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Which Plex Product Do I Choose?

Promising glossy locks, healthier hair, and longer-lasting colour, plex technology is an anti-breakage process that has made its way from laboratories to your local salon and home. Plex technology helps to repair hair from within. There are now conditioners that contain plex ingredients that assist in the strengthening of hair and have anti-breakage properties — all this during the conditioning process. Stylists can now mix anti-breakage serums with colours and conditioners to protect and repair bonds in the hair, minimising damage and locking in colour for longer. Let’s look at what Plex is, how it works, and how it can revolutionise the health of your hair forever.

Hair Structure
Hair Structure

Hair Structure

A hair strand is made up of three layers. The cuticle is the outermost part of the hair shaft. It is a transparent layer of hard, overlapping cells in a structure that is similar in structure to roof tiles. The cuticle of the hair is made mainly of keratin; a protein cell that is the same material your nails are made of. The cuticle will naturally break or become porous over time due to constant washing, styling, chemical services, heat, and more.

The cortex is sandwiched between the inner layer and the cuticle. It is the thickest layer of the hair. The cortex contains the hair’s melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair its colour. There are four basic colours in the hair; yellow, red, brown and black. The mix and proportions of these colours will cause the hair to “read” as reddish brown, strawberry blonde, and other shades. Grey or white hair occurs when the cells that produce melanin stop producing pigment completely. The cortex houses proteins that express your hair’s shape; for example, whether your hair is curly or straight. When hair is permed or relaxed, these proteins are disassembled, rearranged, and then fixed in their new position to create the new look.

The medulla is the innermost layer of the hair shaft, and it is not always present, especially within finer and lighter hair. The reason for this is unknown, although with its presence in thicker, coarser and often darker hair, the support it offers for the structure is a factor.

The proteins cells or keratin cells in the cuticle and cortex of the hair are held together by different types of bonds; for example, a hydrogen or disulphide bond. When your hair is damaged through lifestyle, by heat styling or through chemical services, the bonds in your hair are broken, causing your hair to become damaged, dry, and brittle. This is where plex technology comes to the rescue.

Hair Bonds
Hair Bonds

Hair Bonds

Recent scientific discoveries found ways to repair the different kinds of bonds in the hair, although each bond is different, responding differently to weather, heat, and chemical intervention.

There are about seven types of bonds in total, but the most common of the hair bonds are two of the three main side bonds. These bonds are broken and reformed through physical changes in the state of the hair, namely salt and hydrogen bonds. Both of these physical bonds can be broken by the application of heat or moisture, such as a swim in the sea, a shower or straightening and blow-drying your hair. The bonds then reform with cooling and drying. This is what makes it possible for us to change our hair from curly to straight, for example, through styling. These two physical side bonds account for two-thirds of the hair’s strength and elasticity, even though they are the weakest bonds in the hair. This is mostly because of the sheer number of salt and hydrogen bonds in the hair.

The second type of bond is a chemical bond, namely the disulphide bond. This means that it requires a chemical reaction in order to change, break, or reform. It links two polypeptide chains via cysteine sulphur atoms forming cystine (an oxidised form of cysteine). The disulphide bonds are the strongest of the side bonds, although they are weaker than the peptide and polypeptide bonds. Plex technology’s first discovery was bond-multiplying, found by Olaplex, which multiplied and restored these disulphide bonds in the hair. This made it the perfect solution for hair that has been bleached or chemically treated.

Science of Plex
Science of Plex

Science of Plex

When your hair is being bleached (usually with hydrogen peroxide, which is the most common agent), swelling is one of the first steps in the process. Alkaline agents, which are lighteners, cause the hair to swell. That explains why bleached hair tends to appear more voluminous. Opening up the cuticles roughens the hair, sometimes making finer hair fuller. As it turns out, the swelling also helps with adding colour later on. This process, however, damages and breaks disulphide bonds in the hair.

The acids and polymers in plex treatments act as a shield to protect these bonds, as well as helping to repair broken micro-bonds. After Olaplex came OSMO’s first plex treatment, Chromaplex. It was the next evolution in plex in that it also contained a conditioning agent. Where Olaplex left hair feeling somewhat dry and conditioners had to be used after treatment, OSMO’s Chromaplex included the conditioning agent in their plex treatment. They also managed to make plex technology more affordable for the everyday woman, retailing at about half the price of Olaplex.

You can benefit from the anti-breakage technology in two ways; as an additive mixed in with your colour, plus conditioners and treatments with plex ingredients that help strengthen and repair hair on a day-to-day basis. Both methods help to repair and restructure broken bonds in your hair and create new inter-linking bonds for lasting strength.

OSMO’s Chromaplex and Olaplex both feature three products; the first two being for in-salon use, and the third being an at-home treatment to maintain results achieved in the salon. There have, however, been further developments in the plex technological field that help repair more than just disulphide bonds!

Hot Tips and Tricks
Hot Tips and Tricks

Hot Tips and Tricks

For those individuals who enjoy colouring and/or bleaching their hair often, Celeb Luxury is a remarkable product range that includes two new Colour Care systems formulated to improve the appearance of hair colour and prevent colour from visible washout and fading. This range includes products that do more than maintain colour, however. Celeb Luxury’s Bonditioner and Colorditioner are some of the first products to contain multiple bond-building technology. These revolutionary products rebuild disulphide bonds, hydrogen bonds, and ionic bonds.

Another newcomer to the market is ColorpHlex that boasts a technology that protects and strengthens hair during the colour and bleach process, reducing damage and breakage by repairing and rebuilding bonds in the hair. It also happens to contain vegan and cruelty-free, paraben-free ingredients, making it the “friendliest” of the plexes. ColorpHlex uses a naturally-derived vegetable protein molecule that penetrates the hair, reinforcing bonds during the colour and bleach process.

Lastly, there is a final plex that will soon hit South African shelves that you may not yet have heard of. Wellaplex is an exclusive strengthening treatment that helps to reconstruct inner hair bonds for stronger hair, guaranteeing the best lifting results. The collection consists of 3 new products. No1 Bond Maker, which helps to create bonds within the hair during lightening or colour services; No2 Bond Stabiliser, which further strengthens the bonds, re-balances pH, and strengthens the hair structure after chemical treatment. Finally, No3 Hair Stabilise,r which is for use at home and helps to keep the hair strong, smooth and soft until the next Wellaplex treatment.

Our hottest tip? Use plex technology at home and improve the health of your hair forever! Include plex technology in any chemical treatments, and heal the damage caused by bleaching and breaking open the bonds of the hair to deposit colour. Happy plexing!

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