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Olaplex Controversy: Olaplex Reformulates Best-Selling Product in Light of Ingredient Controversy

Experts say there’s no need for Olaplex users to panic, despite changes being made to the brand’s popular No. 3 treatment to allay concerns about a link to possible fertility dangers.

Olaplex, a hair-care brand beloved by colorists, beauty editors, and the Kardashians alike, announced this week that it would be changing one of its most popular formulas in response to concerns and controversy surrounding an ingredient in it.

The product in question is Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, an at-home bond repairing treatment best known for helping to rehab dry, tattered strands post-bleaching.

It’s not only a best-seller for the company, but also a huge TikTok hit (and a product I use on the regular!) (and have recommended it to plenty of color-treated-hair-having friends and family members).

olaplex Controversy

Social media began to buzz over the past few days when users started posting that Olaplex was allegedly set to become banned in the U.K. and EU due to concerns about an ingredient in it potentially being “reprotoxic,” meaning it could possibly have adverse effects on fertility. More than 700,000 people watched a TikTok video on the topic in just 48 hours.

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The original formula for Olaplex’s No. 3. treatment contains butylphenyl methylpropional, also known as the lily, a fragrance that has recently been officially classified as “reprotoxic” by the EU, and therefore subject to a ban beginning on March 1. As this deadline approached, Olaplex proactively chose to remove the ingredient from its formula to allay any possible concerns.

In an official statement provided to Fashionista, a representative from Olaplex stated:

olaplex Controversy

On Monday, Olaplex’s Chief Scientist and VP, R&D + Regulatory Lavinia Popescu recorded a five-minute video addressing concerns and questions from consumers and explaining the company’s thought process behind this development.

While all of this may sound scary, experts — cosmetic chemists and formulators, to be exact — caution that you don’t need to freak out if you’ve been using the existing Olaplex formula. (Insert my own sigh of relief here.)

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“This ingredient has been used in cosmetics and other household and personal care products for many years. It functions as a synthetic fragrance ingredient,” explains cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson (who’s also the founder of skin-care brand BeautyStat).

olaplex Controversy

“It appears that there’s data to support that this ingredient may pose a risk for reproduction and therefore it’s being banned for use in cosmetic products in the EU.

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It would indicate that companies are making an effort to phase out this chemical in an effort to protect their customers.”

Olaplex has stressed this very point, saying that the chemical in question is simply used in the formula for aroma purposes and could be easily replaced. Also, the company claims that customers won’t notice any major changes to the recipe after the redesign.

The only thing I didn’t like about Olaplex No. 3 was the smell, so if that’s the only thing that changes in the new formula (well, that and maybe it’s less harmful to reproductive health….), I’m all for it.

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