By Victoria Moorhouse
Sep 07, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
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You can get your hands on Olaplex without stealing it from your colorist's stash. The answer is Olaplex 3 — the at-home version of the in-salon hair treatment designed to prevent and repair damage that comes along with dyeing or bleaching. So how exactly does Olaplex 3 stop your hair from snapping off? 

It's a pretty similar process to how the original Olaplex (the one you can only get in a salon) works, so let's start with a little refresher. The professional-only products (Olaplex 1 and 2) uses a technology that repairs broken disulphide bonds. These bonds are responsible for holding together the keratin fibers that make up your hair, and they're often broken during a coloring process. The addition of Olaplex, though, helps to rebuild them while your hair is being lifting or processed. 

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The at-home treatment is designed to do the very same thing after you've already colored your hair. Instead of a conditioner —which is what many post-dye treatments really are — it's specifically made as a strengthening treatment. So as it sits in your hair, it's working to rebuild those injured disulphide bonds. That, in turn, results in stronger, healthier-looking hair with less breakages and flyaways. 

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To use it, you follow nearly the same routine as you would a regular hair mask, except you don't wash your hair first. You go straight to applying it to damp or towel-dried hair. 

"Put a quarter-size amount in your hair. Cover all over [your hair] and leave on for an hour or so in the morning," celebrity hairstylist Tracey Cunningham recommends.

Hot tip: Cunningham lets it really sink in while she's having coffee and checking her emails. 

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After an hour, she'll head to the shower and shampoo and condition it out. While Cunningham likes to let it sit for a full hour, it only really needs 10 minutes minimum to be effective.

For anyone with damaged hair, it's recommended to be used two to three times a week. And while it's really meant to be rinsed out, Cunningham says it can be left in as a styling product to fight frizz — but at $28 a pop, you might want to choose your uses wisely.