is Olaplex No. 3 Good For?

While anyone can use this product to maintain the health of their hair, there are certain targets this product is specifically designed for.

For people with bleached or chemically treated hair, or using permanent color, this product is best. With its unique ability to repair broken bonds, targeting the chemical services that break bonds the most is important. 

The strongest bonds in your hair are broken each time heat, bleach, or hair color is applied. But restoring strength and integrity is possible with Olaplex. It’s their life’s work! 

How Do You Apply Olaplex No. 3?

For best practices with this product, apply it to damp hair. You can spritz it or wet it, but make sure to towel dry so the product doesn’t run off with excess water.

You also can apply it on dirty hair but with a reason. If your hair hasn’t been washed in a week and is caked with root touch-up spray, hairspray, volumizing powder, tons of texture spray, or dry shampoo, do a quick wash first. This way Olaplex No. 3 can get directly onto the hair strands and do what it does best. 

beautiful hair dyed hair in a beauty salon

About the author

Hairdresser, Creative Writer | + posts

Andrea Haynes lives in BerwynUnited States. She is Hairdresser, Small Business Owner, Creative Freelance Writer, and Blogger Assistant. Instagram.

Leave a Comment