Get $25 Off On Subscription Orders!

{"id":556235620425,"title":"Olaplex Review: More Effective Than Regular Shampoo?","created_at":"2022-02-21T22:14:20-05:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Olaplex Review: More Effective Than Regular Shampoo?\",\n \"keywords\": \"olaplex, olaplex review, olaplex reviews, olaplex shampoo, olaplex 3, olaplex 4, is olaplex worth it, olaplex hair, olaplex no 4 bond maintenance shampoo, olaplex hair perfector no 3, olaplex hair perfector\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team review whether Olaplex is actually medically proven to improve hair quality. We review the ingredients in their most popular products and highlight some issues we have with their patented ingredient.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/olaplex-review\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"contributor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Olaplex_Thumbnail.png?v=1645500618\",\n\"width\": \"3742\",\n\"height\": \"3742\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33279560\/\", \n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8197201\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7825391\/\",\n\"https:\/\/journals.sagepub.com\/doi\/10.1177\/1091581812467378\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23742288\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/22517595\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/25842469\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23380541\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8100084\/\",\n\"https:\/\/opendermatologyjournal.com\/contents\/volumes\/V12\/TODJ-12-90\/TODJ-12-90.pdf\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/12715094\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate\"\n},\n{\n\"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"fragrance\"\n},\n{\n\"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Dr. Bronner's\"\n}\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-02-22\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Logo.png?v=1641249064\", \n \"width\": 150,\n \"height\": 150\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Olaplex_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1645500280\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eO\u003c\/span\u003elaplex is a hair products brand that makes some interesting health claims. The company claims that their patented ingredient \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ebis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e fixes damaged hair on a molecular level and “provides immediate results for all hair types”.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review these health claims as well as the brand’s overall formulations based on published medical research, and determine whether Olaplex has a superior formulation compared to other hair products brands or if it’s just effective marketing.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003ePatented Ingredient Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAs referenced in the intro section, much of Olaplex’s value proposition centers on the effectiveness of a chemical compound called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate which they patented.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis compound works in theory by repairing the disulfide bridges of keratin, which is the protein that composes most of the structure of our hair.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’re only able to locate \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33279560\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eone medical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e on this unique compound used by Olaplex. The study examined the chemical composition and potential effects on hair of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate for restoring damaged hair, but \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003edid not test it or prove any efficacy\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e in a real-world trial.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe can’t find any clinical trials proving this ingredient is effective in improving hair quality on humans or animals, so we will conclude this is an interesting ingredient but not one that’s proven to be effective.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile it’s generally a good thing that a brand is willing to undergo the patent process and develop novel ingredients, we urge Olaplex to fund clinical research proving their patented ingredient is actually effective (and safe) in human subjects and not just in theory. Until then we cannot recommend this ingredient when there exist plenty of other cosmetic ingredients proven to be effective for hair quality in research trials.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eOlaplex No. 3 Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOlaplex’s best-selling product is called No.3 and is a “Hair Perfector”. It’s a liquid treatment meant to be applied to hair prior to shampoo, and left on for 10 minutes or more.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe first active ingredient is the patented bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which we’ve already established to be novel but yet-proven to be effective for improving hair quality.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eUnfortunately, the vast majority of ingredients in this formulation appear to be filler ingredients for improving texture or scent and not active ingredients backed by medical research for improving hair quality.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOlaplex No. 3 does contain \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eSimmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which has \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8197201\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003esome research backing\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e for protection to hair thread and breakage resistance, but this is the third-last listed ingredient on the label. Cosmetics products are required to list ingredients by order of relative weight, so this means there is even less jojoba oil in this product than fragrance, and probably too little to have any meaningful effect.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe can’t locate a single other ingredient in this product we find likely to directly contribute to hair repair and strengthening.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOlaplex 3 contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003efragrance\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is an ingredient we always recommend avoiding in personal care products. An \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7825391\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eextensive review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of the health effects of fragrances used in consumer products published in the Current Treatment Options in Allergy journal concluded that “their risks clearly outweigh their benefits.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSome of the chemicals used in fragrance may be toxic or sensitizing, and since “fragrance” is a broad descriptor it doesn’t inform consumers of which actual chemicals were used. Thus, from a health perspective, we believe it makes sense to avoid all personal care products containing fragrance.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother filler ingredient we find to be questionable is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecetrimonium chloride\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is an antiseptic and surfactant. It’s proven safe at concentrations up to 0.25%, but a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/journals.sagepub.com\/doi\/10.1177\/1091581812467378\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eresearch review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of actual use found its concentration in cosmetics ranged from 0.0008% to 10%.