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K18 vs Olaplex
Olaplex has been one of the most popular and raved about haircare products on the market since its launch, but did you know there was competition that could blow Olaplex out of the water? k18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask has been making waves in the haircare community as the new top hair treatment. So, what’s the difference between the two? And more importantly, which one is better? K18 and Olaplex are both popular hair treatments that promise to repair and strengthen hair. We’ll take a look at K18 vs Olaplex to help you figure out which hair treatment is right for you.
Although the K18 has been on the market for a while (you might remember it from my post on the best Olaplex dupes), it’s just now becoming increasingly popular with rave reviews from hairstylists and consumers alike.
In fact, many people who were die-hard Olaplex fans have now converted over the the K18 cult and say it’s even better than Olaplex (who knew that was even possible?)
So if you’re wanting to know all about the differences between K18 and Olaplex, keep on reading for an in depth look at the ingredients, cost, etc (and of course answering the burning question of “which one is best?”).
About K18 Biomimetic Hairscience:
The brand K18 is unique because they are focused on developing science-backed hair care products that actually work. Instead of “covering up” the problem like many hair products often do. K18 uses a biomimetic approach which means they create products that actually work with your hair on a molecular level to repair and strengthen it.
This is in contrast to other popular hair treatments on the market that often use harsh chemicals and sulfates that can actually damage your hair over time (even if they do make it look good in the interim.
Olaplex is a haircare brand that has been on the market since 2014. It is most popular for its No. 3 Hair Perfector, which is a Bond Multiplier that is meant to be repair broken bonds in the hair using a patented ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate.
Olaplex started as a professional-only brand, but has since branched out to a full line of at home hair care products designed to repair broken bonds and keep hair healthy while reducing breakage, split ends and damage from treatments.
As Olaplex’s most popular product and claim to fame, Olaplex claims that their Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is sold every 3 seconds.
The Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is a leave-in treatment that you apply to damp, towel-dried hair and then let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing out and continuing with your normal hair care routine.
This product is designed to be used once a week but can be used more often for very damaged hair.
Olaplex No. 3 uses Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate which repairs broken bonds in the hair. After just one use hair is healthier, stronger and shinier. Bonds in the hair can become broken by manipulation (like brushing your hair wrong), heat styling, coloring, bleaching and other treatments) which can lead to frizzy hair, split ends and lackluster hair.
Although Olaplex was originally designed to be used when coloring or bleaching hair to keep the hair’s integrity, it can be used by any and all hair types. Hair stylists have said this product has changed the hair industry and allows them to bleach and color hair in a different way without compromising the health of the hair.
Benefits Of Olaplex
- Repairs Bonds – This is where Olaplex shines, and it’s what it’s most famous for. It helps to repair disulfide bonds that have been damaged from heat or chemical styling
- Strengthens Hair – Olaplex also helps to strengthen your hair by reinforcing the disulfide bonds in it. This makes your hair less prone to breakage and damage.
- Repairs Damage – Olaplex can help repair damage that has already been done. If you have heat damage, chemical damage, or other forms of breakage, Olaplex can help repair damage for healthier hair
- Reduces Breakage – One of the most significant advantages of Olaplex is that it can help prevent breakage. If your hair is brittle and breaks easily, Olaplex may help to strengthen it and lessen future breakage
- Reduces Split Ends – Olaplex can also help to reduce split ends. If you have dry, damaged hair that is prone to split ends, Olaplex can help to nourish and moisturize your hair so split ends are less likely to form.
- Less Frizz – Olaplex can help to reduce frizz. If you have frizzy, flyaway hair, Olaplex can help tame it and make it smoother and more manageable.
- Shiny Hair – Olaplex can also help to make hair shinier. If you have dull, lifeless hair, Olaplex can help by moisturizing the hair and smoothing the hair cuticle
Ingredients In Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector
Water (Aqua/Eau), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Quaternium-91, Sodium Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Tetrasodium EDTA ,Polyquaternium-37, Benzyl Benzoate, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate
So, how does K18 actually work?
The K18 Hair Mask is a leave in treatment that is designed to repair damage and prevent future damage. It contains a patented ingredient, K18Peptide™, which works to repair damage from heat styling, bleaching, coloring, chemical services and more. According to the K18 website, it’s clinically proven to reverse damage in just 4 minutes. That’s a huge claim! But seeing the rave reviews this product has, it seems to certainly live up to that claim.
