Chances are, if you follow any of these popular colorists on Instagram then you’ve heard the word “Olaplex” a million times. The brand’s three-step process includes repair products that improve damaged hair. A less widely known but still major player in the hair treatment game is Inphenom, which carries shampoos and conditioner in addition to a restorative treatment. If you’re looking to protect and repair chemically processed or color damaged hair, we predict you’ll get hooked on one or the other—Olaplex No.3 or Inphenom Treatment.Which treatment is the question. To help you determine the most suitable one for your hair needs, we tapped Andy James, a colorist at Benjamin Salon in West Hollywood who also paints manes in Miami’s Warren-Tricomi Studio. Keep reading as Andy explains the difference between the two and the cons of each treatment.
Olaplex vs. Inphenom: What’s the Difference?
Olaplex No. 3 is the take home “hair perfector” that gives the client continuous protection from at home damage. Olaplex can also maintain the treatment that has already been done in the salon, with the brand’s Bond Mutiplier (No.1) and Bond Perfector (No.2). Olaplex No.1 and No.2 are used in a coloring process, whereas Olaplex No.3 is a take-home product. Inphenom Treatment is a five-step in-salon treatment that works on repairing the cortex and outer cuticle of the hair, which in turn restores shine and moisture. It can also be the last step as a conditioning or color sealing treatment in the color process. The main difference between Olaplex and Inphenom is that Olaplex works on the bonds of the hair (the inside) while Inphenom works on the outside of the hair structure.
The only con that my clientele consistently bring up is that Olaplex No.3 doesn’t necessarily make their hair “feel soft” so it’s important to point out that it isn’t meant to do that —it’s really meant to be used as a pre-shampoo. It’s building up the inside of the hair.
Cons of Inphenom are that with finer hair or chemically processed hair, it may be too heavy and the treatment may not offer enough “repair.”
I don’t feel like one is better than the other, because they each have completely different uses in terms of treatment. A combination of both, in my experience, has served amazing results, as Olaplex works on the inside of the hair and Inphenom the outside. If it comes down to an at-home treatment, I would address what the client needs based on the amount of damage their hair has. If it’s “fried” then Olaplex it is! If it just needs moisture and shine then Inphenom is the way to go! Generally both are great for all hair types.