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From K18 to Olaplex, which hair bonding mask is right for you?

Dry, damaged and over-processed hair (be it from colour treatments or too much heat) can appear lackluster and limp and bond building mask can help.
 Andreas Kuehn:The Image Bank:Getty Images
Where to find hair bonding masks to do at home in Canada.

What is a bond-building hair mask?

Hair bonding treatments sound intense, but the process is pretty quick and easy.

Here’s the simplified scientific explanation: hair is made of keratin, a protein that can be weakened by heat and hair tools (like straighteners), chemical treatments (like colour), age and environment.

Hair bonding products, which are typically applied like a hair mask, are a deep treatment that works to repair and strengthen strands on a molecular level. The result is hair that’s shinier, softer and looks healthier.

Which hair bond treatment do I keep seeing on TikTok?

K18 Leave in mask

K18 Leave-in Molecular Hair Repair is a hit on TikTok thanks to its savvy online marketing campaigns and loads of beauty industry awards — but does it get results? Those with hair damaged by colour treatment swear that it leaves hair silky and strengthened; per K18's website, the more damaged the strands, the better the results will be. Note: This is not a wash-out treatment and is meant to be left in hair. For best results, apply to wet hair after shampooing and skip the conditioner. 

Who it's ideal for: Damaged, colour-treated hair.

Why we're endorsing it: User reviews, leave-in formula.

Where it could use improvements: Only available in one size, so it’s an investment.

Size/weight/dimensions: $89/50 mL at Sephora

Four more highly rated hair bonding treatments

Joico K-Pak

Joico K-Pack Reconstructor

Who it's ideal for: Frizzy, dry, bleached and damaged hair.

Why we're endorsing it: Treatment only takes five minutes on wet hair; less expensive than other hair bonding masks.

Where it could use improvements: Can be a little heavy for thin/oily hair.

Size/weight/dimensions: $28/bottle at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Olaplex Hair Protector No. 3 Hair Perfector


Who it's ideal for: This is the holy grail of hair bonding and considered an essential tool for people (like Kim Kardashian) who love to drastically switch up their hair colour. There’s a whole line of products marked by numbers zero to nine (zero being the first step, eight being the finishing serum). Smack dab in the middle of the process is the No. 3, a hero product suitable for all hair types.

Why we're endorsing it: Brand reputation, user reviews.

Where it could use improvements:  Olaplex recommends multiple products to use before and after the No. 3, which can get pricey and a little confusing.

Size/weight/dimensions: $38 at Sephora and Amazon.

Amika The Kure Intense Bond Repair Hair Mask

Amika The Kure mask

Who it's ideal for: Medium/thick hair that is dry and/or damaged.

Why we're endorsing it: This leave-in, 10-minute mask has tons of five-star reviews, with users noting that it can help with split ends, breakage, dryness and overall hair health.

Where it could use improvements: Users should commit to treatments once or twice a week.

Size/weight/dimensions: $52/250 mL at Sephora.

L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise Total Repair 5 Replenishing Mask

L'Oreal Paris Hair mask

Who it's ideal for: A keratin hair mask for dull and depleted strands. It purports to tackle five common hair complaints (weak, split ends, fried, brittle, tangled).

Why we're endorsing it: Price, thick formula, user reviews.

Where it could use improvements: Not recommended for those with dry scalps.

Size/weight/dimensions: $5.97/300 mL at Walmart.