Haircare Review: Olaplex Bond Maintenance 4 & 5

I raved about this wondrous shampoo and conditioner duo just after Christmas but – as usual – it has taken some time to edit my written review. Mind you, that’s not a bad thing at all, because it’s given me a chance to test Olaplex 4 & 5 (sounds like a virus) to an almost obsessive degree.

You may have heard about Olaplex; it started off as an in-salon, professional product for helping to drastically repair and strengthen damaged hair, and it was one of those treatments that people whispered smugly about, people who were in the know.

“Your colour looks nice, darling, where did you get it done?”

“Oh, you know, darling…Barnabas does it.”

The Barnabas?”

“Of course.”

(I am hugely aware that these fictional people already sound like total twats. If truth be told, I’m regretting having even started the off-piste dialogue section, but now I’ve created Mandy and Gwyneth I feel I can’t stop. Forgive me, Olaplex, they’re not going to do much for your street cred, old Mands and Gwynnie, but they absolutely are OMG obsessed with your product, so it’ll all be good PR in the end.)

The Barnabas does your colour?”

“Yes, darling Gwynnie, always has done always will.”

“Well, not always.”


“He will have to die at some point.”

(I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Someone intervene. I think it’s the sinus medicine I’m on, it has sent me totally bonkers.)

“Well, Gwyneth, there’s no need to wish ill on someone like that, he’s -“

“I’m not wishing ill, Mandy, it’s a simple fact of life. He will, at some point, die. Anyway, Jonas does my hair and look how strong it is, despite the fact that I bleach the living tits out of it every four weeks. Touch it Mandy. Touch it.”

“I don’t need to, Gwyneth. It looks strong as a horse’s mane. You basically have a horse’s mane. You’re basically a hor-“

“Olaplex, Mandy. My hair has never felt so strong and healthy. So robust. So…”

“Empowered. I know, Gwyneth darling. I get Olaplexed too. Olaplex one and two. Stronger hair, stronger you.”


Anyway, Olaplex is the kind of strengthening treatment that people (especially people who bleach the bejeezus out of their hair on a regular basis) can’t get enough of. Steps 1 and 2 are the in-salon parts, with 1 being the bit that you apply when you’re actually having your colour done and 2 the after-rinsing part. Many colourists mix it directly in with the hair colour or bleach and it helps to rebuild the structure of the hair, making it smoother and stronger. Despite the hair being dead. Which is weird, when you think about it. It’s a bit like using No More Nails to glue a skeleton back together.

And there’s a home bond-strengthening treatment, now, as well as the in-salon steps; there’s step 3, the Hair Perfector, which is a pre-shampoo leave-in treatment, and there’s step 4, a shampoo, and step 5 which is a conditioner. Oh, and step 6, which is something you leave-on after you’ve rinsed out all the other gubbins.

Here in this review I’m talking specifically about steps 4 & 5, but I will come back to 3 (and 6!) in a later post. I need to try them properly, but as far as I can tell step 3 is a kind of Elasticizer-style pre-shampoo deep-conditioner and step 6 (The Bond Smoother) is more of a leave-in treatment that protects against frizz and so on when you’re blow-drying.

Find Olaplex range at Space NK*

So far, however, I haven’t felt as though I’ve needed them at all. The shampoo and conditioner work amazingly well on my hair, leaving it feeling so (empowered) strong and smooth, I haven’t really felt the need to reach for the stronger stuff. The big guns.

Partly because I can’t imagine what the big guns might actually do. I don’t want to go OTT. I mean, can hair be too strong? Could that be a potential problem? I have visions of me whipping my mane over my shoulder and accidentally killing someone. Or demolishing small buildings with my plait. Mind you, it could be quite useful if I wanted to lasso things. Buffalo. Horses.

