You know the spiel by now— bleaching and colouring, heat styling, chemical straightening and perming, and even environmental aggressors can all take a toll on your hair.
If you have dry, brittle strands that are prone to breakage and split ends, then you’re definitely going to want to start incorporating some bond-building products into your routine in order to bring your hair back from the brink.
What is a bond builder and why do you need one?
Our hair is made up of bonds that break down over time from all the stressors we were just talking about, so you need a bond-building treatment (or more than one) to get deep into the hair shaft and rebuild the bonds. A lot of these treatments will also seal the hair cuticle, which raises when damaged, to leave you with smoother and softer hair.
What is the best bond-building treatment?
It needs no introduction. The most well-known bond builder on the market comes from Olaplex. Their huge range of treatments and styling products are loved by professionals and amateurs everywhere—and by us, of course! It’s also what you’ll usually be offered along with your salon services to ensure you leave with your silkiest hair ever.
However, it's no secret that Olaplex can be a little on the pricier side, especially when using it as part of an everyday hair care routine to maintain results. So we’ve rounded up a load of Olaplex alternatives on the market at all price points that do a great job at fortifying your strands. Whether you're happy to splurge, want to bag a bargain or simply embark on a quest to find the best bond-builder for you, we have a variety of Olaplex dupes to choose from.
Healthy hair is on the horizon!
Olaplex No. 3 Bond Perfector Dupes
Olaplex aren't the only ones with high-tech bond-building ingredients. Enriched with peptides and algae, this booster from Goldwell uses an Inter-Amino Bond-Builder to form new ionic and hydrogen bonds in your hair, plus a MicroPROtec Complex to prevent your hair colour from fading.
Um, just one use of this innovative treatment and 98.6% of split ends are sealed? Yes, please!
It also protects your hair from further damage by forming a shield around each strand that lasts up to three washes and protects against UV rays, pollution and heat styling. Plus, enjoy the softening and shine-enhancing benefits of hydrolysed oat protein.
Use this Olaplex dupe once a week in the shower after shampooing to fortify your hair against future damage, smooth the cuticle and reverse signs of breakage. As it rebuilds your weakened bonds, you'll see shiny and soft results.
Dupes for Olaplex No. 4 and No. 5 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and Conditioner
The bond care complex in this sulphate-free shampoo reinforces your weakened bonds and balances the hair's pH to combat damage from colouring, styling and even hard water.
Used together with the funky hair brand's matching Bond Restoring Shampoo, this BLEACH LONDON conditioner reduces breakage by up to 68%, while also repairing bonds and preventing damage. Amino acids and hydrogenated castor oil gives your hair strength and softness, and it's all cruelty-free and vegan to boot.
Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil Dupes
A weightless and reparative oil just like Olaplex's No. 7, the K18 uses the same patented peptide as all its products to treat the hair's innermost layer to reverse damage, frizz and split ends. It also contains avocado oil, sunflower oil, hemisqualane and squalane to nourish the hair's surface and add plenty of shine and vibrancy.
While not a bond builder, this strengthening oil from Mielle Organics enriches the hair with natural ingredients and 30 essential oils no matter your hair type. Use it daily for treating split ends or a stimulating scalp massage; it makes the perfect companion to any of the bond-building products on this list!
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask Dupes
Probably the most well-known alternative to Olaplex, K18 has plenty of bond-repairing products enriched with their patented K18PEPTIDE that will give you mind-blowing results. We love this mask, which only needs four minutes to repair heat, environmental and chemical damage for smoother, bouncier and more hydrated hair.
It only takes 60 seconds to strengthen your hair against breakage and split ends while also sealing your hair cuticles for ultimate softness. It forms new ion and hydrogen bonds with its Inter-Amino Bond-Builder and MicroProTec Complex and even minimises colour loss.
A great companion to the Osmo CHROMAPLEX No. 1, this Bond Sustainer is similar to Olaplex's No. 3 treatment and can be used twice a week as a mask to maintain the results of the Osmo No. 1. It continues to link broken bonds in your hair, sustaining its softness, strength and shine.
Olaplex No. 9 Nourishing Hair Serum Alternatives
Use this Aveda overnight serum to repair all three layers of the hair and reduce the appearance of split ends by 84%. Nangai oil powers this deeply renewing serum, absorbing into the cortex for stronger, healthier hair.
You'll also love this oil-serum combo, which transforms damaged hair instantly with a super high concentration of Bumble and bumble's Honey Bond-Building Complex. The lightweight treatment and styling product also gives you plenty of hydration, detangles the hair, reduces frizz and even offers heat protection.
Incorporating some of these bond-building formulas into your haircare routine will ultimately leave locks soft, silky and salon-worthy. Want to banish breakage for good? Check out How to Fix Damaged Hair: The Ultimate Repair Routine plus 7 Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Hair Bonnet.
Written by Gabriella Buckner
Gabriella is a junior content writer with a background in creative writing, content marketing and journalism. She’s passionate about all things makeup and skincare, but especially vegan and cruelty-free beauty that is effective and inexpensive.