Meet the experts:
- Mark Coates, senior international education manager at Olaplex
- Meagan Schlapp, R&D chemist and global education lead at K18
- Jordan Alexander, senior director global education at K18
What are bond builders and how do they work?
Enter bond builders, the holy grail of all haircare treatments, designed to repair (you guessed it) broken hair bonds, thanks to amino acids and other high-grade ingredients that allow for a deeper penetration into the hair.
Meagan Schlapp, R&D chemist and global education lead at K18 shared with GLAMOUR that “hair’s protein structure is the key to maintaining strong, healthy hair.” Meagan also notes that there are different types of bonds: “disulfide bonds, hydrogen bonds and the lesser-known but hugely important peptide bonds”, all of which work together to contribute towards our hair’s strength and elasticity.
In the past, many bond builder products addressed and restored only one type of bond. Nowadays, however, we’re lucky enough that more advanced hair treatments work more holistically by forming numerous types of bonds with broken hair proteins.
How do I know if my hair needs a bond repairing treatment?
Despite popular belief, hair damage does not necessarily have to be caused by chemical processing. Heat styling tools and external factors such as lifestyle and environment can also often damage hair cuticles and cause breakage.
“Damage is a universal issue that everyone experiences to varying degrees,” explains Jordan Alexander, senior director global education at K18. “Keratin chains and disulfide bonds are broken in-salon or at home via chemical services as well as thermal styling such as flat irons, curling irons and blow dryers. Even for someone who may not use heat or chemically process their hair, they will still experience environmental damage from the sun and water.”
How often should I use bond builders?
“No matter where or how you live, daily life damages hair,” says Mark Coates, senior international education manager at Olaplex. Because of this, he notes that it’s important to always include some from of bond builder as part of your regular haircare routine.
What does that mean in practice? Well, Jordan recommends using a bond builder regularly for the 4-6 shampoos to help repair the hair and get it to an optimal level. After this, you can switch to maintenance mode and reduce bond builder use to once every 3rd or 4th shampoo in order to keep your hair in tip-top shape.
The good news is that bond builders have come a long way since they were limited to in-salon use only. Nowadays, they come in all sorts of formulations – all of which are safe to use from the comfort of your own bathroom. From overnight masks to shampoos, conditioners and serums, the options are limitless. To help you choose the right product for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on all the best bond builders – all you need to do is scroll down and enjoy.