This post may contain affiliate links.
When you’re looking for a hair care product upgrade, it’s important to choose a brand you’re confident will make a difference in your routine and style. Both Ouai and Olaplex have risen to the top of the shampoo and conditioner game over the last several years, with each taking a unique approach to hair care and marketing to niche demographics. Sure, both have quality, well-reviewed products—but which brand is the best choice when it comes to what’s in your shower and on your head? Let’s dive into Ouai Vs Olaplex and see which one is better.
Pronounced ‘way’ and founded in 2016 by celebrity stylist Jen Atkins, Ouai is an upscale brand that markets to people who want to keep their hair care both effective and simple. Although they have a host of other products besides shampoo and conditioners (including body cleansers, scrubs, and cremes), the company’s roots are in keeping hair healthy and happy.
Rather than focusing on the science behind their products in their marketing approach, Ouai’s branding focuses on the emotional connection created between their products and the customer. With exotic, travel-inspired scents including Turkish rose and orris, they aim to evoke freedom and excitement in their customers with every lather and rinse.
Perfectly representative of their mission for hair care, Ouai currently only offers four lines of shampoo and conditioner. If you’re thinking that doesn’t seem typical for a more top-tier brand, you’d be right—but easy and effective is the Ouai way.
Here’s a look at the most popular Ouai haircare products:
● Fine Hair Shampoo and Conditioner: This jasmine sambac and Italian lemon scented pair is perfect for counteracting dryness and damage while also adding thickness and pumped-up volume to fine, light hair.
● Medium Hair Shampoo and Conditioner: For those deciding whether or not to buy these products, the company website asks, “Does your hair swing both OUAI’s? If you’re somewhere in between fine hair problems and thick hair problems, wash your way to a happy medium with this hydrating shampoo.” Pretty great, right?
● Thick Hair Shampoo and Conditioner: If you have thick, frizzy, or otherwise unmanageable hair, this floral and musk-scented duo is for you. With marshmallow root for ultra-detangling and shea butter to tame flyaways and damaged ends, it’s even safe to use on colored hair.
● Detox Shampoo and Conditioner: When your hair has been through a lot and needs a minor makeover, Ouai’s Detox line is ideal. Detoxifying apple cider vinegar and strengthening keratin work in tandem to clarify and restore balance to the scalp and hair.
● Leave-in Conditioner Spray: Perfect for all hair types and styles, this product is an Allure winner, and its reviews truly speak for themselves.
● Scalp Scrub: Yet another Ouai product trusted by Allure, this sugar and coconut oil scrub exfoliates away dead skin while restoring hydration.
● Wave Spray: This salt-free version of a beloved 2000’s cult classic leaves hair voluminous and full of texture without the grit or tacky after-feel.
Ouai does have a few more products in their lineup, like dry shampoo and styling products like mousse and hairspray.
Ouai has also branched out recently and now offer a wide range of luxurious body care products and delicious fragrances inspired by the worlds most fashionable cities.
Olaplex is a hair care brand that is best known for their bond-building technology. This technology helps to repair damage and prevent further breakage by reconnecting broken bonds in the hair.
Olaplex was created by two chemists, Dean Christal and Dr. Craig Hawker, after years of research. Their patented active ingredient, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, instantly repairs broken disulfide bonds in the hair.
Hair naturally has bonds but these bonds can be broken by heat styling, bleach, coloring, etc. When these bonds break, hair can become dry, brittle or frizzy and it can lead to split ends and breakage.
According to their website, the brand was founded in a garage and eventually landed in salons. It was first a professional-only brand that was used mostly during bleaching to to protect and repair during the lightening process.
The brand has since launched best-selling at home products containing their patented ingredient so that everyone can have healthier hair.
Unlike Bondi Boost, the Olaplex line is much smaller. It features shampoo, conditioner, treatments and leave in products all with the same patented ingredient to repair hair. In total, it only has about 10 products in their at home range.
● Olaplex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment: This product is a pre-treatment to use before Olaplex No. 3. It helps prepare hair for Olaplex No. 3 and is known as the “bond multiplier”.
● Olaplex No. 3: This revolutionary pre-shampoo treatment reduces breakage and split ends, and is what truly put Olaplex on the map by delivering on its promise of smoother and softer hair.
● Olaplex No. 4: This bond-building shampoo cleanses and hydrates gently, while simultaneously repairing damage and strengthening hair.
● Olaplex No. 4p: Like other toning shampoos on the market, this purple shampoo is made for blondes to get rid of unwanted yellow and brassy tones.
● Olaplex No. 4c: A powerful clarifying shampoo that helps to remove product buildup, excess oils while strengthening and softening the hair.
● Olaplex No. 5: Another Allure winner, number five’s conditioning abilities untangle and tame hair, making it perfect for unruly locks.
● Olaplex No. 6: This leave-in, reparative styling cream helps reduce frizz and adds shine, while also protecting the hair prior to heat styling.
● Olaplex No. 7: Another product that protects the hair against heat damage, this hair oil smooths even the coarsest of hair.
● Olaplex No. 8: A truly restorative and hydrating conditioner, this product is great for dry, heat-damaged hair.
● Olaplex No. 9: The last of Olaplex’s leave-in products, this helps to add shine and protect the hair when styling specifically with blow dryers or flat irons.
Ouai vs Olaplex
So which is better Ouai or Olaplex?Both of these brands make big promises to their customers, but let’s take a look at how they deliver in some of the most major consumer categories to see which one emerges as the most promising.
When it comes to their respective shampoos and conditioners, both brands are very similar when it comes to a cost per ounce ratio. Ouai offers all of theirs—besides the travel sizes—in 10 ounce bottles for $30, where Olaplex offers 8.5 ounces for the same price. That said, Ouai’s specialty hair care products, such as their scrubs and sprays, rank a little higher in price than Olaplex.
Overall, the difference is negligible enough across the board to make these pretty evenly matched in this category—so choosing the best product for your hair can take precedence over your budget.
Related post: Best Olaplex Dupes On The Market
Of course, both of these brands use quality ingredients—and it shows in reviews, testimonials, and consumer dedication to each. Ouai’s ingredients focus on simple, essential ingredients and incredible, transformative scents, whereas Olaplex prides itself on the nuanced, science-based composition of theirs. Though this doesn’t mean Ouai’s products are less effective or that Olaplex isn’t as widely accessible, it does mean your preference is what matters most when it comes to what’s in your bottles.
Another big difference between Olaplex and Ouai’s ingredients is that Olaplex’s entire brand uses the patented bond repairing technology to repair and prevent damage to hair. On the other hand, Ouai is focused on providing several lines of haircare for each individual hair type. In that sense, Ouai is more customizable to your specific hair type and hair concerns.
While Olaplex’s products are formulated for all hair types, many people (myself included) find many of their products to be too heavy for fine or thin hair. Their shampoo, conditioner and leave in bond building treatment, for example, always weigh my hair down and make it greasy.
One great thing about Ouai and Olaplex is that they are both vegan and cruelty-free products, as well as being phthalate, paraben, and sulfate-free. This means you can feel good about either choice from an ethical perspective.
Although both Ouai and Olaplex are high performers, there’s one thing that puts one of these two brands slightly ahead: individuality. Even though Olaplex offers solid results across the board, many of their products are meant to do the same thing. Ouai’s distinction between fine, medium, and thick hair means there’s a greater likelihood that you’ll find something that will work best for your specific type of hair.
Olaplex Shampoo Vs Ouai Shampoo
The true test of any shampoo’s claims is in how it makes your hair feel, look, and smell after just one use. Both of these brands seem to fare quite well in this department, but Olaplex may have the edge when it comes to their No. 4 Bonding Shampoo. This product has been a best-seller for years now, and its combination of repairing, strengthening, and smoothing benefits have made it a cult favorite.
Like mentioned above, Ouai’s shampoos, conditioners and treatment masks are split into three distinct categories based on hair type (thin, medium and thick). This means that you can pick a product that will be most tailored to your needs, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. Ouai’s Fine Hair Shampoo is one of their more popular products, and for good reason—it’s gentle enough for daily use, lathers well, and leaves hair feeling clean and soft.
While Ouai’s shampoo does not offer the repairing benefits of Olaplex’s, it is an incredible daily cleanser that will leave your hair looking and feeling its best!
Ouai Detox Shampoo Vs Olaplex
If you use a lot of styling products or dry shampoo, or your hair is feeling pretty greasy, detox shampoos can help to cleanse the hair from product build up, oils, and dirt. Both Ouai’s Detox Shampoo and Olaplex’s No. 4c Shampoo are great options to help keep your scalp and hair healthy.
