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Olaplex Bond-Building Haircare Available at Liberty

The Science of Bond-Building Haircare

You’ve seen the products on TikTok, but do you need a bond-builder in your haircare routine? Liberty investigates…
By: Verity Clark

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The Science of Bond-Building Haircare

The Science of Bond-Building Haircare

You’ve seen the products on TikTok, but do you need a bond-builder in your haircare routine? Liberty investigates…

By: Verity Clark

Bond-building haircare. What may have once been a technical, insider concept used only by hair professionals, is now a household haircare term, catapulted to fame thanks to cult bond-building hair brand, Olaplex and our collective desire to learn how to repair damaged hair. But it's hardly a surprise that bond-building haircare has hit the mainstream. From sealing damaged hair cuticles to nourishing split ends and strengthening dry, brittle strands, the claims behind these formulas are bold. And now our social media feeds are awash with recommendations and reviews of the latest and greatest bond-builders. But what do they do, how do they work and which are the best on the market?

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What Is Bond-Building Haircare?

The clue is the name. Essentially, bond-building haircare is designed to repair broken hair bonds, helping to breathe new life back into damaged strands. It’s like a plaster for your hair, if you will, your first step to learning how to repair damaged hair.

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What Exactly Are Hair Bonds?

“Hair is made up of a protein called keratin,” says Michael Lendon, Aveda’s Senior Creative Director. “These protein molecules are held together in links of different bonds, which are what gives the hair its structure and strength. When these bonds become broken, however, hair not only becomes brittle and prone to breakage, but it can also lose its shine and smoothness.

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How Can You Tell if Hair Is Damaged?

Split ends, broken strands and variations in thickness are common tell-tale signs of hair damage. However, another thing to look out for is how it changes according to the weather. “Damaged hair often reacts to the weather, getting frizzy in humidity or brittle in dry, cold environments,” explains Lendon.

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Who Needs Bond-Building Haircare?

Anyone dealing with some kind of hair damage. “All hair types can benefit, and the reality is that most people do have some sort of damage,” says Lendon. Over processed hair types are the most prone to broken bonds, so if you bleach your hair or are a fan of heat styling then you'll likely be a prime candidate for bond-building haircare. Environmental and lifestyle factors play a role too. Everything from UV light to snagging hair bands can break down hair bonds.

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How Does Bond-Building Haircare Work?

Bond-builders work to manually repair broken bonds, using amino acids and strengthening proteins that occur naturally in the hair. “Bond-building technology not only helps repair broken bonds, but also to repair lost or broken cuticles,” says Lendon, which means that as well as repairing damage, some formulas are believed to restore shine, too. Expect hair that not only looks thicker and shinier, it's also healthier.

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How Often Should You Use a Bond-Builder?

If your hair is seriously damaged, say if you’ve been bleaching it for a long time or you use a straightening iron every day, then Lendon recommends starting with an in-salon treatment to kickstart the repair process before then investing in bond-building products for home use. These come in all kinds of formats, from deep conditioners and treatments, to shampoos and hair oils.

Approach your hair strengthening journey as you would an exercise plan. To reach your hair ‘goals’, dedication and consistency are key, try using a bond-building shampoo or treatment every time you wash your hair. Once you’ve reached a state of hair health you’re happy with you can switch to ‘maintenance’ mode and use a bond builder once a week. If it’s just styling damage you’re concerned about then Lendon suggests just using a bond-building styling cream whenever you use heat.

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