TikTok has been abuzz with excitement over the #K18HairFlip hashtag, developed by the hair care label K18 and has garnered 10.6 billion views in the last 24 hours on the platform, according to the time of this publication. Its influencers include Mikayla Ngueira (11.3 million followers) and Brad Mondo (8.7 million followers), who have joined forces with the brand, and there’s a video collection of reviews on the wildly well-loved leave-in molecule Repair Mask. It’s been compared with Olaplex, featured in stunning before and after photos, and given 60-second reviews. People love it; however, at just $75, it’s significantly more expensive than the competition.
So, what is the difference between K18 the traditional bond-building solutions? Does it function as a mask or a leave-in conditioner? What hair types can benefit from it? How do you use it? Utilizing the assistance of hairstylists, cosmetic chemists, and a few others. This is all you should be aware of K18 before you decide to purchase it.
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Consider the hair you have as a ladder made of is composed of bonds. Disulfide bonds are the vertical steps that make up the ladder. Polypeptide chains are also present, which form part of the sides that connect them vertically. Suppose our hair is subjected to any damage. In that case, the horizontal disulfide bonds may be damaged, which is why bond builders are becoming more prevalent before or in the aftermath of chemical therapies, says K18 cofounder and CEO Suveen S. Sahib of the work that he and his team conducted to develop the product. Bond builders are used to create the outer hair’s structure which is the cuticle -appears smooth, shiny, more supple, and less damaged. In the case of vertical polypeptide chains, they are not patchable and “glued” together, which is why K18 is needed.
K18 functions at a more advanced level to modify and repair polypeptide chains that have been damaged and also connect disulfide bonds. “K18 replicates the entire structure of these polypeptide chains,” Sahib says. Sahib. “When they break, [K18] goes in there and reconnects them as if they weren’t damaged, bringing the chains back to the state that they were before they got chemically damaged. It mimics the structure.”
K18’s Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
This is why K18 is referred to as “biomimetic hair care” – biomimetic means “mimicking biochemical processes,” which helps restore the hair’s original shape. Cosmetic chemist from Orlando Krupa Koestline the K18’s ingredients. She mentions that they are the “usual suspects” concerning ingredients used in hair care products, like quaternary ammonium salts and fatty acid alcohols. Amino acids and polymers. “I also see alcohol listed as a second ingredient on all of these, which can be drying to hair if it is not formulated properly,” she mentions.
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Javon Ford, a cosmetic chemical chemist from Los Angeles, mentions that the inclusion of ingredients such as dicaprylylether (which is an emollient) as well as fatty alcohols helps balance the hair, ensuring it’s not stripping or drying to any hair. Ford was also keen on seeing dicaprylyl ether listed on the list of ingredients. “It’s this superlight, silky emollient, and silicone alternative that’s easily absorbed into the hair shaft without leaving a greasy feel. It definitely plays a role in how the product feels and performs,” Ford says. “Ethers aren’t used enough in hair care.” He explains that ethers are less heavy and have a generally smaller molecular mass, allowing them to be taken up by the hair cuticle rather than being atop it.
Each Ford and Koestline did not know the depth at which K18 penetrates the ingredients list by themselves. However, Koestline says that both of these repair disulfide bonds. Ford states that K18’s bond-builder relies on the peptides, whereas Olaplex relies on a modified maleic acid. “Maleic acid is an organic acid (like alpha and beta hydroxy acids) that’s been demonstrated to strengthen hair bonds and prevent future damage,” states Ford. “I mention it because Olaplex’s patents not only protect its maleic acid-derived bond builder (bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate) but also prevent any copycat bond builders from using maleic acid.”
Ford adds that the bond builder in K18 comprises the short chain of amino acids (peptides) present in hair, so it’s a distinct mechanism. “No studies have been done comparing the two, so the best approach is to try both out and see if your hair likes it and whether or not you notice a difference versus using a nice hair mask,” Ford adds.
The Right Way to Use It
A common complaint from both people who are professionals as well as consumers (and the writer, too) is that hair-care products can take an extensive amount of time and require fresh shampoo before you can begin. After that, you apply your treatment and wait 10 to 20 minutes until it works before washing it off. If it’s a product you use after showering, the entire head needs to be completely soaked in the product for it to work. You can add a few minutes when you must get it out of your hair first.
The hair mask of K18 is comparable to a leave-in conditioner in its application. Hair is washed without conditioner, and then a pump (or more, based on the hair’s length and density) of K18 is applied to towel-dried hair before styling. The only necessary instruction is to distribute the product evenly and let it work for 4 minutes on your hair before styling. Hair washing isn’t a chore. Washing.
“(The client’s) hair is noticeably softer and has shine for days,” says Chicago-based hairstylist Natalie Ruzgis. “The best part is giving clients homework — nine out of 10 times they come back with healthier, better looking and feeling hair than before. They also want to purchase more. The proof is when clients want to use it in their regular routines.”
However, the option for professional use that includes a mist and a leave-in mask is not as simple as other treatments on their own. “It’s not confusing, but you do need to memorize when to use what product and how much you leave the product in before rinsing,” says Austin-based hairstylist Daniel Kim. “It is a less-straightforward treatment system than others.” Kim adds that it is a product he’d recommend since their hair is smoother and more conditioned following usage. However, he wasn’t sure if the proprietary ingredients used in K18 were repairing hair.
Who Should Use K18?
K18 claims it is the best choice for any type of hair damaged by chemical treatments, such as curls and coils. “What we found is if [the client has] curly or coily hair that has been catastrophically damaged with heat or chemical services, it’ll start to revert back (to the curl),” says Jon Reyman hairstylist bicoastal, K18 ambassador also co-owner at Spoke and Weal Salons.
However, There are a few points to note regarding the formulation. “It does have a good amount of ethanol, which curly hair types tend to avoid,” Ford says. Ford, however, as mentioned previously, the formula is balanced with emollient ingredients to keep the texture light but moisture-rich. Ford suggests using an additional leave-in conditioner in addition to K18 for curls or curly hair to ensure that hair is adequately moisturized.
Additionally, hydrolyzed wheat protein is within the recipe, and it has a meager amount of gluten. “This may not pose an issue, but it’s something anyone with [a wheat or gluten] sensitivity should know so they can decide whether they want to try it out themselves,” Ford says. Ford.
When you look at everything, it’s hard to see K18’s, an alternative to Olaplex, as it’s more like a product offering an alternative level of hair repair. “Olaplex does some pretty remarkable things,” Reyman says. Reyman. “And they paved the way for this conversation. However, they’re limited. I think of Olaplex as a BlackBerry. K18 is the new iPhone. It just does more — better, faster, easier.”