You have probably heard the buzz on the latest technology available to you or your hairstylist... The bond builders. More specifically B3 Brazilian Bond Builder and Olaplex. These two seem to be the most heard of bond builders and most seen used by beloved Instagram sensations such as @hairgodzito and @guytang among the many others... So what's the hype? How does it work and how do you choose between the two. I decided to take matters into my own hands instead of trusting Internet research so here we go. Let's start with what they do... According to the B3 website.
Sounds pretty awesome right? Here is what Olaplex has to say about their product...
To break it down for you all basically the bond builders let you push your color service further by rebuilding the bonds you break during your color service. This goes from the cuticle to the cortex of the hair making your hair healthier and your color last longer...
Next let's cover cost. B3 is $250 for a bottle that delivers 68-134 applications depending on how much you use. Each service requires a different amount of B3 and the instructions are given to you on the bottle. They recommend charging 10%-15% up charge on your color service depending on your market area. Now Olaplex is $198 for one bottle of No.1 and two bottles of No.2 delivering around 70 applications. They say to charge $20 and up for the service. They also recommend a No.3 which is $14 cost and retails for $28, you can add it in to your up charge or sell it for retail. Ok now that we have dollars and cents out of the way let's talk about my experience.
Here is my disclaimer... I don't work or am not affiliated with either of these companies so you are getting 100% honesty from me one this.
My model has had a lot of stuff done on her hair and has been previously lightened so if pushing the envelope is what they say it can do that's what I wanted to do for her. She had coral orange level 7 roots and yellow to platinum ends. My application was L'Oreal Professional studio bleach with 30vol cream developer and 1/4oz B3 as recommended for an all over bleach. I however wanted to use the heat of the foils and dryer and foiled her whole head starting in the back. Holy smokes this girl had a ton of hair and it took me about two hours taking thin slices to provide back to back foils. Processed for 15-20 under heat and shampooed toning with a mix of 9v+9b+9p. We got her pretty light and close to platinum which is what she wants but I knew we would have to have another go.
Now here are the pros and cons... PROS one step process, I still had to up the developer 10vol as instructed but there was only one step which was nice. CONS I had to use a ton of B3 for this girl. The mixing ratio for bleach is one part bleach to two parts developer and 1/4oz B3. I think I used around 1.5 oz when all was said and done. Also her hair was still cotton candy on the ends like fried and felt like I didn't add anything to the color. Now would it have been worse if I did it without? Probably but I expected little to no damage to be honest. Still my client left happy and knew I would want her back in my chair two weeks later for part 2..
Model came in with her baby so I decided to speed up the process and me and my colleague Alexia Bernal tag teamed her. This time we used the same bleach L'Oreal Professional studio bleach with 30vol. To be fair to B3 I used the same ratio one part bleach to two parts developer and 30vol to up my developer 10vol as instructed by Olaplex. I added in 1/4 oz Olaplex No.1 to my bleach. It still took us 4 bowls of bleach for the entire head but the consistency was not as thick as with the B3. We spot bleached her, pulling out over damaged blondes and weaving out yellow parts. This time we started in the front since that was the darkest part of her hair. We still did back to back foils but only tried to hit the warm parts left over from the last process. Placed her under the dryer for 20min then put her in the shampoo bowl and whatever parts were sticking out of the foils we hit with a Olaplex stand alone treatment of 3oz water and 1/2oz Olaplex in a bottle applicator. Let that sit on for 30min then rinsed really well. I then put 6t Shades Eq on the base of the hair to give a smokey root and pulled through Pravava silver mixed with conditioner on the mid shaft to ends. Now if I were to do this again I would put the Pravava and conditioner on first then the Shades. Why? Because the shades took to porous areas of her hair and gave me a bit of spotting. Nothing you can see but I'm a perfectionist. But I'm also honest with myself and human so we make mistakes and learn from them. We then rinsed and then applied the No.2 after towel drying hair and let it sit on for 10min recommended for over damaged hair. Finally we rinsed, shampooed and conditioned per the instructions. We were left with a beautiful icy platinum blonde with some silvery smokey roots. We were also left with a very happy client.
Ok now the pros and cons... PROS her hair felt amazing!!! So much better then the B3 and what I was expecting from one of these treatments. It was still a little sticky but it felt amazing for having been the second process. CONS holy cow this took forever. Not the application but the after party at the shampoo bowl. Having to let the No.1 and No.2 sit on a total of 20 minutes plus the toner I felt like she was at the shampoo bowl way too long.
Over all I used the same amount of product on each application. The cost is comparable depending on the service you are doing. I was against Olaplex because I didn't like that I had to up the developer and process time and this experiment changed my mind. I think even though it took way longer to do it the fact that the hair was left in such an amazing condition after the second process gave me a new outlook on the product. I'm not loosing hope on B3 I'll still try it again and maybe in different circumstances. I would like to see if it actually helps your hair color last longer? Stay tuned maybe that will be my next blog post. I hope this post helps stylist or clients out who have been flip flopping between these two bond builders! I was happy to put the time, blood sweat and tears in for you folks! Until next time this is Christine Watanabe signing off.