K18 vs. Olaplex - Which Is Better For Your Hair?

Olaplex hit the shelves globally in 2014 and ever since then has been the go-to for every stylist and consumer for a hair treatment that shows results and actually fixes your damaged hair. However, come 2021 and the new treatment on the block, K18 took the world by storm with its bold promise of reversing hair damage in a short time of 4 minutes. With such a bold promise, it was only natural that the general public and global reputable hair professionals questioned the authenticity of their audacity. 
We have broken down the pros and cons of both Olaplex and K18 into this one blog so you don't have to do the research, we've done it for you!

Let's Start With The Things You Should Know About Olaplex...

Although great, a thing to note about Olaplex is that it is a slow working treatment. By slow, we're talking about the time it takes to apply and sit when you're at the basin or in the shower at home. But it is also slow in the sense of how quickly you start to see results where in comparison to K18, they're promising results the eye can see after just 4 minutes (one-use). The thing about Olaplex is that there are numerous steps involved which will require you to revisit your salon or wash more frequently at home before you see results where K18 only involves one step which leads us to the next questions...

What Makes K18 Different From Olaplex?

Something really cool about K18 is that it took ten years to perfect with the correct scientific research which has now resulted in a product that is unlike any traditional bond builders with its ability to temporarily straighten the hair all whilst repairing back to its natural state for longer. The science behind K18 is that K18 contains keratin genomics and through the application of this protein allowed the hair to repair. To simplify that sentence, K18 contains vital 18 amino acids that work together to reconnect and repair the natural protein found in our hair, keratin. Keratin is the protein our body produces that makes up your hair, skin and nails.

The result promised by K18 after one single use is to improve your hairs elasticity, hair integrity and its shine. Want to know the best part in our humble opinion? You will see results almost immediately after one use with little product. The difference with Olaplex is that Olaplex is a standard bond builder that works on a molecular level to assist in restoring broken bonds in your hair. However, unlike K18 using Olaplex means you'll be introduced to a 3-step process that will improve your hairs strength overtime as well as protect your hairs shaft from within. Because of this, this makes Olaplex a convenient solution to treat your hair from home however a somewhat tedious task in salon due to the time process it takes to perform. 

We Know What You're Thinking... Does K18 Actually Work?

We're not going to lie, we're advocate users for K18 so in some ways we could be bias but we were once Olaplex die-hards too... so in saying that, we can vouch that K18 really does work in just four minutes after the first use. When we say it works, what we mean is that after just one use your hair will be left feeling thicker and softer and looking silkier. But don't get too excited that it only takes one use to see instant results... with any product, usage will dictate results. K18 encourages users to use the Leave-In Molecular Repair Mask for four consecutive washes in a row to see genuine results and to then continue using K18 sporadically on rotation with your favourite conditioner or treatment.

How Do You Use The K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Mask?

Let's set the scene of when you're about to start using K18 in your routine for the first time... you've done your usual gig and have shampooed your hair twice using your favourite go-to shampoo and then hop out of the shower using no other products like a conditioner or hair mask, literally just shampoo at this point...

 Step One: Towel dry your wet hair until it's damp but not saturated
Step Two: Start by sectioning your hair and lather a small pearl size amount (the amount may fluctuate depending on how thick your hair is) throughout each section of your hair. Tip Trick: use a wide tooth comb to help evenly distribute the product throughout each section of your hair.
Step Three: Wait four minutes after all sections of your hair are coated in K18.
Step Four: After the four minutes has passed, blow dry (or air dry, whatever you prefer) K18 into your hair. Should you wish to add a heat protectant or oil on top of K18, you certainly again but ONLY after the full four minutes is up otherwise you'll risk ruining the treatment. Voila! You're done!

When Should You Use K18?

Whenever you start to feel your hair needing an intense boost of hydration! And this is because the sun, water and products you frequently use can contribute to ongoing hair damage. The beauty of K18 is that it has been formulated with science that will reverse and prevent hair damage which makes it ideal for hair types. After you've used K18 for four consecutive washes, the questions to ask yourself to know when to use it again after are:

- Does my hair feel brittle?
- Do I have a load of split ends?
- Does my hair look dull and lifeless?
- Does my hair feel smooth from root to tip?

