Virtue Vs. Olaplex: Which Salon Hair Product Is Better?

Healthy, shiny hair is always in style. But with so many products on the market promising to revive damaged locks, it can be hard to know which ones really work.

Two of the most buzzed-about salon hair care brands right now are Virtue and Olaplex. But which one should you choose for your hair? Here’s an in-depth look at the pros and cons of Virtue and Olaplex.

A Brief Comparison Table

Key IngredientAlpha Keratin 60ku proteinBis-aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate
Main BenefitsSmoothes, strengthens, hydratesRepairs broken bonds, prevents damage
Best ForDry, damaged, frizzy hairBleached, colored, chemically-treated hair
UsageShampoo, conditioner, treatment systemPre-shampoo or weekly treatment
Price Per Product$40 – $44$28 – $75
ReviewsVery positive, some protein overload concernsOverwhelmingly positive for dramatic repair

Overview Of Virtue And Olaplex


Virtue and Olaplex were both created by haircare experts to heal and strengthen damaged hair. However, they use different key technologies to achieve those results:

  • Virtue uses an exclusive ingredient called Alpha Keratin 60ku, which is a human keratin protein that closely mimics the natural keratin structure in hair. This allows it to bind to hair and fill in gaps and holes in the cuticle caused by damage.
  • Olaplex contains a patented active ingredient called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. This revolutionary bonding agent works to reform broken disulfide bonds in the hair that lead to damage and breakage.

While the technologies differ, both brands aim to provide salon-quality hair repair and protection that you can continue at home.

Also Read: Comparison Between Oribe And Shu Uemura

Key Differences Between Virtue And Olaplex


As mentioned above, the hero ingredients in Virtue and Olaplex are very different. Olaplex contains no protein, while protein is the star of the Virtue line.

Olaplex’s bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate is a stand-alone ingredient encased in a patented delivery system. Virtue blends Alpha Keratin 60ku with other proteins and nutrients like hydrolyzed quinoa and baobab.

So if your hair is lacking protein, you may favor Virtue’s protein-packed approach. But those with protein sensitivities might prefer Olaplex’s protein-free bonding technology.

How They Are Used


Olaplex is most often used as a standalone treatment before shampooing, while Virtue products are layered together as a complete regimen.

The Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector treatment is applied to wet hair and left on for a minimum of 10 minutes before rinsing and shampooing. Using Olaplex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment or No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner 1-2 times per week is also recommended.

With Virtue, the brand recommends shampooing and conditioning with their matching products, then applying one of their leave-in treatments like The Restore Mask or Multi-Tasking Mist. Using Virtue’s regimen together boosts the performance of the key ingredient Alpha Keratin 60ku.

So Olaplex gives you more flexibility to incorporate it into your existing routine, while Virtue works best when used as a complete haircare system.

Salon vs. At-Home Use

One major difference between these professional-grade brands is that Olaplex is more widely used in salons as part of coloring and other chemical services. The Olaplex No. 1 Bond Multiplier and No. 2 Bond Perfector are only available for professional use.

Virtue is sold exclusively through professional salons, but is used more as an at-home regimen. (Though some salons offer Virtue treatments too).

So Olaplex has an advantage if you want something that’s routinely used by hair stylists before and during damaging processes like highlights. But Virtue still offers salon-quality results at home.

Also Read: Comparison Between Johnny Slicks And Suavecito Pomade.

Comparing The Virtue And Olaplex Product Lines

Beyond the hero ingredients, how do the shampoos, conditioners and treatments in the Virtue and Olaplex lines compare? Here’s an overview:

Shampoos: Both brands offer a moisturizing shampoo and a “repair” version for damaged hair. The key difference is that Virtue’s shampoo has Alpha Keratin built in, while Olaplex’s repairing properties come from the conditioner and treatments.

Conditioners: Olaplex’s Bond Maintenance Conditioner is ultra-hydrating with added bonding power. Virtue’s The Conditioner is lighter, but also helps strengthen and protect with Alpha Keratin.

Treatments: This is where the brands really differentiate themselves. Olaplex’s No. 3 at-home treatment intensively repairs bonds before shampooing. Virtue’s Restore Mask and Multi-Tasking Mist rejuvenate hair overnight or give on-the-go hydration.

Heat protection: Both Olaplex and Virtue make thermal protecting spray and other styling products to shield hair from heat damage. Olaplex’s unique bond-building technology gives it an edge for heating protection.

Travel size: Olaplex offers more travel-friendly options. Virtue only comes in full sizes.

So in terms of products, Olaplex emphasizes serious repair for compromised hair, while Virtue aims to gently strengthen all hair types. And Olaplex gives you more lightweight treatment options for on-the-go.

