Plex Appeal

Previously, salon professionals discussed bonds in relation to breaking them and reforming them—but never multiplying them or cross-linking them. Thanks to chemistry, hair anatomy expertise and the power of social media, addressing the bond has become one of the most important parts of the salon service—whether working with color, lightener, relaxers, perms and keratin smoothing.

Bond building has opened the door to a whole new world, allowing hairdressers and colorists the opportunity to create looks and corrections never dreamed possible. By minimizing damage to the bonds from aggressive salon services, the offerings in this new category are being used as treatments, tools and services.

“When placing color, it’s all about the right pieces in all the right places,” says Tracey Cunningham, the go-to colorist for many of Hollywood’s A-listers. Cunningham works on up to 40 clients a day, placing hundreds of right pieces in hundreds of right places. For this feature, MODERN challenged Cunningham with two models: a classic highlighted blonde in need of a refreshed brightness in the form of babylights and balayage, and a correction to demonstrate how a proper color (and a lot of bond building) can result in a money-making finish.

“I add Olaplex to just about every formula I do these days,” says Cunningham, Redken Hair Ambassador, owner of Meche Salon, Beverly Hills, and Olaplex enthusiast. “It goes in all of my highlights, all my glosses and some of my color. We’ve never had anything like this on the market before. The technology has changed hairdressing, not just color, but for texture as well.”



“Breaking the bonds during coloring also eats away the protein,” Cunningham says. “Olaplex stops that protein loss, leaving the hair stronger, healthier and looking better.”

For this blonde model, who needed fresh highlights and more pop, Cunningham put that “magic” to work.

Using a combination of babylights and balayage, Cunningham brightened up the color and then “rooted” with a deeper blonde for a more natural finish and easier maintenance. After several Olaplex treatments, the hair is left in better condition after multiple color steps.

Get the HOW-TO for this look here. 



“A natural redhead is less monochromatic and more multidimensional than it looks at first glance,” Cunningham says. “For this look, she has almost too much dimension and it’s coming horizontally rather than vertically.” Cunningham determined that Irina, a popular haircolor model, has had too many processes over the past year. “She has some natural regrowth, darkened, with some bleached out ends,” Cunningham says. “Her hair must be treated internally as well as cosmetically. It’s been through a lot.”

For this correction, a base color was applied to the darkest area throughout the midlengths while the ends were treated with Olaplex #2.

“You never knew what’s under all that color,” Cunningham says. “This hair had to be treated so it could accept color.”

Once a more predictable canvas had been created, Cunningham applied babylights and lowlights before finishing with two rounds of glossing.

This was a difficult correction on many levels,” Cunningham says, “but with the right products and tools, time and patience, magic can happen.”

Get the HOW-TO for this look here. 


Hair: Tracey Cunningham and Slim for Olaplex and Redken
Assisted by: Chiala Marvici
Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Makeup: David Maderich for Mehron Cosmetics
Fashion styling: Rod Novoa with Dennis Pinto
Nails: Reiko Omae

To learn more about how salons are using olaplex, and to see more images from this shoot, visit

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