Last year I put the brand's colour care collection, which consists of a protective shampoo and a nourishing conditioner, through its paces. I'd tried plenty of high-end products in a bid to revive my bleached, heat-frazzled lengths, to no avail. Aldi's 85p shampoo, however? Nailed it. That's why I was intrigued to hear that the brand was set to launch a hair bonding collection into its UK stores, with nothing exceeding the £3.49 mark.
When I think of bonding, my mind goes straight to the brand that does hair repair best: Olaplex. Enlisting patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, the collection of products fuses broken bonds back together, making hair more resilient, soft and shiny. Lots of things can fracture the bonds in hair, including bleach and dye, as well as intense heat from styling tools.
Looking at Aldi's bond building range alongside Olaplex, the packaging is not too dissimilar. Fans of Olaplex might point out that the Lacura Bonded Shampoo and Conditioner, £3.49 each, resemble Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, £28, and No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, £28. There's also a Pre-Wash Hair Treatment, £3.49, which TikTokers say looks suspiciously like Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector, £28 — the bottle just as dainty. Unlike Olaplex, Aldi's bonding range does not contain the patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. Instead it enlists moisturising vitamin E and glycerin, hydrating hyaluronic acid and softening argan, castor and avocado oils.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that lots of people are cautious about dupes. There are a handful of reasons for this but the main one is that they are seen to copy or take elements from the work of others. On the flip side, cheaper options such as these make some beauty products attainable for those who might not have the money to buy them otherwise. With the cost of living at a high, it's key not to pass judgement on where people decide to drop their cash.
After a stint with bleach and blue hair dye last year, my hair has been in a bad way. Even after having it sliced into the trending 'Italian bob', the very tips of my dyed brown lengths are still parched. I'm also prone to frizz, particularly at the roots, and no amount of moisture works to lay those stray hairs flat. Having tried Olaplex's No.3 treatment, as well as the shampoo and conditioner, I was keen to see how Aldi's versions would match up.
A caveat, though. While I love Olaplex shampoo and conditioner, I could take or leave No.3. I don't find it makes much of a difference for me, personally, but I know it has legions of loyal fans worldwide. I much prefer Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, £26, and No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, £26, both of which transformed my dry hair.
Still, I picked up Aldi's Pre-Wash Treatment, which TikTokers say makes their hair incredibly soft. The star ingredients are nourishing jojoba oil and panthenol, which locks in moisture. I ran a dollop through damp lengths from root to tip and let it work its magic for 10 minutes before rinsing it out. As I ran my fingers through my wet hair, it felt pretty much the same as before. In all honesty, it's hard to tell whether it actually does much when you're using the shampoo and the conditioner alongside it. The bottle is also teeny tiny and I ended up using quite a bit to get through my thick lengths. Perhaps Aldi's version is better value for money but it doesn't contain Olaplex's proven bond-building ingredient. For that reason, I'd probably shelve this product. I'm also quite lazy when it comes to my hair and would most likely forget to do this pre-shampoo!
Next up, Lacura Bonded Shampoo. At £3.49 for 200ml it's a supermarket steal, and the sturdy bottle looked good in my shower caddy. I love that a small squeeze of this stuff is enough to lather up a treat, so much so that I decided to skip my usual second hair cleanse. My scalp and lengths felt satisfyingly clean and fresh but not stripped. When the suds had been rinsed away, each and every strand was silky soft, rather than squeaky or rough as can be the case with many shampoos. My only gripe is the fruity fragrance, which is very strong and made my eyes water. If you aren't super sensitive to perfumed products, don't let that put you off — this isn't a leave-on. Just ensure you rinse it out properly.
In my opinion, the real star of the show is Lacura Bonded Conditioner. It contains the same potent fragrance as the shampoo but that's its only downside. My hair usually gets tangled post-wash but this made it so easy to pull my fingers through thanks to a dream team of avocado and argan oils. I could tell my hair was going to look great during the rinse, as it felt so smooth. Lo and behold, I didn't need to use any heat on my hair to keep frizz at bay. The conditioner kept flyaways under control and imparted a shine that earned me a couple of compliments throughout the weekend. As you can see in the before and after pictures, my hair looks a little less frizzy and more manageable. Actually, I don't think it has felt this lovely in a long time, and I can't stop running my fingers through it.
TikTokers with heat-damaged, bleached and dyed hair are mostly obsessed with the Pre-Wash Treatment, which is already selling out in Aldi stores. But if you want my advice, you can't go wrong with the shampoo and conditioner. And if you have more of a budget and want to Olaplex? Nothing beats the Bond Intense Moisture Mask followed by the Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum.
All three of Aldi's hair products, plus the new Lacura Perfect Proof Extreme Clean Dry Shampoo, £2.99, are available to buy in store. As always, we predict a sellout, so you might want to bring forward that weekly shop...
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