Anyway, the shampoo and conditioner are bloody brilliant. I have the proper “wow” sensation when I use them – even before drying my hair off I can feel that satisfying slip, the slip that I haven’t really had since first dying my hair. (Twenty five years ago almost. I first had highlights at sixteen, I saved up money from my weekend job and went to a place that used a crochet hook to pull massive wads of hair through a rubber hat with hundreds of slits cut into it. The indignity.)

You can find Olaplex at Space NK here* – small bottles of the shampoo and conditioner are £13, bigger ones are £26. I will report back once I’ve tried steps 3 and 6 – if I haven’t garrotted myself with my strong-as-steel ponytail in my sleep.

If your hair is weak, frazzled, generally just dry and shite (name of my new hair serum I’m going to bring out – Dry n Shite) then this stuff is well worth a try. I mean, if you can get your salon to use the first steps when you’re having your colour done then all the better, but my colourist doesn’t, and I am still having great results from the home stuff. It gives me the weighty, swingy feeling that I love but none of that horrendous semi-oily residue that some strengthening products seem to leave – have you ever experienced that? Like a rubberised coating that won’t come off? Argh! Well Olaplex doesn’t do that. All hail.

DISCLOSURE POLICY. Posts published after 24th January 2019: if the post contains gifted items or affiliate links then it is indicated clearly beneath the title. Posts published prior to this will have a disclosure within the body of the post and then an asterisk * marking all affiliate links. If the content is a paid-for AD then it is marked as an AD in the title. For more information on disclosure please read here. 



  1. Diana
    March 15, 2021 / 4:46 am

    I used the no 4 and no 5 and my hair is SOOO DRY after it. I can barely brush through it without breakage. My hair looked and felt better before I started using it..what am I doing wrong??

  2. Susan
    May 23, 2020 / 11:48 pm

    Bought no 3 on a whim a couple of weeks ago. Have used it twice leaving overnight each time. Nothing like the immediate impact of elasticizer so far. I had great expectations!
    Maybe I need to be using no 4 and no 5 as well or just whack off 4 or 5 inches next time I’m at hairdresser. Quelle horreur!

  3. Another Lisa
    February 26, 2020 / 11:54 pm

    You’re selling yourself short only charging 450! Good luck Lisa, I live in a similar climate with similar neighbors! I hope you get your heat and health sorted quickly.

  4. February 24, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    omg your writing is hilarious, had me laughing the whole way through! Used olaplex a couple of times and loved it, definitely need to start using it again!

  5. February 23, 2020 / 5:30 pm

    Nothing AMR related, but gee, that file is an adventure! I never go there and so had *no idea* I have so many enticing business opportunities to invest in! Hussein Hakeem wants to help me unlock a very special account in Africa….so does Mrs. Hussein, but she’s in Singapore, they must be having difficulties… the TBD stuff seems intriguing under the circumstances, but I think it’s illegal in this state? Hmmm.

    • February 23, 2020 / 10:37 pm

      OK I have sent again. Just to check it’s (truncated) [email protected]? You’ve definitely put your email address in this form properly? x

  6. Lisa Carter
    February 21, 2020 / 4:32 am

    I just had to drop a comment and tell you that you had me laughing out loud with Mandy and Gwinnie ! Thank you so much. I’ve used the Olaplex treatment before and it’s wonderful !! I’ve been a subscriber for forever but I’m definitely going to check you out more often. Thanks for the giggle.

  7. Shirley Turner
    February 20, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    I’ve never seen a review about the Olaplex before! My hair is so fine and weak and I use No 3 overnight about every couple of weeks…….and I use No 6 every time I wash and style my hair. It’s amazing stuff that works wonders.
    So nice to hear someone else getting good results as well. Keep up the good work

  8. February 20, 2020 / 11:54 am

    You only take 450 for a brilliant campaign like that? Olaplex is so lucky!
    I get 1+2 in salon, and occasionally use 3 at home (it is so hard to remember to put it in!).
    And I use 4+5 every other wash, every wash is a bit too much for my hair and weighs it down.


