Breakdown of the Formula: What’s Inside Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

Product Overview

Olaplex, a haircare brand, has a heartwarming backstory: industry veterans Dean and Darcy Crystal invented it in their California garage. The brand became popular in salons and was favored by stylists and hairdressers, but its true fame came with the home-use product “Hair Perfector No. 3.” There are legends about its ability to revive even the most damaged hair. However, the manufacturers clearly state that it is not a replacement for masks or conditioners. Despite common misconceptions, the product is neither moisturizing nor nourishing.


All Olaplex products contain one key ingredient – Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. This is not a silicone or polymer, as many think, but an organic salt. It works like a bridge, connecting two sulfur residues. Normally, these are naturally connected through disulfide bonds. However, under the influence of the environment, especially after experiments with coloring or heat treatments, some of these bonds break. To restore a healthy look to the hair, we try to repair these bonds. Traditionally, hydrogen peroxide was used for this purpose, but Olaplex’s patent claims that this substance is more effective.

The concept behind Olaplex’s mechanism isn’t new; in organic chemistry, it’s known as the Michaelis reaction. But how effectively does this reaction work in hair? There are no studies on this topic. This raises questions among chemists, and many are skeptical about the product. Theoretically, everything looks great, but does this molecule penetrate the cortex, or does it work only on the surface? How long-lasting is the reaction and the bond between the atoms, sulfur, and this “bridge”? The patent doesn’t provide answers, and the duration of the effect is estimated from one week to a month or more.

It’s important to understand that Olaplex No. 3 also contains several other ingredients that can give the sensation of “repaired hair.” For example, cationic surfactants like Cetrimonium Chloride and Behentrimonium Methosulfate form a film and adhere to damaged areas of the hair, reducing static and giving hair a beautiful appearance. Cationic polymers, also present in the formula, have the same effect: these include Quaternium-91 and Polyquaternium-37.

Moisture-retaining ingredients also ensure a healthy look: they increase hair flexibility and enhance shine, while supporting the action of cationic surfactants and polymers. The elixir contains plenty of such ingredients: glycerin, panthenol (vitamin B5), jojoba oil, and aloe vera juice. The formula also includes Phytantriol – an alcohol that increases the content of panthenol and other microelements in the hair. It also prevents color washout, making it a useful addition to a product designed primarily for colored hair.

The action mechanism suggests that such a product should work. However, experimental studies are still lacking, so it’s too early to speak definitively about its effectiveness. It’s important to remember that Olaplex No. 3, aside from the patented ingredient, also contains other substances that provide a restorative effect – those cationic surfactants and polymers that create a protective film and soften the hair. Therefore, theoretically, you would still feel a pleasant restorative effect from such a composition, even if you “remove” Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. These other components can also be found in many other, more budget-friendly hair products.

For: Dry, damaged, and colored hair.

I’ve already reviewed this product from my personal experience, and overall, I love it. The results on my stressed-out hair have met all my expectations. However, it’s not a long-term solution; I only see the beauty in my hair when I use this product regularly.


Leave a Reply

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