Olaplex vs Redken

Olaplex vs. Redken - Head to Head Comparison Between Them



17 MIN READ | February 17, 2024

Hair care has always been a hot topic in the world. Right after your eyebrows, sometimes even in the first meeting, your hair is what people notice about you. With all the modifications (coloring, heat styling, curling, straightening) we do on our hair, no wonder it needs some treatment from time to time.

This is where Redken and Olaplex come in. Like lots of the names out on the shelves, are they any good? Because there are a lot of concern that comes to mind.

How they work, which brands are backing them, what the ingredients are inside the bottles, and what are the side effects. Let’s not forget about the price and what kind of hair they suit. Seems a lot of things to think about before leaping in for one!

Brand History of Redken and Olaplex

Before we even start with the chemical compounds and how they work, we have to know their origin. Why? Because history does say a lot about the products too. So here is what you should know about Redken and Olaplex


about Redken

If you have been around for a while, you will know the name  L’Oréal. Yep! The famous hair care brand we all know. You will also be amazed by how the name came into reality.

The founders of Loreal are Jheri Redding and Paula Kent, hence, the name Redken, a combination of them both. It came out as a brand aimed at a more Scientific approach to beauty.

Using protein, moisture, and acidic pH in its formula dominantly, Redken became one of the fan favorites among fashionistas. Later the brand was sold to Cosmair Inc, but Loreal is still the founder owner. 

You will find a whole lot of products today serving various hair types, repairing damage even to the extreme range. 


about Olaplex

If going cruelty-free and suddenly rushing the market with a storm was a thing, then Olaplex would be the winner. Introduced back in 2014 by Dean Christal in California, Olaplex patented its brand by calling it the Bond Building Technology

They claim that their product reconnects broken disulfide bonds in the hair structure, making it stronger and healthier. Aimed to be used with a hair dye, it quickly gained fame among people who use a lot of coloring and chemical treatments on their hair.

So that was all about both the manufacturers, better move on to the inside of their bottle shall we?

Redken vs Olaplex: Know Actual Difference Between Them

Differences between Olaplex and Redken

Let’s start with a side-by-side comparison between the Redken and Olaplex. Why? This gives you a perspective about what these two brands are aiming for, what is in the bottle, the price range obviously, and most importantly, how efficiently you can use them.


Redken ABC


Ingredients and Formula

Contains Citric Acid and a Bonding Care Complex for pH balance & bond strengthening

Comes with a Bond Building Technology™ disulfide bond repair (ingredients are not disclosed)

Product Lines

A 4-step home care product

Variety of treatments & complete haircare products

Price Range

A bit affordable

More expensive

Hair Type Suitability

All hair types, especially color-treated hair

All hair types, especially damaged hair due to chemical treatment or thermal styling


Can be used at home

Mostly a salon-only treatment. The home kit is available but requires a whole process

Chart: Difference between Redken ABC and Olaplex.

As both of them have different approaches to hair care, we need to discuss them in detail. So let’s look at the insides and move on from there.

Inside the Bottle

Looking inside each of the products, we find a lot of common elements. But there are some differences as well.

Redken uses different ingredients for specific hair types. Most of them have a protein complex to strengthen the air. At the same time, it has a moisturizer like Shea butter or Coconut oil. To balance everything out on the hair, Citric Acid is used. That is the pH of the formula. 

Depending on different types of hair product ranges, the formula will include or exclude some of the ingredients. But in general, they are more focused on gentle cleansing and nourishing with the same type of formula. 

Olaplex takes a little different route to the composition. As they are more focused on Bond Builder, the exact formula is undisclosed. What is known is that their formula works in reconnecting broken disulfide bonds in the hair.

There is also a hydrating and smoothing agent like Bis-Aminopropyl Dimaleate or Panthenol to provide the glow and shine. A cleaning agent and other vitamins are also added in. Olaplex also claims to be cruelty-free and vegan. But that does not have any noted evidence from their end. 

So much chemistry and formulas, but how do they work? Yeah, that is what we are concerned with, and we are going to talk about that in our next section. 


When it comes to repairing damaged hair, Redken and Olaplex both offer excellent bonding shampoos.

Redken’s Bonding Shampoo costs a little more than Olaplex but you get more product. It gently cleanses while making hair smoother, shinier, and easier to manage.

Olaplex’s No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is part of their complete 3-step bonding system. It not only cleans but also deeply repairs bonds to leave hair stronger and healthier.

Both are great options for restoring damaged hair. Olaplex may have a slight edge as part of their complete bonding system. But Redken’s shampoo is a good standalone choice if you don’t want the full Olaplex system. You can’t go wrong with either for getting softer, smoother, and shinier locks.