If you've answered the above in a negative way that points to your hair being in a bad state, then it's definitely time to whip out K18. 

How Does Olaplex Work?

Given the multitude of pro's that come with using K18, Olaplex does indeed work and hold a reputation of its own. The only real downside is that results take a lot longer to see and notice than it does with K18. Depending on how badly your hair is damaged, we definitely recommend visiting your hair professional in receiving an Olaplex treatment at least once or twice a month - this is because Olaplex No.2 is a professional product only. If you're wanting to try Olaplex without a trip to the salon, you would be starting on Olaplex No.3 which is a hair perfecting treatment you use from home but you don't have to be using Olaplex No.2 to be using Olaplex No.3 and see results. 

To apply Olaplex No.3, you are required to start by getting your hair wet in the shower before applying it to your hair. Don't use shampoo, just wet it from the shower. After you've done that, towel dry your hair to take it from saturating to damp and apply a generous amount of Olaplex No.3 to sectioned parts of your whole head of hair. Leave in your hair for a minimum of 10 minutes before rinsing it out and following with Olaplex No.4 and No.5. 

FAQs About K18...

Can You Use K18 If Your Hair Is Healthy? 

You sure can! K18 is a product that has been made to help bring your back to its virgin state. 

Do You Stop Using Conditioner? 

Definitely not. K18 is an intense treatment that doesn't require to be used consistently after the four consecutive washes when starting to use K18. So in other words, after the four uses you do when you first start using K18 can you then go back to using conditioner. 

Do I Wash My Hair Before Using K18?

You sure do! For K18 to work, you need to open the hair cuticles and clean off any product from your hair strands so that the ingredients in K18 can penetrate the hair shaft.

What Are The Pros And Cons to Olaplex and K18?

Olaplex Pros & Cons

Reverses hair damage Takes longer to see results
Reduces frizz Requires more than one product to see effective results
Adds shine and smoothness to hair Can cause irritation to scalp
Restores and strengthens hair Takes more time to use in a single use
Suitable for all hair types Depending on budget, can be costly

K18 Pros & Cons



Suitable for all hair types

Can be costly depending on budget

Restores, strengthens and repairs the hair in single usage

Not all products are available to public customers

Reduces likelihood of future damage to hair

Cruelty-free, vegan and colour safe

Reduces frizz and reverses damage

K18 vs. Olaplex Pros & Cons Comparison

What's important to remember is that both items are high quality products using high quality ingredients - not to mention, both products will get the job done. The only REAL difference is time... K18 will get the job done quicker and requires less use of product for results. 

Can You Use K18 And Olaplex On Hair Extensions?

Yes, yes, yes! Of course yes - BUT only in moderation. As we mentioned, both K18 and Olaplex contain keratin which is a protein our bodies make naturally. Too much keratin can start to do the opposite of leaving your hair healthy and shiny and start to make it brittle and fragile due to over stimulation from the keratin protein. In shorter terms, yes you can use either on hair extensions just not every single wash. Also, care will be much easier when you buy high quality hair extensions.

In conclusion, is K18 better than Olaplex? That's the question we're assuming you want answered in black or white... the short bias answer is yes! We only say this because it takes less time and product use to see results when using K18 in comparison to Olaplex. Olaplex although just as excellent in nutrients and proteins that are great for the hair won't give you an instant result like K18 does - it takes time to work. A massive factor in what we think sets apart the two brands is the costing of products. Essentially with K18 all you need is the one product which retails for $94.50 (AUD) for the standard 50ml size. However, with Olaplex if you were to get the full kit and caboodle you are looking at a grand total of $249.75(AUD)... that included Olaplex No.3, No.4, No.5, No.6 and No.7.

Overall, both brands and their products are going to restore, soften and strengthen your hair but if you are wanting something done quickly and right, we suggest K18. The debate is still on between hair professionals as to which takes the crown for best product but in our humble opinion... we're picking K18 every time.

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