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

Olaplex Journey To Success

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. 

Check out our blog Olaplex vs Ouai: Differences, Similarities & Which One Is Right For You. Your locks deserve the best, and we’ve got the scoop!

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. 

Using Olaplex No.3 helps strengthen and revitalize your hair, making it a must-have for maintaining healthy and beautiful locks.


Olaplex no 2 and Olaplex No.3, both integral parts of the Olaplex system, share a common goal: to repair and strengthen hair. They are formulated to address issues related to damaged, over-processed, or compromised hair, effectively restoring its health and vitality. Additionally, Olaplex number 2 and Olaplex number 3 are suitable for at-home use, ensuring you can continue your hair repair journey between salon visits.


While Olaplex No.2 and No.3 share similarities, they have some key distinctions. Olaplex No.2 is typically found in salons and used by professionals as a more concentrated, in-salon treatment. In contrast, Olaplex No.3 is designed for home use and comes in a less concentrated form. The primary role of Olaplex No.2 is intensive repair during salon services. At the same time, Olaplex No.3 is a maintenance product that continues the repair process at home, ensuring your hair stays in optimal condition between salon appointments.


In the Olaplex battle of No.2 vs. No.3, the choice largely depends on your specific needs and where you intend to use them. Olaplex No.2 is the go-to solution for salon professionals, offering a highly concentrated formula for intensive, in-salon treatments. It’s perfect for those seeking immediate and powerful repair for severely damaged hair.

On the other hand, Olaplex No.3, known as the “hair perfector,” is your at-home companion. It provides consistent, maintenance-level repair to keep your hair healthy between salon visits. While Olaplex No.3 is not as potent as No.2, it’s a crucial part of the Olaplex system, ensuring your hair remains strong, vibrant, and less prone to damage. Therefore, the best choice is to use both No.2 and No.3 to maintain and rejuvenate your hair for the ultimate hair care routine.

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Home Use

Which Version Suits You?

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. Handling Olaplex No.2 requires professional training to ensure its safe and practical application, making it exclusively suitable for salon use.

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. 


Olaplex No.2 and Olaplex No.3, despite their distinct purposes and usage settings, share some fundamental similarities. Both are products from the renowned Olaplex brand, celebrated for their hair-strengthening abilities. They aim to repair and fortify hair, ensuring it remains healthy and resilient. These products are designed to work from within the hair’s structure, addressing issues like damage, breakage, and frizziness. Moreover, Olaplex No.2 and No.3 are suitable for various hair types and concerns, making them versatile solutions for individuals seeking to improve the condition of their locks.


While Olaplex No.2 and Olaplex No.3 share common objectives, their differences lie in their concentration and recommended usage. Olaplex No.2 is typically reserved for professional salons due to its potent formulation. This product contains a high concentration of active ingredients that require expert application. In contrast, Olaplex No.3, aptly named the “Hair Perfector,” is designed for home use. It offers a more user-friendly application method, allowing individuals to incorporate it into their regular hair care routine. Olaplex No.3, available in a convenient take-home format, empowers users to proactively care for their hair without needing salon visits or professional assistance.


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. 

In conclusion, Olaplex No.3 is the go-to choice for a regular, at-home hair care routine, recommended for weekly use to maintain hair health.

Read our blog Olaplex vs Moroccan Oil: Different Benefits, Drawbacks & More. Embark on a journey to better hair with our Olaplex vs Moroccan Oil comparison.

Olaplex 2 Vs Olaplex 3 for Colored Hair

Olaplex: Your Ultimate Color Lock and Key

Both Olaplex products help protect and manage colored hair well. However, there are some slight differences depending on the type of colouring you’re going for. Olaplex products excel in their ability to protect and manage coloured hair effectively. However, the choice between them may be influenced by the specific type of colouring you’re aiming for. Whether you’re going for a vibrant fashion shade or a subtle, natural look, understanding these distinctions can help you make an informed decision that ensures your coloured hair stays stunning and healthy.


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

Ageless Beauty

As hair ages, it loses some of its natural luster and resilience. Both Olaplex No.2 and Olaplex No.3 can work wonders for aging hair. They are versatile products designed to enhance the inner proteins of your hair, promoting a smoother and more luxurious look. Whether you have mature hair or you’re just looking for preventative care, these Olaplex treatments can help maintain the vitality and resilience of your locks. They are not explicitly age-restricted and can benefit anyone seeking healthier, more vibrant 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. By incorporating Olaplex into your hair care routine, you can help rejuvenate and revitalize aging hair, making it smoother and more luxurious, regardless of age.


