Brazilian Bond Builder vs Olaplex

We’ve all heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We all know that it means that it’s better to take a few small steps to ensure success than come racing back in trying to fix things we broke as we were trying to get things done. Olaplex made a name for themselves by being a comprehensive line of preventative, treatment, and take home care. Brazilian Bond Builder, or B3, focused more on just the in salon preventative side of things.


– Minimizes damage during color and chemical services
– Oil based
– Repairs structural integrity of overly damaged hair
– Doesn’t require additional treatments in salon or take home product
– Average cost is $10-$15 per addition
– Allows you to custom tailor the products you use at home


– Minimizes damage during color and chemical services
– Water based
– Repairs structural integrity of overly damaged hair
– Requires an additional in salon treatment and take home product
– Average cost is $10-$15 per addition for salon treatment, average take home product is $28
– One single line allows you to not have to think about what you want to use at home

Having used both products professionally behind the chair, I can tell you that they’re both phenomenal in their own rights. That being said, when I branched off on my own I went with B3 and I’ll tell you why: B3 is one step which saves both of us time and money. The main difference between the two is that B3 only gets applied where you’re putting color as opposed to Olaplex’s step 2 which seals the cuticle on all your hair at the bowl.


Olaplex works by repairing the disulfide bonds in the hair. These are the bonds that can only be broken by extreme force, but typically by overuse of chemical processing and thermal tools. Disulfide bonds are the strongest bonds in the hair, but still only one piece of the puzzle. The salon side of Olaplex is added into your color before application, and followed up after rinsing with a treatment that sits for 10-20 minutes.

When you’re ready to go home, you’ll also need to follow up with at least one of their take home products to maintain results. At the bare minimum I would recommend No. 3, which is a treatment you’ll use 1-3 times a week depending on how damaged your hair is. To up the intensity of the at home portion you’ll want to pair that with No. 0 to prime your hair.

Brazilian Bond Builder

B3 works very similarly on a chemical level, repairing disulfide bonds as well as salt and hydrogen bonds in the hair. It also gets applied directly to the color, but that’s the only step! Your color will process for the appropriate time and then we rinse and style as usual. The best way I’ve found to get B3 on the rest of your hair is with a Shine Bomb or another glaze; which are another great way to add more softness and shine in general.

What I like and dislike about each

With Olaplex I like that it’s a minimalist line. Everything has already been thought of from start to finish. There’s no extra thought or agonizing over what you need to buy or use or store because it’s all been designed to work together to protect and repair your hair. I’m not a big fan of the extra time at the bowl for step 2, or the overall price point of the at home portion. Those are my personal feelings, and not a reflection on the quality of the brand or line.

For B3 about the only thing I don’t like is that there’s an extra step if I want to get the product on every hair strand. I do like that there are multiple options available to me for how I want to do it if all the hair needs it, that I don’t have to do anything extra after putting it in the color and letting it process, and that following up at home is easier to customize.

Every stylist has their preferred products and methods for achieving the results that they want when it comes to your hair. I’m certainly not opposed to investing in Olaplex as well as B3 if I think that’s going to be the right choice for your hair. Some stylists automatically add the Olaplex to be able to get more results faster. As long as they’re being mindful of the integrity of the hair they’re working on there’s nothing wrong with that.

My personal style is almost always erring on the side of caution. When using lightener it’s always been my personal experience that low and slow yield the best combination of integrity and end results. When going darker, it’s almost always easy enough to keep going darker if we didn’t get it right the first time.

The best way to repair the damage in your hair is to start preventing it in the first place. This means assessing your products and routines to make adjustments for healthier hair. It doesn’t mean that you have to have a newly complicated start to getting ready in the morning. One of my favorite things about hair and styling is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

The equation is generally:

desired results+steps required
to achieve desired results
time and products you’re
willing to invest

= actual end results

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Naturally Curly
Brazilian Bond Builder

6 thoughts on “Brazilian Bond Builder vs Olaplex

  1. Long comment. 🙂 Hi! I don’t know how long ago your article was posted. I’ve been using “fantasy colors” on my hair since 2018. My hair has been GREAT. I only do root retouch and Elumen glaze. Then I had an unfortunate bleach incident at a new salon. (I had just moved.) The hairdresser used heat with a bleach process. (I don’t know much about hair, but it didn’t dawn on me that I had never had heat.) Of course, I had breakage. Most of the rest of my hair held its integrity except for the bangs and the back of my hair. I can’t get them healthy! A new (better) stylist used the B3 bonder on my last visit and it didn’t help. (I’m still using Elumen glaze.) I don’t want to cut my hair short, and I’m not sure it will even help my bangs. I can’t cut them off! Can I use Olaplex 3 plus the shampoo and conditioner, even though I already tried B3? Or is that too much treatment? I am a super careful hair care person. I don’t use heat on it. I don’t go in the sun without a hat. I wash in cold water. I tick all of the boxes. :)0 Thanks!

    1. Hi! First of all, thank you so much for reading!

      Secondly. Obviously without being able to see your hair for myself and knowing the entire timeframe everything happened in, it’s really hard to give an absolute answer; but, in my professional opinion I would think it would be ok. B3 is great at preventing damage, but if it’s already damaged pretty bad to begin with the Olaplex treatment would probably be my next try if that’s what’s available to you. I’m also a big fan of the Repair my Hair line from Eleven Australia paired with their 3 Minute Repair, or if anyone in your area carries Leaf and Flower and offers their Molecular Mender Treatment that one has done well in my suite with previously damaged hair. It’s only designed to last about 10 shampoos but for someone who does bright fashion colors, I would guess you’re not shampooing every day so it may end up being a good fit for you.

      I’ll link my experience with the Mender and where you can buy the Repair line and 3 Minute Repair if you want to look into it. I typically recommend the travel sizes when trying something new, but the Salon Interactive customer service is pretty great if you do have issues or want to return anything you buy. And if you have more questions, feel free to reach out!

      1. Thank you so much! Yes, I only shampoo twice a week, so that sounds like a good option. The B3 was applied *after* service. Consequently, it slightly lightened my color. (Which I expected.) I want to be able to not use any heat to smooth the ends and, also, help the color to last longer. My bangs fade twice as fast as the rest of my hair. 🙁

      2. Oh no! Extensive damage to porosity definitely leads to color fading much faster. If you’re only shampooing twice a week that treatment should last you about 5 weeks and by then you’ll be getting ready for a dusting anyway. The only true “cure” to handle damage like that is to cut it, but I definitely agree that it’s not desirable to cut all of it off at once.

        What are you using for products right now?

      3. I’m using Goldwell—Rich Repair. For deep conditioning I alternate between B3 Color Protect Reconstructor and Joico K-Pak Color Therapy. I have cut off a lot, which I’m fine with. But it isn’t the majority of hair that’s the problem, except the very top level of the hair on the back of my head is a little rough because I sleep on it. I do sleep on silk pillowcases! But the fine parts like the bangs are awful (and I can’t cut off the bangs unless I shave them.) 🙂 It’s a bummer because my hair did so well til the stylist burned it. I swear by Elumen.

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