Redken’s Bonding Conditioner repairs damage, detangles, and adds shine for less money per ounce than Olaplex. It leaves hair smooth, strong, and easier to manage.

Olaplex’s No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner deeply hydrates and repairs bonds. It also reduces frizz and makes hair incredibly soft and smooth.

Both conditioners work well to repair hair and leave it healthy and manageable. Olaplex’s may be slightly more moisturizing. But Redken’s costs a little less and also delivers great results.

Like their shampoos, either bonding conditioner is a good choice for damaged hair. Pick the one that matches the shampoo system you prefer for complete repair.

Hair Treatment

If your hair is feeling a bit rough, it’s a good idea to treat it every now and then. And if you want to keep it healthy, regular treatments are even better. 

You’ve got plenty of options for home treatments, like Olaplex No. 3 and Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-in Treatment, available at places like Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, Walmart, and Lookfantastic. 

Olaplex No. 3 is a popular choice because it strengthens hair and makes it feel better, but it works best with the whole Olaplex system, which can get pricey. Redken’s treatment is great too, especially when paired with their shampoo. 

All in all, both Redken and Olaplx treatment options can achieve similar results. But with a solid track record and great affordability, Redken Leave-in Treatment is the better hair treatment option here.

How Effective Are They? (Hair Repair and Strengthening)

Let’s face it, we all care only about how a product is to our hair. When they are doing what they claim, then we are going to keep on using it.

Depending on different hair types and problems, Redken claims their ABC formula works efficiently in repairing and strengthening hair. Their protein and pH balancing chemistry works wonders as it replenishes the hair from the ground up. Reviewers also claim that after using Redken they have experienced more manageable hair, adding a lot of shine and reducing breakage over time. 

Olaplex on the other hand with its Bond Building Technology not only claims to improve hair condition (strength and texture) but also boasts about it with user reviews and photos. Some research also shows that their formula works like a miracle on chemically damaged hair. 

So it is safe to say, both products do work, and for different types of hair. While Redken is good for all hair types, Olaplex is a better alternative for chemically treated hair.

Price Comparison Between Redken and Olaplex

We all know size and product line matters when it comes to the price. Redken products tend to be in the mid-range price range. As their shampoos cost around $15-$30 depending on the size and ABC treatments cost around $30-$40. So you get a better deal if you opt for a larger bottle. 

Olaplex is a bit on the costlier side. Home treatment bottles (100ml) cost around $30, and professional-sized bottles go way up. But the thing is that users reported that Olaplex products require less in quantity compared to other brands. So a small portion goes a long way. A win-win situation we tell you. 

Which Brand Is Right for You

When it comes down to it, choosing between Olaplex and Redken depends on your specific needs and preferences. Olaplex is well-known for its effective bond repair and texture improvement. This makes it ideal for you if you are seeking to revitalize damaged hair.

However, it’s worth noting that to maximize its benefits, using the entire Olaplex system may be necessary. At $240, this can be quite costly.

On the other hand, Redken offers a reliable range of products, including its Acidic Bonding set, which provides excellent results in strengthening and managing hair. At $170, it’s significantly cheaper and doesn’t skip on quality.

Consider your hair goals, budget, and preferences to determine which brand aligns with your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Redken product is like Olaplex?

Redken has a full range of products similar to Olaplex. Shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, everything Olaplex has, you will find similar in Redken too. 

Can I mix Redken and Olaplex?

Yes, you can mix Redken and Olaplex. If you are using similar products and use any of the other brands as alternatives, you can do that. Both have compatibility and give a more vibrant shine and moisture to your hair.

Is Redken good for your hair?

Yes, Redken products are good and provide saloon-quality hair treatment. As they have products for different types of hair and treatments, you can easily use them and get better results. 

Which Redken treatment is best?

The Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Treatment is the best-selling product of the Redken range. As it shows better results for any damaged hair, you can easily choose the one right for yours. 

What Olaplex does Kim Kardashian use?

Kim Kardashian has used Olaplex No. 3 for years, as she stated in her interviews. Even professional stylists have suggested it due to its ‘revolutionary’ results.

Final Thoughts

Redken has a wide range of compatible hair solutions. So you can choose the right one for your hair. Olaplex offers repair for all types of damaged hair, so anyone can use it. 

If budget is your concern, Redplex is the winner. On the other hand, if you are against animal cruelty, Olaplex is the one to go with. As they have a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free production line, it’s a bit costlier than Redken. So go with the one that suits you best. 

Till next time, let the hair flow and dance in the wind!


Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

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