    • February 20, 2020 / 7:29 pm

      I thought I’d give them a starter rate. You know, reel them in…. I have more amazing campaign ideas for further down the line. But they’ll need to add some zeros to the fee. : )

  9. Kathy
    February 19, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    You really need to write a book. I love the tangents you go off on. My sisters and I love to make a joke then wring every bit of life out of it by going on mad tangents. You are a delight (something Gwen would say).

    • February 19, 2020 / 10:04 pm

      Hahahah! Thank you Kathy x

  10. Sharon
    February 19, 2020 / 3:14 pm

    I use 4 and 5 and love them. My hairdresser used 6 on me last week…it is now in my cart at Sephora.

    • February 19, 2020 / 10:04 pm

      This week and next I am going to test 3 and 6!

      • Kathy
        February 20, 2020 / 1:52 am

        There is also an Olaplex 7 – a bonding oil. Don’t mean to give you more homework Ruth.

        • Ingrid
          February 20, 2020 / 7:57 am

          I’ve tried opaplex bonding oil, but doesn’t do anything to my hair

  11. February 19, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    “Dry ‘n Shite,” please stop, I’m dying laughing here!
    I’m a new subscriber, since December. Found you through Liberty London, I think?” Right about when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yeah, I didn’t see that coming. But who does? I just had my radical masectomy yesterday, so ouch. Not too bad, I’m in the hospital, so, drugs. No radiation yet.
    I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying going through your archives. In addition to being gorgeous (no surprise there), I think your real talent is writing. Your posts are effing hilarious, totally relatable (“hmm, maybe that shampoo would work,” think I even though i am not a yummy mummy or model with silky blond hair), and above all, funny. In a massively witty, educated, sophisticated, totally London way, not silly.
    And God, I need the laughs. The pink boilersuit post, hee hee staaaawp ittt stitches….
    If you ever figure out a legal way to do a giveaway lottery to your (no doubt thousands) of US fans, could you do? I was fainting with envy at the Space NK box.
    Thanks again for your posts and vlogs! I hope your sinuses clear very soon.

    • February 19, 2020 / 10:05 pm

      Ah Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear that. Wishing you the speediest of recoveries – how long will you be in hospital for? I’m glad the archives are at least making you chuckle. xxx

      • Lisa
        February 21, 2020 / 6:01 pm

        Thank you, Ruth. Sprung, I’m out! It was an ok stay, all things considered. Very, very kind staff, unlimited yogurt and saltines, limited– but effective!–drugs.
        Now I’m home and it’s noon and currently hovering at 7F here in good old Wisconsin.* And that’s inside my house. My central heating apparently decided to take a little rest while I was gone. So now I’m hobbling around in parka and mittens trying to figure out what the hell is wrong, while my shivering beastly dogs press against my legs like Tiny Tim.

        *Wisconsin: Erm. Where to start? I want to run around in a tee shirt that says, Don’t blame me, I voted for Hillary. But then my neighbor might use my car windows for target practice….. or use his massive snow blower to cement my driveway closed until May.

        • February 22, 2020 / 7:01 pm

          Lisa I have emailed you! x

          • February 23, 2020 / 1:31 am

            Ruth, I’m /completely/ shocked you’ve responded to me — not once, but twice — in this post. Thank you so much.
            I hope you know how your blog can and does help other women laugh, commiserate, and distract themselves.
            I don’t want to imply that the weight of nations is on your head! But bits of cheer are so damn important sometimes, aren’t they? And your honesty in writing frankly about the reality that “having it all” comes at a significant price for women — no matter how blessed with beauty, brains, family and heart – is something all women need to hear.
            Back in the damn hospital with complications. I knew that was too easy.
            [Visualize large $#@ emoji cloud here. I’m not a big emoji fan]

          • February 23, 2020 / 2:50 pm

            Lisa CHECK YOUR EMAILS IN JUNK/SPAM!!! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.