Much like a skin care routine, when it comes to matters of the hair, what your best friend swears by for reducing breakage might not be the same miracle cure for you. And while it’s clear that Olaplex is on to something (the pro-favorite brand reports that one of their No. 3 Hair Perfector treatments is sold every 3.5 seconds), if you’re looking for an alternative, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Products similar to Olaplex range from shampoos and conditioners to hair masks and leave-in treatments — the thing they have in common is that they’re designed to strengthen or repair damaged or broken bonds (so look for terms like “bond-building” or “bond-strengthening” on the label). These products are especially helpful for anyone experiencing damage or breakage caused by excessive heat styling or chemical treatments — including bleaching or highlighting your hair — because they use bond-building technology and ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins to help strengthen the structural bonds of your hair.
As amazing as a bond-repairing product can be when it comes to leaving your hair instantly smoother, shinier, and softer, they aren’t totally foolproof. You’ll always want to follow the instructions specific to the product you’re using to ensure that you aren’t leaving the product on your hair too long or using it too frequently. This is especially important when using a product that contains hydrolyzed keratin, as using something with this ingredient too often can lead to what’s known as keratin overload — a buildup of keratin on the hair shaft that leaves your hair feeling brittle and dry or gummy when wet. When in doubt, you should always consult with your hairstylist or colorist for product recommendations and usage instructions. And, you can (and should) also improve the health of your hair by cutting back on chemical treatments and heat styling where possible, and always use a heat protectant before going in with any sort of hot tool.
Shop Products Similar To Olaplex
In a hurry? Here are the products similar to Olaplex:
- This Drugstore Shampoo: L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Strengthening Shampoo
- A Prestige Shampoo: Amika The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo
- This Hair Repair System: Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Kit
- This Hair Mask For Curly Hair: Twist Strengthen The Bond Bond-Strengthening Hair Mask
- A Hair Mask For All Hair Types: Elizavecca CER-100 Collagen Ceramide Coating Protein Treatment
- This Leave-In Treatment: K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
- A Product That Works Overnight: IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond Building Dry Hair Mask
1. This Drugstore Shampoo
A shampoo (alongside a matching conditioner) is the easiest way to incorporate a bond-building treatment into your hair care routine because it doesn’t require any extra steps or special application methods. L’Oréal’s EverPure Bond Strengthening Shampoo is a sulfate-free shampoo that was created with color-treated hair in mind, and it features the brand’s own Strong Core Science to strengthen weakened hair bonds after six uses. Gentle enough to be used daily, the shampoo uses ingredients like sunflower seed oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E to soothe the scalp while restoring moisture and protecting hair from future damage as it cleanses. You can buy the matching conditioner here — both products won’t set you back more than $15.
Relevant Review: “Decided to try this as an alternative to the expensive Olaplex. Works great for less than half the cost. I will alternate between this and Olaplex.”
2. A Prestige Shampoo
Amika’s The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo doesn’t come cheap, but it does come in a 34-ounce bottle that will last you a good six months or more. Safe for color-treated and keratin-treated hair, the shampoo is vegan and cruelty-free, and free from common irritants like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. The secret behind the effective formula is the brand’s Bond Cure technology, which targets the hydrogen bonds that are partially responsible for the strength and elasticity of our hair. To further strengthen and deeply nourish hair, the shampoo also contains plant butters and hydrolyzed proteins that are rich in hair-healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids.
Relevant Review: “I love this shampoo so much. Combined with the conditioner it has made me hair feel so soft and healthy. Will definitely make this my new go to!”
3. This Hair Repair System
If you’re looking for a system that works similarly to Olaplex, Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate Kit comes with a shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in treatment that work to reinforce weakened bonds. All of the products in the lineup are formulated with Redken’s Bonding Care complex, which uses citric acid to improve the hair’s strength and balance its pH levels. The leave-in treatment, which was designed to be applied through hair while it’s still damp, also serves as a heat protectant against styling tools up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to protect hair from future damage.
