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OLAPLEX Bonding Chemistry

Disulfide bonds are in all three main parts of the hair:

• Cuticle
• Cortex
• Medulla (if the hair has one)

Most people think about how Keratin (proteins) make up the hair, forming polypeptide bonds (long chains) that are kept in alignment by hydrogen, salt and disulfide bonds.

The overall internal structure resembles ladders that have been twisted into a shape resembling a multi-fiber cable called microfibrils. These then combine to form macrofibrils which are contained in the cortex. These “cables” stay in alignment, resisting twisting and bending, as a result of disulfide bonds. They are held together in the cortex with a microcellular cement that also contains an abundance of disulfide bonds.

All hair contains millions of disulfide bonds which give the hair its structure, strength and stability. When all the bonds, especially the disulfide bonds, are intact and in alignment, you have healthy, beautiful, shiny, touchable hair. When disulfide bonds are broken, it results in damage.

Hair is damaged daily. Split ends, frizz, lackluster Color, thinning and dryness can all be related to broken disulfide bonds.

• Flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers all cause damage due to the high levels of heat being used.

• Mechanical damage such as brushing, friction, tugging and pulling on wet hair affect the bonds.

• UV damage from the sun, humidity, extreme hot/cold weather conditioners, pollution, etc. all have a negative impact on the hair’s bonds.

• Chemical services can also cause damage. These services include Color, Lighteners, Perms, Relaxers, Keratin Treatments, and Japanese Straighteners/Thermal Reconditioners.

The chemicals and/or thermal tools being used react with the disulfide bonds breaking them and causing protein loss, leaving behind damaged hair. When damage occurs, it affects the disulfide bonds throughout the entire hair fiber.

All hair types (natural, curly, fine, straight, etc.) derive most of their integrity from healthy, properly paired, disulfide bonds. When hair is damaged via thermal, chemical, mechanical or environmental factors, these disulfide bonds are broken apart resulting in single sulfur hydrogen bonds.

What happens after a disulfide bond breaks? There are two reactions that can take place. The first reaction is that the single sulfur hydrogen component pairs with a single oxygen molecule. This makes a perfect pair with no further damage taking place.

The second reaction is where damage occurs. A single sulfur hydrogen molecule will pair with three oxygen molecules creating S03, or what is known as a sulfate group. The protonated sulfate is known as Cysteic Acid. Cysteic acid then eats the protein out of the hair.

In the case of chemical services, OLAPLEX works by pairing with the single sulfur hydrogen bond faster than the three oxygen molecules can.

OLAPLEX is beneficial for all hair types. Whether your hair is Color Treated, Texture Treated, Virgin or anything in between, it is damaged on a daily basis. OLAPLEX assists in both preventing that damage and repairing it, returning the hair to a virgin like state. OLAPLEX is compatible with all manufacturers chemical service products. Your hair is an investment, and the only accessory that you never take off. In fact, it’s the only thing short of plastic surgery that can change the way you feel about yourself. Everyone wants beautiful, healthy, manageable shiny hair and with OLAPLEX, that can become a reality!


OLAPLEX is great for virgin hair. It helps to repair existing damage while protecting it from thermal, mechanical and environmental damage. OLAPLEX strengthens and prepares the hair for future services.


OLAPLEX can be mixed into all Colors and Lighteners to lessen the damage caused by these services. OLAPLEX is also used to maintain and repair Color Treated hair for healthy, beautiful looking hair.


OLAPLEX rebuilds, restructures and improves moisture retention to curls that have lost their shape. OLAPLEX infuses curly hair with added moisture and condition for beautiful bouncy, resilient curls. Fragile curly hair has more lightening and chemical service options when OLAPLEX is used.


OLAPLEX will strengthen straight hair, improving manageability, movement and shine. The condition of the hair won’t be compromised using thermal styling options such as curling irons, hot rollers, etc. when the hair is treated prior with OLAPLEX.


OLAPLEX helps to maintain the integrity of the hair before, during and after all texture services. Texture services last longer, and the hair stays in better condition when OLAPLEX is used correctly. Damage-free Color and Lightening Services performed after any texture service are possible when properly using them with OLAPLEX.


OLAPLEX can be used on all 100% human hair extensions. Some extensions have a Keratin coating on them which can sometimes act as a barrier to the OLAPLEX Treatment. Extensions sometimes are treated with textile dyes which can lead to unpredictable results with Color or lightening. With any type of glued in or taped in extensions, we recommend keeping OLAPLEX off those areas to avoid possibly loosening them. When in doubt, always perform a Strand Test on extensions as results may vary.

OLAPLEX is the only patented true bond builder in the market. Our technology, processes, and formulations are protected by patent registrations and applications in the US and abroad. This page is provided to satisfy the virtual patent marking provisions of various jurisdictions including the virtual patent marking provisions of the America Invents Act and to further serve as notice under 35 U.S.C. §287(a).

The following list of OLAPLEX products may not be all inclusive, and other OLAPLEX products not listed here may be protected by one or more patents.

N°1 Bond Multiplier for use under US Patent No. 9,095,518

N°2 Bond Perfector; and N°3 Hair Perfector for use under US Patent Nos. 9,095,518

Additional patents may be pending in the US and elsewhere.

N°3 Hair Perfector

Yes! You can use N°3 even if you have not tried the salon treatment yet. This is because the entire OLAPLEX line shares the same active ingredient to repair broken bonds in the hair.

N°3 Hair Perfector is formulated for at-home care and maintenance. When used alone without the in-salon treatment, OLAPLEX N°3 acts as a mini treatment.

For best results with No.3: Apply to damp / towel-dried hair, apply a generous amount of No.3 . Comb through and let process for a minimum of 10 minutes. Then shampoo and condition!

For regular maintenance, we recommend treating with No.3 at least once a week, but it certainly can be used more frequently for additional repair and strength.

As a company, we do not recommend sleeping in OLAPLEX treatments as it could get into your eyes. However, we have received great feedback from people who have used it this way.

OLAPLEX No.3 reaches its max efficacy at 30-45 minutes however OLAPLEX is actively working in the hair as long as the hair remains moist.  

Generally, no, you do not need to shampoo before using No.3. However, if you have a lot of product on your hair, it is always a good idea to cleanse the hair before your treatment. Use your best judgment.

N°4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Yes, each OLAPLEX product is free of sulfates,  phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, formaldehyde, gluten, parabens and safe for all hair!

Yes, the No.4 shampoo and No.5 conditioner are both formulated for daily/ every wash use!

N°5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

Yes, the No.4 shampoo and No.5 conditioner are both formulated for daily/ every wash use!

N°6 Bond Smoother

No.6 can be applied to both damp and dry hair and can be both air dried or blow-dried into the hair.

Olaplex No. 6 can be used daily on wet and dry hair, however, the effects of No. 6 work up to 72 hours so you shouldn't need to use it daily unless you wash and condition your hair daily.

Olaplex No.6 does contain heat protection for use when blow-drying hair but is not rated for 450 degrees. We suggest using a separate heat protectant along with No. 6 when using any other heat styling tools on your hair.

N°7 Bonding Oil

No.6 is a smoothing cream, No.7 is a lightweight oil.  Both contain our patented active ingredient for repair.  No.6 focuses mainly on repair, moisture and smoothing the hair for 72 hours.  No.7 will give UV and heat protection up to 450 degrees, smoothness and glass-like shine along with repair.  These can be used on their own as well as mixed together.

Where to Buy Olaplex

Visit our Find a Salon page in the footer

Email support_pro@olaplex.com for our Distributor list