We're positive you've seen Olaplex and OUAI on the shelves at your local beauty store or hair salon before.
Which is better, you ask? That's what we'll be finding out today as we compare the two side-by-side. Olaplex vs OUAI - let’s get into it.
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Olaplex vs Ouai Treatment
For anyone with damaged locks (that’s most of us), it’s a good idea to address the damage every once in a while with a hair treatment. Even better, though, would be to stay on top of it by treating your hair regularly.
For a simple at-home treatment, you have loads of options. Some products you put in your hair multiple times a week, and some products you only use once a month, sometimes less. Two great treatments to address damage are the Olaplex No. 3 and the OUAI Treatment Masque.
The Olaplex No. 3 is a weekly treatment that is part of the Olaplex system. Olaplex has a strong following of fans who, for good reason, love their products. The Hair Perfector treatment strengthens hair from the inside out (thanks to their patented bond-building protein ingredient) and leaves it with visibly better texture.
We love Olaplex because it delivers results. The products work as they say, and your hair genuinely looks better even after just a single use. However, you get the best results when you use Olaplex’s entire system, which is quite spendy, especially given how often you have to use it to see results.
OUAI offers three distinct hair care systems differentiated by hair thickness (fine hair, medium hair, and thick hair), each with a sub-focus of addressing damaged hair (since, like Olaplex, they also contain hair-repairing proteins). As part of the fine/medium range, the OUAI Hair Treatment Masque is made to hydrate, fight frizz, and repair damage for smoother, healthier hair.
It has to be said, OUAI is far more focused on the sensory experience of their products, packing them with gorgeously aromatic, nourishing botanicals. This is great for if you're just looking for some nice hair care products to keep your mane looking, smelling and feeling beautiful, but if you're seeking a more serious treatment for damaged hair, then Olaplex would be the way to go.
Olaplex vs Ouai Shampoo
When you have damaged hair, it’s important that you are addressing it with every step of your hair care routine. You shouldn’t rely on just a single treatment to do all the heavy lifting - your shampoo and conditioner should be pulling their weight, too.
That’s why we love that so many brands - such as Olaplex and OUAI - boast multi-step systems that make it incredibly easy to *fully* address your hair-care concerns. Speaking of which, the next steps of their damage control ranges are the Olaplex No. 4 and the OUAI Fine Hair Shampoo.
The Olaplex No. 4 is a wonderful shampoo that is suitable for every wash and leaves your hair feeling revived and uber-silky. Your hair will look and feel noticeably better after every use thanks to the previously mentioned patented bond-repairing ingredient included in every Olaplex product and its pH balanced formula.
Blondes, rejoice! This shampoo also comes in a blonde enhancer toning shampoo option, which is perfect for anyone with lighter tresses. Thanks to this product, you don’t have to sacrifice your color for damage repair.
Another reason to love Olaplex? You can subscribe to your favorite Olaplex products (such as Olaplex No. 4) on Amazon. They’ll send your products on a regular basis, which is oh so very convenient.
OUAI offers three shampoos, but most akin to Olaplex is the OUAI Fine Hair Shampoo which contains fantastic ingredients that leave hair feeling cleaner, stronger, and full of life. We love this shampoo because it addresses those pesky split ends, and is safe for color-treated hair. OUAI also offers the OUAI Medium Hair Shampoo and OUAI Thick Hair Shampoo (no prizes for guessing what sets them apart!).
When it comes down to it, we prefer the Olaplex No. 4 as part of the full Olaplex 3-step system. If you're just looking for a standalone shampoo - as opposed to a full system - again we would err on the side of OUAI and their Fine Hair Shampoo.
Olaplex vs Ouai Conditioner
No good hair care system is complete without a conditioner. I'm personally a fan of mixing and matching my shampoos and conditioners to address multiple different needs. For example, when using a clarifying shampoo, you don’t necessarily also need a clarifying conditioner. *But* when it comes to damaged hair, it is definitely wise to complete the full multi-step routine to ensure you get the expected results.
By now you know what both brands’ products are designed to do. The systems are both formulated to address damage at the molecular level, and leave your hair looking and feeling healthier. The Olaplex No.5 conditioner also moisturizes and reduces frizz, is safe for everyday use, and has great reviews.
The OUAI conditioner boasts fantastic reviews, too, but for slightly different reasons. Hark back to the treatment comparison and you'll recall a mention of the fact that OUAI places far more focus on sensory experience over anything else. The OUAI Fine Hair Conditioner is most commonly praised for its sumptuous scent, gentleness, and the fact that it doesn't weigh down hair - not an awful lot of reference to its damage-controlling qualities!
Our recommendation would be to choose your conditioner based on the shampoo you prefer (in order to maximise the desired effects). In other words, choose Olaplex No. 5 if you prefer the Olaplex system overall, or choose OUAI Fine Hair Conditioner if you found yourself leaning more towards the OUAI shampoo and treatment.
Olaplex vs Ouai Hair Oil
Oils are integral to maintaining the health of your hair and scalp. And while your treatments and conditioners do contain nourishing oils, nothing quite beats a dedicated hair oil such as the Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil or the OUAI Hair Oil when it comes to achieving a sleek, silky, high-gloss finish.
First and foremost, it's important to note that unlike some hair oils out there, with Olaplex and OUAI you're actually getting a blend of oils. This is key because different oils contain different vitamins, which in turn offer slightly different benefits to your hair.
The Olaplex Bonding Oil contains Corn, Sunflower Seed, Moringa Seed, and Pomegranate Seed oils. Combined, they help to dramatically increase shine, softness, and color vibrancy while minimizing frizz.
OUAI's Hair Oil boasts *significantly* more oils, specifically: Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed, Rice, Baobab, Borage, Crambe, Soybean, Passion Fruit, Moringa, and Olive oils. Does more mean better, though? Not necessarily. The listed benefits are more or less the same as Olaplex, including damage protection, heat protection, color protection, shine, and frizz reduction.
Ultimately, there's no debating the results, with glorious hair transformations thanks to both products being regularly plastered all over your various social feeds (as we're sure you've probably noticed!). What is up for debate, though, is whether Olaplex's price per fluid ounce ($30) being almost double that of OUAI's ($20) is justified.
In our view, the OUAI Hair Oil is just as good as—if not better than—Olaplex, especially given its heavenly “Rue St. Honoré” scent featuring Violet, White Musk, Gardenia, and Ylang ylang (as opposed to Olaplex's typical citrusy aroma). The only reason we could justify opting for Olaplex instead is if you're already using the rest of Olaplex's existing system, in which case the Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil would admittedly slot into your overall routine better.
Olaplex vs Ouai Conclusion
Overall, these two brands are winners in their own right. Olaplex places much more focus on being a treatment for damaged hair, whereas OUAI places that on the sideline in favour of providing a more sensorial experience with botanical ingredients.
To round off our review, here are our recommendations for the other best-selling ranges and products that Olaplex and OUAI offer.
Work in progress
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Originally published on 21st July 2022. Last updated 29th March 2023.