Relevant Review: “I have been using Olaplex for a few years, but decided to give this a try and I like it even better! I love the scent. Olaplex doesn’t really have a smell, and I kind of missed my hair having a fresh, clean smell. This provides that, plus all the other bonding benefits.”
4. This Hair Mask For Curly Hair
For damage that’s less severe, a quick hit of hydrolyzed proteins and moisturizing oils in the form of a weekly hair mask might be all you need. For curly hair, Twist’s Strengthen The Bond Hair Mask was formulated with super moisturizers like castor seed oil and mango seed butter to reduce the breakage that can occur when hair is overly dry. Hydrolyzed quinoa and baobab proteins further help to repair damaged hair, and the mask is entirely free of silicones, which can temporarily improve the appearance of your hair but have a tendency to build up and leave hair feeling weighed down over time. You can use the mask in the shower after you shampoo in place of conditioner, applying it from the mid-lengths to the ends of your hair and letting it sit for just five minutes before you rinse it out. Or, if you’re in need of a more intense treatment, the brand says you can leave it on overnight before rinsing it out.
Relevant Review: “This hair treatment has done wonders for my curls! It’s not loaded with tons of protein and has tons of great moisturizers in it. My curls have much more definition and structure while being hydrated. I was able to recommend this product to a coworker who has a hard time finding coconut free products since she is highly allergic and she was thrilled to have a hair mask option like this.”
5. A Hair Mask For All Hair Types
Whether you have fine, straight hair or thick curls, this Elizavecca CER-100 Collagen Ceramide Coating Protein Treatment aims to leave dry, damaged hair smoother and shinier after just one use. A combination of hydrolyzed proteins, ceramides, and vegetable extracts is the secret behind this five-minute restorative mask, as well as collagen derived from pigs (so take note, this isn’t a vegan-friendly product). Fair warning, this is one mask that you’ll want to be extra careful about not overusing, as it’s loaded with hydrolyzed proteins (including keratin), which can cause damage if used too frequently. Still, this is a budget-friendly option at just $8, and it’s backed up by over 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.
Relevant Review: “After hearing so many good things about this product, I decided to give it a try, and let me tell you it’s AMAZING. This works better on my hair than Olaplex. I have type 3B hair so it’s very curly. However, I got it permed straight and it needed a little extra moisture, especially as my curly hair regrew. This product not only left my hair incredibly shiny, but it also left it smooth and easy to style. […] This is my second time repurchasing this product (which says something because I never repurchase hair products). I highly recommend this if you need an effective product that softens and smooths out frizz!”
6. This Leave-In Treatment
Part in-shower mask, part leave-in treatment, this K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask uses a patented peptide technology made up of amino acids that work to repair the hair bonds from the inside out. Though it’s a tiny bottle, all you need is one pump of the mask, which should be applied from the ends, working your way up to the roots, after you shampoo and towel dry your hair (skip the conditioner). Once you’ve let it sit for four minutes, you can go about your styling routine as usual, without even having to rinse the vegan and cruelty-free formula out.
Relevant Review: “If you love Olaplex, you’ll love this just as much. This is the world’s best leave-in. My hairdresser uses other K18 products after my bleaching, and it truly makes the biggest difference in my hair’s strength and health.”
7. A Product That Works Overnight
A totally genius way to repair hair while leaving it feeling immediately softer and smoother, IGK’s Antisocial Overnight Bond Building Dry Hair Mask is a dry spray that you mist through your hair before bed. While you sleep, the brand’s bond-building technology and silk proteins get to work, deeply nourishing your hair without leaving it feeling weighed down when you wake up. The spray-on formula is vegan and cruelty-free, and it also provides your hair with UV protection to minimize the damage that occurs over time from exposure to environmental aggressors like sun and pollution.
Relevant Review: “Most hair products that are overnight workers often weigh down my hair but not this!I have short fine hair so this did wonders with just a few sprays before bed. Didn’t soak my pillow but instead mended my split ends on my newly fresh highlights without the stickiness and weight! The scent reminds me of a soft cologne that is strong once sprayed but lightens throughout the night.”
About The Author:
Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.