Wanna know the cool part about this product? It took scientists 10 years to make! They spent years decoding the hair’s genome until they found the perfect sequence that could reconnect broken polypeptide chains. Simply put, this product works on a cellular level on the hair to reconnect broken polypeptide chains which will restore strength, elasticity and repair damage.
And seeing as it just takes 4 minutes to work, as opposed to Olaplex, this product seems much easier and quicker to use, which is a huge plus in my book.
This product is designed to be used once a week or every few shampoos, but can be used more often for very damaged hair.
Benefits Of K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
So what does K18 do for hair?
- Strengthens hair – K18’s leave in treatment strengthens hair by repairing damaged and broken polypeptide chains so hair is stronger and less likely to become damaged or broken
- Repairs Damage – K18 repairs damage from heat styling, bleaching, coloring, chemical services and more. It works on a cellular level to reconnect broken polypeptide chains which will restore strength, elasticity and repair damage
- Softens hair – K18 also leaves hair feeling softer and reduces dry and brittle feeling hair especially after coloring, bleaching or chemical services
- Smooths hair – when hair becomes damaged and polypeptide chains are broken, hair can become frizzy and unmanageable. K18 can help to smooth the hair shaft for less frizz and smoother locks
- Repairs broken polypeptide chains – one of the main ways that K18 works is by repairing broken polypeptide chains in hair. This helps to restore strength, elasticity, and repair damage
Ingredients In K18 Leave In Molecular Repair Mask
Water (Aqua) (Eau), Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20, sh-Oligopeptide-78 (K18Peptide), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Isopropyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Geraniol, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol
How is K18 different than Olaplex?
Although K18 and Olaplex are both products designed to repair damaged hair, they’re actually pretty different.
K18 is a leave in treatment that works on a cellular level to repair damage and restore hair back to its natural state. Olaplex, on the other hand, also works to repair damage but it does so by repairing the broken disulfide bonds in the hair which is more on a surface level, instead of on a cellular level like K18. Simply put, K18 works much deeper in the hair structure than Olaplex.
K18 is also much easier and quicker to use than Olaplex. You simply apply it to damp or dry hair and let it work its magic for 4 minutes. Basically you use it in place of conditioner, but we’ll talk more about that later. Olaplex, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated to use and requires more steps.
K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask Vs Olaplex No. 3 Hair Repair Perfector
Okay so now that we know all about K18 hair mask vs Olaplex, let’s dive in a little more and compare the two more in detail.
As we discussed above, Olaplex uses a patented ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate that repairs broken disulfide bonds in the hair.
K18, on the other hand, uses K18Peptide™ which repairs broken polypeptide chains.
Olaplex comes in a standard plastic bottle with a flip lid. The bottle is 3.3oz or 100ml.
K18 comes in a plastic pump bottle that’s 1.7oz or 50ml.
One downside to K18 is that it’s significantly more expensive than Olaplex.
So not only do you get way more product with Olaplex, it’s also less than half the price of K18.
I’ll admit, I was once a die-hard Olaplex fan and thought nothing could ever top it. Until K18 entered. My hairstylist actually introduced it to me and tried it out on me and we were both amazed at how amazing, soft and silky my hair felt after coloring. She even told me “it feels like virgin hair!” and as someone who frequently bleaches, colors and heat styles, well that was music to my ears.
Whenever I use the K18 mask, my hair always feels significantly healthier, softer, smoother and looks so shiny and bouncy. In a way that I never had with Olaplex.
Don’t get me wrong, Olaplex is still a great product, but I can definitely tell K18 works at a deeper level on the hair.
Like we mentioned before, K18 is super easy and quick to use. You simply apply shampoo your hair as normal (don’t condition) and then apply the mask to towel dried hair and let it work its magic for 4 minutes.
Olaplex, on the other hand, has a few more steps. First, you’ll need to shampoo your hair (especially if you don’t wash often or use a lot of dry shampoo/styling products). Then you’ll apply Olaplex to damp hair and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then shampoo and condition as normal.
So, Olaplex has a few more steps involved, not to mention if you use it with their bond multiplier or deep conditioning mask. It also takes longer to work.
