Looking back at sales stats from 2020, one brand really stands out in the beauty department.
Why the surge? Because more and more consumers are discovering the power of bond building treatments to help transform hair from dry and damaged to strong and shiny.
Considered more potent than traditional hair masks, these two-step treatments claim to help repair locks from the inside out, and there’s now a whole host of options on the market.
Kim Kardashian West is said to be a fan, but are they worth the hype? Here, experts explain what you need to know about rebonding treatments, and how to tell if your hair could benefit…
What are the main causes of damage to hair?
“Causes of damage are many and varied,” says Knight & Wilson co-founder Lee Bannister. “Heat damage is often more prevalent than people realise – daily blow-drying, straightening and curling can easily take their toll.”
During winter, he says, “cold weather and central heating can also contribute to drying hair out, while in the summer, sun and chlorine can do the same.”
Dyeing your hair, whether at home or in the salon, is another common cause. “Washing your hair too often can leave no room for your hair to gather its natural oils,” says celebrity colourist and trichologist Hannah Gaboardi, adding that “overlapping colour or using bleach too often” can also make hair feel “rough to dry, or more frizzy than normal.”
How can you tell if your hair is damaged?
“Take an inch wide section of your hair between two fingers and run your fingers down the hair shaft right to the ends to feel your hair quality,” says Gaboardi, as well as looking for visible signs of wear and tear.
Bannister says: “Hair that appears dull, feels rough to the touch or feels overly dry is almost certainly suffering. Healthy hair should have good elasticity – if hair is snapping and breaking when brushed or pulled, it needs some help.”
How do rebonding treatments work?
OLAPLEX products feature a new molecule “that works inside the hair, repairing the structure that has been compromised. It can make your hair seem a lot thicker and fuller if used regularly,” argues Gaboardi.
The first step with treatments like this is usually a thin liquid applied to damp hair for about 10 minutes. With some treatments you rinse it out, but with others you leave it on your hair then apply step two, which feels more like a conditioner, and leave that in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.
Bannister explains that Knight & Wilson’s Pureplex treatment uses bond reconstructing technology: “This works by penetrating deep into the cortex of the hair replacing lost amino acids in the exact sequence found in hair naturally,” – unlike traditional conditioning masks which only seal the cuticle and give the appearance of smoother and softer hair.
“This is effectively [helping to] rebuild the hair’s natural keratin structure, restoring strength, elasticity and volume, plus it [helps] protect against future damage and breakage.”
Can they be used on any hair type?
“Yes, they work on all hair types, especially over-processed hair,” says Gaboardi.
Bannister says: “We’ve had particularly good feedback from customers with afro hair, which can often suffer from dryness at the ends,” but whatever the cause of damage, rebonding technology does have the potential to help.
“Whether it’s weakened or damaged from heat, bleaching or through menopause and medication, it can be an immediate health boost for hair,” he adds.
How often should you use a rebonding treatment?
“It very much depends on the level of damage,” says Bannister. “Many customers like to use it as a monthly treatment to keep hair in the best condition.
“Those with severe damage may find a course of treatments every one or two weeks for a month or two will really help to transform the condition of their hair and help prevent future breakage.”
Bonding exercise: 5 hair repair products to try
1. Knight & Wilson PurePlex Revolutionary Hair Repair System
2. The Inkey List PCA Bond Repair Hair Treatment
3. Olaplex No.0 Intensive Bond Treatment
4. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector
5. Schwarzkopf Professional Fibreplex Bond Maintainer 100ml No. 3