Ouai’s Detox Shampoo uses apple cider vinegar to cleanse the hair of product build up, oils, dirt and hard water deposits. It’s formulated with keratin to help repair and strengthen hair.
Olaplex’s Clarifying Shampoo, on the other hand, uses their Broad-Spectrum Clarifying System to remove product buildup, excess oil, hard water minerals, chlorine, heavy metals, and pollution. It’s, of course, also formulated with their bond building technology so you get lots of repairing and strengthening action at the same time.
If you’re wanting a detox shampoo that also helps to repair and prevent damage, I would go with the Olaplex 4c. Otherwise, Ouai’s Detox Shampoo is the way to go. It never leaves my hair feeling stripped or greasy.
Olaplex Conditioner Vs Ouai Conditioner
Both of these brands’ conditioners follow a similar pattern: they’re each designed to work well with their own shampoo, but can also be used as a standalone product. Olaplex’s No. 5 Bonding Conditioner is meant to be used after the brand’s shampoo, and it does an excellent job of smoothing and detangling hair without weighing it down. Of course, like all of Olaplex’s products, you also get the added benefit of bond repairing with each use.
Ouai’s conditioners, on the other hand, can be used on their own or in conjunction with the brand’s shampoos—and each is designed specifically for one of the three hair types (fine, medium, thick). Ouai’s conditioners are also incredibly lightweight, which is perfect for those with fine hair that can’t handle anything too heavy. I for one, love a good conditioner that gives nice slip to the hair and leaves it feeling healthy and smooth without being heavy. And Ouai’s conditioners do just that!
While I love Olaplex’s No. 5 Conditioner, I find that it does make my hair greasier and I need to wash it more frequently when I use it. So, if you have fine hair like me, Ouai’s Fine Hair conditioner might be a better choice!
Olaplex No 3. Treatment Vs Ouai Treatment Mask
When it comes to hair treatments, both Olaplex and Ouai offer a variety of options designed to address specific issues. Of course, Olaplex’s No. 3 Treatment is the brand’s most iconic product and for good reason—it’s an at-home bond rebuilding treatment that can be used as often as once a week, and it really works! This treatment is perfect for repairing damaged hair, and it leaves your locks feeling softer and shinier with each use. The hype is real with this product.
Ouai’s treatment masks are incredibly formulated with goodies like shea butter, panthenol and keratin to hydrate, smooth and repair hair. While Olaplex’s treatment is a great option for those with damaged hair, I find that Ouai’s masks are better for overall hair health and maintenance. Plus, they smell amazing!
Of course, if you’re needing something that’s more repairing, Olaplex is the best way to go. For those who want a serious hair treatment and those that color, bleach and style your hair on the regular, Olaplex will undo all the damage.
Ouai Leave In Conditioner Vs Olaplex Bond Smoother
Both Ouai and Olaplex offer leave-in treatments that can be used on wet or dry hair. Olaplex’s No. 6 Bond Smoother is a leave-in cream designed to be used on damp hair, and it does an excellent job of taming frizz and flyaways while also protecting hair from heat damage. It gives such a smooth blowout and I love to use this product on day 5 or 6 hair when my hair is feeling a little dry and unruly.
Ouai’s Leave In Conditioner is another excellent option for those with frizzy hair, as it does an amazing job of smoothing and detangling. It has amazing ingredients like vitamin e, proteins and a blend of plant oils to nourish and strengthen hair. It never fails to make my hair feels super soft and hydrated.
While both of these products are incredible, I find that they can easily weigh my hair down – so if you have fine or thin hair, be sure to use these sparingly!
Olaplex Hair Oil Vs Ouai Hair Oil
Ouai and Olaplex both offer hair oils that can be used on wet or dry hair. Olaplex’s No. 7 Bonding Oil is a lightweight oil that can be used on damp or dry hair to add shine, tame frizz and flyaways, and protect hair from heat damage. It has sunflower seed oil, moringa seed oil and pomegranate seed oil to nourish and hydrate hair.
Ouai’s Hair Oil is another excellent option for those looking to add shine and tame frizz. It has a blend of African and Asian oils to nourish and protect hair, add shine and seal split ends. It’s packed with luxurious oils like moringa seed oil, borage oil, ama oil, plus tons of plant extracts and amino acids.
