Olaplex is a brand of hair products that have been endorsed by celebrities and influencers including Kim Kardashian. Their products include shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks that are designed to make damaged hair healthier — especially for those who bleach their hair.
However, rather than restore dry or damaged hair, Olaplex hair care products have caused controversy in the beauty industry with claims that they caused more damage and contain ingredients that have been linked to both infertility and hair loss [1-2].
So what’s the truth about Olaplex hair care products? Can it improve the condition of your hair, or will using Olaplex products cause hair loss and other health problems?
In February 2023, it was reported that 28 women had filed a lawsuit against Olaplex, claiming that their products cause hair loss:
“Far from repairing and protecting hair from damage, the products have instead left plaintiffs’ hair dry, brittle, frizzy and dull.”
This photo shows the hair of one of the complainants, allegedly following Olaplex use:
The lawsuit claims that Lilial and panthenol can lead to hair loss and scalp conditions, such as “inflamed, blistered, flaking or scaling skin”. While Lilial has been banned in the European Union due to its links with infertility, the lawsuit also claims that Olaplex is still using this ingredient in its products .
Olaplex has released a statement on its website strongly denying these accusations:
“OLAPLEX products do not cause hair loss or hair breakage. Independent third-party laboratory test results, available below, show that OLAPLEX products are safe and effective.”
The lab test results from independent third-party laboratories linked by Olaplex indicate that their products don’t cause skin irritation or contact allergies, albeit having tested on relatively small sample sizes [3-5]. Other studies have also corroborated the suggestion that solutions containing panthenol may actually improve hair loss, rather than cause it [6-7].
Olaplex still maintains that its products are safe for all users and all Olaplex products passed the human repeat insult patch test (HRIPT). However, there may be a connection between Olaplex and these hair loss claims that haven’t yet been explored in the scientific literature, especially for those who have sensitive skin.
It remains to be seen whether the courts agree that Olaplex causes hair loss. But in the meantime, you may be looking for an alternative way to improve the condition of your dry and brittle hair.
Unfortunately, once hair is damaged there isn’t much you can do. Damage from chemicals (bleach, perms, hair relaxers, etc) and heat (high heat blow-drying, flat irons, etc) causes cracks in the outside cuticle layer which are prone to lifting and more susceptible to damage.
Therefore, the best way to avoid damaged hair is to treat your hair with care and practice good habits. If you’re concerned about the impact of Olaplex, there are gentler ways to improve the look and feel of your hair. These include:
Some hair shedding is normal. Most people with healthy hair lose 50-100 hairs every day . But other people see hair loss for lots of different reasons, so it’s important to understand why your hair is falling out.
Some hair growth products like Minoxidil and Finasteride cause temporary hair shedding in the short-term but are known to stimulate hair growth in the medium- to long-term. So if you see some shedding in the first few weeks of use, don’t discontinue these treatments.
However, if hair loss is severe or lasts longer than a couple of weeks, this may be a more permanent side effect of the product you’re using. If you’ve been advised to use the product by a hair specialist or trichologist, consult them before discontinuing it.
If you need help diagnosing the cause of your hair loss, speak to the trichology team at the Wimpole Clinic. Book a free consultation to find out more.
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