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

No Time? No Problem!

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 No.2 and Olaplex No.3 offer practical solutions for quick hair treatment. They are formulated to repair and strengthen your hair, especially when short on time. These products work to rebuild broken hair bonds, leaving your locks looking healthier and shinier. Whether you choose No.2 or No.3, you can enjoy the convenience of a swift treatment that yields remarkable results.


The primary difference between Olaplex No.2 and No.3 regarding quick treatments is the concentration. No.2 is the more concentrated salon version, which requires a shorter application time. Professionals usually administer it and offer a rapid and intense treatment. On the other hand, No.3, designed for home use, is slightly less concentrated and should be left on the hair for a more extended period. While both are effective, No.2 delivers quicker results in a salon environment, whereas No.3 offers the convenience of an at-home treatment.


If you’re seeking swift and potent hair treatment in a salon, Olaplex No.2 is your best choice. Its high concentration allows for a shorter application time, making it ideal for a rapid and robust remedy. On the other hand, Olaplex No.3 is a great option for home use, offering the convenience of a more extended treatment duration to achieve similar, though slightly slower, results. Your choice ultimately depends on whether you prefer a salon treatment or the ease of an at-home routine.

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. 


Olaplex No.2 and Olaplex No.3 can be convenient travel companions for those who prioritize hair care. They come in compact packaging, making them easy to stow in your travel bag or luggage. Additionally, they offer excellent hair repair benefits, ensuring your locks stay healthy even during your adventures.


The primary difference lies in the application and concentration. Olaplex No.2 is typically administered by salon professionals, making it less suitable for travel due to the need for expertise and specific application processes. In contrast, Olaplex No.3 is designed for home use and offers a more straightforward application, making it a practical choice for travellers looking to maintain their hair’s health while moving.


For travel purposes, Olaplex No.3 is the clear winner. Its user-friendly application and compact packaging make it a hassle-free addition to your travel essentials. While Olaplex No.2 is an excellent salon treatment, it’s less convenient for travel due to its specialized application requirements. So, if you plan to keep your hair in top condition during your journeys, Olaplex No.3 is the way to go.


Achieve Hair Perfection in Days

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use Olaplex 3 without using Olaplex 2?

Indeed, you can use Olaplex No.3 without needing Olaplex No.2. The two products have distinct purposes within the Olaplex system. Olaplex No.3 is crafted for personal, at-home usage, allowing you to uphold and mend your hair’s well-being. It caters to a wide range of users and doesn’t require a professional’s touch. Conversely, Olaplex No.2 is generally employed in salon settings by experts and is designed for something other than personal use.

How often should I use Olaplex 3?

To keep your hair in excellent condition, it’s usually recommended to use Olaplex No.3 once a week. Incorporating it into your routine on a weekly basis can help maintain and improve the health and strength of your hair. However, if you have specific hair care needs or have received guidance from a professional stylist, they may suggest a different usage frequency tailored to your unique situation. Always follow personalized advice when available.

Can Olaplex 2 be used on its own?

Olaplex No.2 is typically meant for professional use and is applied by hairstylists during salon treatments. It’s highly concentrated and should only be used at home with professional guidance. Using it alone is not recommended due to its potency and the potential risks. It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines and consult with a licensed hairstylist for the appropriate application of Olaplex No.2.

Can Olaplex 3 be left overnight?

Olaplex No.3 can be left overnight as a hair treatment. Applying it to damp, towel-dried hair and leaving it overnight can give it more time to work its magic. However, it’s also effective when left on for a shorter period, such as 10-30 minutes, depending on your hair’s condition and preference. Always follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.

Can Olaplex 3 repair severely damaged hair?

Certainly, Olaplex No.3 is designed to work on repairing and strengthening hair, and it can be quite effective for hair that’s moderately damaged. However, Olaplex No.3 alone might not offer a complete solution for hair that’s severely damaged. In such instances, it’s a good idea to consult a professional hairstylist or consider using Olaplex No.2, often used in salons for more intensive repair.

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