When it comes to reparative haircare products, Ouai and Olaplex are two of the most popular brands out there.
Both brands offer a range of high-quality products that promise to transform your hair and leave it looking and feeling healthy and beautiful. But which brand is better for your hair needs?
In this Ouai vs Olaplex comparison post, I’ll discuss several products from both brands to help you decide which products are right for your hair.
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My Tops Picks
- Best Shampoo & Conditioner For Damaged Hair: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
- Best Detox Shampoo For Itchy Scalp and Dandruff: Ouai Detox Shampoo
- Best Hair Mask For Dry Damaged Hair: Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
- Best Dry Shampoo: Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo
Ouai vs Olaplex
- Olaplex: Best for damaged hair repair, utilizes patented bond-building technology.
- Ouai: Tailored to hair type (thin, medium, thick), promotes overall hair health.
When comparing Olaplex and Ouai’s products, it’s important to consider your specific hair needs since the brands formulate their products differently:
Hair Concern vs Hair Type
Olaplex products work to strengthen and restore damaged hair with their patented bond-building molecule.
If your hair is very damaged and in need of repair, Olaplex’s products will probably be the best option for you.
Olaplex is well known for their No.3 Hair Perfector, a concentrated hair treatment that is formulated to restore and revive hair that has been damaged due to chemical processes, heat styling, and environmental stressors.
Please note that Ouai (pronounced “way”) does not have a corresponding product that matches the reparative best-seller Olaplex No. 3 but does have effective hair masks for deeper conditioning treatments.
Ouai has formulated their daily hair care products based on hair type: thin, medium, or thick, and does not offer products specifically for damaged hair.
Yet their daily haircare products will help promote overall hair health and help repair breakage and split ends.
While both brands fragrance their products, Ouai’s products are heavily fragranced.
The Ouai products I tried contain three different fragrances:
- Melrose Place
- Mercer Street
- Bondi Beach
I thought Mercer Street, found in Ouai’s shampoos and conditioners, was the strongest and quite perfume-like. If you don’t love a strong fragrance, I would suggest trying a sample first before purchasing the larger-size Ouai products.
All Olaplex products contain the same citrus fragrance.
Both brands are considered luxury or high-end haircare brands, and you’ll pay a premium price for their products.
The product lines are priced similarly. While Ouai’s products tend to be slightly more expensive, but ounce for ounce, Ouai’s products are more affordable.
Keep in mind that Olaplex takes a science-based approach to their formulas and has patented proprietary technology, which no doubt has been incorporated into their pricing.
We’ll start the comparisons with shampoos, then move to conditioners and hair masks, and finish with styling products.
The first Ouai shampoo vs Olaplex comparison we’ll do is more specialized: clarifying shampoos. Ouai’s Detox shampoo is a cult favorite for removing buildup and impurities from the hair, so we’ll see how Olaplex’s clarifying shampoo compares:
Ouai Detox Shampoo
- Key Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar and hydrolyzed keratin.
- Targets: Removes build-up and impurities.
- Fragrance: Rose fragrance with bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk.
- Best For: Suitable for all hair types, including color-treated hair. Great for for dandruff and itchy scalp.
Ouai Detox Shampoo contains detoxifying apple cider vinegar and strengthening hydrolyzed keratin to remove build-up, dirt, oil, and other impurities.
This is my favorite Oaui product for its immediate clarifying effects on my hair.
The concentrated formula is perfect for when you’ve been using a lot of dry shampoo or have been dealing with build-up from styling products (that would be me!).
Chelating agents remove hard water deposits and other impurities. This deeper cleanse is excellent for oiliness or a dry, flaky scalp.
Use it in place of your regular shampoo weekly or when you feel like you need a deeper cleanse.
Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
- Technology and Key Ingredients: Combines Olaplex bond-building technology with a Broad Spectrum Clarifying System, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, panthenol, and amino acids.
- Targets: Removes excess oil, product buildup, and impurities while maintaining hydration.
- Fragrance: Features a signature citrus scent.
- Best For: Dull, oily, dry, and discolored hair.
Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo is formulated to gently cleanse the hair while also repairing and strengthening it.
This once-weekly shampoo removes excess oil, product buildup, chlorine, hard water minerals, heavy minerals, and other pollutants while maintaining hydration in your hair.
Olaplex No.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo rinses cleanly and leaves my hair soft and smooth.
Ouai Detox Shampoo vs. Olaplex Nº.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
Both shampoos are effective at removing buildup.
Ouai uses apple cider vinegar and hydrolyzed keratin, while the Olaplex clarifying shampoo contains the bond-building damage-repair ingredient that Olaplex is known for and a Broad Spectrum Clarifying System to remove impurities.
If you have damaged hair and are looking for a clarifying shampoo to repair and strengthen your hair, Olaplex Nº.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo is the way to go.
Otherwise, Ouai’s Detox Shampoo leaves hair feeling super clean, soft, and refreshed. The nice part is that it has a light rose floral scent and doesn’t smell so much like apple cider vinegar.
Users also love Ouai for dandruff and an itchy scalp.
Ouai Medium Hair Shampoo
- Key Ingredients: Keratin, kumquat extract, babassu and coconut oils.
- Targets: Hydration and frizz control for medium hair types.
- Fragrance: Mercer Street scent with Italian lemon, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac, and white musk.
- Best For: Medium hair types. Safe for color-treated and chemically-processed hair.
Ouai Medium Hair Shampoo is a hydrating shampoo for medium hair types that gently cleanses while fighting frizz and improving shine.
The shampoo is safe for color-treated hair, chemically-processed hair, keratin, and Brazilian blowout-treated hair, extensions, wigs, and synthetic hair.
Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
- Key Ingredient: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate for bond repair, plant oils, Vitamin E, rosemary leaf extract, and other plant extracts.
- Targets: Cleansing and strengthening all hair types. Repairs damage, split ends, and reduces frizz.
- Fragrance: Signature citrus scent.
- Best For: Damaged hair needing repair.
Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is a sulfate-free formula that cleanses and strengthens the hair.
This shampoo is designed to be used as part of the multi-step Olaplex system but can also be used on its own with other haircare products.
This color-safe shampoo has a thick texture and Olaplex’s signature citrus scent. It leaves hair feeling clean but not stripped, just silky and soft.
NOTE: Olaplex also offers two additional shampoos formulated with Olaplex’s bond-building technology, a clarifying shampoo, Nº.4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo, previously discussed, and a reparative shampoo for blonde hair, No. 4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo.
Ouai Medium Hair Shampoo vs Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Ouai’s Medium Hair Shampoo and Olaplex’s Bond Maintenance Shampoo both work to decrease frizz, improve shine, and cleanse the hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
However, the key difference between the two is that Olaplex’s formula is specifically designed to repair and protect hair from damage, while Ouai’s formula is geared towards hydration and nourishment.
If you have damaged hair that needs repair, Olaplex’s Bond Maintenance Shampoo is the better choice. But if you have medium hair that doesn’t necessarily need damage repair but rather hydration and added shine, Ouai’s Medium Hair Shampoo is a great option.
If you have fine or thick hair, Oaui also offers shampoos specifically formulated for those hair types.
The Bottom Line: If you prefer shampoo based on hair type (fine, medium, thick), Ouai will be the better choice. For damage and hair loss due to breakage, Olaplex will be the better choice.
Ouai Medium Hair Conditioner
- Key Ingredients: Keratin, babassu and coconut oils, kumquat extract.
- Targets: Tackles frizz, boosts shine, reduces hair breakage and damage and split ends.
- Fragrance: Mercer Street scent with Italian lemon, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac, iris, lily, and white musk.
- Best For: Medium hair types. Safe for color-treated and chemically-processed hair.
Ouai Medium Hair Conditioner targets frizz, adds shine, and helps reduce damage, split ends, and hair breakage.
The conditioner is safe for color-treated hair, chemically-processed hair, keratin, and Brazilian blowout-treated hair, extensions, wigs, and synthetic hair.