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause cosmetics companies aren’t required to list concentrations on the label, we typically recommend avoiding these type of synthetic filler ingredients out of an abundance of caution for health effects. In other words, it’s probably included at a safe level, but we have no proof of the concentration and there is no benefit to hair or health of this ingredient, so it seems logical to avoid it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we find this to be quite a disappointing formulation for such a premium-priced product, and would not recommend it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eOlaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOlaplex’s second-most popular product is their shampoo which they claim “nourishes, strengthens and repairs” your hair.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of its core active ingredients is the patented ingredient which we already showed to have questionable efficacy.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt contains several other ingredients which sound technological and exciting, but which don’t seem to have much proven efficacy for improving hair quality. One such ingredient is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ePseudozyma Epicola\/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil Ferment Extract Filtrate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is the byproduct of a seed oil and a bacterial extract fermentation process. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’re unsure why this would be included in a shampoo formulation other than to convince consumers that a product sounds scientific. While green tea extract \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23742288\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehas been shown\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to have topical benefits to skin in a medical trial, we can’t find any data suggesting this filtrate ingredient used by Olaplex is at all effective.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne ingredient in Olaplex No. 4 which may be effective is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eRosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/22517595\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ean animal study showed\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e may promote regrowth of lost hair when applied topically. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/25842469\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehuman study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e backed up these findings, concluding that rosemary oil significantly increased hair count after 6 months of treatment. It’s worth noting that this study used rosemary oil and not rosemary extract like that in Olaplex, but the extract is just a more concentrated version so we would consider this an effective ingredient for a repairing hair shampoo formulation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother ingredient in this shampoo which may be somewhat effective is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ePunica Granatum Extract\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is the botanical name for pomegranate fruit extract. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23380541\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in 2013 found that pomegranate extract helped minimize damage to hair, but the concentrations used (5% w\/w and 10%) were almost certainly higher than what would be in this shampoo.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf Olaplex had better formulators they would have used pomegranate leaves extract instead, as this ingredient was found to exhibit anti-dandruff, anti-lice and hair regrowth effect in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8100084\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003efascinating study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the Heliyon journal. The study authors noted that pomegranate leaves extract “definitely promotes” hair growth.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Bond Maintenance Shampoo also contains the same two ingredients from the previously-reviewed product which we recommended avoiding: fragrance and phenoxyethanol.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe don’t recommend this shampoo. Olaplex seems to formulate personal care products with a vast number of ingredients, few of which seem conclusively proven to improve hair quality.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eBetter Alternative\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDr. Bronner’s makes a shampoo called Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Organic Hair Rinse that appears non-toxic and effectively formulated. It’s also only $9.99 for 8 ounces (oz), or nearly 3x cheaper than Olaplex.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Dr. Bronner’s product contains organic \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eshikakai powder\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/opendermatologyjournal.com\/contents\/volumes\/V12\/TODJ-12-90\/TODJ-12-90.pdf\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eresearch has suggested\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e may improve hair quality. This botanical ingredient is rich in Vitamin C, and is effective for strengthening and conditioning hair according to the linked research review.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOur recommended shampoo also contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecoconut oil\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which has been tested for hair quality improvement in multiple research trials. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/12715094\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ereview\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of popular oils in cosmetic formulations published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil “was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Citrus Organic Hair Rinse formulation consists only of clean botanical ingredients, with zero questionable fillers or additives that could harm health. We find it to be both more effectively formulated and safer than the products sold by Olaplex.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOlaplex seems more interested in marketing their patented ingredient for hair quality than conducting research trials on it. We can’t recommend either of their most popular formulations, because both products seemed to have a relatively low percentage of effective ingredients and several questionable filler ingredients. The products also seem quite overpriced for the formulations they contain.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf Olaplex were to publish medical research proving the efficacy of the bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate they patented, and offer fragrance-free versions of their products, we would consider changing our stance.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor now we recommend Dr. Bronner’s shampoo over Olaplex. It’s cheaper and more effectively formulated, a win-win.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-02-22T12:55:39-05:00","updated_at":"2022-02-22T12:55:39-05:00","summary_html":"We review whether hair products brand Olaplex is actually medically proven to improve hair quality. We review the ingredients in their most popular products and highlight some issues we have with their patented ingredient.","template_suffix":"","handle":"olaplex-review","tags":"_related:hair-quality, _related:personal-care-products"}

