How does Olaplex work?

Could you please share your opinion on the technology behind hair product Olaplex (olaplex.com) that is supposed to help prevent damage that occurs during chemical treatments, such as bleach, perms, relaxer, keratin straightening, etc?
Its main ingredient is Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate.
And could you please compare its effectiveness to traditional ways of slightly buffering damage (for example, coconut oil, hydrolyzed proteins)?


I think these are the relevant patents, just in case:
https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2015017768&recNum=1&maxRec=&office=&prevFilter=&sortOption=&queryString=&tab=PCTDescription
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20150034117
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20150037270
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20150034119

Ingredients of Olaplex products:
No. 1 (directly added to chemical treatment at salon) Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate



No. 2 (salon) and No. 3 (home) Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol
Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium
Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl
Ethylcellulose, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Quaternium-91, Sodium
Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance
(Parfum), Polyquaternium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl
Methylpropional, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Prunus
Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe
Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed
Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate

Comments

  • I checked with my sources and I'm trying to get an answer on this. Stay tuned...
  • Thanks a lot, RandyS! :D I know lots of people are really intrigued by this product, but there is almost no publicly available information out there on the chemistry behind this product, so any insights would be of great help! Thank you very much!
  • Olaplex is a 3 step process that is said to rebond/repair hair. As far as I can tell (mostly from the examples in the patent) it looks like they’re chemically treating hair (perming and coloring, mostly) and using Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate as the neutralizer instead of hydrogen peroxide. The idea is that the dimaleate will link to free thiol groups in the hair and leave it in better condition (less breakage, etc.)

    I checked with a friend of mine who's an expert on perming and relaxing and here's what he had to say: 

    "I think your basic analysis is correct. However, no where in the patent examples do they provide any data about strengthening the hair (the effect of re-forming more bonds than peroxide), and all of their results are more anecdotas - "hair looked less frizzy", "there appeared to be less breakage", etc. 

    I'm sure the chemistry is relatively valid, I'm just not sure that the results are valid. In my esteemed opinion, it's just another way to play into the fears (and actual) regarding damage of the hair during the permanent waving or straightening process and selling products to make a lot of money. 

    I think that the patent shows a real lack of understanding regarding the entire process of coloring the hair. While coloring does damage the hair and they may be able to reform some bonds that are broken during the coloring process, hair coloring is usually not a reduction process and the purpose of the peroxide is not to reform bonds (-S-S-), but rather to bleach the natice color and polymerize the dye intermediates. In short  - I would put this stuff in the category of "More useless products for which you can charge money"."

    I know this isn't a definitive answer but I hope it helps. 
  • Great! :) Thank you so very much for such a thorough reply, Randy! That's super-helpful. Thank you! :)
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