28 women are suing Olaplex for hair loss. Here's what you need to know.

If you like beauty and you have hair on your head, then you've probably heard of Olaplex. It's one of the biggest haircare brands with a massive cult following - and for good reason.

Starting out as a professional treatment, the Olaplex system was originally used to repair damaged bonds in-salon (for hair structure, strength and stability), using a patented ingredient called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. 

Sounds like a made-up word, we know. But in a nutshell, the formulation was game-changing - and the in-salon demand resulted in Olaplex products hitting shelves for at-home use.

Watch: Speaking of hair - here are 5 easy ways to lift your hair game. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

The best part? The products are suitable for all hair types - coloured, natural, straight, curly - you name it.

Since then, Olaplex products have become the go-to for many people wanting to strengthen their damaged hair (read: most of us).


While Olaplex has a whole selection of products currently on the market - shampoos, conditioners, hair oils - No.3 Hair Perfector is one of the bestselling products of the bunch. 

It's likely you've already heard of it, but basically, it's a treatment (used between one and three times a week) that experts and beauty editors love to tout for its smoothing, strengthening, and conditioning properties.

So, you can imagine the confusion when we started to hear that this particular formula was going to be banned.

Because in case you missed it, there's recently been a lot of noise around Olaplex and the dangers of their ingredients - more specifically, whether they can cause hair loss and scalp damage. 


You also might remember the insane social media backlash Olaplex received last year, when claims related to fertility surfaced.

Below, we look at everything you need to know about what's happening with Olaplex.

Can Olaplex cause hair loss?

Olaplex is currently being sued in a $75,000 lawsuit, with 28 women saying the products have caused hair loss and other scalp and hair issues.

The lawsuit said the harmful chemicals in Olaplex products have caused "serious injuries" to the women's hair and scalp, claiming some "have lost their hair - in some cases more than half and leaving bald spots in others".

Some of the women have reported extreme itchiness, rashes, yeast infections, bacterial infections, burning and open sores on their scalps.

Naturally, these claims are now all over social media.

@caseyelizabethyt Watch this if you hair is falling out 👏 Olaplex is back in the news with people claiming it is causing their hair to break & cause hair loss #olaplex #olaplextreatment #hairloss #hair #hairtok #hairtiktok #greenscreen ♬ original sound - Tea with Casey

Olaplex has since responded to the claims, releasing test results to prove the products are safe.

On Instagram, it said: "We are prepared to vigorously defend our company, our brand, and our products against these baseless accusations."

Olaplex CEO JuE Wong has addressed the situation, posting the below video on Instagram:


Olaplex's chief scientist, Lavinia Popescu, also posted a clip on Instagram to "set the record straight" on the brand's "product testing and strength of results".

In the clip she states, "Olaplex products do not cause hair loss or hair breakage."

She goes on to explain that the brand has shared the testing results on their website, proving the products do not cause irritation or inflammation.


The lawsuit also claims the brand failed to disclose the presence of potentially harmful chemicals in the formula. 

The products reportedly contain ingredients called lilial and panthenol - chemicals that customers say are responsible for hair loss and "inflamed, blistered, flaking or scaling skin" on the scalp.

However, this isn't been the first time there have been claims around these ingredients - specifically lilial.

Last year, the brand made headlines after reports the products could be linked to infertility.

It all started with a viral video by Hasini Kay.

Captioned with, "when you find out Olaplex is going to be banned in the EU + UK next month," the creator talks about why the iconic product is going to be taken off shelves, discussing reports that lilial has been linked to infertility.


Check out her clip below:

@hasinikay Reply to @rat_bastard why current olaplex formulas are being banned #olaplex #damagedhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #curlyhairproblems ♬ original sound - Hasini Kay

Naturally, the Internet blew up, with thousands upon thousands of Olaplex fans wondering if they were at risk, encouraging others to check the ingredients list of their bottles.

@connieeewalker That ingredient is what you need to look out for this is supposed to be linked with infertility my new bottles do not have this in!!! No way are we stopping using N°3🥲🙌🏻🙌🏻 #olaplex #olaplexno3 #hairtrend #hairproducts #blondehair #fyp ♬ Forever - Labrinth

It soon surfaced that No. 3 Hair Perfector wasn't actually being banned - the ingredient butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial) was instead been removed from packaging, due to the ingredient being “reprotoxic”. 

