Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3: Differences, Similarities & Which One Is Right For You

If you have dyed or bleached hair, it can leave your hair feeling dry and prone to breakages. Depending on the color or brand that you use, your color may also fade after a few washes. 

Coloring your hair, especially as you get older, can be a necessity. So, it’s important that you maintain the health and shine of your hair while keeping your beautiful color vibrant. 

Olaplex is a salon-recommended haircare brand to help you keep your hair looking young, sleek, and healthy.

They offer a couple of products that work amazingly, but which one to choose when it comes to two of the best, Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3? 

Olaplex Brief History

The Olaplex brand was originally founded by Dean Christal, who enlisted the help of scientists to determine a formula that wouldn’t just make hair look smoother and sleeker on the surface, but would penetrate into the hair strands internally, bonding damage and strengthening the hair to make it healthier. 

The team came up with a 9-product regime to help all types of hair recover from the stresses and strains of daily life. This includes coloring, styling, and weather damage. Two of these steps are in-salon-only treatments currently.

However, the other 7 are available for commercial selling. Most salons actively recommend and use Olaplex products, even the ones available for home use. 

Olaplex 2 & Olaplex 3 In General

  • Olaplex uses Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate to repair the hair from the inside out, restoring the structure and making it stronger. 
  • It works to repair environmental and heat damage caused by curling irons, straighteners or UV rays. 
  • It’s a salon recommended treatment to recover from the chemical effects of hair dye and bleaching.
  • Its conditioning properties leave the hair smooth and sleek removing the knots for easy brushing. 
  • It is not a conditioner as it works to strengthen the hair internally, rather than moisturizing the surface. You should still condition your hair after using either of these Olaplex products. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 

Olaplex No.2 is known as the ‘bond perfector’ and is designed specifically for salon use because of its higher concentration.

If you aren’t a professional, you could leave the treatment on the hair for too long, and you can have too much of a good thing. 

The extra chemicals in this also mean that it’s not as safe to be stored in homes with children. 

The Olaplex No.2 should be used after a shampoo and color treatment as a leave-in, deep conditioner. It can be left in the hair for up to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

It aims to repair the proteins in your hair, so you come away with sleek, healthy-looking locks. 

The Olaplex No.3 is a home treatment. Though it is often used in salons too. It’s known as the ‘hair perfector.’

It’s made to be used as the first step in any home treatment by applying to damp hair before the shampooing stage.

The Olaplex No.3 is the base for everything to come and is a step that you shouldn’t miss out on and is the less concentrated version of the Olaplex No.2. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Home Use

Olaplex No.2 isn’t sold for home use because of its 525 ml large bottle filled with concentrated protein bonding chemicals. If this was swallowed it could have some incredibly dangerous effects. 

However, the Olaplex No.3 is a slightly less concentrated 100 ml bottle of the same solution, which is much safer for home use.

It’s designed to be applied to the hair before shampooing (just a few teaspoons to be combed through the full length of the hair).

You should leave it there for approximately 10 minutes before rinsing off the continuing with your normal hair care regime. 


It’s recommended to use the Olaplex No.3 once per week to maintain hair health. However, the salon Olaplex No.2 can be used less often because of its higher concentration and longer rest time, so once every 6 weeks would work. 

Although the No.3 needs to be used more often, it’s an easy treatment to maintain in a simple routine and isn’t as risky to keep around the house when it comes to chemicals. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Colored Hair

Both Olaplex products help protect and manage colored hair well. However, there are some slight differences depending on the type of coloring you’re going for. 


Both Olaplex No.2 and Olaplex No.3 work to perfect and maintain the bonding and condition of your hair after coloring.

This reduces split ends that are caused by the chemicals in hair dye or bleach and restores hair health after in-salon-colored treatment.

Both products are a leave-in solution that reaches deep into the hair structure and strengthens the proteins to help keep your hair smooth and your color lasting longer. 

It’s a fact that color actually fades more quickly on unhealthy hair, as the proteins don’t lock in the color as securely.

Therefore, you’ll typically see hair fading more quickly on people who home-dye their hair in comparison to treated, salon-died hair. 


