American Board of Certified Haircolorists 


March 2015 

Olaplex: Knock Offs or Knock Out ?

The debate is over as far as we are concerned!


Just as we indicated in our February newsletter, as predicted, there would be numerous "me too" products coming to market making similar claims to Olaplex.  We have now heard of 10 brands worldwide entering the category.  It's easy to understand with Olaplex growing to a reported 70,000 salons in the USA in 6 months.


After many of my members emailed and asked my opinion... I decided to obtain samples and conduct my own independent tests to find out the truth and save my members and others from walking into a snake pit.  I once had my own doubts about Olaplex.  I even expressed the opinion that Olaplex was a rip-off.  But after using the product for many months, I know that the chemistry is real and that you can do more as a colorist with Olaplex then without Olaplex.  This is good for everyone in the color business.


I took four hair swatches from the same ponytail and bleached them using Blondor and 40 volume for 50 minutes for maximum effect.  I followed each manufacturer's instructions precisely.  The photograph below is after four shampoos. colorpHlex is on the far left, next is good old fashioned mineral oil, b3 Brazilian Bond Builder is next, and Olaplex on the far right. 


I will say that after the first two shampoos, all of the swatches were in pretty good condition and it was difficult to tell the difference.  The b3 and the Mineral Oil left the hair most shiny after the first shampoo which made me very curious.  But after the fourth shampoo, it was clear that the other products were not holding up and seemed to prove to be nothing more than oil and silicone.  They were only temporarily coating the hair thus creating an immediate shine, but unable to build or link broken bonds with any degree of quality.  The hair felt dry and fragile.  At best, they would be better served to call it an additive for shine.  Anything more is a far stretch of the imagination.  The Olaplex sample maintained its integrity and was the clear winner.  We also performed similar tests on live models and Olaplex was always noticeably and significantly superior.  The more compromised the hair was, the more Olaplex outperformed the rest. 


What concerns me is that they are making the same claims as Olaplex.  They do not achieve what Olaplex does.  I was so impressed with the results I had to call Dean Christal himself to ask what Olaplex had that the others do not?  He said, "We have a real Chemistry that has multiple patents in the works."  It must be so because in my long career I have never seen anything that has worked as well as Olaplex.  The rapid growth of Olaplex is also proof that I am not the only one that is seeing the difference.  It would be a shame to see a bunch of knock off brands hurt this category that is becoming so important to colorists around the world.  These are just my opinions from tests that I have conducted.  I encourage everyone to do the same.




Low Lights from the Editor

What do you think about Olaplex and other products in this new category? Please let me know what you think!
Certifiably yours,
Mary Petillo, ABCH