We’re sure you’ve heard a lot about this viral haircare brand, as the beauty community can’t stop raving about it. Olaplex’s legendary technology repairs the hair’s internal bonds to strengthen the hair. Most salons recommend Olaplex for customers looking for a way to repair damage caused by regular heat and dye.
In this article, we will be comparing two of their most popular creations, the No.2 Bond Perfector and the No. 3 Hair Perfector. These products will go head-to-head as we help you to decide which is the best luxury hair treatment for you.
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Olaplex 2 vs 3 Comparison
Olaplex created No.2 as a repair treatment, and a second step to chemical procedures done at the salon. The formula is suitable for all hair types, and it is vegan, as well as sulphate and paraben- free. It is the second step in Olaplex’s recommended three-step salon routine.
Unfortunately, Olaplex No.2 is exclusively available as a professional salon treatment and can only be purchased by hairdressers. This makes it a less accessible option compared to their other products that can be easily bought.
The key active ingredient is Olaplex’s patented bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which works to restore broken hair bonds created by chemical, environmental, and heat damage.
According to the brand, there are several ways salons can use this product on your hair:
- Colour treatment – use after Olaplex No. 1 to fix broken bonds after chemical treatments.
- Smoothing treatment – apply to towel-dried hair before cutting and drying.
- Cutting lotion – after rinsing, apply to hair whilst cutting to protect it.
People who have had the No.2 salon treatment have praised the product for helping with split ends, smoothing frizz, as well as making their hair look and feel brand new. Although it’s a shame it can’t be used at home, many have said that the results are worth only being able to put it on your hair at a salon.
That said, we think Olaplex No.3 is the perfect at-home alternative to Olaplex No.2; keep scrolling to learn more!
Olaplex No.3 is one of the most discussed home bond treatments on the internet. It is a reparative hair mask that is renowned for repairing breakage and strengthening weak hair. Olaplex designed it with a pH balance of 3.5-5 which gives a shine to the hair, making it easier to brush through.
No.3 contains the same patented bond-building technology as No.2, which means you can achieve bond repair without having to go out to a salon. The mask is also free from parabens and sulphates which can be harmful to your hair over time. Furthermore, we are happy to note that Olaplex stands against animal cruelty, so you can be assured that none of their products are tested on animals.
To use the mask, apply a generous amount of product to towel-dried hair, making sure to comb it through evenly. Leave it to work for at least 10 minutes, before rinsing. Users have left the product on for as long as an hour and seen fantastic results. It’s advised that you use this mask once a week.
No.3 is the first step in Olaplex’s at-home three-step routine, and it is recommended that you follow up with their shampoo (Olaplex No.4) and conditioner (Olaplex No.5) for optimal results. You can purchase a 100ml bottle for ~$28.
While many hair masks work on the outside of the hair, No.3 focuses on the needs of the hair’s interior. Olaplex understands that long-term restoration begins within the hair’s structure, and the hair’s exterior will improve as a result. Consumers have commented that after a few weeks of using No.3, their hair looks stronger, their split ends are less obvious, and brushing feels easier.
In conclusion, we believe that Olaplex No.3 is the better choice out of the two products. This is because it is much easier to source, and it is a great investment for your hair. It allows you to achieve salon-like results, but from the comfort of your own home.
With No.2, you must first pay for your salon procedure and then pay for the Olaplex treatment, making it an expensive indulgence. Whereas you can order No.3 to your house, and it will last months before a replacement is needed.
Finally, the two products have the same restorative ingredients, and both products claim to mend hair bonds, so it seems that No.3 would be the easiest, cheapest option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although the Olaplex numbering system was designed to ease confusion, we think it raises more questions than it answers. Allow us to attempt to answer a few of the more common queries people have with regards to Olaplex No. 2 and 3.
Is Olaplex No. 2 and 3 the same?
No. Although the ingredients lists are identical, the concentrations of the active ingredients are different. To condense: Olaplex 2 is a more concentrated version of Olaplex 3.
Difference between Olaplex No. 2 and 3?
- Olaplex No. 2 is exclusive to salons (to be used by professionals), Olaplex No. 3 can be used at home.
- Olaplex No. 3 is essentially a diluted, consumer-friendly version of Olaplex No. 2.
- Olaplex No. 2 is to be used less regularly than No. 3 due to their concentrations.
- Olaplex No. 3 achieves max efficacy after 45 minutes of being left in hair; Olaplex No. 2 achieves the same in just 15 minutes.
Can I use Olaplex 2 instead of 3?
The recommendation is to only receive Olaplex 2 treatments from professionals at a salon; you then follow this treatment up with more regular application of Olaplex 3 at home. In other words, using both is ideal for the best results.
If, however, the situation truly calls for one or the other, we recommend opting for Olaplex No3. The higher concentrated No2 can be unwieldy in the hands of somebody that isn't a professional, whereas with No3 you have the peace of mind that its hard to go wrong.
Can I use Olaplex 3 without 1 and 2?
Yes! You don't have to have used Olaplex No. 1 and No. 2 in order for No. 3 to work on your hair.
This article was originally published on February 16th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on January 26th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
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.