Ouai also offers conditioners for other hair types, such as their Fine Hair Conditioner, which hydrates, strengthens, and adds thickness and bounce to dry hair, and a Thick Hair Conditioner that hydrates, repairs, adds shine, and reduces frizz.
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
- Key Ingredients: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, panthenol, plant oils and hyaluronic acid.
- Targets: Repairs hair damage, split ends, and frizz, enhances manageability.
- Fragrance: Signature uplifting citrus scent.
- Best For: Repairing and strengthening damaged hair. Safe for color-treated and chemically-processed hair.
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is formulated to repair hair damage, split ends, and frizz, leaving your hair more manageable, shiny, and strong.
The result is stronger, healthier, smoother hair that’s less likely to tangle or break.
This conditioner does a great job of controlling frizz and adding shine, and it’s gentle enough to use on processed or color-treated hair.
Ouai Medium Hair Conditioner vs Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Like the Medium Hair Shampoo vs Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo comparison, the choice between Ouai Medium Hair Conditioner and Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner depends on your hair needs.
If you’re looking for a fragranced conditioner based on your hair type (fine, medium, or thick) that provides hydration and shine and helps repair split ends, Ouai’s Medium Hair Conditioner is a great choice.
If you’re looking for a conditioner that specifically targets repairing and strengthening damaged hair, Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is the way to go.
Olaplex conditioner uses the same bond-building technology as the Olaplex shampoo to repair and protect hair from future damage.
Ouai Fine To Medium Hair Treatment Masque
- Key Ingredients: Shea butter, panthenol, hydrolyzed keratin, coconut water, ginger root, carrot root, rosemary leaf extracts.
- Targets: Lightweight hydration, reduces frizz, repairs damaged hair.
- Fragrance: Floral Melrose Place scent with rose, bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk.
- Best For: Fine to medium hair types needing hydration and frizz control.
Ouai Fine To Medium Hair Treatment Masque offers lightweight hydration and moisture, reduces frizz, and repairs damaged fine to medium hair types.
The mask has a creamy yet lightweight consistency that melts into your hair. Use it in place of your regular conditioner after shampooing.
Leave it on for a minimum of five minutes before being rinsed off. You can also use it as an overnight hair mask.
If you have thick hair, Ouai also offers Thick Hair Treatment Masque, which contains almond, macadamia, and olive oils, shea and illipe butters, and hydrolyzed keratin to restore shine, strengthen, and hydrate thick hair types.
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
- Key Ingredients: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, hyaluronic acid, arginine, ceramides, panthenol, and nourishing plant oils.
- Targets: Deep hydration, shine, smoothness, and body.
- Fragrance: Signature fresh, citrus fragrance.
- Best For: Damaged hair in need of intense moisture and repair.
Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask contains Olaplex Bond Building technology and is designed to increase moisture, shine, smoothness, and body.
This highly concentrated hair mask is formulated to repair and protect damaged hair while adding hydration and intense moisture. It has a lightweight consistency that absorbs deeply without weighing your hair down.
Olaplex’s analogy compares this hair mask to skincare: consider No. 8 the moisture mask you would use on your skin weekly but for your hair instead.
The mask is designed to be used as a weekly hair mask instead of your regular conditioner. Simply apply it to damp hair, comb through, and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes before rinsing it out.
Ouai Fine To Medium Hair Treatment Masque vs Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
Both hair masks are lightweight and very nourishing.
If your hair is damaged and in need of repair, Olaplex’s hair mask is the better choice, as it is specifically designed to repair and protect damaged hair.
Also, if your hair is extremely parched, straw-like, and in need of moisture, Olaplex Bond Intense Moisture Mask is specifically designed to be a deep infusion of moisture.
Ouai’s hair mask is better suited to those that want a product formulated for your hair type. It leaves your hair soft and silky and tames the frizz.
It’s also important to consider fragrance preferences when choosing between the two brands. Ouai products have a much stronger scent, so keep this in mind if you are sensitive to fragrance.
Ouai is more expensive, but you get 8.8 oz compared to the Olaplex mask’s 3.3 oz.
Ouai Leave In Conditioner
- Key Ingredients: Amino acids, panthenol, baobab seed, evening primrose and argan oils, tamarind seed extract, hydrolyzed proteins, Vitamin E.
