Both are designed to repair damaged hair and strengthen the bonds within hair fibers. But, which one will reign supreme? Let's dissect the science behind these popular shampoos to find out!
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Amika vs Olaplex Bond Repair Shampoos
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's establish our contenders.
Amika's The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo boasts of an "innovative bond cure technology", rich plant butters, vegan proteins, and the superfruit, sea buckthorn.
On the other hand, Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo features its "original bond builder", Amodimethicone, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (as well as a flurry of botanicals to boot).
Bond Building and Repair
Amika uses "Bond Cure Technology," presumably centered around Bis-PCA Dimethicone, an amino silicone which creates a cross-linked film over the hair shaft, sealing in moisture and protecting from further damage. It targets the damaged areas that need it most, yielding a temporary illusion of repaired hair (for several washes, at least). It doesn't actually repair bonds. Though it's not water soluble, it doesn't cause buildup (unlike other silicones) because once bonded it repels further deposits of amine-polymers.
Olaplex instead uses Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, a proprietary ingredient that's been patented by the brand. This molecule works at a molecular level to *actually* repair disulfide bonds in the hair that are broken by heat, chemicals, and mechanical damage. It also doesn't cause buildup, because it's *not* a silicone polymer. Some reviewers contest this notion, claiming that prolonged use leads to buildup and overproteinization; we believe there's other factors at play here, though.
In the bond repair arena, Olaplex has a bit of an edge due to their patented technology which actually repairs bonds within the hair, (oh, and the large body of testimonials backing its efficacy helps too).
Amika's the Kure Bond Repair Shampoo is packed with a blend of plant butters and vegan proteins that offer your hair a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. The added power of sea buckthorn, a superfruit, brings in omega 7 (usually found in fish oil), alongside vitamins C and A.
In contrast, Olaplex No.4 delivers nutrients via hydrolyzed vegetable protein and a mix of botanical extracts and oils. The hydrolyzed vegetable protein is broken down into smaller fragments to penetrate the hair shaft, providing strength and hydration. Additionally, it features sunflower seed oil and apricot kernel oil, which are rich in vitamins E and A and omega fatty acids. These oils nourish, moisturize, and smooth the hair while protecting it from oxidative stress. Olaplex No.4 also includes several botanical extracts, including rosemary leaf extract and Origanum Vulgare leaf extract, known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Both shampoos are committed to clean formulas.
Amika's the Kure formula is color safe, vegan, keratin safe, and free from any gluten contributors. It also holds the Leaping Bunny Certification, ensuring it's cruelty-free.
Olaplex No.4 also boasts of a clean formula, being vegan, cruelty-free, nut-free, and free from parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and gluten.
They're both also sulfate-free, a win for those with color-treated hair (or sensitive scalps!) as sulfates can strip away color and natural oils.
So, is Amika a Dupe for Olaplex?
On a superficial level, both products do offer immediate improvements to hair strength and appearance, making Amika an appealing alternative. However, on a deeper, more molecular level, Olaplex offers a more profound repair mechanism that's hard to replicate.
In essence, if you're looking for a quick fix to improve your hair's look and feel, Amika could be your perfect match. But if you're seeking a more comprehensive solution to heal your hair from within and protect it against future damage, Olaplex's scientifically-backed formula takes the crown. As always, remember that every mane is unique, so the product that works wonders for you depends on your individual hair needs and concerns. Here's to hair happiness, ladies!
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.