The Olaplex No.2 is for in-salon use only due to the professional knowledge required when applying it.

If you’re going for an all-over new color, especially if this requires you to bleach your hair first, then it’s recommended to go to a salon and receive the Olaplex No.2. 

If you’re going for a brand-new color, especially if the color is hugely different from your natural tone, it’s essential to prepare your hair to absorb the color first. This will mean it’ll last a little longer. 

On the other hand, if you’re completing a box-dye treatment at home just to refresh the color that you already have, or if you’re trying to put in some highlights at home, then the Olaplex No.3 might be the better choice.

The Olaplex No.3 is designed for shorter, but more frequent treatments and is safe for home use without any professional knowledge.

Because the No.3 is less concentrated, it may mean that your hair fades slightly faster.

However, if you’re not too far away from your natural color, or just have highlights, then the fading shouldn’t be that noticeable anyway and you’ll still achieve the same smoothness and healthy look that the No.2 does. 


For color, it entirely depends on what type of color you intend to use. 

If you have a color that’s far away from your natural color or require a bleach treatment first, then Olaplex No.2 is the way to go.

It is more intense and means that it can help repair the damage of bleach and help to absorb the color a little more, so your roots don’t show. 

If you’re doing a simple box-dye or highlight color at home, then Olaplex No.3 is the way to go. It doesn’t require professional knowledge and maintains the quality of your color without having to go to the salon. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Aging Hair

Olaplex products can be used on hair of all ages. It’s intended to strengthen the inner proteins of the hair to give a smoother and more luxurious appearance. 


Both No.2 and No.3 are great for giving the hair that extra shine and strengthening it from the inside to stop breakages.

These breakages can occur on older hair, as it dries out and becomes more brittle, but also on younger hair if it’s regularly styled using hot irons or curlers. 


The Olaplex No.2 is a much more concentrated product that requires more time on the hair to soak in and do its job. It’s used in the salon only so is best for people who have regular hair dye treatments or salon visits. 

The No.3 is much easier to use and has a faster turnaround, so it can be completed at home.

However, if you’re a regular hair dyer and need to dye the hair and complete this treatment often, it can be a little time-consuming to achieve the same effect. 


On older, dryer hair, it might be a good idea to use both products. This is to maintain the moisture in the hair and stop it from becoming brittle.

However, if you regularly style your hair, then the No.3 is a good option to stick with as you will use it more often, meaning your hair can maintain the younger look for longer. 

Because the No.2 should only be used in-salon once every 4-6 weeks, it may mean that your hair starts to lose its healthy look toward the end of this period. 

On younger hair, either product should work just fine. However, you might not want to use both in quick succession as it may make your hair look greasy (although there’s no greasy texture there).

If you’re using both, skip the No.3 on the week that you have your No.2 in-salon treatment. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for a Quick Treatment

If you have a busy life on the go, the Olaplex No.2 is the best option for you. Although it does require slightly longer on the hair than the Olaplex No.3, it is used less frequently.

You could spend an hour at the salon once per month in this case to achieve that perfect look and shine. 

However, the No.3 treatment, although it’s a faster turnaround time for each treatment, requiring on 10 minutes on the hair, you will need to do this much more frequently.

This, with the rinsing and washing afterward could take much longer collectively than a single treatment. 

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Travel

Unless you prebook at a salon, you won’t be able to continue with an Olaplex No.2 treatment if you’re a frequent traveler as it’s not available in stores. 

However, the No.3 can be picked up at most drug stores and can be carried out wherever you go. It’s also a much smaller bottle, so it’s ideal for carrying with you in your luggage. 


Both the Olaplex No.2 and No.3 are excellent products to help you achieve a flawless, healthy shine to your hair. 

Overall, neither product is labeled as ‘better.’ It simply depends on your circumstances.

The best solution, if you have particularly damaged, broken, or aging hair, is to complete a few courses of the No.2 treatment, then switch to the in-home No.3 option to save yourself a little money. 

To enjoy the full effects, a monthly No.2 treatment, then 3 weeks of No.3 treatment will achieve maximum results. 

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