- Targets: Heat protection, frizz control, repairs dry ends, adds slip for detangling, boosts shine, controls flyaways.
- Fragrance: North Bondi fragrance with notes of bergamot, Italian lemon, rose de mai, and violet.
- Best For: Thick, coarse, and curly hair, offering hydration and UV protection.
Ouai Leave In Conditioner is a heat protection spray for hair that provides multiple hair benefits.
Excellent for dry hair, this leave in conditioner offers thermal protection from heat damage (up to 450°F/232°C). A pretty impressive statistic that Oaui notes is that when used with heat, it reduces hair breakage by 52%.
The spray fights frizz, repairs dry ends, and adds slip to hair, which makes it easier to detangle. The lightweight spray also protects against UV damage.
It’s also great for thick, coarse, and curly hair since it hydrates when applied to dry hair. It also boosts shine and controls flyaways.
Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother
- Key Ingredients: Grape seed, sunflower, and coconut oil, antioxidants vitamins C and E, panthenol, aloe vera, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate.
- Targets: Conditioning, strengthening, smoothing frizz and flyaways, speeding up blow dry time.
- Fragrance: Signature citrus scent.
- Best For: All hair types, including dry, grey, colored, chemically treated hair, and various hair textures.
Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother is a leave in styling treatment that conditions and strengthens your tresses without making your hair stiff or sticky.
The concentrated cream speeds up blow dry time while smoothing frizz and flyaways for up to 72 hours. It also works great on air-dried curls.
Ouai Leave In Conditioner vs Olaplex Nº.6 Bond Smoother
While Ouai Leave In Conditioner is a thin lotion consistency dispensed from a bottle that is sprayed onto your hair, Olaplex is a cream in a pump bottle that is dispensed onto your hands and then applied throughout your hair.
Ouai has a much lighter feel, while Olaplex feels a little heavier and more noticeable in your hair.
Olaplex is great for frizz, while Oaui is an excellent heat protector.
Both are fragranced, but once again, Oaui has a more noticeable scent.
Both are similarly priced, but Ouai is 4.7 oz while Olaplex is 3.3 oz,so Ouai gives you more product.
Ouai Super Dry Shampoo
- Key Ingredients: Volcanic minerals, rice starch, panthenol, and Rhodiola rosea extract.
- Targets: Cleans and volumizes oily hair, absorbs oil, adds volume and texture.
- Fragrance: Melrose Place rose fragrance.
- Best For: Oiliness, volumizing.
Ouai Super Dry Shampoo cleans and volumizes oily hair, absorbs oil and refreshes your hair without leaving any residue.
The dry shampoo does leave a white cast, BUT once it is rubbed and blended into your hair, it disappears quickly.
Ouai notes that the white cast is their blend of rice starch, volcanic minerals, and Rhodiola rosea extract working to absorb, detoxify, and soften hair.
Letting the dry shampoo sit in your hair for about 30 seconds allows it to do its job, especially if your hair is super oily.
TIP: Focus on your roots and scalp first, then brush Super Dry Shampoo through the mid-shaft and ends. A blow dryer can even help blend and distribute it throughout your hair.
Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo
- Key Ingredients: Ultra-fine rice starch, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, Rambutan seed extract, bentonite clay, zeolite, and cetrimonium chloride.
- Targets: Absorbs oil, detoxifies scalp, adds volume, repairs hair damage.
- Fragrance: Signature citrus scent.
- Best For: Oiliness and damaged hair.
Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo absorbs oil and detoxifies your scalp for a clean, fresh scalp and voluminous hair.
What makes it stand out in the sea of dry shampoos is that Olaplex uses dry cleansing technology, so the dry shampoo feels weightless, and your scalp and hair don’t feel weighed down, powdery or stiff.
Olaplex dry shampoo doesn’t contain talc like many dry shampoos but uses ultra-fine rice starch to mattify and absorb oil. It won’t leave any white powdery residue and won’t clog your pores, which is very helpful if you have an oily scalp.
