//Is Olaplex the Real Thing?

Is Olaplex the Real Thing?


Is Olaplex The Real Thing?

When I first heard about Olaplex, I assumed it was just another example of exaggerated marketing claims that overpromise and under deliver, but I’ve received so many positive comments and questions from salons all over the country that I decided to investigate.

I’m not done with my research, so I confess that I’m still not sure exactly how it works, but I can tell you that it is different and it is supported by real science. The ingredient in Olaplex should bond with free sulfhydryls in the hair, but that doesn’t mean that it does or that you need it.

Craig J. Hawker and Eric D. Pressly are the chemists who developed Olaplex. Click on the links below for more information.

Craig J. Hawker

Eric D. Pressly

Olaplex has applied for a patent. Click on the link below for more information.

The chemists at Olaplex named the ingredient bis-(maleimidoethoxy) ethane, but the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) renamed it bis aminipropyl diglycol dimaleate, so that’s the name that appears on the product label. I appreciate the transparency and honesty of Olaplex, for voluntarily listing the ingredient, when it’s not required. The owner, Dean Christal, has been very candid and informative. Although I haven’t completed my research, here’s what I have so far.

Although bismaleimidoethoxyethane crosslinkers have been used in other industries for some time, and they do form stable thioether crosslinks that are not cleaved by reducing agents, they have never been used in hair products before. We’re in unchartered territory and there is no history or frame of reference when applied to hair.

The reaction is very specific to pH 6.5 to 7.5 and 1,000 times slower at a pH above 8.0. Since oxidative haircoloring is performed at a pH well above pH 8.0, I question how bonds would form when the product is added to haircolor.

For understandable legal reasons, the patent is deliberately ambiguous, so I can’t be sure of the exact structure of the ingredient, but the atomic weight seems to be about 246 amu. That’s big. Most haircolor ingredients are below 100 amu. I question how this can penetrate into the cortex.

The reaction is limited to reduced thios. Bonds that are broken during haircoloring are oxidized, not reduced. I question how bonds would form during oxidation or with the cysteic acid that is produced during lightening hair.

Since Olaplex produces thio ether crosslinks that are not broken by reducing agents, I wonder if you can you perm over hair treated with Olapex

Since Olaplex should not be able to bond with methionines, I wonder if it would work on hair treated with hydroxide relaxers.

Finally, if we took more care when we colored hair and didn’t damage it so much, we wouldn’t need a bond multiplyer to fix our mistakes.

The jury is out until I resolve the issues above. I will continue my research and keep you posted.


By | 2015-07-16T22:51:51+00:00 July 16th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |3 Comments

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  1. Cait November 22, 2018 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    This is amazing. Keen to learn more 🙂 can confirm I have relaxed hair and olaplex No.3 works for me.

  2. Sheila in California February 6, 2019 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I am a licensed stylist and bought my Olaplex from a huge professional ONLY distributor and took a class! I went home and did the Olaplex treatment on myself and HALF of MY HAIR BURNED OFF! My hair is FRIED!! I am sooo pissed I can not even say how upset I am BUT GREATFUL I didn’t do this to one of my clients and have the consequence of them suing me!! I’m soo sick about my hair! I’ve been a working Licensed Cosmetologist for over 30+ years, I taught at a very reputable cosmetology school and I can NOT BELIEVE HOW OLAPLEX RUINED MY LONG HAIR! My hair is barely at my shoulders now and is limp , dry, brittle and extremely damaged! So the theory people are buying “counterfeit “ olaplex is NOT THE PROBLEM and a stylist who is new to the Industry is NOT THE PROBLEM!! THE ONLY PROBLEM IS WITH OLAPLEX AND IM SOOO SICK ABOUT HOW AWEFUL MY HAIR IS! I wonder, is it possible Olaplex does not react well with a certain type of bleached hair? Maybe it should only be applied to 25% or less highlighted head of hair? Please keep me updated with your findings! In the 30+ years of being a Cosmetologist I haven’t seen damage like this since a student permed a bleached head of fine hair. The elasticity is “snap worthy” and even after applying high end deep conditioners I can not even run my fingers through my hair without them getting stuck in knotty tangled hair. Please help us!!

  3. Lauren Hynson May 1, 2019 at 5:28 am - Reply

    Same with ME!!!! Olaplex #3 AT home treatment ruined my hair. I’ve never even gotten my hair bleached, colored, permed nothing!!! I have literally VIRGIN hair. I get my hair trimmed every six months and my hair is down to my low back. I used this treatment out of vanity. I saw it on a Sephora website and figured I would try it since I’ve seen some great reviews. Yeah I’m PISSED!!! it’s taken a couple times using it for me to identify that It’s RUINING my hair!!! And this product is what is ruining my hair. I’m using the same hair products as before using Olaplex. I can honestly say that I am usually an idiot when it comes to styling my hair I am a very plain Jane my hair has been the same since I was 18 years old and now I’m going to have to cut it 😡😡😡.

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