One thing I love about k18 is that it’s so easy to use! It takes less time and replaces conditioner essentially so that’s one less step!
K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo vs Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Recently, both K18 and Olaplex have expanded their lines to include a maintenance shampoo.
The main difference between these two shampoos is that K18 contains K18PEPTIDE and Olaplex contains Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate to treat damaged hair.
Olaplex has a thicker and more concentrated consistency. K18 is more expensive than Olaplex.
The K18 Maintenance Shampoo is designed to be used as your daily or your normal shampoo to keep your hair healthy and strong between your K18 treatments. It’s color-safe and pH balanced so it gently cleanses the hair without stripping it of its natural oils. It’s formulated with the K18 peptide to maintain the integrity and strength of your hair. This shampoo makes a perfect daily shampoo for my fine and oily hair. It’s left feeling soft, clean and bouncy.
The Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo is also designed to be your daily shampoo. It’s formulated to soften, detangle and hydrate the hair so it’s shiny and healthy. It’s formulated with the patented Olaplex technology to keep your hair strong, reduce split ends and damage between your Olaplex No. 3 treatments. It’s a very nourishing shampoo and leaves my hair feeling silky and soft. However, I do have oily hair and my hair always tends to get oily faster after using this shampoo so I think it’s a little too heavy for my fine, thin hair.
K18 Peptide Prep Clarifying Detox Shampoo vs Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Recently, both K18 and Olaplex have expanded their lines to include a clarifying shampoo.
The K18 Peptide Prep Clarifying Shampoo is a sulfate-free, color safe clarifying shampoo designed to remove product buildup, sebum and copper from the hair without stripping the hair or hair color. It’s formulated with the K18 Peptide to help repair and strengthen hair, and is suitable for all hair types. It also has salicylic acid and activated charcoal which help to remove dirt and oils from the scalp and hair.
The Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo is a clarifying shampoo that uses the same active ingredient found in all the other Olaplex products. It is designed to remove product buildup, oils, metals and minerals from the hair without stripping natural oils or color. Like the K18 shampoo, it is suitable for all hair types and is color-safe.
The main difference between these shampoos is that they contain different active ingredients: K18 contains the patented K18 Peptide, while Olaplex contains Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Both of which help repair and strengthen hair.
However, the K18 Detox shampoo has added ingredients like salicylic acid and activated charcoal which makes it better at removing dirt and oil from the scalp and hair. So if you have oily hair or wanting the most powerful clarifying shampoo, K18 is the better option.
What’s The Difference Between K18 and Olaplex?
While both products are designed to protect hair from damage, there are some key differences between them.
Both products can repair damage, strengthen hair, add shine, reduce frizz and smooth hair texture for softer, healthier hair. They are great products that are suitable for all hair types. While they’re very similar in what they do, how they work is one of the biggest differences between k18 hair treatment vs olaplex.
K18 is a leave-in treatment that uses peptides to repair damage by targeting broken polypeptide chains in the hair, which means it works at a cellular level. Olaplex, on the other hand, is a rinse-off treatment that uses a patented ingredient that repairs broken bonds in the hair.
Bottom line: Olaplex restores disulfide bonds while K18 restores polypeptide chains.
K18 Vs Olaplex Pros And Cons
K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask Pros & Cons
|Great for all hair types||More expensive|
|Works deeper on the hair shaft to repair damage and strengthen hair||Only available in certain stores like Sephora or in salons|
|Reduces and prevents breakage|
|Smooths hair and reduces frizz|
|Quick and easy to use|
Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector Pros & Cons
|Helps to repair hair damage and breakage||Takes longer to use and longer to see results|
|Strengthens hair||May require more than one product for best results|
|Adds shine and reduces frizz|
|Restores and strengthens hair|
|Less expensive and sold in more stores|
|Great for all hair types|
How To Use K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
- Shampoo hair – use a clarifying shampoo if you don’t wash often or use a lot of dry shampoo or styling products
- Don’t condition
- Towel dry hair
- Apply K18 Leave In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
- Wait 4 minutes
- Apply styling products if using and style as usual
How To Use Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector
- Shampoo hair – use a clarifying shampoo if you don’t wash often or use a lot of dry shampoo or styling products
- Towel dry hair
- Apply Olaplex
- Wait at least 10 minutes
- Apply styling products if using and style as usual
Can I Use K18 and Olaplex Together?