While you get the benefit of bond repairing in Olaplex’s oil, Ouai’s hair oil is much more hydrating and nourishing. When it comes to Ouai oil vs Olaplex oil, Ouai is the clear winner since it has more nourishing oils and plant extracts. If you have dry or brittle hair, Ouai’s oil is a better choice. Plus, like all their products, it smells amazing!
Ouai Vs Olaplex For Fine Hair
For those with fine hair, finding the perfect product to condition and revamp tired locks can be a challenge.
While Olaplex is made for all hair types, some of the products are just too heavy for fine or thin hair. I find whenever I use their shampoo, conditioner or leave in, my hair always feels heavy, weighed down and it gets greasy fast! Although I can use their oil, treatment and clarifying shampoo, I can’t reap all the benefits of using the whole line.
Ouai on the other hand, has some incredible products for fine and thin hair. Their shampoo cleanses my hair without leaving it feeling stripped. It feels light, bouncy and healthy. Their conditioner helps to instantly detangle and soften and the conditioning mask leaves my hair feeling brand new without weighing it down or making it look greasy.
When it comes to the Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo vs Olaplex, there’s really no comparison (at least for me). Ouai’s shampoo leaves my hair feeling soft, shiny and bouncy while Olaplex’s leaves my hair feeling weighed down and greasy.
Ouai Vs Olaplex: Pros & Cons
Before determining the ultimate verdict, here’s a quick pro/con list to sum up the big selling points and the not-so-desirable qualities of both brands:
● Caters to distinct hair types
● Slightly less expensive per fluid ounce
● The products smell incredible
● Phthalate, sulfate, and paraben-free
● Cruelty-free and vegan
● Their shampoo and conditioner distinctions are broad
● Ingredients are less science-based
● Doesn’t have a clear altruistic mission
● Uses a patented ingredient
● Repairs damage, split ends and breakage
● Phthalate, sulfate, and paraben-free
● Cruelty-free and vegan
● Suitable for all hair types
● Less tailored treatments
● Slightly more expensive per fluid ounce
● Fewer specialty products
● Fewer freebies and free shipping only on first order
Ouai Vs Olaplex Frequently Asked Questions
Asking the right questions about your products matters as well. Here are a few of the most popular questions people ask when it comes to the showdown between these two popular brands.
Do Ouai’s Distinctive Lines Make a Difference?
Although hair can’t always be categorized into a type, Ouai’s lines do make a difference when it comes to tailoring your products to what your hair needs. Most people know if they have fine, medium, or thick hair, making it easy to pick out a shampoo and conditioner pairing.
And picking out the right products for your hair is key to getting the best results. If you have fine hair, for example, and use a heavy conditioner meant for thick hair, your hair can end up greasy and weighed down.
Does Olaplex Really Work on All Hair Types?
Again, it’s rare when a product that claims it works for ‘all’ hair types actually does, but Olaplex comes very close. They focus on the science behind hair reparation which means that they don’t need to focus on a single hair type. This is a big selling point, especially for those with years of damage.
Which Brand Do Hairdressers Prefer?
Both of these lines are liked by hairdressers for different reasons, so it does depend on what your specific salon carries or caters to. Ouai is rumored to last longer (and not just because there’s more in the bottle), but Olaplex is a secret weapon for stylists who specialize in full repair treatments along with cuts and styling.
Is Ouai Good For Damaged Hair?
Ouai is a great brand for those with damaged hair. Their products help to strengthen, repair and prevent damage with tailored ingredients according to your specific hair type. Their products contain repairing ingredients like keratin and biotin, while nourishing the hair with oils to keep it healthy and strong. With shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, treatments and more, Ouai is a great brand for damaged hair.
Ouai Vs Olaplex: What’s the Verdict?
Overall, when it comes to the question of Ouai versus. Olaplex in hair care, it’s nearly neck and neck—which means the winner comes down to your specific needs and intuition. Ouai could be the easy winner if you’re enticed by enchanting scents and like the idea of catering to your fine or thick hair, while Olaplex could take the cake if you appreciate the scientific approach they take in crafting their products. Both brands carry great performers, focus on high quality, and are beloved by their users. Before choosing between them, ask yourself: “What does my hair need?”
When it comes to the Ouai Vs Olaplex battle, my pick is Ouai! Although I was once a die hard Olaplex fan, the luxurious scents and formulas of Ouai have won me over. Not to mention their detox shampoo and fine hair line have completely transformed my hair.