Like every other Olaplex product, it contains Olaplex’s patented Bond Building Technology that put them on the map.
Olaplex repairs hair damage from the inside out, resulting in stronger, shinier, healthier hair with reduced breakage and split ends.
This Olaplex hair product is perfect for brittle, damaged, dry, and frizzy hair. Olaplex technology repairs hair damage from chemical treatments, hot tools, styling, aging, and even environmental damage.
Read more about this Olaplex product in my Olaplex Dry Shampoo review post.
Ouai Super Dry Shampoo vs Olaplex No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo
The main difference between No. 4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo and Ouai Super Dry Shampoo is that Olaplex uses dry cleansing technology to avoid a white powdery residue.
Ouai does leave a white residue, but it can be blended out.
They’re both fragranced: Ouai with their Melrose Place rose fragrance and Olaplex with their signature citrus fragrance.
I tend to get more uses and extend my time in between wash days with Olaplex since it doesn’t leave any buildup on my hair. (I also prefer Olaplex’s fresher fragrance.)
Founded in 2014 by husband and wife Dean and Darcy Christal, Olaplex is a haircare brand that focuses on repairing damaged hair.
Olaplex products are formulated with a patented ingredient called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, which works by re-linking the broken disulfide bonds in your hair:
- Disulfide bonds can be damaged during thermal, mechanical, and chemical services, such as when you bleach, perm, or straighten your hair, as well as other factors like environmental stress and aging.
- Broken disulfide bonds create damaged, dry, brittle hair. By re-linking these bonds back together, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate can help to restore the strength, structure, and integrity of your hair and repair hair damage.
Olaplex technology works at a molecular level and provides immediate results. It improves hair strength and prevents future breakage for shiny, healthy hair with improved resilience.
Olaplex products are commonly used in salons but can also be purchased for at-home use.
Olaplex created their Olaplex Bond Maintenance System, a multi-step at-home system, to work on all hair types to restore strength, structure, and integrity to damaged hair.
The Olaplex at-home system includes several products:
- No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment
- No. 3 Hair Perfector
- No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
- No. 4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo
- No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
- No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
- No. 6 Bond Smoother
- No. 7 Bonding Oil
- No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
- No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum
You may have noticed that Steps 1 and 2 are missing from the list above. Olaplex Steps No. 1 and No. 2 are in-salon services.
Olaplex products are vegan and cruelty-free and do not contain parabens, phthalates, sulfates (SLS & SLES), gluten, or phosphates.
Ouai was founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin in 2016. The brand aims to make luxury hair care accessible with its high-quality, effective hair products.
Ouai is a socially-driven brand that uses social media to help drive product development and launch new product releases.
The brand offers a range of daily haircare products, including shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments, as well as styling products like leave-in conditioners, hair oil, hair spray, and dry shampoo.
- Ouai has formulated their daily haircare products based on hair type: thin, medium, or thick hair (i.e., Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo and Conditioner).
- Ouai offers haircare supplements for thicker, fuller hair, less shedding, and optimal hair growth.
- Ouai also offers body care products, including body cleansers, scrubs, and creams, plus hand wash and lotions.
Fragrance is an integral part of the Ouai product experience, so much so that Ouai now offers Ouai de parfums, which are fragrances inspired by the brand’s favorite cities.
They bottled up best-selling scents found in their hair and body products and created fragrances you can wear as your everyday scent.
Ouai products are cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, SLS and SLES-free, and phthalate-free.
Ouai vs Olaplex: The Bottom Line
Both Olaplex and Ouai offer effective hair care products, but the best brand for you will depend on your specific hair needs.
- If your hair is damaged and needs repair, Olaplex’s products may be a better fit for you since their proprietary bond-building technology targets hair damage.
- If you’re looking for daily haircare products based on your hair type that promote overall hair health, Ouai might be the better option.
It’s also worth noting that Ouai’s products are heavily fragranced (often borderline perfume-like), while Olaplex’s products have their signature citrus scent.
Regardless of which brand you choose, it’s essential to prioritize hair health and select products that work for your hair type and needs.
Thanks for reading!