Under a new classification, it was legislated that all products containing lilial needed to be removed from shelves by the 1st of March 2022 in EU countries and Northern Ireland, with the UK following suit. 

In a statement on Twitter, Olaplex responded:


In response to the activity on social media, Popescu, (the chief scientist at Olaplex, who recently responded to the hair loss claims) answered some questions surrounding lilial.


"While this phase out is limited to the EU, out of an abundance of caution, Olaplex proactively removed lilial from our No.3 Hair Perfector globally," Olaplex wrote in the comment section on Instagram.

Can Olaplex cause infertility?

Good question. Important question. That's why we're going to look at what experts have said on the topic, in the hope of preventing misinformation and panic online.

Science educator and cosmetic chemist Dr Michelle Wong, known as 'Lab Muffin', posted a series of myth-busting clips looking at Olaplex and infertility.


According to Dr Wong, there are a lot of reasons why you probably don't need to freak out.

"Yes, there's an ingredient that used to be in Olaplex that's [been banned] because of potential reproductive health effects," she said in 'part one' of her Olaplex breakdown.

"First off, this ban has been going on for a while. The EU cosmetic safety report that analysed the data was released in May 2019.

"Now, if you actually go in and read the safety report, you can see the ban is based off animals. Specifically, they fed lilial in high amounts to rats. There's no evidence that lilial has ever caused infertility in humans."


In a follow-up video, Dr Wong said the conclusions of the report in more detail, helping put the possibility of risk into perspective with human use.

"In the report, they take the worst-case scenario and assume that you're using lilial in 15 different beauty products every day."

Dr Wong goes on to say that even with using this many products, with Olaplex you're still only getting one 80th of the smallest dose estimated to cause a negative health effect in rats.

One 80th.


It's also important to note here that Olaplex isn't the only brand with products that contain butylenyl methylproponial. 

Take a look in your shower or beauty cupboard and you're guaranteed to find multiple products with this ingredient listed on the back - and it isn't just found in hair products. 

It's found in a lot of beauty products - particularly perfume.

Hands up who else thought it was *just* Olaplex under the spotlight?

"They [the EU] are being really cautious here. Hair products contribute very little to this. They estimate that you probably need to get seventy times as much lilial from applying perfume. From hair products, you're getting about one 10000th of the smallest amount that would give a negative health effect."

"So this is very much a precautionary ban. The EU treats things that can cause reproductive issues very seriously. I think this ban is a good thing."

While it's of course reasonable to ban the ingredient, Dr Wong's opinion really puts it into perspective that lilial is incredibly low-risk compared to other ingredients you might consume in your everyday life.


As it's usually present in formulations at 0.1 per cent or less, she said "It is incredibly unlikely that using Olaplex has made you infertile".

Why does my Olaplex still have lilial in it?

So, if the ingredient is banned, then why are people still finding it in their Olaplex products?

While the new lilial-free versions have been available for a while, you might have been hanging onto an old bottle.

@georgiajw26 OF COURSE MY ONE WOULD CONTAIN IT! #olaplex #olaplexno3 #infertility #ohno #badluck #fyp #viral #olaplextreatment #olaplex3 ♬ Oh No (Instrumental) - Kreepa

In a TikTok video, cosmetic chemist Javon Ford from LA, shared how the latest releases of the No.3 Hair Perfector do not contain the ingredient. However, in a product overview from 2018, lilial is among the listed ingredients. 

@javonford16 #cosmeticchemist #haircare #olaplexban #olaplex ♬ original sound - Javon Ford

With Olaplex reformulating and seemingly phasing out lilial over the past few years, newer releases of the No.3 Hair Perfector should not contain the fragrance.

Should I stop using Olaplex?

The bottom line? According to experts, if you're using or have used Olaplex with lilial in it - it's not going to have an impact on your fertility. There's just not enough present in formulations.

In Dr Wong's words on Instagram: "There are so many worse things to freak out about right now, take this off your plate and save some cortisol for all the other calamities."

And as for the claims regarding hair loss, the jury is (literally) still out - but if you aren't noticing any adverse reactions while using Olaplex, we wouldn't be too quick to bin it...

Feature image: Instagram/@olaplex; Tiktok;@abbeyyung