Which Brand Gets Better Reviews?

Both Olaplex and Virtue have near-cult followings, but Olaplex tends to get more consumer praise.

The No. 3 Hair Perfector treatment has over 50,000 glowingly positive Sephora reviews. Reviewers say it noticeably repairs damage, improves texture, boosts shine, and reduces frizz after just one use. Many call it a “holy grail” product and say it’s 100% worth the price.

Virtue reviews are also largely positive, with most fans saying consistent use leaves hair incredibly soft and strong. However, some reviewers say Virtue didn’t live up to its dramatic claims of completely transforming damaged hair. And a few report mild protein overload symptoms like dryness or limpness from overuse.

Professional reviewers tend to give Olaplex extremely high marks for its novel bonding technology. But most say Virtue’s Alpha Keratin method also produces noticeable improvement in hair’s condition over time.

Cost Comparison: Which Is More Affordable?

Virtue and Olaplex are both expensive, professional-grade product lines. Olaplex is widely seen as one of the more affordable high-end salon brands. Virtue sits at the very high end of pricing.

A breakdown of pricing per product:

  • Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector: $28 for 3.3 oz
  • Virtue Recovery Shampoo: $40 for 10 oz
  • Olaplex Bond Maintenance Conditioner: $28 for 8.5 oz
  • Virtue The Conditioner: $40 for 10 oz
  • Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner: $28 for 3.3 oz
  • Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask: $44 for 7 oz

Olaplex also offers two pack and three pack options for its No. 3 treatment at $55 and $75, which bring down the per ounce price. Virtue products are only available individually.

Overall, Olaplex gives you more bang for your buck, while Virtue is a true luxury investment. But both brands offer volume discounts through subscriptions direct from their websites.

Also watch the video about Virtue!

Which Brand Should You Choose?

How do you decide between these two advanced hair repair systems? Here are some tips:

  • If your hair is ultra-damaged from years of intense coloring and other chemical treatments, Olaplex is likely the best choice. Its bond-building technology is unmatched for compromised hair.
  • For hair that’s dry, frizzy, or unmanageable, Virtue may be the winner. The Alpha Keratin smoothes the cuticle and tames flyaways and frizz.
  • Those on a budget or who only want to occasionally treat their hair will prefer Olaplex for an affordable but transformative repair treatment.
  • People who can invest in luxury hair care and want a complete system will likely love Virtue’s shampoos, conditioners and masks working together.
  • Anyone following the “protein-moisture balance” rule will want to take a closer look at the ingredients in each brand. Make sure you choose the system that aligns with your hair’s specific protein and moisture needs.
  • For heat protection, Olaplex’s unique chemistry may give it a slight edge, though both brands offer thermal products.

At the end of the day, consistency is key – to see dramatic results from either brand, you must commit to regular use. Try adding Olaplex No. 3 to your wash day routine or using Virtue as your new shampoo/conditioner system. With time, you should see noticeable improvements in your hair’s strength, manageability and shine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is anything as good as Olaplex?

Nothing currently matches Olaplex’s patented bonding technology for repairing compromised hair. However, many reviewers say Virtue and brands like K18 also produce dramatic strengthening results over time. While not chemically identical to Olaplex, they can achieve similar smoothing, softening and shine benefits.

What brand compares to Olaplex?

The brand that comes closest is Virtue. While the ingredients differ, Virtue’s Alpha Keratin method provides comparable strengthening, smoothing and frizz-taming abilities. Both are salon-quality products aimed at rebuilding hair. But Olaplex has unbeatable bond-reforming abilities.

How good is Virtue hair products?

Virtue earns consistently excellent reviews, with most fans saying the products leave hair incredibly soft, smooth and strong when used consistently. The Alpha Keratin ingredient is very effective at filling holes and bonds in the hair shaft for noticeably healthier, hydrated hair. But Virtue is very costly.

How does K18 compare to Olaplex?

K18 uses peptides to repair hair damage, while Olaplex employs a patented active ingredient. They both yield significant improvements to hair strength and texture. However, Olaplex seems to produce more dramatic before-and-after transformations, especially for bleach-damaged hair. K18 works best as a preventative treatment, while Olaplex can rescue even the most compromised hair.

Also Read: Comparison Between Unice And Luvme Hair Wig Brands.

The Takeaway

Olaplex and Virtue take very different approaches to repairing and strengthening hair. But they both yield impressive results that keep hair healthy and beautiful. For those willing to invest the time and money into consistently using these professional-quality products, you really can achieve salon-beautiful hair at home.

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