We all know and love Olaplex. They've definitely been having their fair share of the limelight recently! We all know and love Redken, too; this brand has been consistently delivering quality hair care products for decades now.
Which is better, you ask? Let’s discuss the difference between a newbie with impressive stats and a tried-and-true veteran. Olaplex vs Redken - let’s get into it.
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Olaplex vs Redken 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 Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-in Treatment.
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 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.
Redken has a range that achieves similar results: the Acidic Bonding Concentrate system which consists of three different products, including the Acidic Perfecting Leave-in Treatment for damaged hair. Just like Olaplex, it is suitable for all types of hair, and works to restore the health of your hair after any form of damage.
Along with the Redken shampoo, you do get heat protection post-use, which is not guaranteed with Olaplex. Redken has also stood the test of time, making it a little bit more appealing than the Olaplex. For a standalone hair treatment, we prefer the Redken Leave-in Treatment. As part of a full hair care routine, though, Olaplex No.3 is the way to go.
Olaplex vs Redken 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 Redken - boast multi-step systems that make it incredibly easy to *fully* address your hair-care concerns. Speaking of which, the next steps of their bond-repair ranges are the Olaplex No. 4 and the Redken Bonding 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.
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 on Amazon. They’ll send your products on a regular basis, which is oh so very convenient.
Redken's damage-repairing shampoo - the Redken Bonding Shampoo - has fantastic ingredients that restore your hair's natural pH balance and can be used no matter your hair type or texture. We love this shampoo because it addresses those pesky split ends, and is safe for color-treated hair. Redken does cost a couple more dollars than Olaplex, but you get more product in your bottle.
When it comes down to it, we prefer the Olaplex No4 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 Redken and their Bonding Shampoo.
Olaplex vs Redken 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 all formulated to address damage at the molecular level, and leave your hair looking and feeling rapidly better. The Olaplex No.5 conditioner also moisturizes and reduces frizz, is safe for everyday use, and has great reviews.
The Redken conditioner has good reviews, too, and does everything its Olaplex counterpart does, but for slightly less $ per ounce. They are literally as close as they come with regards to efficacy and any other objectively measurable metric, so our recommendation is to choose it based on the shampoo you preferred (i.e. choose Olaplex No. 5 if you preferred the Olaplex shampoo and treatment, or choose Redken Bonding Conditioner if you preferred the Redken shampoo and treatment.)
Olaplex vs Redken Conclusion
Overall, the fight between Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs Olaplex is remarkably close, but we do see a clear winner. When it comes to the entire system, our preference is Redken, and this is for a couple reasons.
Redken has stood the test time, so you know that the manufacturers understand hair and really know what they’re doing when making these products. Also, it is just that little bit cheaper. Olaplex has definitely had the lion's share of controversy, especially recently, which makes Redken even more favorable.
To round off our review, here are our recommendations for the best-selling ranges and products that Olaplex and Redken offer.
Work in progress
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Originally published on 9th March 2022. Last updated 29th March 2023.