It seems that every manufacturer is coming out with “bond repair” products for hair these days. This is great, as it means there is way more selection than ever to help you achieve your healthiest curls. The downside is that this means trying to figure out which one is best for you and your needs.
What are hair bonds?
Hair is made of a protein called keratin which forms fibrils. These are held together by Hydrogen (elasticity) and Disulphide (shape) bonds.
These bonds provide shape, strength and elasticity. When they are damaged or broken, so is our hair. Water, heat, chemicals, colouring, etc. can all affect our hair bonds.
Do I need a bond repairer / rebuilder?
If you use colour and/or highlights, the answer is yes. I would say this is true in all cases, even going with a shade darker than your natural colour or no bleach is involved. You can use these products on untreated hair as well, as they will help it with strength. This usually results in better wave/curl/coils. Because water affects the bonds, and we are all washing our hair, anyone can use - and benefit from - bond rebuilders.
If you regularly colour/highlight your curls, these treatments and products can be used more often. For example, a lot of damage may require weekly treatments but less damage could mean just scheduling your treatments around the same as your colour appointments
As a general note the majority of the newest products are protein treatments. Most use a combination of hydrolyzed and amino level ingredients, but they are still designed to penetrate the hair and help to repair the broken bonds.
The only product(s) that I don’t put in the protein category is Olaplex. They have a patented ingredient called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. I don’t know what makes up this ingredient - no one does. It is protected by their patent. Having said that, it works extremely well for repairing damaged hair.
Olaplex have been in the business of bond repair for a long time. Olaplex No. 1 and No. 2 (which you won’t find at Curl Warehouse) are available in salons only and are done at the same time as your chemical service. The first product out for retail was Olaplex No. 3 which was sold by the salon as a take-home, lighter version of Olaplex No. 2 to be used weekly. Since that time, Olaplex has released many other products that all contain their patented ingredient.
If your hair is particularly damaged or you colour frequently, using Olaplex is one of the best options to maintain healthy hair due to the variety of products and the power of their patented ingredient.
The Original Bond Rebuilders: Olaplex No. 0 and No. 3
Olaplex No. 0 is a more concentrated version of No. 3 that is used as a primer. The instructions are to use No. 0 on clean dry hair. I would recommend having fully clean hair and not using conditioner as it does leave a film (even when rinsed - you can read more about this on my Why and How to Condition Your Curls blog). You also don’t want the leftover residue from your styling products on your hair when using this treatment as it won't work as well. Each of these small bottles will last for 4-6 treatments.
You apply No. 0 and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. It is quite liquidy so it dries quickly. This is when you need to apply No. 3 over it, which is more creamy. It will keep your hair damp much longer. You can comb/brush the product through, making sure to use just enough so each hair is fully saturated. The two products together will now stay on your hair for 45-60 minutes. After this you can rinse fully and do another light shampoo. Then carry on with your conditioner and your regular styling routine.
Olaplex technology stops working once your hair is dry. You can use No. 0 by itself but it is a primer designed to work best with No. 3. If you use it alone and it dries quickly, you won’t reap as much benefit of the repair work done by combining the two. Just remember that these two products from Olaplex aren’t moisture or protein: they are purely bond rebuilders.
We offer an Olaplex at Home kit with a bottle of each No. 0 and No. 3 so you can get started on your bond repairing right away.
If You Want or Need Protein:
Inashi’s Rescue and Repair Bond Strengthening Shampoo
Inahsi's new Rescue & Repair products all contain proteins that deeply penetrate the cortex of your hair to help it form new bonds. These can be used regularly without worry of overuse of any ingredients. The Rescue and Repair Bond Strengthening Shampoo is Curly Girl / Hair Method Approved.
Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve
This “pre-poo” product has a lot of protein that will help in the repair of hair bonds. It is able to target the cortex and can encourage moisture retention. You apply the Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve to damp hair and comb/brush it in to get each hair saturated. Leave it on for 15-30 minutes. Rinse fully and then shampoo/cleanse and condition as per usual.
If You Want Shampoo & Conditioner:
If you don't want to use extra products in your routine, consider a bond repairing shampoo and/or conditioner. You'll be using these products anyway!
Amika The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo and Conditioner
The Amika The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo and The Kure Bond Repair Conditioner both have silicones so technically not Curly Girl / Curly Hair Method approved but they should not build up on each other. Protein is used for the bond repair process and they can be used as often as you like.
Olaplex No. 4 and No. 5 Bond Shampoo and Conditioner
These products can be used like any regular shampoo and conditioner as often as you like. Neither are Curly Girl / Hair Method approved due to silicones but they are water soluble so should not build up on each other. If you want to take advantage of Olaplex's technology without using a treatment, the No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and the No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner are a great option. Olaplex now also offers No. 4 Bond Maintenance Blond Enhancer Toning Shampoo and No. 4 Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo.
If You Want A Styling Product:
Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother
The Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother is an excellent heat protectant. It does contain non-approved silicones but these really work well if you are outside a lot or still like to use your flat or curling iron. It will also help speed up your blow dry or diffusing time. Like Olaplex No. 9 below, this would be best as your first product in on freshly washed/conditioned hair and you can layer your other stylers on top. Bonus: it will help with frizz too.
Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum
This is Olaplex's new serum that is Curly Girl / Hair Method approved. It protects from heat, pollution, and UVB. Plus it provides shine! Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum is applied to hair before other styling products.
Inahsi Natural's Rescue and Repair Bond Strengthening Leave-in Conditioner
Inahsi's new Rescue and Repair Bond Strengthening Leave-in Conditioner can be used as a lighter regular rinse out conditioner f you prefer. It also provides UVB protection and is an excellent detangler.
If You Want A Finishing Touch:
Bond repairing oils are a pretty new concept and add a little dose of repair over your styling products, usually with the added benefit of shine and smoothness.
Curlsmith Bonding Oil
Curlsmith Bonding Oil was designed to outperform silicones and to feel lighter than oil. It is Curly Girl / Hair Method approved and has protein. This will make your hair feel softer and smoother. Just use it on dry hair as needed, gently layered over the strands to scrunch out the crunch and seal in the moisture.
If You Want a Mask:
Inahsi Naturals Rescue & Repair Bond Strengthening Hair Masque
Inahsi Naturals Rescue & Repair Bond Strengthening Hair Masque is a a ten-minute treatment designed to penetrate the hair's cortex and repair from the inside out. It contains quinoa protein.
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Repair Mask
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask has silicones, oils, conditioning ingredients, moisture, amino level proteins, and more. The amount of the patented ingredient is less than No. 0 and No. 3. Apply it after cleansing and leave it on for about 10-30 minutes, rinse and style as usual.
If You Don't Want to Change Your Routine or Current Products:
Boucleme Protein Booster Drops
If you have always been trying to find the allusive protein drops that have never been available in Canada - here is an absolutely excellent (if not better!) alternative. Boucleme prides itself on clean ingredients and the Boucleme Protein Booster Drops let you decide how much to add to your fave products! I recommend starting with your Conditioner if you haven't used it before. Start small with a couple of drops and see how our routine goes before increasing the amount up to the recommended 6 drops. You may only need it here and there, and you probably won’t need it in every single product in your routine. It can go in anything, any time!
You decide what to use it with to fully customize your routine, plus it’s all vegan!
Healthy curls are happy curls. We offer lots of options with lots of uses and fun products to try with your naturally wavy, curly and coily hair! Need some help deciding what's for you? Send us an email at email@example.com.