What is Olaplex? The additive, Olaplex, is composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen chains. According to Lim, these molecular chains link broken disulfide bonds in the hair. Olaplex No. 1 is the hair color additive, a product that is mixed in with hair color and applied during the color application process. While the color is processing, the active ingredient in Olaplex internally relinks hair bonds. Olaplex No. 2 is a cream substance applied to the hair at the shampoo bowl after the chemical service as a treatment. The treatment also works to rebuild bonds and repair the hair. Olaplex No. 3 is a diluted version of Olaplex No. 2 for clients to use as a take-home treatment.
How does Olaplex work? To first understand the substance, Olaplex, one must understand hair.
“Hair is made of thousands of disulfide bonds,” Lim, co-vice president of education for Olaplex, said. “When you bleach hair, you break all these bonds and only 50 percent of the bonds repair (on average) after rinsing the lightener out. These pairs of bonds are what gives your hair strength and structure. The other 50 percent roam free, without a pair. The more single bonds you have in the hair, the hair loses its strength and elasticity. So, the more you bleach the hair or do other services that break these disulfide bonds, the hair becomes weak, dry, and eventually breaks.”
According to Lim, Olaplex works to reverse this process.
“By adding it to your color or using it as a treatment, Olaplex goes through internally and links these single broken disulfide bonds, thus making the hair stronger,” Lim said.