Olaplex Could (And Will) Change Everything
One curious man. Two chemists. One big question. Could you create a product that would never, ever break hair again while haircoloing…even at 40-volume?
Could It Be True?
About a month ago, I got a frantic call from Tracey Cunningham while I was in Europe and she was in Dubai. She said, “Mary, call me back. I have to talk to you. I’ve just used a product that could change everything.” I love Tracey, but was sprinting a marathon of meetings that week in London. She was insanely busy as well, but when I didn’t call her back, she texted me the next day and then the next day. I called her and this is what she shared, “I’ve just used a product that gives me the superpower to do things I never thought were possible. It allows me to color more often, go lighter and double process the same day without any fear of breakage. Like, no breakage, Mary. I’ve used it on Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and pretty much every client for the past month. I’m going through a liter of it a day! I’ve been blown away by what I’m seeing.”
And Tracey isn’t the only one. In fact, nearly every major celebrity salon in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, including Guy Tang, Nine Zero One, Estilo, Goodform, Sally Hershberger and Chris McMillan all have their army of celebrity colorists testing this “secret” formula, which from all accounts, is no longer a secret anymore.
The Holy Grail of Haircolor
It’s called Olaplex, and it just could be the holy grail for haircolor. To never break hair again is a huge claim, so Tracey gave me the guy’s name and number who created the product and the second I got off the line with Tracey, I called him. For the next two hours, Dean Christal spoke to me in a language of chemistry I didn’t understand, with one exception. The part I did comprehend is that the most world famous chemist from the polymer field of chemistry, with countless awards and patents to his name, who has nothing to do with hair, had created a new molecule that would link broken bonds in hair back together again. This molecule, he claims, when added into any haircolor services, will absolutely prevent any breakage. The two-hour chemistry lesson all boiled down to one simple idea—a hair coloist would never have to worry about destroying a client’s hair ever again. One simple molecule. One simple ingredient. Nothing simple about its effects. Imagine never breaking a client’s hair again. Imagine never stripping haircolor again.
One Curious Man. Two Curious Chemists.
The Olaplex story, in Dean’s words: “I was working with a group of chemists for three years trying to develop a UV activated silicone that would stay in the hair for up to 25 washes. It worked beautifully 80 percent of the time, but 20 percent of the time, various wavelengths in the UVA range made it sticky. An Australian chemist working on the project suggested that I take a shot at meeting Craig Hawker at the Hawker Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He said Craig was a chemistry savant and the only one capable of coming up with the solution for our problem. I hung up the phone and immediately drove out to the university and unannounced, walked into Mr. Hawker’s office. We talked for four hours. Almost immediately, Craig came up with an idea for our perplexing UV activated chemistry, and he and I discussed what it would take to create the holy grail of the beauty industry—preventing damage to hair. Craig was intrigued with the idea of repairing hair and preventing chemical damage from occurring. Craig introduced me to Eric Pressly that evening, a PhD in materials, and when I returned the next day at 2 p.m., I was given my first batch of Olaplex. “Craig and Eric were both surprised that the industry had not created something like this,” Dean shared.
Thinking From the Outside…In
Olaplex has now filled multiple worldwide patents. The work these chemists are famous for involves helping to stop organs and transplants from being rejected by the body. It’s life-saving work. Dean convinced Craig and Eric that helping women feel more beautiful was also life-saving work and just as important. Which it is. And now, the best chemistry from the best minds in medical polymer research has been offered to our industry to solve a problem that’s existed since the development of haircolor.
The Story Goes On
Interestingly, the story gets even bigger than this (if that’s possible). It appears this molecule called Olaplex will also radically change the hair texturizing business as well, allowing a permanent wave to be done on the same day as color. Dean says, “I had a stylist Japanese relax a swatch of hair two times, then 40-volume bleach it, then perm it, and the hair was still in good condition. The control sample that had no Olaplex disintegrated halfway through the test. I knew at that point in time that Olaplex would completely change the way hair was chemically treated forever.”
“If you have ever had clients who worry about their hair breaking off from the coloring process, tell them, ‘Don’t worry, I use Olaplex!’ Not only does it help prevent breakage, my clients tell me that their hair feels stronger, silky and fuller as well. This is a brand new hair care product unlike any other, and it makes my job a heck of a lot less stressful!” —Tracey Cunningham
“What I love is that the Olaplex provides controlled lift without over-lightening! I can start and finish anywhere on the head and the level comes out evenly! Zero breakage, even when slight overlapping is necessary to balance the tonality!”—Guy Tang
As I said in the beginning of this letter, one man, two chemists, and one big idea could, and probably will, change everything.
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