K18 v Olaplex – Which is Best for Your Hair?

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In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! I’ve spent a lot of time learning all the ins and outs of hair care and today I’m passing all that info along with 2 of my top favorite treatments: K18 and Olaplex.

Hair care is a necessity in my world.

I have a lot of hair – curls at that! Taking care of curly hair has a big learning curve, one that I’ve spent years trying to perfect.

Part of my hair care routine requires a deep condition and hair treatment every week; this keeps my hair looking full, lush, and moisturized!

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

I’ve tried both Olaplex and K18 treatments for my hair. In fact, they both make my list of favorite hair treatments!

Although they have similar nourishing effects, there are definitely some differences that need to be explored.

In this post, I’m looking at K18 v Olaplex, doing a deep dive into their ingredients and sharing K18 and Olaplex differences.

Knowing what separates Olaplex v K18 will help you become an informed shopper, choosing the best treatment for your hair type and specific hair goals.

So without further ado, let’s dig into these top trending hair treatments!

For more hair care tips, read my post on 24 Hair Care Tips for Healthy Hair.

What is Olaplex?

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

Olaplex has a wide selection of hair care designed to strengthen and repair damaged hair.

When people refer to Olaplex as a product, they’re probably talking about Olaplex No.3, which is marketed as a “hair perfector.”

This Olaplex treatment is loved by those with damaged hair from coloring, environmental damage, excessive heat styling, and other chemical treatments.

Their claim to fame is their main active ingredient – bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate.

This ingredient works as a bond multiplier to repair broken disulfide bonds and rebuild your hair’s protein structure, resulting in stronger, healthier hair.

This is also a patented ingredient, meaning it’s exclusive to Olaplex!

If you’re interested in purchasing Olaplex products, be sure to use my Olaplex discount codes!

Get this free limited-edition 10 piece Olaplex gift set when you spend $75 to celebrate Olaplex turning 10. It’s the perfect way to try out the hero products.

Top Olaplex Products

One of the many draws to Olaplex products is their wide variety. These products are all bond builders, filled with health-focused hair products to help smooth and strengthen your hair.

These are some of their most popular products for all hair needs. Note that some unlisted products can only be received as a salon treatment.

You can find my full reviews for Olaplex No. 3, Olaplex 4D, Olaplex 6, Olaplex 7, and Olaplex 8 here. For super damaged hair, check out my blog post on The Best Olaplex for Damaged Hair.

Olaplex No.0 – Intensive Bond Building Treatment

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

This treatment is ultra-intense, strengthening and protecting your hair. It’s great when used in combination with the No.3 Hair Protector, improving overall results. Read more about Olaplex 0 here.

Olaplex No.3 – Hair Perfector

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

This pre-shampoo treatment is Olaplex’s best seller for its incredible restorative properties. Read more about Olaplex 3 here.

Olaplex No.4 – Bond Maintenance Shampoo

If you have badly damaged hair, using this Olaplex shampoo is a good option for all-around reparative moisture.

Olaplex No.4C – Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo

If your hair has a fair amount of product build-up, this Olaplex clarifying shampoo is your savior! I use this once every two weeks to remove product build up from my hair.

Olaplex No.4D– Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

I love using the Olaplex dry shampoo to freshen up between washes; it feels light and fresh without any powdery white residue. Read more about Olaplex 4D here.

Olaplex No.5 – Bond Maintenance Conditioner

The Olaplex conditioner is repairing, deeply moisturizing, and light enough for all hair types.

Olaplex No.6 – Bond Smoother

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

I like using this bond smoother as a styling product, combing it through clean, dry hair. It provides a solid base for any hairstyle! Read more about Olaplex 6 here.

Olaplex No.7 – Bonding Oil

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

This bonding oil is a total game changer, making your hair shiny and soft while also providing heat protection! Read more about Olaplex 7 here.

Olaplex No.8 – Bond Intense Moisture Mask

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

I love this mask option because it’s super concentrated, smoothing frizz and adding shine without weighing down my curls. Read more about Olaplex 8 here.

Olaplex No.9 – Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between K18 v Olaplex hair treatments to decide which product is best for your hair type! Both K18 and Olaplex give amazing results.

This serum is formulated with antioxidants to shield your hair from environmental damage and heat damage while also making your hair look amazing! Read more on Olaplex 9 here.

Get this free limited-edition 10 piece Olaplex gift set when you spend $75 to celebrate Olaplex turning 10. It’s the perfect way to try out the hero products.

What is K18?

K18 is a brand of hair care with similar goals as Olaplex products – to repair damage and strengthen your locks.

This line features a new patented active called bioactive peptide technology. This technology claims to repair hair at the molecular level by reconnecting broken polypeptide chains (binding to keratin chains).

This treatment works on a deeper level, penetrating the hair shaft for amazing results.

The formula also includes dicaprylyl ether, which improves the overall texture of your hair.

Using 13 amino acids, K18 products are known to create healthier hair, improving strength and elasticity all the way down your hair strands.

Their most popular product, the K18 Leave in Molecular Repair Hair Mask, is the product most often compared to Olaplex No.3.

K18 Products

K18 has a smaller yet mighty product line consisting of treatments, masks, and shampoos. Over the past few years, it’s gained a cult-like following, with many loving its restorative properties.

Their popular hair treatments include:

K18 Leave in Molecular Repair Hair Mask

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

Their most popular product – this repair mask is great for restoring strength. Read more on this K18 treatment here.

K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

This light oil formula makes your hair smooth, shiny, and frizz-free!

K18 Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

This shampoo is deeply cleansing, targeting build-up, reducing excess oils, and shielding your hair from protein loss.

Citric acid provides additional support, cleansing, and providing scalp relief.

K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo

This shampoo prevents swelling of the hair cuticle to improve the health of damaged hair. It reduces frizz, detangles, and maintains scalp health.

Find my Full Review on K18 Products here.

K18 v Olaplex

So, we know what each product does. But how does K18 vs Olaplex measure up?

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to be comparing the brands’ most popular products, Olaplex No.3 and K18 Repair Hair Mask.

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.

K18 v Olaplex Similarities

  • Improve hair bonds – While they use different active ingredients, both products use a form of bond-building technology to repair your hair’s structure.
  • Are at-home treatments – These products provide salon-quality hair care without having to visit the salon. These at-home treatments are safe and easy to use.
  • Repairs hair – Both products are formulated to repair hair damage from chemical services and heat damage while also offering protection against further damage. Full benefits include improved hair health, less breakage, and improved hair strength.

K18 v Olaplex Differences

Find out the differences between K18 vs Olaplex and which is better for your hair. Since both treatments came out, there has been a lot of discussion on Olaplex v K18. I’m sharing my opinion on the two award-winning hair treatments.
  • Application – One main difference between these products is the application. Olaplex is a pre-shampoo treatment – you need to use Olaplex 3 on damp hair before showering as an added step. K18 is used after showering on towel-dried hair. Note that K18 is not a leave-in-treatment and does NOT need to be rinsed afterward.
  • Time – Another difference is the time it takes to use them. Olaplex is left on for 10 minutes, while K18 takes less time at just 4 minutes.
  • Ingredients – Olaplex repairs and reconnects hair bonds using bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, while K18 repairs hair damage down to the molecular level using a bioactive peptide.
  • Price point – K18 is significantly pricer, while Olaplex products are generally about $30.
  • Results – Both products are proven to show incredible results. The best results for you, however, may depend on your hair type and hair care needs. You may need to sample both products to decide which works best for you. I love both Olaplex and K18 and have seen amazing results with each product.

K18 vs Olaplex: Which is Better?

In truth, neither product is better than the other. I love both product lines and have re-purchased these treatments again and again!

With that said, many have their preferences. If you’re trying to decide which product to try, here are a few guiding tips:

  1. Consider your budget – K18 is a pricier line, while Olaplex has some lower-budget products, which may be a better option. 
  2. Account for time – K18 takes 4 minutes to apply and Olaplex takes 10 minutes to apply. You can skip conditioner when using K18 so only need to shampoo your hair. With Olaplex 3, you need to shampoo and conditioner after using. 
  3. Think about your product needs – Olaplex has a wide range of products, while K18 has a smaller, more limited line. You can use K18 treatment and Olaplex styling products together during the same wash day.
  4. Consult a professional – A professional hairstylist can give you the insights you need on your hair and its particular needs. 
  5. Try trial and error – In the end, your hair will tell you which hair treatment it prefers! As I mentioned, I tried both K18 and Olaplex and loved both.

Get this free limited-edition 10 piece Olaplex gift set when you spend $75 to celebrate Olaplex turning 10. It’s the perfect way to try out the hero products.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are my most asked questions about K18 v Olaplex.

Olaplex v K18: Are Olaplex and K18 suitable for all hair types?

The best part about both Olaplex and K18 is that they are suited for a wide range of hair types and textures. Their formulas support your hair in several different ways, meaning they can benefit all hair types.

Those with damaged, bleached, colored, or chemically treated hair love the repairing properties K18 and Olaplex offer, helping to repair damage and contribute to a healthier head of hair.

These hair care lines are also great for both thick and fine hair, offering strength and repair without weighing your hair down.

If you have curly hair like me, you’ll love the bonus moisture and hydration both of these treatments give your hair. They leave you with lusher, shinier curls.

For more curly hair content, check out my posts on the Best Hairspray to Hold Curls – 9 of My Favorite Products and The Benefits of a Silk Pillowcase for Curly Hair.

Olaplex v K18: Is Olaplex or K18 better for damaged hair?

Olaplex and K18 were both originally formulated to repair damaged hair.

K18 claims to improve hair strength, elasticity, and health overall. Olaplex is often used to protect and minimize damage to the hair, rebuilding disulfide bonds in the hair.

In other words, they’re both great options!

Olaplex v K18: Are Olaplex or K18 strongly scented?

Olaplex products have a mild scent that most don’t find to be overpowering. It smells a bit citrusy.

K18 has products that are both lightly scented and fragrance-free depending on your preference. This is great for those who are ultra-sensitive to fragrance, no matter how light it is.

Olaplex v K18: Does Olaplex or K18 protect against hard water?

Olaplex N.4C is known to remove hard water minerals, pollutants, chlorine, oil, product build-up, and heavy metals. It’s a clarifying shampoo that removes impurities without damaging your hair.

Similarly, K18 Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo cleanses your hair of metals, including copper, iron, zinc, nickel, and cadmium.

Can you use Olaplex and K18 together?

You can use K18 products and Olaplex together. You could use the K18 treatment and style your hair using Olaplex 6 & 7. I would not recommend using Olaplex 3 and the K18 treatment together on the same wash day as they both tackle damage. You would be washing money down the drain if you use Olaplex 3 and the K18 treatment together on the same day.

My Final Thoughts: K18 v Olaplex

That wraps up my thoughts on K18 v Olaplex. I’m a huge fan of both brands for their focus on lasting hair health and serious damage control. I hope you’ve found my overview of K18 and Olaplex useful in choosing the best product for your hair care needs. It’s a close call!

Get this free limited-edition 10 piece Olaplex gift set when you spend $75 to celebrate Olaplex turning 10. It’s the perfect way to try out the hero products.

If you have any further questions about K18, Olaplex, or all things hair care, don’t hesitate to reach out via email or Instagram. I’d love to help!

About Lorna Ryan

Lorna's fashion & beauty journey began on runways, including NYFW, which sparked her love for all things chic. Lorna spent two years as a SephoraSquad ambassador, sharing hero beauty products. Lorna unveils coveted beauty gems, the latest fashion trends, and best-kept jetsetter escapes.

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