Ouai vs Olaplex

Olaplex Vs. Ouai - Differences Between Them

DYLAN MUSTAPICH

ESTHETICIAN AT ATOLLA

18 MIN READ | Murch 21, 2024

If you are even a little bit haircare-obsessed, chances are both the names Olaplex and Ouai have constantly popped up on your social feeds and sit front and center at Sephora. Both of them present themselves as ultra-premium brands, but what makes them different? And more importantly, are they really as good as the hype makes them seem?

While Olaplex is renowned for its bond-building technology that aims to repair and restore damaged hair, Ouai is generally more focused on overall hair health as well as creating an indulgent overall experience with its premium packaging and fragrance.

In this comparison article, you’ll find an in-depth comparison between the two luxury haircare brands to help you determine which one is the better fit for you.

Brand Philosophies of Olaplex and Ouai

Olaplex

Olaplex’s philosophy is its patented bond-building technology, as we discussed earlier. By re-linking broken disulfide bonds within the hair, Olaplex aims to work to repair damage from the inside out. This approach has made Olaplex a go-to solution for those with severely compromised hair due to chemical treatments, heat styling, or other environmental factors.

Ouai

In contrast, Ouai’s philosophy is to enhance all hair types and textures. Their products are infused with nourishing botanical ingredients. The combined ingredients create a more luxurious and sensorial experience while nourishing hair at the same time. With ingredients like STC, smart keratin, etc. Ouai believes in providing tailored solutions for various hair concerns.

A Quick Comparison between Ouai and Olaplex

 

Olaplex

Ouai

Key Focus

Repairing and rebuilding broken bonds in damaged hair

Overall hair health, nourishment and manageability across all textures

Best For

Best for severely damaged, brittle hair

Best for healthy hair needing moisture/styling

Key Ingredients

Patented bond-building technology

Botanicals like tamarind seed extract, smart keratin

Scent Profile

Light, clean fragrance

Luxurious botanical scent

Sustainability

Strong eco-friendly practices, cruelty-free

Some vegan products, cruelty-free

Price Point

Premium

Ultra premium

Core Product Lines

Olaplex’s core product line consists of:

  1. No.3 Hair Perfector: A weekly at-home treatment that rebuilds and restores damaged hair
  2. No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo: A pH-balanced shampoo that continues the repair process
  3. No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner: A deeply moisturizing conditioner that reduces frizz and breakage
  4. No.7 Bonding Oil: A highly concentrated reparative hair oil that adds shine and protects against future damage

Ouai’s product range includes:

  1. Detox Shampoo: A clarifying shampoo that removes buildup and impurities
  2. Hair Treatment Masques: Deeply nourishing treatments for different hair types (fine, medium, thick)
  3. Conditioners: Tailored conditioners for fine, medium, and thick hair types
  4. Hair Oil: A multi-purpose oil that smooths, protects, and adds shine

Ouai and Olaplex Product Comparisons

difference between Ouai and Olaplex

Treatments: Olaplex No.3 vs Ouai Masque

The Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is a great fit for severely damaged hair. Its patented bond-building technology works very well in restoring strength, reducing breakage, and improving overall hair quality. However, it may require consistent use for best results. But you can expect to see visible changes from the first wash. 

Ouai’s Hair Treatment Masques, on the other hand, prioritize hydration, frizz control, and nourishment. It’s packed with botanicals like tamarind seed extract and smart keratin. Together, they leave the hair feeling softer, smoother, and more manageable. Ouai too offers some reparative benefits, but its main focus is more on overall hair health.

Shampoos: Olaplex No.4 vs Ouai Shampoos

The Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is a pH-balanced, sulfate-free formula that is built to continue the repair process started by the No.3 treatment. It’s suitable for all hair types and can be used with every wash to gradually improve hair quality over time.

Ouai offers three shampoo options suitable for different hair types: Fine Hair Shampoo, Medium Hair Shampoo, and Thick Hair Shampoo. Their formulas are built to cleanse the hair while infusing it with moisture at the same time. So, in general, they are better suited for healthy hair that requires a premium maintenance treatment. 

