The only two hair treatments you'll ever need in your life - which do two very different things.

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For years, the Olaplex hair treatment system has been hailed as a hair saviour.

When the brand dropped its at-home hair treatment range earlier this year, it was a very exciting time because a) going to the hairdressers can be expensive and b) being at home is amazing.

But what if you’re using Olaplex at home and your hair feels a bit… crap?

Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell has been there, and thankfully, she has the answer.

Hint: You might need two hair treatments in your life.

“Everyone should technically be doing hair treatments if they have long hair of they’re growing their hair, or just want healthy hair. But treatments are confusing because there are two types,” Leigh told co-host Kelly McCarren on the You Beauty podcast. (Get it in your ears below, post continues after audio.)

“There are protein treatments and hydrating treatments. They’re very different, do different things and make your hair feel different.”

Let’s talk through exactly what these two hair treatments are and how they work.

Protein hair treatments.

Olaplex is one of the most popular protein hair treatments on the market. There are five products – one and two are in the salon, three you do at home, and four and five are the shampoo and conditioner.

If you’re using the at-home system and aren’t happy with how your hair feels, Leigh can tell you why.

“What Olaplex is doing is it’s going into the hair shaft and it’s repairing and strengthening your bonds,” she said.

“Essentially what it’s doing is it’s going into the hair, it’s repairing and strengthening it, but it won’t make your hair feel extremely soft and shiny, so a lot of people will use protein treatments and say their hair feels worse, it feels strawy. That’s the protein doing its job.”

The other mistake you might be making is using too much of the product, because new products are exciting and we get excited about using them.

Leigh added, “Also, use a tiny amount. When I first started using Olaplex, I went overboard and my hair felt like shit, and then I used a very small amount and my hair felt good.”


There are a bunch of other protein hair treatments to choose from, most of which have ‘plex’ in the name. In Leigh’s opinion, they all essentially do the same thing.

The other kind of protein hair treatment are the ones with ‘bond’ in the name, that repair the bonds in the hair.

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Hydrating hair treatments.

The second kind of hair treatment is a hydrating one. THIS is the one that will make your hair feel like angel tears.

“A hydrating treatment will work on the superficial parts of the hair, the outside of the hair, and that’s going to give you that silky, soft, touchable feeling you’re probably wanting from the other treatment,” Leigh said.

“I would recommend a strengthening/protein treatment once a week, and then I recommend a hydrating treatment once a week.

“They work in tandem, I’d do one on a Sunday and one on a Wednesday, if I’m really trying to look after your hair. If you can’t be bothered, do a protein one week and hydrating the next.”


One last hair treatment tip – don’t use one every time you wash your hair.

“Your hair doesn’t cleanse itself and product build up is real. Using a treatment every time is a waste of product and will leave your hair feeling lanky… so don’t use too much.”

Case closed.

You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘How do you stop your makeup from transferring when you’re hugging people?!’

  • Leigh says she’s surprised by how many people don’t set their base – we all want a dewy look, but you can get dewy and still set your base.
  • If you use a good translucent powder in the right way, Leigh promises you will look dewy and hydrated.
  • How to set your base:
    • Do your makeup as normal.
    • For the final step, use a big fluffy powder or bonzer brush in a translucent powder and lightly dust all over.
    • In particular, dust the chin and cheek areas.
  • Leigh’s favourite translucent powders:
  • Otherwise, choose a long-wear formula foundation, and use a setting spray and a primer.
  • BUT… makeup will transfer. Avoid white shirts.

Leigh’s Spendy: Aromantik Tropique Narcotique and The Blossom Thief  Natural Perfume Oils, $85 each.

Why she loves them:

  • Leigh doesn’t wear a commercial fragrance Monday to Friday as she tries to avoid chemicals on her body, but she’ll sometimes wear a fancy fragrance if she’s going somewhere special.
  • These fragrance oils are natural, alcohol-free and come in a premium little glass rollerball, and are made by a Sydney woman.
  • Leigh’s everyday scent is Tropique, it smells like a Tom Ford dupe.
  • For a summery, going out scent, try The Blossom Thief.
  • Roll onto pulse points and in between boobies, smells really premium, and they last for three months of everyday use.
  • Only thing, oil and silk shirts don’t mix.

Kelly’s Spendy: Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Eyeshadow Palette, $54.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves it:

  • Cute, very premium packaging.
  • Feels like a very expensive, special product.
  • Contains beautiful cream to powder consistency eyeshadows.
  • You simply use your fingers to apply the product.

Leigh's Savey: Ella Bache Radiance C Defensive Antioxidant Mist, $39.

Image: Ella Bache.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh always raves on about using a face mist - you should apply your skincare to damp skin, fresh out of the shower or using a face mist, otherwise they liken it to putting conditioner on dry hair.
  • Mist it on and do your skin care, it will help your serums and products go further with less product.
  • Leigh spritzes it on if she's going out after work, it re-awakens your makeup and makes your face hydrated and radiant, and you can apply fresh makeup over the top without it looking cakey.
  • Keep one in the fridge at home for when you're hot and bothered.
  • Some face mists are just water in a bottle, this one is truly skincare in a bottle.

Kelly's Savey: Provoke Touch Of Silver Intensive Brightening Shampoo, $9.99.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • If your blonde is throwing orange and brassy shades, it's not a good look.
  • Kelly finds the problem is: some purple shampoos are way too strong or will make your hair purple in the dry areas, and others don't actually clean your hair.
  • Provoke Touch of Silver is a real old school brand and it's cheap.
  • Does the job, cleans your hair so you don't have to use another shampoo.
  • Kelly uses twice a week, and she finds it leaves her hair beautifully toned without turning it purple.

Until next week, stay lovely.

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