What is K18 and how does it differ from other hair treatments?24.10.2022
TikTok is buzzing about #K18HairFlip. This hashtag was created by K18 hair-care brand and has amassed 10.6 billion views as of this publication. Brad Mondo (8.7million followers) and Mikayla Nogueira (11.3million followers) have partnered with the brand to create a wealth of videos reviewing its Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask. The brand has been compared to Olaplex and given the 60 second review treatment. It’s loved by many people, but it costs $75 more than the competition.
What is the difference between K18 and traditional bond-building products like sandpaper? Is it a conditioner or a mask? What hair types are compatible with it and how can you use it? Here’s what you need to know about K18, including the opinions of several hairstylists and cosmetic chemists.
What is K18?
Your hair is a ladder made up of bonds. The ladder’s horizontal rungs are made up of disulfide bonds. Polypeptide chains are also the sides of the ladder connecting the rungs vertically. These horizontal disulfide bonds can break when hair suffers from any kind of damage. Suveen Sahib, K18 CEO and cofounder, describes the research that he and his team conducted to create the product. Bond builders improve the appearance of hair’s outer structure, the hair cuticle. They make it look shiny, smoother, and less damaged. The vertical polypeptide chains cannot be “glued” or patched together. This is where K18 comes into play.
K18 works at a deeper stage to molecularly modify and repair broken polypeptide chains as well as reconnect disulfide bonds. Sahib says that K18 recreates the entire structure these polypeptide chain structures. “When they break, K18 goes in and connects them as though they weren’t damaged. This brings the chains back to their original state before they were chemically damaged.” It replicates the structure.
The brand is called “biomimetic” because it uses biomimetic (mimicking biochemical process) to restore hair’s original structure. Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist based in Orlando, was sent a list of K18 ingredients. She noted the “usual suspects”, which are ingredients found in hair products such as quaternary and fatty acids alcohols, amino acids and polymers. She also points out that alcohol is listed as a second ingredient in all of these products. This can cause hair to become dry if it’s not properly formulated.
Javon Ford, a cosmetic chemicalist from Los Angeles, states that ingredients such as dicaprylylether (which is an emollient), and fatty alcohols balance hair so it’s not drying or stripping any hair type. Ford also wanted to see dicaprylylether on the ingredient list. It’s a superlight, silky, silicone emollient that can be easily absorbed into hair shafts without leaving behind a greasy feeling. He says that it plays an important role in the product’s feel and performance. Ethers aren’t often used in hair care. He states that ethers are lighter in molecular weight and can be absorbed into the hair rather than sitting on top.
Ford and Koestline couldn’t confirm the depth of K18 based only on the ingredient list. However, Koestline stated that Olaplex and this both repair disulfide bond. Ford mentioned that K18’s bond-builder is made up of peptides, while Olapex’s uses a modified form of maleic acid. Ford explains that maleic acid, an organic acid (like beta and alpha hydroxy acids), has been shown to strengthen hair bonds and prevent future damage. I mention it because Olaplex patents protect its maleic acid-derived bond-builder (bis-aminopropyl dimaleate), and also prevent copycat bond builders using maleic acid.
Ford also explains that K18’s bond-builder relies on short chains amino acids (peptides), which are already in hair. It’s therefore a completely different mechanism. He notes that no studies have been conducted to compare the two. It is best to test both and see if your hair responds.
How to Use It Correctly
Professionals and consumers have a common complaint. After applying your treatment, wait between 10 and 20 minutes for the product to work before you rinse it out. If you are using the product after a shower, make sure your entire head is saturated. If you have to untangle first, add some time.
The K18 hair mask works in a similar way to a leave-in conditioning product. After shampooing your hair, you can forgo the traditional conditioner and apply a pump of K18 to towel-dried hair. It is important to distribute the product evenly and let it work for four minutes before styling. Hair washing is not a one-size-fits-all process.
Natalie Ruzgis, a Chicago hairdresser, says that clients’ hair has a noticeable softening effect and shine for days. The best thing about giving the clients homework is that nine out of ten times clients come back with better-looking, healthier hair. They want to buy more. Clients want it in their daily lives.
Although the professional option, which includes both a mist or a leave-in mask, is more intuitive than other standalone treatments it may be less intuitive. Daniel Kim, a Austin hairstylist, says that although it’s not difficult to use, you need to remember when and how long to leave the product in your hair before you rinse. It is more complicated than other treatment systems. Kim said that he would recommend the product to his clients, as their hair feels softer and more conditioned after using it. However, he was not sure if the K18 patented ingredients were really repairing their hair.
Who should use K18?
K18 claims that it can treat all types of hair, even curly or coily hair. “What we discovered is that if the client has curly or coily hair, which has been severely damaged by heat or chemical treatments, it will start to revert (to the curl),” Jon Reyman says. He is a bicoastal hairstylist and K18 ambassador. Weal Salons.
There are some things you should know about the formula. Ford says that the formula does contain ethanol. However, it is balanced with emollients, keeping the texture light and moisturizing. Ford recommends that curly hair use an extra leave-in conditioner to moisturize it.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is also included in the formula. This has a low level of gluten. Ford says that while this may not be a problem, it is something that anyone with a gluten or wheat sensitivity should be aware of so they can decide if they want to give it a try.
It doesn’t seem that K18 is a competitor to Olaplex. K18 offers a different level of hair restoration. Reyman says Olaplex does “some pretty amazing things.” They paved the way to this conversation. However, they’re limited. Olaplex is my BlackBerry. K18 is the new iPhone. It does more, it’s faster, simpler, and better than ever before.