I Tried The Cheaper, High Street Version Of Olaplex – This Is My Verdict

As an unnatural blonde with a penchant for curling tongs, it's fair to say that my haircare routine consists of one major thing: damage control. Having topped up my balayage for several years now, I've tried everything in the book, from heated oil treatments to irregular washing, all in the name of keeping those tresses silky smooth, shiny and strong.
As per most good salons, the optional Olaplex treatment has saved my hair time and time again, as has INNOluxe V2, which strengthens hair on the inside while keeping it glossy on the outside. Olaplex's No.3 Hair Perfector is available as an at-home treatment, which means you can top up between colour appointments. It's £26 for a 100ml bottle, though, and while it gets good reviews, if you're clumsy and prone to spillages, or if your hair is more damaged than average, it's not that cost-effective. I also was tempted by the Olaplex shampoo and conditioner, but those alone total nearly £50.
So when Knight and Wilson's PurePlex Revolutionary Hair Repair System, available at Superdrug, landed on my desk, I was intrigued. The four-step treatment costs just £12.99, and the reviews online are nothing short of glowing. In fact, I've heard reviewers likening the treatment's smoothing and repairing properties to Olaplex, just without the price tag or having to book a salon appointment. So, several months since my last colour and with my hair well and truly frazzled from this summer's heatwave, I tried the treatment, hoping it would breathe some much-needed life into my locks.
First up, I wet my hair before using Step 1, the Clarifying Shampoo, which is a fun foamy texture and smelled great. Rinsing it out, my hair felt so parched I began to worry, but I went onto Step 2, hoping it was simply stripping my hair of all the nasties that had built up since my last hair appointment. The Bond Repairing Treatment was watery and scent-free, and went onto my rinsed and towel-dried hair for five minutes.
I towel-dried my hair - without rinsing off Step 2 - and applied the Bond Reconstructing Treatment, a hair mask with a thicker, nourishing consistency. I left it on for 30 minutes – the recommended time is 15 minutes, but I always leave on for longer so I can feel the full effects – before rinsing and applying Step 4, the Conditioner. I like my conditioner thick and fragrant, perhaps to trick myself into thinking it's pumping hydration into my ends, but this one was milky and felt less beneficial. I washed my hair a final time and let it air dry, as I normally do.
When I stepped out of the shower and brushed my hair, it did feel soft, silky, smooth – all the good things the haircare industry promises for your tresses – so I had high hopes. Alas, dear reader, when it dried I noticed no difference. I used the brand's PurePlex Bond Reconstructing Shampoo and Conditioner over the next week in the hope that they would support the treatment, but again, they felt no better than any other duo I've trialled in the past.
That said, when it comes to damage control, everyone has a different experience of various products and treatments. While you and I may be equally fond of heat styling or have the same colour techniques applied every six months, because our hair isn't the same thickness, natural strength, texture or volume, a treatment that works for me, might not work for you. Or, in this case, a treatment that works for 58 reviewers on Superdrug's site – who gave the product 4.5 stars – might not work for me.
For now, I'll be sticking with my in-salon treatments, skipping conditioner and instead using a hair mask every other day (a tip recommended to me by Not Another Salon's Sophia Hilton), and trying to steer clear of those curling tongs...
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