So now that we know all about K18 vs Olaplex, you may be wondering can you use K18 and Olaplex at the same time?
Yes, you can use K18 and Olaplex together. Both K18 and Olaplex are hair treatments that are designed to improve the health and strength of the hair.
Since these 2 products work differently, you can use both for maximum damage repair. You can use the Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector before shampooing and then follow with the K18 hair mask after shampooing.
You can also combine the treatments, shampoos and conditioners – it’s totally ok to mix and match. For example, you can use the K18 clarifying shampoo and follow it up with the Olaplex conditioner.
Olaplex Vs K18 For Curly Hair
Since curly hair often requires extra damage repair to keep curls bouncy and full, you might be wondering which one of these products is better for wavy, curly or kinky hair.
Both Olaplex and K18 can be beneficial for curly hair, but they they work differently and this is important for curly hair.
Curly hair has more disulfide bonds and since Olaplex targets and repairs broken disulfide bonds, it’s a better option for those with curly hair. However, K18 is also an excellent product and you really can’t go wrong with either one!
K18 Hair Vs Olaplex FAQs
Is Olaplex Or K18 better?
While both products have a cult-following, there has been a ton of hype about K18 recently, which probably leaves you asking the question – is K18 better than Olaplex?
It really depends on what you’re looking for and what your hair needs. If you have severely damaged hair or if you’re looking for something that will deeply repair and strengthen your hair, then K18 is a great option that works at a deeper level.
But if you’re looking for a whole line of bond repairing products to keep your hair healthy, Olaplex would be a good choice.
Can you use both Olaplex and K18?
Since both products work in different ways, can you use K18 and Olaplex together?
Yes, you can use both Olaplex and K18 together. In fact, many people do! If you have severely damaged hair, using both can actually help repair your hair even faster and maintain healthy, strong hair.
Using K18 and Olaplex together can actually be a great idea because they both work differently, so you’re getting 2 different repairing mechanisms to repair even the most damaged hair.
Is anything better than Olaplex?
There are a few products on the market that work similarly to Olaplex but K18 is definitely one of the best.
K18 works at a deeper level to repair and strengthen hair while Olaplex works to maintain healthy hair and prevent further damage.
I personally love K18 and the way it makes my hair feel, but I also use Olaplex regularly to help maintain the results and keep my hair as healthy as possible.
Will K18 fix my hair?
While K18 cannot reverse any and all damage, it can come pretty close! K18 claims that with one treatment, hair is restored up to 91% strength and 94% elasticity. That’s pretty dang good if you ask me!
Can you use Olaplex before K18?
Yes, you can use Olaplex before k18 but it’s not necessary. If you have severely damaged hair, you may want to consider using Olaplex first to help repair your hair and then using k18 to get even more repairing and strengthening benefits.
Does K18 Work Better Than Olaplex?
While both products have a cult-following and have certainly made waves in the beauty industry, is one really more powerful than the other? They both help to repair damaged hair, prevent and treat split ends and keep hair healthy, soft and smooth. But they use different active ingredients and those active ingredients act differently upon the hair.
Both are incredible products that have thousands of rave reviews among hairstylists and beauty enthusiasts.
I’ve put both products to the test and I actually do prefer K18 over Olaplex. However, I do still use Olaplex and K18 together. Since they work differently on the hair, when you use both, you’re getting double repair and strengthening!
I personally prefer K18’s line because it doesn’t leave my hair feeling as heavy and weighed down. Although I love Olaplex, the shampoo and conditioner are too nourishing for my hair and my hair always gets greasy super fast when I use them. So I stick with the K18 shampoos and alternate between the Olaplex treatments and K18 treatments to keep my hair healthy.
K18 Vs Olaplex Wrap Up
So, what’s the verdict? Which is better k18 or Olaplex?
Well, it really depends on what you’re looking for and what your hair needs. If you have severely damaged hair or if you’re looking for something that will deeply repair and strengthen your hair, k18 is a great option that works at a cellular level and is a quick and easy treatment to incorporate into your routine.
Olaplex, on the other hand works more on a surface level, but is still a great at home option to maintain the integrity of your hair especially when it comes to color and chemical treatments. Olaplex also offers a wider range of products including styling products and shampoo and conditioner.