Olaplex Review: More Effective Than Regular Shampoo?

Olaplex Review: More Effective Than Regular Shampoo?


| |
Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.
| |
Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Olaplex is a hair products brand that makes some interesting health claims. The company claims that their patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate fixes damaged hair on a molecular level and “provides immediate results for all hair types”.

In this article we’ll review these health claims as well as the brand’s overall formulations based on published medical research, and determine whether Olaplex has a superior formulation compared to other hair products brands or if it’s just effective marketing.

Patented Ingredient Review

As referenced in the intro section, much of Olaplex’s value proposition centers on the effectiveness of a chemical compound called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate which they patented.

This compound works in theory by repairing the disulfide bridges of keratin, which is the protein that composes most of the structure of our hair.

We’re only able to locate one medical study on this unique compound used by Olaplex. The study examined the chemical composition and potential effects on hair of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate for restoring damaged hair, but did not test it or prove any efficacy in a real-world trial.

We can’t find any clinical trials proving this ingredient is effective in improving hair quality on humans or animals, so we will conclude this is an interesting ingredient but not one that’s proven to be effective.

While it’s generally a good thing that a brand is willing to undergo the patent process and develop novel ingredients, we urge Olaplex to fund clinical research proving their patented ingredient is actually effective (and safe) in human subjects and not just in theory. Until then we cannot recommend this ingredient when there exist plenty of other cosmetic ingredients proven to be effective for hair quality in research trials.

Olaplex No. 3 Review

Olaplex’s best-selling product is called No.3 and is a “Hair Perfector”. It’s a liquid treatment meant to be applied to hair prior to shampoo, and left on for 10 minutes or more.

The first active ingredient is the patented bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which we’ve already established to be novel but yet-proven to be effective for improving hair quality.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of ingredients in this formulation appear to be filler ingredients for improving texture or scent and not active ingredients backed by medical research for improving hair quality.

Olaplex No. 3 does contain Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, which has some research backing for protection to hair thread and breakage resistance, but this is the third-last listed ingredient on the label. Cosmetics products are required to list ingredients by order of relative weight, so this means there is even less jojoba oil in this product than fragrance, and probably too little to have any meaningful effect.

We can’t locate a single other ingredient in this product we find likely to directly contribute to hair repair and strengthening.

Olaplex 3 contains fragrance, which is an ingredient we always recommend avoiding in personal care products. An extensive review of the health effects of fragrances used in consumer products published in the Current Treatment Options in Allergy journal concluded that “their risks clearly outweigh their benefits.”

Some of the chemicals used in fragrance may be toxic or sensitizing, and since “fragrance” is a broad descriptor it doesn’t inform consumers of which actual chemicals were used. Thus, from a health perspective, we believe it makes sense to avoid all personal care products containing fragrance.

