I’m a big fan of Olaplex haircare products. Olaplex is one of my favorite haircare brands for its ability to repair damaged hair by rebuilding broken bonds in your hair.
But more haircare brands are coming out with their own bond repair products, like Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate line.
In this post, I compare two bond repair product lines, Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs Olaplex, to determine which is better for repairing and strengthening damaged hair.
I tested both haircare lines and will discuss the results on my hair which is dry, frizzy, and has a loss of elasticity.
Olaplex has been one of my favorites for the past few years, but how did Redken do? Did it outperform Olaplex?
Let’s find out and learn the differences between these two bond repair lines for damaged hair.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs Olaplex Products
Both Redken and Olaplex formulate their products to repair damaged disulfide bonds in your hair.
Disulfide bonds are protein structures in your hair that can be attributed to about 1/3 of your hair’s strength.
We have millions of these disulfide bonds in our hair. They are found in our hair’s cuticle, cortex, and medulla.
When these strong bonds are broken due to chemical, mechanical or thermal processes, or even environmental factors like sun exposure or pollution, your hair can become weak, dry, and dull.
These haircare products strengthen these bonds, helping your hair become strong and healthy again.
Both brands are similarly priced at the high end of haircare pricing. However, Redken products are larger and contain more product than Olaplex.
Both hair care lines are fragranced. Redken is described as a fresh citrus and floral fragrance containing top notes of orange, bergamot, and marine, middle notes of freesia, peach, and rose, and bottom notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, and amber.
Olaplex also has a bright, citrusy fragrance that is found in all of their products.
When using Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Pre-Treatment, Shampoo, and Conditioner, users saw 14x smoother hair and 63% less breakage for 2x stronger hair when compared to non-conditioning products.
Olpaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is Olaplex’s original and wildly popular at-home bond-building treatment.
When combined with No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Treatment as a 2-part system, users saw 68% more repair and 3x stronger hair.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment vs Olaplex No.3 Bond Repair Treatment
These intensive repair treatments are where you should start if you have very damaged hair.
They repair damaged hair for less breakage, fewer split ends, and improved strength, shine, and manageability.
Both are formulated to be applied to damp hair before shampooing. Redken works in 5-10 minutes, while Olaplex should be left on your hair for at least 10 minutes.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment is Redken’s most concentrated Bonding Care Complex formula.
It’s a pre-shampoo treatment that strengthens hair in just one application.
It contains Redken’s highest level of Citric Acid + a Bonding Care Complex at a 14% concentration.
This rinse-out treatment features citric acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps reinforce weakened bonds. The pH-balancing acidic formula helps restore hair to a healthy pH.
You apply the treatment to wet hair, lather, leave in 5-10 minutes, and then rinse. The formula has a lightweight texture that rinses out cleanly, leaving hair silky, smooth, and shiny.
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is a pre-shampoo hair treatment that reduces breakage and strengthens your hair.
Olaplex is quick to point out that Hair Perfector is not a conditioner but rather a concentrated hair treatment that strengthens weakened disulfide bonds while smoothing and protecting your hair.
The treatment contains Olaplex’s proprietary molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, to treat damaged hair.
Use it 1x, 2x, or 3x a week on damp hair before shampooing and conditioning it. Leave on for 10 minutes or longer and then shampoo and condition your hair.
NOTE: This Olaplex treatment reaches maximum effectiveness at 30-45 minutes, but you can leave it on your hair as long as it stays moist. Olaplex doesn’t recommend leaving it on your hair overnight since it might get into your eyes.
Which Damaged Hair Treatment is Better?
These pre-shampoo treatments target hair damage differently. Olaplex uses its patented ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, to repair broken bonds in your hair, while Redken uses a Citric Acid + Bonding Care Complex to reinforce broken bonds.
While Olaplex’s technology is one of the best in the business for damaged hair repair, Redken’s formula is also effective at repairing damaged hair.
The Bottom Line: There is a reason why Olaplex is the best-selling product in this hair treatment category. It gets fantastic results with its patented technology. For damaged hair, No.3 Bond Perfector is the best choice.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo vs Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo contains citric acid and a bonding care complex to restore broken disulfide bonds in your hair.
Olaplex contains a patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, to repair broken bonds.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo is a sulfate-free shampoo that targets hair damage with a Citric Acid + 7% Bonding Care Complex.
The nourishing shampoo reinforces weakened bonds with a critic acid. The shampoo restores hair to a healthy pH range.
The formula defends against hair damage caused by coloring, chemical treatments, heat styling tools, and, believe it or not, even water.
Panthenol improves hair elasticity, while amodimethicone is a silicone molecule with conditioning benefits.
Salicylic acid helps remove product buildup while also exfoliating the scalp.
