More Hair Flair

28th October 2016

Lisa Botwright investigates Olaplex – a ‘revolutionary’ innovation in hair care...

when vogue Magazine calls something ‘the most exciting moment in hair since the Brazilian Blow Dry’; when Kim Kardashian says “it really works”, and I learn that it was momentarily the most searched for hashtag on social media – I feel there’s only one thing for it…

…so now I’m sitting in HOB Salon in Bushey, about to find out if this radical new haircare treatment – Olaplex – lives up to the hype. “It’s revolutionary!” declares manager Naomi, whose own hair is mesmerisingly mirror-like in its swishy shininess. “Clients notice the difference immediately in how amazing their hair feels.”

‘Revolutionary’ is a strong word for a hair treatment, but the reason that the beauty industry is so enamoured is because of the freedom it brings in allowing colour stylists to become far more experimental. Noticed the new trend in icy cool platinum shades (from silvery grey to pale lilac, as seen on everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Hilary Duff)? It’s only possible for people with naturally dark hair because of Olaplex.

“It was created by chemists, rather than hairdressers, to repair the hair’s disulphide bonds”, Naomi tells me. I nod, to indicate my appreciation of the science behind it all; secretly, I’m just daydreaming about my new shiny hair.

In short, these chemists – two American PhD scientists – have invented a way of stopping chemical treatments from damaging hair, and of repairing hair already damaged. This is huge: the holy grail/the gold medal/the Nobel prize of the hairdressing world, and the excitement it has brought is palpable. “Oh, yes. Better than…!” laughs larger-than-life HOB Director Clive. ‘But you’d better not say that…”

I’m super-excited about trying a treatment on my long, frizz-prone, colour damaged hair. I’m already a fan of Brazilian Blowdries, so I’m fully prepared to find that the Olaplex treatment takes hours – but it takes just minutes: it’s as simple as enjoying a normal conditioning treatment (albeit twice over). There are three steps – part 1 is either applied at the backwash or mixed in with the hair colour; part 2 is applied afterwards at the hairwashing stage, then part 3, the optional stage, is the take-home treatment. Amazingly, for such an effective product, there are no sulphate nasties, so there’s no eye-watering chemical smell (as with a Brazilian) – and the best bit is that it’s much cheaper too. A standalone treatment here costs a reasonable £35, or it’s only an extra £25 when added in to a colour. (Prices vary nationally and from salon to salon; expect to pay more in central London.) “We’re so convinced by the effectiveness of the treatment, that we actually now insist on adding it to every colour service,” continues Naomi.

Afterwards I’m booked in for a blowdry with senior stylist Jodi (clearly another ambassador for the treatment with her equally swishy, glossy tresses) – and later I emerge with my own head of startlingly shiny, glamorous hair. I’m very happy.

So does Olaplex live up to its hype? I’m rather inclined to think it does. It’s quick, relatively inexpensive and very effective. For once, that Kim Kardashian might just be right.

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