laplex, according to their official website, is a product which seeks to repair broken disulfide bonds in your hair by providing them with a single sulfur hydrogen bond. Olaplex is marketed towards hair of any type–color treated, texture treated, virgin or otherwise–and promises to return your hair to “a virgin-like state.” Whether or not it works is up for debate, but wouldn’t it make sense for such a miracle-marketed product to have a few mimics?
Indeed, Olaplex dupes are now circulating the market, and may even be fooling you as we speak! And it is no small issue. These dupes need to be caught early, as they are a risk to your safety.
Dead giveaways for a dupe include:
- Sold outside distribution channels
- Unmarked “sample” bottles, or handmade labels
- Watered down or otherwise strange consistency
- Scratched labels, or signs of expiration
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have sung the praises of Olaplex. But with more and more dupes appearing in today’s hair care market, it is now up to the consumer to navigate their own way to the proper product. As always, let the buyer beware!
Know their Official Website
The first line of defense you can deploy against product dupes is to recognize and frequently visit their official website. For example, the Olaplex website is deploys a very unique font, theme, and has many of the calling cards of a legit website:
- An ‘about us’ section
- A careers page
- An email sign up
- And a Frequently Asked Questions page
- And, finally, a section on proper dupes!
Things a Professional Website will include
There are things that every website is required to have, legally. Without these things, users are likely to succumb to scams, bots, and rampant misinformation. While anyone can upload anything to the internet, websites are held to a higher standard than simple social media or discussion forums, because they are what many users will be referencing when making key decisions about their career, their health, and yes, even their hair.
When perusing the website of your Olaplex product, try to make note of the following:
- Consent Laws (prevents unlawful obtainment of your personal data)
- Data Security (for example, firewalls and data encryption)
- Cookie Settings and Requirements (these should be very up-front)
- Accessibility (larger fonts, web reading tools, transcriptions for videos)
A floppy, poorly-made scam website will likely have none of the above features, and so it is important to thoroughly examine the one you’re on to avoid being scammed. Remember: If in doubt, purchase off a large, reputable website like Sephora, or the Olaplex website itself.
Olaplex’s Distribution Channels
Olaplex makes it very plain on their website that they do not sell their product outside of its official distribution channels. So, what is a distribution channel, and how can we identify one? Simple.
A distribution channel is a network of businesses or sellers which carry a product that is ultimately supplied by its own company. Consumers may go through the distribution channel in order to get the product, out of convenience, generally. It’s important to be able to recognize one of your favorite product’s distribution channels, so that you can be sure what you are receiving is the real supply, and not a knockoff.
Olaplex’s distribution channels are too many to list in a humble article. However, this list of stores selling the product can be found on the company website, and can be referenced in future. Olaplex very plainly states on their website that fakes are easy to create, and to never purchase Olaplex from a store not on the list.
(Note: If you look up “stores that sell Olaplex,” Walmart is one of the first distributors listed. However, Walmart is not on the official list of 80+ stores carrying Olaplex!)
Texture, Look, and Branding
Olaplex is marketed as a high-quality, almost luxury product. For this reason, spying it at common or inexpensive general/retail stores should be a red flag. However, if you are, say, gifted a bottle of Olaplex (your poor hair!) there are still a few ways to identify a dupe based on the product's texture, look, and branding.
The product Itself
Olaplex has a citrus y-fresh smell. Almost like a grapefruit. In your hands, the product will have a cream-base and quickly turn into a soapy lather under the tap. After you apply it to your hair, your scalp should feel rejuvenated and re-hydrated, without any clingy, heavy, or stickiness.
Any characteristic of the product that deviates from those listed above points to a counterfeit product. Sure, while sometimes a company will let a bad bottle slip through, in the case of Olaplex, where dupes are aplenty, you might just want to hedge your bets and toss that sticky, clumpy, or drying product in the trash. Everyone’s hair reacts differently to chemicals, it’s true. But in the case of a product that markets its product on its universal usability…Is it really worth it?
The Olaplex website states that every product possesses a QR code on its underside. Should this code be missing, or damaged in any way, do not purchase the product.
The company does not sell unmarked sample bottles. Home-made labels are a clear sign that the product you are using is not legit.
Finally, if a product is not to be found on the official website, it does not exist. Period.
Even the Genuine Product can have Drawbacks
Choosing the Wrong Dupe can have Consequences
Up until this point, Olaplex dupes have been painted as somewhat a minor issue. A small hassle, they waste your money at the worst. However, this is regrettably not the case. A faulty product may simply put you out of your money, but a truly bad product will cause further damage.
However, damage is not necessarily an aspect of fakes, but of the genuine product as well.
Further Hair Damage
Dry, damaged, and broken hair–this is what many consumers are claiming after using Olaplex. And while one shouldn’t jump to conclusions–after all, any product can negatively affect a minority of users–it’s important to know exactly why you’re reaching for that dupe instead of the real-deal. In fact, if you have a sensitive scalp or follicles, Olaplex might not be for you.
One dissatisfied customer, Jessica Auriana, told her jury that after using Olaplex, she’d lost around 20% of her hair. While Olaplex denies this, citing its safety tests as proof, that doesn’t erase the fact that many dissatisfied users are turning away from their product.
This is exactly where dupes come in…
Are some Olaplex Dupes Good?
Can we separate a dupe from a fake? Some products know what they want to achieve, like Olaplex, and are not afraid to market themselves as a separate, but cheaper, and high quality option. If you are not concerned about purchasing a fake product, and instead interested in getting the same high quality results without the cost or hassle, consider a few of these “dupes,” instead. They come from reputable companies and won’t damage your hair the way a “bad” dupe would!
Olaplex Products unfortunately do not run the gamut when it comes to pricing. The vast majority of products listed on their website are in the $30’s to $60’s range–for a single bottle! Not to mention the few packages that are listed in the hundreds of dollars range.
When Olaplex isn’t trying to market you in, it appears to be actively scaring you away. Who wouldn’t feel a bit intimidated when shopping for simple haircare like “shampoo” and conditioner (what relics!) they stumble across a product called Nº.0 INTENSIVE BOND BUILDING TREATMENT.
No Misleading Here!
Consider, in this case, a good “dupe” to be like a book recommendation. Enjoy Harry Potter? Then try Percy Jackson! One does not claim to be the other, they are simply similar books with different pros and cons to each.
Feel free to reference the list below when considering what dupes to purchase:
- For example, the product Goldwell Dualsenses Bond Pro Day & Night Bond Booster incorporates peptides and algae. It is priced around $13-22 depending on the store, and has overwhelmingly positive reviews online.
- It’s twin, the BLEACH LONDON Reincarnation Bond Restoring Conditioner. Exactly as the name suggests, this product seeks to return your hair to its original state through repairing broken bonds. Said to work in just twenty minutes! ($11-30)
- K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask, is a darling of TikTok, intended for hair damaged by heat, coloring, and other potentially harmful treatments. (Price varies depending on retailer)
In Conclusion, Search for Olaplex “dupes,” not Fakes
When it comes to purchasing Olaplex, it might be tempting to hunt it down on a lesser-known website for a cheaper penny. However, this can have many unintended consequences, as the product you are receiving is in fact not Olaplex at all.
Instead, if you’re in a money-bind, search for reputable “dupes,” aka reputable products that accomplish the same goal at a lesser cost. And no matter what route you take, always remember the Latin phrase: ‘Let the Buyer Beware!’ We cannot stop fake products from popping up all over the internet, but we can stop ourselves from falling for them.