From reality TV stars to Hollywood actresses, top salons to celebrity hairdressers, people can’t get enough of Olaplex, the hair care brand that offers salon treatments and home products that rebuild and repair damaged hair for the silkiest, smoothest strands.
Using smart science to actively rebuild broken bonds in the hair structure, it’s a miracle worker for anyone with coloured, over-styled or heat-damaged hair. Margot Robbie, Khloe Kardashian and Hayley Hughes all count themselves as fans, while Olivia Bowen reveals she would regularly get Olaplex treatments in the salon and Vicky Pattison calls the products “game changers”.
The two-step in-salon treatment can set you back between £25-£50, but the follow-up home products aren’t cheap either – the pre-wash treatment, No.3 Hair Perfector, which is designed to top up the salon results, costs £26 for just 100ml (two or three uses), while steps four and five, the shampoo and conditioner, cost £26 each for 250ml bottles.
Fortunately, we’ve found a cheaper alternative. Knight & Wilson PurePlex collection offers a hair repair regime that sounds a lot like the famous salon brand.
And the similarities don’t just end with “plex” in the name. Both brands rebuild bonds, and both have a shampoo, a conditioner and a treatment in their range.
The big difference, however, comes at the checkout. The PurePlex Bond Reconstructing Shampoo and Conditioner cost £6.99 each here – less than a third of the price of Olaplex’s, for bottles almost the same size. The PurePlex Revolutionary Hair Repair System comes in at a reasonable £12.99, available from Superdrug and Boots.
But are these bargain alternatives a good replacement for the original? OK!’s beauty editor Laura Mulley puts them both to the test…
As a beauty editor with hair that has been consistently bleached for over 15 years, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never tried Olaplex before. However, with locks that are long overdue a trip to the salon, I’m keen to try any hair product that promises professional results. As Olaplex is expensive however, I was curious to see if these other “plex” products had the same effect.
I used the Olaplex pre-wash treatment, shampoo then conditioner, and I could immediately see what all the fuss was about. My brush glided through my normally knotty, tangled hair like a hot knife through butter, and once dry, my hair fell in a soft, swishy curtain but didn’t feel lank or weighed down, like it does after some conditioning treatments. I didn’t inspect my hair up close for repaired damage, but it all certainly felt a whole lot healthier.
The first difference between Olaplex and Knight & Wilson’s treatments is the application method. Olaplex is a pre-wash mask that you leave on for 10-20 minutes. A minor faff, but fine when you’ve got a little extra time.
The PurePlex one, however, is to be used after shampoo and before conditioner. It consists of two products: a watery Bond Protecting Treatment, which you apply for five minutes before rinsing and following with a Bond Reconstructing Treatment cream, which is to be left for another 15 minutes. All in all it adds another half an hour on to your hair-washing routine, and several trips in and out of the shower.
The results were good – my hair did feel healthy and strong, and the Reconstructing Treatment left a lovely smell – but it wasn’t quite such an instant transformation.
I would be happy to use the PurePlex shampoo and conditioner in my normal hair-washing routine, but would probably give the Hair Repair System a miss. For hair in need of serious repair, though, it’s clear why Olaplex is a favourite among celebs.