Another filler ingredient we find to be questionable is cetrimonium chloride, which is an antiseptic and surfactant. It’s proven safe at concentrations up to 0.25%, but a research review of actual use found its concentration in cosmetics ranged from 0.0008% to 10%.

Because cosmetics companies aren’t required to list concentrations on the label, we typically recommend avoiding these type of synthetic filler ingredients out of an abundance of caution for health effects. In other words, it’s probably included at a safe level, but we have no proof of the concentration and there is no benefit to hair or health of this ingredient, so it seems logical to avoid it.

Overall we find this to be quite a disappointing formulation for such a premium-priced product, and would not recommend it.

Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo Review

Olaplex’s second-most popular product is their shampoo which they claim “nourishes, strengthens and repairs” your hair.

One of its core active ingredients is the patented ingredient which we already showed to have questionable efficacy.

It contains several other ingredients which sound technological and exciting, but which don’t seem to have much proven efficacy for improving hair quality. One such ingredient is Pseudozyma Epicola/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil Ferment Extract Filtrate, which is the byproduct of a seed oil and a bacterial extract fermentation process. 

We’re unsure why this would be included in a shampoo formulation other than to convince consumers that a product sounds scientific. While green tea extract has been shown to have topical benefits to skin in a medical trial, we can’t find any data suggesting this filtrate ingredient used by Olaplex is at all effective.

One ingredient in Olaplex No. 4 which may be effective is Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, which an animal study showed may promote regrowth of lost hair when applied topically. 

A human study backed up these findings, concluding that rosemary oil significantly increased hair count after 6 months of treatment. It’s worth noting that this study used rosemary oil and not rosemary extract like that in Olaplex, but the extract is just a more concentrated version so we would consider this an effective ingredient for a repairing hair shampoo formulation.

Another ingredient in this shampoo which may be somewhat effective is Punica Granatum Extract, which is the botanical name for pomegranate fruit extract. A medical trial published in 2013 found that pomegranate extract helped minimize damage to hair, but the concentrations used (5% w/w and 10%) were almost certainly higher than what would be in this shampoo.

If Olaplex had better formulators they would have used pomegranate leaves extract instead, as this ingredient was found to exhibit anti-dandruff, anti-lice and hair regrowth effect in a fascinating study published in the Heliyon journal. The study authors noted that pomegranate leaves extract “definitely promotes” hair growth.

The Bond Maintenance Shampoo also contains the same two ingredients from the previously-reviewed product which we recommended avoiding: fragrance and phenoxyethanol.

We don’t recommend this shampoo. Olaplex seems to formulate personal care products with a vast number of ingredients, few of which seem conclusively proven to improve hair quality.

Better Alternative

Dr. Bronner’s makes a shampoo called Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Organic Hair Rinse that appears non-toxic and effectively formulated. It’s also only $9.99 for 8 ounces (oz), or nearly 3x cheaper than Olaplex.

The Dr. Bronner’s product contains organic shikakai powder, which research has suggested may improve hair quality. This botanical ingredient is rich in Vitamin C, and is effective for strengthening and conditioning hair according to the linked research review.

Our recommended shampoo also contains coconut oil, which has been tested for hair quality improvement in multiple research trials. A review of popular oils in cosmetic formulations published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil “was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.”

The Citrus Organic Hair Rinse formulation consists only of clean botanical ingredients, with zero questionable fillers or additives that could harm health. We find it to be both more effectively formulated and safer than the products sold by Olaplex.

Get our most popular articles straight to your inbox
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Olaplex seems more interested in marketing their patented ingredient for hair quality than conducting research trials on it. We can’t recommend either of their most popular formulations, because both products seemed to have a relatively low percentage of effective ingredients and several questionable filler ingredients. The products also seem quite overpriced for the formulations they contain.

If Olaplex were to publish medical research proving the efficacy of the bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate they patented, and offer fragrance-free versions of their products, we would consider changing our stance.

For now we recommend Dr. Bronner’s shampoo over Olaplex. It’s cheaper and more effectively formulated, a win-win.





Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/search-bar.liquid