The CEO of the luxury haircare brand Olaplex has come out fighting against a $75,000 lawsuit in the wake of users worldwide complaining the products ’cause hair loss and damage’.
Jue Wong posted a video on Instagram addressing concerns from the lawsuit filed in California – which argues that Olaplex products caused baldness and blisters for more than two-dozen customers.
The legal challenge also claims the company – made famous for promises of ‘bond-building’ damaged hair – made false claims about its products’ efficacy and alleges the firm obscured the fact that its formula contained potentially harmful chemicals.
Celebrities, YouTubers and influencers such as Kim Kardashian have all sung the product’s praises in recent years.
But in recent months there has been a mountain of growing controversy regarding Olaplex, primarily on TikTok and Instagram, where ‘de-influencers’ and reality-TV actress turned beauty influencer and entrepreneur Kristin Cavallari have warned followers to stay away from the range of products.
Defending the brand last night, Ms Wong fired back at the lawsuit saying she was ‘prepared to vigorously defend the company against baseless accusations’.
Pictured above is a woman who apparently used Olaplex hair care products and suffered hair loss as a result [courtesy of the Law Center of Amy Davis]
Ms Wong said: ‘I am here today to address some misinformation about our brand, which I know is stressful and concerning for our customers.
‘You may have recently heard that Olaplex products cause hair loss. This is a painful and emotional topic, however for our products this is not true.
‘Olaplex products do not cause hair loss or hair breakage.’
The CEO added: ‘Our products are designed to relink broken hair bonds, not cause hair damage.’
Ms Wong explained that every Olaplex product has to pass the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT) before it can go out to customers.
‘This test… ensures that each of our products does not cause skin irritation, inflammation, or sensitivity,’ she said.
‘If our products pass the HRIPT test, that means it was not shown to cause sensitivity or inflammation to the skin, including the hair follicle, which is the primary cause of hair loss.
‘We have publicly released the HRIPT test results for all of our products. Every one of Olaplex products pass this HRIPTT test.’
The defence followed a barrage of negative reviews of Olaplex’s shampoos and hair protector products – which range from around £24 ($30) to more than $100 – in the past year, with users reporting that regular use caused their hair to break off, fall out, and become damaged, dry and dull.
Defending the brand, Ms Wong said: ‘I am here today to address some misinformation about our brand, which I know is stressful and concerning for our customers’
Customer Cathy G posted online about the damage that Olaplex wreaked on her hair, with the photo on the right showing the results [photo courtesy of Insider]
Olaplex posted on Instagram that they are ‘prepared to vigorously defend’ their brand
On Trustpilot, one customer wrote: ‘I wish I could put 0 stars but I can’t.. Olaplex is the worst thing you can put on ur hair … mine got sooo fragile and thin.
‘I had huge bald spots bcz of their products .. I stopped olaplex 4 months ago and guess what? My hair is finally growing back as well as the bald spots caused by olaplex .. i don’t know what they put inside to make it this bad!’
Another person wrote: ‘Please, please do your research before using this product. There are thousands of people all saying the same thing.
‘Olaplex CAN cause your hair to fall out. Please look out for the groups on Facebook just to see the damage this product has caused.’
Actress Kristin Cavallari told her 4.5 million followers: ‘This is not an ad — at all.’
‘I was using it too much, and it literally broke my hair. That has happened to other people, so if you’re using it, just be careful.’
The latest lawsuit adds to a mountain of claims from customers warning that chunks of hair have fallen out and their scalp has broken out into a painful rash.
A Facebook group called ‘Olaplex Hair Loss/Hair Damage?’ has gained more than 5,000 followers who say that the products led to their hair becoming ‘broken all the way to the root’ and draining chemically-treated hair of color.
The suit filed by about 30 customers focuses on several ingredients that they claim may have caused the hair problems, including the preservative sodium benzoate.
The FDA determined that sodium benzoate in concentrations up to 0.1 percent by weight is safe for use in hair care products.
They also claimed that lilial, used to give hair products a pleasant smell, has been identified as having endocrine-disrupting properties that could interfere with natural hormone functions and may pose risks to fertility and fetal development.
The company announced last year that it would remove lilial from its formula after the European Union labeled it a ‘reprotoxic’.
The customers are seeking $75,000 in damages.
The California-based haircare label bills itself as a highly effective means to ‘repair the broken bonds and rejuvenate hair,’ ‘increase tensile strength and restore elasticity,’ and ‘protect the hair follicle from further breakage’
Ms Wong said: ‘We went above and beyond this and also released the results of HRIPT tests conducted on sensitive skin for several product lines. Again, Olaplex products passed this test.
‘If this was not the case, I would not be making this video today. I believe in the safety and efficacy of our products. I want to reassure all of our customers and fans they can continue to use our products with confidence.’
Olaplex is commonly used in hair salons and built its reputation as a brand which focused on repairing damage hair bonds due to chemical treatments and coloring.
The lawsuit said: ‘Far from repairing and protecting hair from damage, the products have instead left plaintiffs’ hair dry, brittle, frizzy and dull,’
‘The hair has split and broken, causing it to look unkept and as if it were cut with a weedwhacker.’
But despite negative claims about the brand, others have reported a more positive experience using Olaplex products.
One person wrote on Trustpilot: ‘I’ve been using Olaplex shampoo and conditioner for about 6 months now and love it.
‘My hair is now in great condition and can go for 4 days between washes. You only need a very small amount of each therefore lasts for ages.’