The result is less breakage, fewer split ends, and smoother hair. Your hair will look and feel healthy with a brilliant shine.
The concentrated shampoo has a rich, luxurious texture and bright, sweet scent. It rinses cleanly and doesn’t weigh my hair down.
Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is the #1 selling shampoo in Prestige Haircare.
This highly concentrated shampoo relinks broken bonds in your hair to not only repair your hair but also protect it from future damage.
Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Olaplex’s patented molecule, is the star of the show in this shampoo. It helps rebuild strength, structure, and integrity without compromising hair health.
Rosemary leaf extract and burdock root extract work together to protect against environmental stressors, while hydrolyzed vegetable protein helps your hair retain moisture.
Similar to Redken, amodimethicone is added to condition and protect the hair, while panthenol, also known as Pro-Vitamin B5, helps smooths hair, preventing split ends and drawing moisture to the hair.
Sodium hyaluronate, the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, hydrates and moisturizes damaged hair, while fruit extracts nourish the hair and scalp.
Sunflower seed oil and apricot kernel oil seal in moisture while the fermented filtrates of green tea seed oil and argan oil moisturize and soften hair for a silky soft finish.
This Olaplex shampoo helps reduce breakage, split ends, and frizz for shinier, more manageable, and healthier hair.
You’ll notice that the shampoo is very dense and thick, so you only need a small amount to get a rich lather.
Which Shampoo is Better?
While both shampoos are pretty concentrated, Olaplex’s shampoo feels more concentrated than Redken, so it may be too heavy for some hair types (i.e., fine or thinning hair).
While the shampoos share some of the same active ingredients like panthenol, glycerin, and amodimethicone, Redken uses a Citric Acid + 7% Bonding Care Complex to repair damage.
Olaplex is formulated with a patented molecule that relinks broken bonds to repair hair damage.
Olaplex contains many more active ingredients, but the bond repair molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, really sets it apart from Redken.
For most types of hair, Olaplex will most likely be the better choice due to the patented repair technology.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Conditioner vs Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Both conditioners kick hair damage to the curb: Redken with citric acid plus an 11% bonding care complex and Olaplex with Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate.
This is Olaplex’s patented ingredient that relinks broken bonds.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Conditioner
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Conditioner is a bonding conditioner that provides intense conditioning and bond repair with its Citric Acid + 11% Bonding Care Complex.
The pH-balancing conditioner contains citric acid and has an acidic pH to defend against hair damage and provide intense conditioning and color-fade protection.
The conditioner has a rich, nourishing texture but leaves it feeling smooth and soft, but never weighed down.
Amodimethicone provides conditioning benefits, while panthenol helps to improve hair elasticity and prevents split ends.
Just like the Redken shampoo, this conditioner is rich but never leaves my hair feeling heavy. It leaves my hair silky and smooth.
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is the #1 selling Conditioner in Prestige Haircare.
The highly-nourishing reparative conditioner tackles hair damage with the same patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, as all other Olaplex products.
The conditioner repairs damage, split ends, and breakage by relinking broken bonds for stronger, healthier hair.
The formula also contains moisturizing oils, including green tea seed oil, Crambe abyssinica seed oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and the fermented filtrates of green tea seed oil and argan oil.
Panthenol helps increase hair’s hydration and elasticity, while amodimethicone coats the hair with a protective layer, so it’s less prone to damage.
Fruit and plant extracts provide nourishment and protection to help maintain healthy hair.
This is a very thick conditioner that intensely moisturizes, softens, and smooths frizzy damaged hair.
This Olaplex conditioner is very thick and rich in texture. It’s one of my favorite conditioners I return to repeatedly for its reparative benefits.
Which Conditioner is Better?
Like Olaplex’s shampoo, Olaplex’s conditioner has far more active ingredients than Redken, but once again, the ingredient that stands out is Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, which repairs broken bonds in your hair.
Both conditioners leave my hair soft, smooth, and super shiny, but my hair feels lighter after using Redken. Redken may work better if you have fine hair or struggle with hair volume.
However, if your hair is damaged or needs intense repair, I think Olaplex’s No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is the better choice to achieve healthier, stronger hair.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs Olaplex: Leave-In Products
This comparison is a little more complicated since Redken only has one leave-in product, while Olaplex has three.
I know I sound repetitive, but for hair damage, Olaplex products will be the best choice.
If you want a lightweight leave-in product, Redken’s leave-in treatment below and Olaplex No. 9 hair serum both feel weightless in your hair.
For styling, Olaplex’s hair oil or styling cream are very effective.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-in Treatment
The final step in Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate regimen is Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-in Treatment.
It’s a leave-in-conditioner that strengthens hair with Redken’s Citric Acid + 5% Conditioning Care Complex.
It conditions, offers color-fade protection, and heat protection up to 450 degrees. The leave-in conditioner also reduces frizz and breakage, and boosts shine.
Citric acid reinforces weakened bonds. Amodimethicone provides conditioning benefits, while glycerin moisturizes.
This lightweight leave-in-treatment feels weightless in my hair and protects it from damage when using a blow dryer.
A bonus is the amazing scent!
Olaplex Leave-In Products
Olaplex has a few leave-in post-shampoo and conditioner products. They all contain Olaplex’s proprietary damage repair ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, for damage repair.
Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother: A leave-in-styling treatment that smooths frizz, conditions dry hair, and strengthens damaged hair without weighing hair down or adding hold.
Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil: A highly concentrated styling oil that feels weightless in the hair. It minimizes flyaways and frizz while strengthening the hair and repairing hair damage.
Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum: A weightless, silicone-free hair serum that protects from pollution for up to 48 hours and offers heat protection up to 450°F (232°C).
How Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Products Work
Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate line is formulated to repair and protect from damage, improve shine and smoothness, and combat color fade.
Redken combines citric acid and a bonding care complex in its Acidic Bonding Concentrate formulas.
The complex helps repair and strengthen damaged hair by rebuilding broken bonds in the hair. Concentrations are as follows:
- Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment: Citric Acid + 14% Bonding Care Complex
- Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo: Citric Acid + 7% Bonding Care Complex
- Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Conditioner: Citric Acid + 11% Bonding Care Complex
- Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-in Treatment: Citric Acid + 5% Bonding Care Complex
Citric acid works at a molecular level within the hair fiber to capture metal ions (read more on how metals cause hair breakage) and reinforce weak bonds to strengthen hair and protect against breakage.
Citric acid also lowers the pH of the formula, which helps to close down the cuticle layer and seal in moisture.
Formulated for all hair types and textures, Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate products restore hair’s pH balance and help protect against damage and breakage caused by chemical services, coloring, mechanical and thermal processes, and environmental factors.
The acidic nature of the products compliments hair’s ideal pH. The products reinforce weakened bonds, and the concentrated formulas provide intensive conditioning with a gorgeous scent and abundant lather.
The products are suitable for color-treated hair, and they are sulfate-free.
How Olaplex Products Work
Olaplex is the leader in hair repair technology, as they have hundreds of patents surrounding their bond-building technology.
Their products work at the molecular level by reconstructing damaged disulfide bonds. Their patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, helps to rebuild and repair broken bonds.
It improves hair strength, protects hair from the inside out, and provides immediate results.
Whether you have straight, curly, textured, or virgin hair, Olaplex can improve your hair health.
It is even suitable for hair extensions made from 100% human hair.
Olaplex system improves tensile strength and restores hair elasticity while protecting the hair follicle from further damage.
Founded in 1960 by chemist Jheri Redding and actress Paula Kent, the name Redken combines the founders’ last names: “Red” and “Ken.”
Redken was one of the first companies to take a scientific approach to haircare and is now one of the world’s most popular professional hair care brands.
Redken uses the formula PROTEIN + MOISTURE + ACIDIC pH = HEALTHY HAIR when creating its extensive line of hair care products.
While Olaplex products are formulated specifically for damaged hair, Redken has a wide range of products to suit all hair types.
Bought out by L’Oreal in 1993, Redken offers hair color salon services, haircare, styling, and men’s products and continues to innovate with products like their Acidic Bonding Concentrate Line.
Olaplex was founded in 2014. It has quickly become one of the most popular professional haircare brands.
Olaplex is a patented technology that repairs hair bonds to promote healthy hair.
It works by rebuilding and reinforcing the broken disulfide bonds in your hair caused by chemical treatments, heat styling, mechanical damage, aging, and environmental stressors.
Its star ingredient is Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, an active ingredient that repairs the hair from the inside out.
Today, Olaplex leads the way in haircare technology with a range of professional and home-care products and has over 100 worldwide patents.
Of course, Olaplex products are not cheap, so if you love what it does for your hair but want some affordable alternatives, be sure to check out my Olaplex alternatives post.
Olaplex vs Redken: Which Is Better?
Whether your hair damage comes from chemical treatment, a curling iron, color treatments, blow drying your hair, a flat iron, brushing tangled hair, sunlight, or even cold weather, these Olaplex and Redken products can help protect the hair cuticle, seal in moisture and restore damaged strands.
Both brands are formulated for all hair types, but those with very damaged hair may get the best results with Olaplex’s patented technology.
The good news is that you can use these two haircare lines TOGETHER and mix and match them to get the best results for your hair type!
Read more on Olaplex products:
Thanks for reading!