K18 vs Olaplex

It may seem suspicious when the public started hyping up K18 against an established brand like Olaplex. But the hype can be overwhelming to resist, and it might have a grain of truth to it after all.

“Can I switch to K18 now?” Or even, “Can I use Olaplex and K18 together?” These may be questions you need answers to ASAP. No worries! This article spills the tea about this battle. 

So read on and decide for yourself. 


Is there anything better than Olaplex?

Is there anything better than Olaplex

When something works for you, sometimes it can be difficult to even glance at the new kid on the block trying to say they can do better than what you have. Especially if what you have is Olaplex.

Olaplex consists of a patented system that repairs broken disulfide bonds through the chemical bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. In healthy hair, these bonds provide a sturdy link in and between your keratin chains, making your hair strong and elastic. 

Olaplex has discovered a chemical that can hold the disulfide bond together, like an artificially extended bridge, if it gets broken. Given that most people like heat styling, bleaching, coloring, and activities under the sun, these bonds eventually break from stress, resulting in frizz, brittleness, and split ends.

With their patented chemical, your hair gets temporary rejuvenation instead of launching into full damaged mode. 

Here’s where cosmetic science pulls another impressive feat. What can do better than an artificial bridge? Well, of course, a real bridge.

And K18 promises that. 

K18 consists of a patented technology that does not use a chemical to connect broken disulfide bonds. Instead, it uses biomimetic peptide technology. 

Yes, it sounds fancy, but more than that, it is highly effective. This technology sprung from ten years of studying the building blocks of keratin.

And the true stunner? It works for every hair type. 

While K18 seems to lead more theoretically, Olaplex also has its advantages, which earned it a loyal following. 


Which is better: Olaplex or K18?

It’s best to dive into what each one brings to the table so the battle of K18 peptide vs. Olaplex becomes clearer. 

For that, you need to get acquainted with amino acids.

A disulfide bond is a bond between two cysteines— an amino acid. A keratin chain includes a lot of amino acids, but cysteines are special among all of them since they form this disulfide bond which provides structural integrity to your keratin. 

With Olaplex, you provide an artificial bridge for broken disulfide bonds. But this bridge has two specific weaknesses: (1) the patented chemical contains an ionic bond, and (2) it only connects disulfide bonds.

The first part is problematic since highly alkaline products like your regular shampoo can wash away the part of the chemical with an ionic bond. In other words, your bridge might fall apart. 

The second part’s problem lies in the fact that when a hair gets damaged, it’s not only disulfide bonds that get broken. The entire keratin structure unravels. Remember the other amino acids? They need restoration too.

K18 solves these two problems with its peptide technology. Their products introduce a sequence of 18 amino acids with enough cysteine composition— a peptide chain— to mimic the hair’s keratin. 

The trick? The peptide chain incorporates itself into the keratin structure like it is an actual part of it. Your hair forms a real bridge and reverses the damage without needing outside help. 

The idea that you can ditch many repair products for a bottle of K18 is appealing. It also creates an environment-friendly system since you won’t require more products, equating to less waste.

Now that you know about K18, here are pointers to gauge how it fares against Olaplex. 

First, they both strengthen and repair, albeit differently. Olaplex is an excellent home-based choice since people can take their time with it, while K18 is for those who want a speedy recovery and are in dire condition. 

Olaplex has more products offered than K18. 

While the more comprehensive selection may confuse others, it’s great for some who want to invest in a brand fully. Their entire collection ensures your hair restoration starts from the shower and even down to styling.

Another point to consider is hair growth. The reparative ability of Olaplex aids indirectly in solving this hair dilemma. So is K18 good for hair growth?

Hypothetically, yes. 

If your hair breaks faster than it grows, it will seem like you have no length. K18 can help you in this case since it rebuilds the keratin structure to the point where your hair feels like it's back to its virgin state

When it comes to ingredients, they are both relatively safe. However, there are concerns about Olaplex products causing skin irritation. K18 also has wheat, so that’s a point-off for those who might have allergies to it. 

Need a little more guidance? A further comparison of the product they have in common might give you a clearer picture.


K18 hair mask vs Olaplex

K18 hair mask vs Olaplex

As K18  constantly gains popularity thanks to Tiktok, you might want to run to the next beauty store and grab a bottle. But how does it compare to the golden standards set by Olaplex?

The best comparison is between Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector and K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask. 

Olaplex no. 3 is the most popular product in Olaplex. It works as a pre-shampoo treatment. It’s scientifically proven to repair the hair by 68% and strengthen it 3x. It’s pH-balanced and free from your usual red flags: parabens, sulfates, etc.

To use this product, you need to dampen your hair first and apply a generous quantity to your hair, starting from roots to tips. You then need to comb through your hair once and leave it there for 10 minutes. Afterward, you can rinse it out. 

Tadah! You would feel your hair be much softer and also stronger. 

What’s more convenient is that you can do other chores or even your skincare routine while waiting for minutes. It has a sterling reputation among those who have split ends and frizz from all the chemical and heat processes they put their hair through. 

K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask comes in different sizes. Thankfully so! A 50-mL bottle costs at least twice Olaplex No.3 and for half the size. If you have ever considered an investment, this is it! 

K18 works as a leave-in product. You only need a small amount, so a little goes a long way! 

K18’s website provides a guide to help you decide the dosage depending on your hair’s thickness and length, so it’s best to refer to it before using it.

If you want to shower first before using a K18 mask, do not use a conditioner since the treatment might not penetrate effectively. 

Afterward, towel-dry or dampen your hair first and follow the correct dosage recommended for your hair. Leave it for 4 minutes, and do NOT rinse it out.  

With K18, you can feel an immediate positive change with only a single-use. The brand recommends using it consecutively for six washes, then 3-4 washes after that. You get impressive results in relatively less time. 

If you are a busy person, K18 is for you. Both are effective and helpful to your hair’s recovery period. 


K18 hair treatment vs Olaplex

Both K18 and Olaplex have products only available for professionals. And while Olaplex has a three-part system, K18 only has two. 

Olaplex no.3 is the take-home product and the last part of the three-part system. 

Technically, it’s not a solo product, although most use it that way. It’s supposed to be your insurance after you get the other two in the salon. Olaplex No. 1 Bond Multiplier and No.2 Bond Perfector are available only for professionals.

K18 has a hair treatment consisting of their pro hair mask and a mist. The mist is part of their 4-minute 2-step salon service and gets used before any professional and chemical treatment. 

You need to spray your hair with water before the pro mist and let it dry before processing the hair. After which, you can use the K18 hair mask. 


Can you use both Olaplex and K18?

Can you use both Olaplex and K18

With all of this competition, you may start thinking that these two can’t belong on the same bathroom shelf. If you are wondering right now, “Can I use Olaplex and K18 together?” You aren’t the only curious one!

To cut to the chase, yes, you can! 

Olaplex offers more than just its repair products. You can use their No.7 and No.8 as styling products on top of the K18 leave-in treatment. Olaplex No.4 is a good choice for your shampoo if you shower before the mask. Olaplex No.8 offers intensive moisture and repair, and is a great consideration after your initial recommended K18 applications. 

However, please do not mix them. Product overload eventually causes build-up, which may undo your restoration efforts. 

CHECK OUT: Can Olaplex fix gummy hair

Last Updated: May 22, 2022

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