Conditioners: Olaplex No.5 vs Ouai Conditioners

Olaplex’s No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner deeply moisturizes while continuing to rebuild and protect damaged hair bonds. It is a crucial final step in the Olaplex system that ensures better and longer-lasting repair and frizz control.

Ouai’s conditioners, like their shampoos, are tailored to different hair types: Fine Hair Conditioner, Medium Hair Conditioner, and Thick Hair Conditioner. These luxurious formulas are designed to nourish, detangle, and enhance the overall manageability of your hair. 

Hair Oils: Olaplex No.7 vs Ouai Hair Oil

The Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil is a concentrated reparative oil that is built to shield hair from future damage. It also adds great shine and softness to your hair. It’s the perfect finishing touch to the Olaplex system to lock the benefits of the previous steps.

Ouai’s Hair Oil is a multi-tasking oil that blends over a dozen nourishing oils like sweet almond, jojoba, and passion fruit. It smooths frizz, protects against heat and environmental stressors, and imparts a beautiful, glossy finish. Plus, it has Ouai’s signature “Rue St. Honoré” scent which makes it a sensory delight.

Which Brand Is Right for You Olaplex or Ouai

From all these discussions, it’s clear that for people with severely damaged, brittle, or chemically-treated hair, Olaplex is an absolute must. Its bond-building technology is unbeatable when it comes to restoring your hair health. The consistent use of the Olaplex system can transform even the most compromised tresses.

On the other hand, if you have relatively healthy hair and are primarily seeking nourishment, manageability, and a luxurious haircare experience, Ouai is an excellent choice. Their tailored products cater to different hair types and concerns, from frizz control to enhancing curl definition.

It’s also worth noting that many people choose to incorporate both brands into their routines. Olaplex can be used as a targeted treatment for repair, while Ouai’s products can provide ongoing nourishment and styling benefits.

Cost and Availability of Ouai and Olaplex

Both Olaplex and Ouai have established themselves as premium, high-end haircare brands. However, there are some differences between them when it comes to cost and availability.

In terms of individual pricing, Ouai tends to cost more per product. However, it’s worth noting that in order to get the full benefits of Olaplex, you need to purchase the whole Olaplex Hair Repair System, which can be more costly than you’d expect. However, many users find the investment worthwhile, as the products genuinely transform damaged hair and can extend the life of your hair integrity.

Also, users report that you need to apply more of the Ouai product than Olaplex to get the same results. So, that can add up to the cost as well. Therefore, in our verdict, Olaplex is a more cost-friendly brand. 

Alternatives to Consider

While Olaplex and Ouai are certainly standout brands, there are a few alternatives worth considering, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

For bond repair and damage control, K18 is often compared to Olaplex for its innovative bond-building technology and visible results.

For overall hair health, nourishment, and styling, brands like Briogeo, Aveda, and DevaCurl offer botanical-rich formulas that cater to various hair types and textures.

FAQs

Is Olaplex safe for color-treated hair?

Yes, Olaplex is not only safe for color-treated hair but can actually help extend the vibrancy and longevity of your color. The bond-building technology strengthens hair and reduces the risk of fading or damage from chemical treatments.

Can Ouai products be used on damaged hair?

While Ouai’s primary focus is on overall hair health and nourishment, its products do contain some reparative ingredients like keratin and amino acids. However, for severely damaged hair, Olaplex or a bond-building treatment may be more effective.

How often should I use Olaplex and Ouai products?

Olaplex recommends using their No.3 Hair Perfector treatment once a week, with the No.4 shampoo and No.5 conditioner used more frequently. Ouai’s products can be used daily or as needed, depending on your hair’s specific needs.

Final Verdict

In our comparison, there is no definitive winner as both brands excel in their respective areas of expertise. If you’re dealing with severely damaged, brittle, or chemically treated hair, Olaplex is an absolute must-try.

On the other hand, if your primary concerns are nourishment, manageability, and embracing your natural hair texture, Ouai is an excellent choice. Their tailored products cater to different hair types and offer an indulgent sensorial experience with luxurious botanical ingredients.

DYLAN MUSTAPICH

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.

Scroll to Top