Olaplex and Hair lightening Treatment is Recommended when Bleaching your Hair

Olaplex Hair lightening

Once upon a time at your local upscale salon there was a girl who would dream of shiney  golden blonde tresses that would glimmer in the sun. However her natural locs were thin and fine. Furthermore they were dark and bleaching them caused breakage, frizzes so eventually her dreams and hair were both broken. One sunny afternoon there was a white Box that came with a strange name who introduced itself: It was Olaplex Hair Lightening treatment.

“Hello my dear, I’m Olaplex”, said the subject. Reluctantly the dreamy girl who had been charmed many times before realized that there was something different about this. For example, Olaplex stood tall, with two accomplices by his side. One to be used during the lightening process and one to be used after like a deep conditioner. However, the dreamy girl would not be subject to looks alone.

olaplex lightener

The best way to see if this dreamy product produces what it claims is to use it.

First up, a bit of basic hair chemistry. I’ve posted about hair chemistry before in my explanation of how hair straightening and perming work, but here’s a quick recap:

Hair contains lots of keratin proteins, which has the amino acid cysteine. Cysteine is special because it contains a sulfur (S) atom. Normally, two sulfurs will join together to form a disulfide bond (S-S), creating a link between two proteins:

All these proteins holding hands is partially responsible for your hair’s overall shape and strength. When hair is permed or straightened, these bonds are deliberately broken into two SH (“free thiol”) groups, and then reformed after the hair is pulled into its new shape. Reforming these bonds typically takes a few days (hence not washing your hair for a few days after perming, since it warps the shape).

However, that’s not the only thing that can break disulfide bonds – lye, repeated heat, sunlight, hair styling and chemical treatments like hair colouring will also break disulfide bonds and lead to weakened, damaged hair. The peroxide used in bleaching can help repair disulfide bonds… but can also paradoxically stop them from forming, by capping the SH with a sulfate group, hence the extra damage:



I was initially sceptical of the claims, since so many other hair products claim to do similar things and…don’t. But the patent holders are academic chemists with extremely impressive reputations –Craig Hawker is on the Editorial Board of a lot of high impact factor chemistry journals, and has 17 Angew. Chem. papers on his resume, which is a pretty BFD in the chemistry world. So I wanted to vet this product thoroughly!

The patent has a surprising amount of detail into the mechanism of how it’s supposed to work. The short story is, the two ends of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate form bonds with the sulfurs, making an artificial, extended disulfide bridge. More specifically, the “dimaleate” part of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate are what’s known as Michael acceptors. These react with an SH group each in aMichael reaction to form covalent bonds like so:

olaplex-mechanismAnd so a new disulfide link is formed between the two sulfurs, making the hair stronger. This happens pretty quickly – unlike with hair straightening and perming, these reactions will happen faster than the peroxide capping reaction, meaning hair damage during colouring is drastically reduced. Pretty cool, huh?


It’s neat that there’s a scientifically legit explanation for how Olaplex could work, but does it really happen this way in the real world? There are no published independent scientific trials yet, apart from thousands of rave reviews and before-and-after photos, which are pretty dramatic. There’s also a cool side-by-side comparison in the American Board of Certified Haircolorists Newsletter: they repeatedly shampooed hair after treatment with Olaplex, mineral oil, b3 Brazilian Bond Builder or colorpHlex. Olaplex comes out on top by far, even though the other two proprietary treatments make similar claims (strengthens hair from the inside out, repairs bonds).

I’m looking forward to seeing more comparisons in the coming months, especially with regard to how long the effects of Olaplex last – having coarse black Asian hair, chalkable pastel mermaid hair has always been an unachievable dream, and I’m optimistic that perhaps Olaplex can get me there without any frying!

So now with the use of this product for the last year on many clients with patience and a couple of services it is working well.


Olaplex Hair Lightening

Olaplex Hair Lightening

Olaplex Hair Lightening


Published by studio229

Deanna epitomizes hard work, energy, integrity. She is a Seattle native who grew up beside a mother who was a real estate agent. She studied English at the University of Washington and then received a Master’s degree in Business. She lives in Sammamish Washington, has two sons and six grandchildren. She is passionate about promoting a sense of positive community and economic growth in our neighborhoods. With an encouraging an amazing group of family and friends, Deanna epitomizes hard work, energy, integrity

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *