The Beauty Clinic: treatment for colour damaged hair

The Beauty Clinic: treatment for colour damaged hair
Chemical colour eats away at hair proteins

Regular readers of this column will know that I’m not one to gush over products without good reason. So prepare for an exceptional love-in this week. You might have read a bit about Olaplex. It’s a new post-colour hair-strengthening ingredient which was discovered, like many of the best things, by accident, after a beauty entrepreneur and a chemist from the University of California met by chance on a flight.

The chemist, Dr Craig Hawker, asked the entrepreneur, Dean Christal, what the holy grail of haircare development might be. Christal said it would be something that stopped chemical treatments from harming hair, a concept he had been working on for some years without success. Hawker took Christal’s formula and created another prototype at home in his garage. This was Olaplex, and applied professionally after colouring, it is now available across the world in salons traditionally dominated by the giants of haircare.

When applied to hair, chemical colour splits the sulphur bonds that give strands their elasticity and strength; it also eats away at hair proteins. This is why coloured hair inevitably looks like knackered straw. Olaplex reconnects broken bonds and stops the breakage and damage from happening again when hair is re-coloured. It is a thrilling game-changer, all the more remarkable for having been developed by a beauty outsider at his home. After John Frieda colourist Nicola Clarke applied it to my hair, which has been getting thinner and crispier for years, I could barely believe the difference it made to the way it looked and felt. In fact, I’ll say this now and get it over with, I cried with happiness. As you can tell, I’m impressed.

Five matchless fortifiers for coloured hair

Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, £35 for 100ml, 020 7491 0240

Optional take-home conditioner to maintain result after salon treatment (£50) at John Frieda. 

Kérastase Masque Thérapiste, £28.50 for 200ml

A powerful first-aid dressing to bring weak, dull hair with split ends back from the brink. 

Josh Wood Radiant Shine Treatment Oil, £12.50 for 48ml

Rich in kukui oil, from the Hawaiian nut, this gives remarkable polish.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Everlasting Blonde Shampoo, £6.29 for 250ml

Limits blonde fade and brings new polish to coloured hair. 

A Vogel Hair Complex, £12.80 for 60 tablets

Contains brewer’s yeast and millet, a good source of the hair-fortifying trace element silicon.