Thoughts on Olaplex?

The title kind of says it all. It seems that lots of people rave about Olaplex but I was unable to find any studies to validate their products. What do you guys think?

Any and all input is welcome.

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited January 31
    You might find this discussion relevant.  
    https://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk/#/discussion/comment/53536#Comment_53536

    I see it as marketing hype with little supporting scientific evidence. But they're really good at convincing the Internet they are special.
  • @Perry Interesting. Marketing hype would be my first guess as well. It seems that they've managed to amass a cult following who see their products as the holy grail. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @natzam44 - Their ability to amass a cult following is the real innovation of their products. I think it also helps that they've indoctrinated an army of stylists (who make money off of selling the process) to help spread the word.

  • @Perry it's funny that you mention stylists because on the r/HaircareScience subreddit there were tons of hairstylists defending Olaplex. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Yeah, I've seen 'em. I used to comment more in the r/HaircareScience subreddit but it just became pointless. They downvote you to hell if you speak against Olaplex or suggest "sulfate free" shampoos aren't the greatest innovation in hair care since..well since shampoo.
  • @Perry it hasn't been too bad recently. More and more people seem to be upvoting scientifically sound answers. With that being said, the "natural is best" and "CIR is evil and everything is corrupt" crowds still seem to be quite prominent. These kinds of groups can truly make answering a simple question a huge chore.
  • I've used Olaplex extensively for several years. It absolutely works to prevent breakage and repair damaged hair. Anecdotal of course. 
  • What I should have said was, it works better than literally any other conditioner, mask, etc. Way better. Very noticeable difference in hair health and strength.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @emma1985 - unless you've tested literally every other conditioner, then you can't make that claim.

    But I dare say, if you did a blinded test comparing the performance of Olaplex to other conditioners, it would not support your anecdotal experience.

  • l have used Olaplex for a while. Shampoo, conditioner and the famous number 3. No difference. Although my hair was healthy, to begin with. I had no extensive damage so maybe l am not the right person to comment on it.

    I had the in-salon treatment, my hair looked fine ( like it should look like when you go to a hair salon), but my ends felt really dry, especially when l washed my hair a couple of days later.

    My friends have bleached their hair. Their hair looked much healthier and shinier right away. An instant success. However, after some time they too had experienced the same dryness, thinning ends and damage like me. 
  • Some might find this video interesting: https://youtu.be/V7UlWTU_K6s in summary, Brad Mondo tried bleaching two strands of black hair, one with olaplex, one without olaplex. The result wasn’t impressive. No difference except the strand with olaplex wasn’t as light.
  • Some might find this video interesting: https://youtu.be/V7UlWTU_K6s in summary, Brad Mondo tried bleaching two strands of black hair, one with olaplex, one without olaplex. The result wasn’t impressive. No difference except the strand with olaplex wasn’t as light.
    In fairness to Olaplex, that was not a very thorough test. He just kind of touched the hair a bit and called it a day. 
  • Olaplex's meant to use only little amount.
    if use too much it decrease large molecule dye uptake, so the colour won't come out right.
    aedina said:
    l have used Olaplex for a while. Shampoo, conditioner and the famous number 3. No difference. Although my hair was healthy, to begin with. I had no extensive damage so maybe l am not the right person to comment on it.

    I had the in-salon treatment, my hair looked fine ( like it should look like when you go to a hair salon), but my ends felt really dry, especially when l washed my hair a couple of days later.

    My friends have bleached their hair. Their hair looked much healthier and shinier right away. An instant success. However, after some time they too had experienced the same dryness, thinning ends and damage like me. 
    exactly, that instant fuzzy healthy effect's gone after 1-2 washes. the famous number 3 is not a bad product but it's just as good as other silicone conditioners.
  • Hello everyone!  I've been a reader of this forum for a while and this is my first time posting.  I am a hair colorist in LA and I worked with the early prototypes of Olaplex when they were first launching. 

      I always tell my clients to use Olaplex No.2 once a month.  When I test on my own hair I find that after using olaplex it is tangle free for about 3 weeks.  at the 3rd week it is difficult to comb and when I use No2 it helps with that.   I don't find it helping that much with breakage that is caused my hair chemical damage when used at home.


  • In the salon it does make a difference both good and bad.  In my 15+ years of doing hair I bleached a lot of hair types and when I switched to Olaplex i had to recalculate everything to incorporate it into the coloring service.
    My thoughts when using olaplex no1:

    - Olaplex  works well with bleach but slows down and limits the amount of lift that is possible.
    -Works extremely well when you are wanting to get less than 3 levels of lift but can causes more problems when trying to go lighter than 3 levels.
    - if I lift only a few levels, olaplex will make it feel healthier.
    - if I have a client with dark almost black hair  and aim to lifting many levels, olaplex will make it more damaged(I suspect this is because it plateaus at level 8 medium blonde and require much more processing to get that extra lightness that results in overprocessing)
    -Olaplex works well on hair that is fine in diameter.  coarser hair diameter does not work as well.  so dark asian hair that is fine will work well but medium to coarse does not.
    -When hair color/bleach over-acceleration happens (product conducting too much heat) olaplex is the only thing that has kept the hair from breaking.
    - when doing a double process, (bleach and then color after). adding olaplex to the hair color will result in more breakage if the hair has light blonde (level 10) areas.
    - olaplex works well when it is already present on the hair before bleaching or coloring to prevent damage.




  • Also I wanted to share my thoughts from 4/5 years ago.   I sent to a friend that is a cosmetic chemist when I was perplexed and wanted more information on Olaplex.


    This e-mail is from 4 or 5 years ago
    >>
    I used Olaplex the first year they came out.  This bond builder created new possibilities for hair but I also have encountered some issues.   When the company first launched they recommended to increase the developer strength when using bleach.  They also recommends for you to not shampoo after bleaching because it can rinse the active ingredient off the hair.  I quickly learned that this was not a good idea and realized that the directions from the manufacturer is incorrect so I had to find my own way of using it. 

     I eventually came up with my own measurements for use and I was happy with the product.  I did encounter some scenarios in hair coloring where I felt like these situations didn't exist before.  I'll try my best to explain it to you.

    Before Olaplex, I would bleach hair dark hair(usually Asian texture) to the point where it is a level 10 or above. (pale blonde) At this lightness the hair is very compromised and fragile but does not break unless faced with physical damage.  I remember when hair is this damaged, if I used a toner or color the hair will get more dry but does not break unless you pull when the hair is wet(with a brush, towel, etc) or if you use high temperature on hot tools.  Basically I only see breakage in hair if you pull on it (or in extreme cases, when the wind blows)  but not very often from chemicals.

    My issues started after using Olaplex step 1 in my bleach.  I noticed that if the hair is processed to that same point, I get breakage(shedding) when color is applied.  After asking Olaplex educators and reading through their forum, I learned that they all say that it can be a porosity issue.  I tried porosity equalizer sprays on the hair before coloring but it did not help.

    Olaplex recommends using a good hair treatment (moisture vs protein) after Olaplex step 2 and shampooing in order to strengthen hair and even out the porosity.  This helped in a small percentage of my clientele but didn't fix everything.  this moisture/protein concept was something hair stylist talk about that I didn't usually follow until Olaplex insist on doing this.

    They recommended using Olaplex Step 1 into color to help rebuild bonds after bleaching.  Somehow this made it worse.  This made the breakage increase drastically.  Maybe more than 10 times the amount.  Some scenarios, more than half the hair is broken at the demarcation of where the bleach touches previously processed strands.  This is strange because it occurs on regular clients with the same formula, application, and color.

    This is what I saw on a regular:  
    I Bleach the hair and rinse without shampooing. no breakage.  Test elasticity and pull, no breakage.  Add toner mixed with step 1 Olaplex =  a LOT of breakage.
    I have tried the same steps but with shampoo and the results is even more breakage,

    Other scenarios was like this: 
    Highlighted client lifted to level 10.  Hair feels dry but not breaking when testing elasticity.  I thought maybe it is dry from hard water since she was on vacation in China.   Shampoo hair and rinse with water. No breakage.   Apply hair color mixed with Olaplex sep 1 and all porous strands are in the sink.  That's about 50 percent of her hair from 3 inches down.  This is strange because I used the same color formula in the past and had no issues.

    Through experimenting with different application methods(since I knew that Olaplex's recommendations doesn't always work in the past) I was able to fix my problem.   

    I knew that by using their product in the bleach, some how the hair is more porous(even though the same regular clients had no issues until Olaplex was added); this made the hydrogen peroxide (even at low percentages) more damaging to the hair.  I didn't think it was the other ingredients in the color because I had breakage and shedding even with ammonia-free and acidic no lift hair colors that includes hydrogen peroxide developers.  Products with high ammonia definitely gave more breakage.  Non-oxidative color did not give me the same breakage.  

    I remembered that they talked a lot about the initial patent Olaplex was issued had to do with the reaction/chemistry of their ingredient with hydrogen peroxide so I decided to experiment by adding their Olaplex Step 2 on the hair before coloring (without rinsing out the cream).  I assumed that the patented ingredient in Olaplex will be present in the hair and help protect the hair before the oxidative hair color touches the strands.   The cream based also evened out the porosity. This solved the problem of the breakage/shedding from Olaplex so I was content.  



    My question would be, do you think Olaplex Step 2 works at fixing bonds. I ask because of the talks about "the initial patent of the ingredient and hydrogen peroxide".  Also I have noticed that Olaplex doesn't do a good job at keeping hair from breaking at home.  Other hair masks based on standard cationics is great at protecting hair from further damage but I see no results from using Olaplex at home.  
  • LeoLeo Member
    edited February 8
    Olaplex is marketing genius but the active ingredient does have some benefit for hair--it has to perform or else. Nothing new or unique in its performance benefits since the benefits of carboxylic acids on hair have been known for over 50 years. Many vegetable oils at the right amounts are as or more effective at preventing hair damage and breakage--but you cannot make $$ selling ingredients known to be beneficial and cheap so you have to invent something new...it does not have to be better but it has to have a great innovative story.

    The innovation behind Olaplex was in the story and the creation of a new chemical entity. A new chemical entity in a new category for hair care--a chemical entity that would revolutionize hair care and deliver on its promise to perform much better than any other product in the market--hit the jackpot--have to give credit where credit is due! 

    In a nutshell: A couple of chemists were smart enough to create and patent the active ingredient in Olaplex, which is a dimaleate--a novel chemical entity.

    Is the Olaplex active ingredient revolutionary and of greater value for hair than many existing products in the market? 

    I am happy to educate anyone that may have further interest in finding out more--feel free to contact me 
  • jamesmijujamesmiju Member
    edited February 8
    Leo said:
    Olaplex is marketing genius but the active ingredient does have some benefit for hair--it has to perform or else. Nothing new or unique in its performance benefits since the benefits of carboxylic acids on hair have been known for over 50 years. Many vegetable oils at the right amounts are as or more effective at preventing hair damage and breakage--but you cannot make $$ selling ingredients known to be beneficial and cheap so you have to invent something new...it does not have to be better but it has to have a great innovative story.

    The innovation behind Olaplex was in the story and the creation of a new chemical entity. A new chemical entity in a new category for hair care--a chemical entity that would revolutionize hair care and deliver on its promise to perform much better than any other product in the market--hit the jackpot--have to give credit where credit is due! 

    In a nutshell: A couple of chemists were smart enough to create and patent the active ingredient in Olaplex, which is a dimaleate--a novel chemical entity.

    Is the Olaplex active ingredient revolutionary and of greater value for hair than many existing products in the market? 

    I am happy to educate anyone that may have further interest in finding out more--feel free to contact me 

    can you recommend an ingredient that is chemically similar to the dimaleate that olaplex uses that can be used in bleach?  i would like to know what can be used in it's place.

    as you mentioned  i do find oils (especially mineral oil) is superior for preventing hair damage in hair bleaching when compared to Olaplex.  I believe before olaplex launched was with this concept in mind. Olaplex has very good marketing with their explanation of how it "fixes the disulfide bonds that are still present" during chemical reactions.   Is this proven?

    I personally do not like the Olaplex brand due to fear-mongering of silicones in the initial launch.

    On a side note, I visited Cosway which manufacturered Olaplex No 2 and has told me their other products they produce from Kirkland performs better.
  • LeoLeo Member
    @jamesmiju I cannot publicly comment on this board but feel free to reach out for your answers. lee8lion@gmail.com
Sign In or Register to comment.