Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions Olaplex and Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate

  • Olaplex and Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate

    Posted by qwerty on September 8, 2020 at 6:20 am

    What is the real deal with this patented ingredient in Olaplex that claims to re-form sulfate bonds in damaged hair? 

    Is it doing exactly what it claims to?

    Is there way to formulate another product that would do the same thing but with other ingredients? 

    Leonel replied 1 month, 1 week ago 7 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • pharma

    September 8, 2020 at 7:38 pm
    Found THIS link, nicely explaining what happens.
    Given that it actually works and the bis-aminopropyl glycol washes off, the remaining S-2(-succinyl)cys would impart a permanent negative charge. What happens with that, I’m not sure and a quick search didn’t give anything useful regarding S-2-succinate thioethers and the like. Maybe something similar to maleate isomerase where the process is reversed and releases fumarate and a free thiol (= starting point before applying Olaplex) or oxidation to sulphoxide and sulphone with further breakdown?
    Although, maleimido groups are usually used for such Michael additions of thiols (but also amines)… however, these are very reactive compounds and likely not safe enough for skin contact (besides reacting with water). Reaction of maleic acid with thiols at room temperature and unknown (by preference high) pH may be possible but likely quite slow (however, hours to days would still be in the okayish range for consumers) and hence, I speculate that the seen transient effect could simply be an ionic bridging effect of bis-aminopropyl glycol between native negative charges which are, as we know, abundant on hair (else, quaternary ammonium compounds wouldn’t work as conditioners). This effect might be possible to mimic using a longer chained molecule with two positive charges on either side. Like 1,6-hexanediol esterified with two amino acids such as glycine or lysine or adipic acid with two ethanolamines.
    On the other hand, chemical modification à la Olaplex could be done using maleic acid (if you could source that) and, lacking a proper linker because you don’t have a nag for kitchen chemistry, a polymeric cationic moiety (there’s a huge array of Polyquats available or go natural with chitosan). ;)
  • qwerty

    September 9, 2020 at 8:27 am


    I had seen that link and was what kind of piqued my interest.

    Thanks for the info, a little over my head I think but i think i get the gist of it.


  • pattsi

    September 9, 2020 at 10:12 am
    Perry said:
    @Pattsi - Olaplex - They claim to have a molecule that can better reform broken disulfide bonds in the hair. I’m not impressed & don’t think consumers get much additional benefit by using it over standard treatments. 

    They do have an impressive marketing machine though. They have done an excellent job of convincing people that their product & technology is special. And that is more important than whether the technology is actually special. I don’t think it is, but I’m not their target market. 

    but because they can(?) reduce time in bleaching process that’s why many salons like it. after 1-2 washes that claimed-effect would be gone and left with damaged hair and customers have to buy additional treatment for home use later. their marketing is really good tho.

    • Wren.333

      November 25, 2023 at 8:15 am

      Hello, I wonder if you could help explain what is in olpalex 1&2 that would cause permanent damage to the hair? I am a victim of this and there is a fb group with 12 million members who are also victims. It ranges from burns, hair loss, balding and severe damage and breakage to the hair. In my case it’s severe breakage and my hair no longer feels like hair but more like Barbie hair! My hair is waist length and some breakage is one inch short. Also when you cut it, the breakage travels up past where you cut. It’s like the structure of the natural hair has been permanently altered and there’s something in the hair that needs dissolving

      • ketchito

        November 27, 2023 at 8:57 am

        Not working for Olaplex (although I wish, hehe)….but those products were extensively tested. They even posted their safety studies because of these complains (https://olaplex.com/pages/testing-results). Unfortanately, hair and scalp experiment many changes or conditions, not associated with topical cosmetics, but rather to physiological or environmental factors. You coud visit a trichologist so you find out what’s the reason of your hair breakage.

  • qwerty

    September 10, 2020 at 3:17 am

    @pattsi  Good way to get return customers too i guess.

    So what happens exactly do the molecules just fall from the hair after a few shampoos and then the hair is essentially naked again with no disulfide bonds holding everything together? 

    It looks like the the patented ingredient is in all their products so i guess you have to keep using it regularly for the positive effects 

  • pharma

    September 10, 2020 at 7:29 pm
    If you could source gamma-glutamyl carboxylase you could achieve a very similar effect to the maleic acid derivatisation but with glutamate residues (which are a tick more prominent in keratin than cysteine) ;) .
    Sure enough, you’d still require something to bridge these negative charges and your hair might complex calcium and become less pliable…
    A more readily available enzyme which might work but forms covalent (=permanent) bonds between spatially close glutamine and lysine side chains would be transglutaminase. These bonds are very stable but I don’t know whether or not hair contains enough glutamine and lysine residues in close proximity nor if such bonds would result in any benefit. Also, lysine isn’t an abundant amino acid in hair keratin… Maybe try with some scrap hair from the barber shop? Transglutaminase, at least in the USA, can be easily and legally bought… it’s called meat glue :smiley: !
  • qwerty

    September 11, 2020 at 5:47 am

    @Pharma thanks again for the info, sounds like a very interesting approach and if i can get my hands on some i will have to give it a try, plus the meat glue  :D


  • Wren.333

    November 25, 2023 at 6:57 am

    Can anyone help me with severe damage caused to my hair by olpalex? I need to understand what’s happened on a chemical level so that I can dissolve whatever substance it is that’s causing my hair to take on the feel of synthetic Barbie hair and the hair strands to start disentegrating as short as 1 inch in some places (

    • Sis42

      December 26, 2023 at 12:03 pm

      Wren.333, you are right! Olaplex starts a process that causes a plastic-like coating to form on the hair and skin, which is irremovably strongly bonded. It’s like turning our shampoo into glue.
      I wish we could finally find a chemist who would believe thousands of women and help us!

  • Leonel

    January 20, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    Happy to provide some answers to my experience with scientific studies on Olaplex and K18 but not here due to confidentiality concerns. Please email me if interested at lee8lion@gmail.com

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