In the never-ending quest for beautiful, luscious, healthy hair, bond repair is the latest buzzword to sink its teeth into the hair world. Bond repair products have inspired viral social media challenges and allowed people to try vibrant salon colors without ruining their hair completely. It’s no wonder we’re all obsessed. To better understand what bond repair products do and how they help our hair look and feel its best, we have to go back to the basics—what exactly is a hair bond?
We chatted with Denise Welsh, Redken artist and colorist, to find out everything you need to know about hair bonds. Keep reading to learn what hair bonds are, the different types of hair bonds, and what breaks and repairs them.
What is a hair bond?
Hair bonds are essential to the structure of your strands. While keratin proteins mostly comprise individual hair strands, chemical hair bonds are what hold these keratin proteins together.
“There are actually three types of hair bonds; each behaves differently and serves a different purpose in building the structure of the hair,” Welsh explains. “They are responsible for the hair’s shape, strength, elasticity, and shine.”
Because bonds affect the look and feel of your strands, it’s important to have strong bonds in your hair.
What are the different types of hair bonds?
As Welsh explained above, there are three different types of bonds, each contributing a unique purpose to the composition and strength of your hair strands. The stylist breaks down exactly what each bond does:
- Hydrogen Bonds: These bonds allow you to manipulate your hair's look and feel temporarily.
- Ionic Bonds: Sometimes also known as salt bonds, these are temporary bonds that contribute to the strength and elasticity of hair.
- Disulfide Bonds: These are strong permanent bonds that help determine the shape and structure of your strands.
What breaks bonds in the hair?
Much like each type of bond has a distinctive purpose, different things may cause each bond to break. Hydrogen and ionic bonds are temporary, making them the easiest to break. Welsh says hydrogen bonds can be damaged by heat and water, which is why it’s easier to manipulate your hair when wet or when you heat style your hair. When exposed to those elements, these broken bonds also make your hair more fragile. Changes to the pH levels in your hair can break ionic or salt bonds. Disulfide bonds are permanent and, therefore, much harder to break.
While hydrogen and ionic bonds can be easier to repair, disulfide bonds require much more preventative and reparative care. This is why we always suggest heading to a salon professional for chemical services like hair coloring and perms. Your stylist will do their best to prevent and repair damaged bonds and send you home with an at-home hair care routine.
How can you tell if your hair needs bond repair?
There are so many damage-repairing products on the market, but how do you know if your hair needs bond repair specifically? The truth is that if you are dealing with any hair damage, your strands are likely in need of bond repair. If your hair looks and feels rough, dull, dry, brittle, or broken, your mane may benefit from bond-repairing products.
If you are unsure whether your hair can benefit from bond repair, schedule an appointment with a stylist and allow them to guide you.
How do you strengthen and repair bonds?
Okay, so you know what hair bonds are, what breaks them, and how to identify whether they need repair—so how exactly do you strengthen and repair the bonds in your hair? There are several bond repair products on the market, but we’re partial to Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate range.
“Redken’s ABC line is formulated to help reinforce weakened bonds and provide strength repair,” Welsh explains. “This line is a repair system starting with a Pre-Treatment, Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave-In, which is formulated with a heat protectant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to further protect against broken bonds.”
The Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate system is made with citric acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid often found in popular skincare products and the brand’s Bonding Care complex. These ingredients reinforce weakened bonds to help build your hair’s strength and resiliency. The range defends against the damaging effects of chemical services, styling tools, and even water while also helping to rebalance your mane’s natural pH levels for healthier-looking, stronger hair. The Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner is the latest addition to the range. It’s perfect for anyone seeking a bond repair product that won’t weigh your hair down, especially those with fine hair types.
Welsh recommends Redken Extreme CAT Treatment if you’re not looking to switch up your entire hair care routine but need some quick and easy bond repair.
“[Redken Extreme CAT Treatment] is made with citric acid and Redken’s Strength Complex, which helps reinforce weakened bonds, providing strength repair and intense conditioning.”
All you have to do is spray it onto damp hair after shampooing and rinse after five to 15 minutes.
While we typically recommend spacing out protein and moisturizing hair treatments throughout the month, you don’t have to worry about that with bond-repairing products. Welsh says you can use them as often as you need—just as long as you're ready for the best hair of your life.
Interested in a professional bond repair treatment? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.