A few months ago, I got a round of highlights that made my hair feel like straw. Every time I touched my hair, it felt so dry and brittle that I was sure I had finally gone one step too far and that I would never repair it. I tried everything—waiting longer between washes, using traditional hair masks, and laying off heat-styling for a while.
Nothing seemed to be working, and I was starting to wonder if my only course of action would be to chop off all my hair. When I began to lose all hope, I got my hands on a bond-building hair treatment, and my hair completely transformed. I couldn’t believe how well it worked to restore my hair to a soft and healthy state. If I haven’t convinced you yet, read on to learn all about bond-building hair treatments and why you need to add one to your haircare regimen ASAP.
What are bond-building hair treatments, and how do they work?
Hair is made up of chemical bonds. Bond-repair treatments are designed to mend broken bonds in the hair, leading to healthier hair overall. “Bond-building hair treatments focus on restoration and repair of hydrogen bonds, mending lifted cuticles, and replenishing protein,” says Amika pro educator and stylist Amanda Killen. By targeting and repairing these bonds, bond-building treatments can help strengthen hair.
What hair types and concerns are bond-building treatments best for?
Virtually everyone can use and benefit from a bond-building hair treatment. “As every single person experiences damage to some degree, strength and repair will always be important,” says stylist Jordan Alexander, director of global sales and education of K18. “For those with damaged hair, the goal is to repair. For those with healthy hair, it’s all about maintaining the integrity.”
These deep treatments, however, are especially important for anyone with hair on the more damaged side. "Bond-building hair treatments are best for anyone who gets color, balayage, highlights, or uses heat on their hair," says Amika pro educator and stylist Aoife McCarthy. "All of that causes damage that needs to be repaired."
Our favorite bond-building hair treatments:
1. K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
K18 is nothing short of life-changing. It works deep in the hair to rebuild keratin chains. Since it can penetrate so deeply, you get nearly instant repair benefits. It’s also easy to use. Forgo conditioner in the shower, then apply K18 once you get out, and let it work its magic for four minutes before styling.
2. Olaplex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment and No. 3 Hair Perfector
3. Amika The Kure Multi-Task Repair Treatment
This is the easiest bond-building treatment to use in a pinch. Put it on after conditioner, and either rinse after a minute or leave it in if your hair is severely damaged like mine. Not only does it leave hair stronger and smoother, but it also works to prevent damage going forward.
4. Redken Acidic Perfecting Leave-In Treatment for Damaged Hair
Ever wished a hair product could do everything? Look no further than this leave-in treatment from Redken. Not only does it work to repair hair, but it also provides heat protection, infuses hair with shine, fights frizz, and protects color from fading.
5. L'Oréal Paris EverPure Bond Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner
If your ideal hair routine consists of just a simple shampoo and conditioner, consider this duo your ideal match. All the benefits of a bond-building hair treatment are put into shampoo and conditioner for the easiest repairing treatment ever. They’re color-safe, so you can use this set after your next dye job.
6. IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond Building Dry Hair Mask
Spray on this mask, which is like night cream for your hair, before you go to bed. It doesn’t leave a residue, so you can rest assured you won’t wake up to a mess. Bond-building technology and silk proteins soften and repair the hair while you sleep. The best part? You don’t even have to wash it out in the morning.
7. Bumble and Bumble Bb. Bond-Building Repair Treatment
Use this treatment once a week while you shower. Bond-building technology and wildflower honey work together to strengthen hair and improve elasticity. It also helps detangle and prep your hair for styling, making the rest of your routine a breeze.
8. Amika The Kure Intense Bond Repair Hair Mask
This mask is ideal for hair that needs immediate resuscitation. Bond-building technology works together with rich mango and shea butters for a major dose of hydration and strength. Smooth it on in lieu of conditioner, and leave it in for 10 minutes to reap the benefits. Or try McCarthy's favorite trick: Wet your hair, apply the mask, braid it, and leave it in while you work out for the ultimate multitasking moment.
9. Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Leave-In Heat Protection Spray
Bond-repair technology infused into a heat-protection spray is a dream come true. It’s extra luxurious since it’s made with caviar extract and caviar bond-building technology, which imparts tons of omega-3 fatty acids into strands for super-touchable hair. Spray it on before heat-styling.
10. R+Co On a Cloud Baobab Oil Repair Masque
Baobab oil is known for its moisturizing and antioxidant properties, and it helps repair bonds in the hair. This mask is also full of mango butter to hydrate and vitamins E and C to protect hair from external damages. Leave it on for five minutes after you shampoo.
Gift sets featuring bond-repair products to shop this season: