Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE JULAUG 2015 Contents I
n today’s world, it seems a product’s
success is measured by its Instagram
profile, hashtag frequency and
celebrity (blogger) endorsement.
Crack the Instagram code and you’re
set to make waves, pair this with genuinely
groundbreaking product formulations
and new beauty and lifestyle possibilities
you’re good to take the world by storm.
It’s ironic really, that a product that has
literally changed the universal potential
of beauty, placing the power in the hands
of the professional to do so, not only
encourages us to think back to the basic
chemistry of hair, but all began with the
humble perm. In fact if it weren’t for this
dated, eighties-centric service we tend to
look back and laugh upon, technicians and
salon owners around the world would not
be pushing their revenue and creativity to
heights previously unseen.
“It was originally made to bring perms
back to the market,” explains Vice President
of Education for Olaplex, Sarah Lim.
“They disappeared because you can’t
perm bleached hair. This automatically
gives the client an option between a perm
and going lighter and they always choose
to go lighter, because a cu rl is always
achievable with an iron.”
Beginning in the hands (and garage)
of two PhD’s in UC Santa Barbara, after
approximately 12 months research and
development, the pair reached out to
LA-based celebrity colourist Tracey
Cunningham for a real, in-salon testing
results. Tracey and then-assistant, Sarah
(Lim) began experimenting and before
long made the educated decision to
experiment by adding Olaplex to bleach.
The rest is history.
“Whenever you want to change the
chemistry of hair, whether that’s with
bleach, colour or texture, you have to break
the disulphide bonds. Once you break these
bonds, only a percentage of them actually
reform and create a paradigm, which is a
perfect pair, and that’s what gives your hair
strength and structure,” explains Sarah.
“The other percentage of these bonds does
not find a pair and work as single bonds.
When you have too many single bonds in
the hair, the hair becomes weak and dry
because protein literally gets eaten out of
And then Olaplex, the industry-first
in multiplying bonds. Olaplex is not a
conditioner, nor a protein. Rather a new
chemistry rolling off the tongue and
into the pockets of hairdressing’s new
rockstars, the colour technicians.
By now we’re all aware Olaplex consists
of three steps.
“Number one and number two are
protection for the hairdresser, but number
three is protection for the client, from
themselves,” says Sarah, of the client’s
tendency to torture hair at home with
overzealous heat styling.
The difference between the three comes
down to concentration. Number one is ‘the’
THE INSIDE STORY
Did you know Olaplex was first developed
to bring back the perm? Discover the unlikely
story of the product changing the world’s
relationship with hair.
concentrate and is added to colour/lightener,
number two is 15 per cent concentrate 85 per
cent additive and number three offers just
12 per cent concentrate.
“So as the hairdresser, you can offer a
stronger, professional Olaplex treatment
and charge accordingly,” says Sarah.
Sarah explains that when it comes to up-
charging for Olaplex, there are a number
of ways to go about it, with the strategy
clearly dependent on salon demographic.
For some, the simple al la carte option
whereby the client invests in the addition
of Olaplex to their lightener, followed by
number two works well, whereas others
offer a package deal where the client walks
away with number three, complimentary.
Another approach is simply raising prices
by a percentage, allowing staff to use
Olaplex with every service.
“I was talking to a salon owner the other
day that was selling Olaplex at a markup
of 287 per cent, very successfully. Aside
from this, the real profit is not only from
clients physically seeking Olaplex out, but
the new capacity to offer and achieve more
services courtesy of hair that is repaired
and strong enough to carry these services
out,” says Sarah.
“These days clients are so into social
media that they are literally ringing
their salon asking ‘do you have Olaplex?’
As a result, salons are coming to us
asking ‘What is Olaplex, I’m getting
so many calls from my clients that it
seems like if I don’t have it, they’ll visit
another hairdresser?’ And that’s what is
happening, because of its explosion on
social media, clients can easily research
the product, see pictures and recognize
how it affects the hair,” she continues.
While there is talk of further Olaplex
products, the focus is on the initial
three-step system – simply keeping up
with manufacturing and delivering the
education it deserves. Whatever follows
however, will not be predictable.
“We would never do a shampoo, that
market is saturated. We just want to come
up with products that are completely
innovative, that represent a whole
new market – a whole new segment in
Keep them coming.
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