In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews.
Olaplex hardly needs an introduction. It’s beloved by stylists and frequently spotted in the showers of celebrities and my closest friends, alike. In fact, it’s my shampoo of choice. The No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is my trusty staple. So, when I heard the company was launching a shampoo made just for blondes, I was intrigued. What would set it apart from my beloved No. 4 Bond Repair? Could it turn my rather lackluster bronde into something of interest? That’s brunette/blonde for those of you who didn’t grow up reading magazines. Curious, brand-loyal, and ready to experiment, I switched things up for two weeks.
Technically speaking, Olaplex's No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo is advised for “blonde, lightened, and grey hair.” Its objective is to “neutralize unwanted brassiness.” How, you may wonder, exactly does it go about such unquantifiable business? The color purple, that’s how. The formula makes use of the Olaplex classics: no sulfates, a rich lather, and a focus on hydration from roots to ends. On top of the tried and true formula, there’s some pretty basic color theory at play. The opposite of purple on the color wheel is yellow, and when combined, they inherently neutralize each other. All this is wrapped up in the Olaplex bond-building technology, which repairs deeply damaged hair for shinier, more resilient hair.
My Hair’s Uninspired Non-Color
In middle school, at the height of “blonde jokes,” I often rolled my eyes at obnoxious classmates and responded, “I’m barely blonde.” My hair has pretty much always teetered between brunette and blonde, save a recent natural transition to the darker side. I’ve never dyed my hair and I use a curling iron maybe once a week. There’s not much to it. But thanks to my general apathy, my hair remains considerably healthy.
When I started my Olaplex journey, I was looking for something that would lock in moisture on top of my, get ready for it, prescription anti-dandruff shampoo. I just wanted something to stop the flaking. The resulting shiniest hair of my life from switching to the beloved brand was just a happy accident. However, time in the sun can leave my hair a little brassy, especially this time of year, and with fall comes a dullness of color I was no longer willing to simply ignore. That’s why I was eager to see what this new purple formula could do to add luster and brightness back to my bronde hair.
A Closer Look at Olaplex No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo
Consistent use and proper application are key to giving any product the best chance of ousting your long-held favorite from the rotation. For Olaplex's No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo, allowing the product to process for a few minutes in the shower is key. Those looking for more intensity from their toning should aim for closer to five minutes (toning happens when the product is absorbed into the hair, so the longer the wait, the more poignant the results). Some stylists recommend switching between purple shampoo and regular shampoo once the ideal coolness has been reached — overuse can leave your lighter piece of hair tinged with purple. The brand recommends following up with their No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner for best results. Candidly, when I use Olaplex, I usually skip any conditioner at all — I find it that moisturizing.
What This Purple-Tinted Shampoo Can Really Do
The pigment of the shampoo shocked me on my first usage of the product. It’s true purple — nothing lavender about it. I worried it might stain my hands or my linen shower curtain, but fear not, as the color washed away with ease. Letting the product set for a few minutes, I realized how impatiently I rush through showers. After air drying, my partner immediately asked if I’d dyed my hair, almost as if he was a scripted extra in an elaborate commercial for the product. I checked the mirror.
On the spectrum of brunette to blonde, my hair did seem to be teetering closer to the latter. A few more washes under my belt, I noticed a shine I’d never seen from my hair before. Brushing was a breeze and I couldn't sense any product buildup on my scalp or film on my strands of hair. Two weeks later and my hair is still somewhere between the two colors, but I can see the nuances of my natural color more clearly — the blonde tones are definitely more luminous, and there’s more dimension and luster compared to my typical end of summer dullness.
Would I Recommend This Product?
Think of it this way — if you’re dying your hair blonde, investing in products that protect your hair color should feel like a no-brainer. I’d heartily recommend this to anyone looking to stretch out time between salon visits, or just feel like they’re actively working to preserve their color. Even if your hair isn’t dyed, I’d recommend any of Olaplex’s offerings to keep it healthy and free from environmental or styling damage. If your hair tends to get lighter in the sun, this would be a great option to keep those tones as light and bright as you want, for as long as possible. This shampoo is definitely for you if you’re struggling with brassiness — blonde, gray, or otherwise.
By comparison, the bottle of shampoo is very fairly priced at $28, a sort of signature price point for Olaplex. Options from Kérastase or Redken are in the same price range, but with Olaplex, you’re opting into so much more — the signature bond building technology works to repair hair at the molecular level, all while protecting against future breakage. Plus, with Olaplex certified salons across the country, it’s easy to work with a hairdresser willing to support your hair journey with products from the line.
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