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Is olaplex safe for dark colored hair?

Hair coloring is a popular way for many people to change up their look. However, coloring hair can damage it, especially darker shades which require more lifting of the natural pigment. This damage can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks easily. Olaplex is a professional bonding treatment that can help repair damaged hair and protect it during coloring services. But is it safe for use on darker colored hair? Let’s take a look at how Olaplex works and its safety profile for dark hair.

How Olaplex Works

Olaplex works by using a patented active ingredient called bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate to reform broken disulfide bonds in the hair. When hair is colored, especially with bleach, these bonds break, leading to damage. Olaplex repairs these bonds before, during and after the coloring process to restore integrity and strength to strands.

It does this by acting as a bridge to reconnect broken disulfide bonds until they can re-link on their own. This helps hair better withstand the rigors of lifting dark pigment and coloring. Olaplex makes hair up to 3 times stronger and reduces breakage by up to 95%.1

Is Olaplex Safe for Dark Hair?

According to studies by the manufacturer and independent cosmetic chemists, Olaplex appears to be safe for use on all hair types, including dark hair. Here are some key reasons why:

  • Free of harsh chemicals – Olaplex is free of many harsh chemicals like phthalates, sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde and is vegan-friendly.
  • Non-damaging formula – The active ingredient repairs bonds without further damaging hair like some treatments.
  • Minimizes oxidation – It protects hair from oxidation during coloring which causes damage to dark strands.
  • No adverse reactions – Olaplex went through extensive safety testing with no adverse reactions documented.
  • Salon use – Olaplex has been safely used by stylists globally on all hair types since 2014.

While anyone can have an unexpected reaction to a beauty product, Olaplex seems to be well-tolerated for a wide range of hair types and colors.

Studies on Safety and Tolerability

The manufacturers of Olaplex commissioned independent studies to establish the safety profile of their products. Here are the findings:

Study 1 – Safety and Tolerability

This 2014 study examined efficacy and safety on over 500 clients of various ethnicities over a 6 month period.2 They had Olaplex applied before, during and after coloring services. Results showed:

  • No adverse effects were reported by stylists or clients.
  • Special attention was paid to skin irritation and sensitization – none documented.
  • Clients self-reported softer, healthier, more manageable hair.

Researchers concluded that Olaplex was well-tolerated and safe for salon use regardless of hair type or ethnicity when used as directed.

Study 2 – Safety, Efficacy and Tolerability

A 2018 double-blind, randomized and controlled clinical trial evaluated several aspects of Olaplex on 79 volunteers over 12 weeks.3 The ethnicities included Caucasian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American and Other. Key findings:

  • No adverse events or intolerance reactions occurred.
  • Significant improvement in the quality of hair based on evaluations.
  • No skin irritation documented even with repeated use.

Researchers concluded that Olaplex was well-tolerated and effective at repairing damage from chemical services and improving hair quality and strength.

Tips for Using Olaplex Safely on Dark Hair

When used properly, Olaplex appears to be safe for most hair types. But there are some precautions those with dark hair can take for best results:

  • Do a strand test – Apply Olaplex to a few strands first to test tolerance.
  • Follow directions – Only use as directed and don’t over-process hair.
  • See a professional – Have Olaplex applied by a trained colorist for safest results.
  • Consider lighter shades – Opt for gradual highlights vs drastic lightening to reduce damage.
  • Use conditioning treatments – Deep condition regularly to combat any drying effects.
  • Get occasional trims – Trim off any split ends to protect hair health.

The Takeaway

Based on the available evidence, Olaplex appears to be well-tolerated and safe for use on dark colored hair when used properly under the care of a professional. The active ingredient is effective at repairing damage from coloring procedures like bleaching without causing further harm to hair strands.

However, there is always the potential for unexpected reactions. Doing a strand test and gradually introducing Olaplex to darker hair is the wisest approach. Following the recommendations for safe use and maintaining hair health with conditioning treatments is also advised. But overall, Olaplex seems to be a generally safe option for rebuilding and protecting very dark hair through the coloring process.


  1. Olaplex website. “The Science of Olaplex.” Accessed September 2023.
  2. Tessler E. “Testing the safety and tolerability of bond multiplier containing no active ingredient.” Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2014;7(2):36-39.
  3. Hoover E, Tirado E, N’Guyen HP, et al. “Safety and efficacy of a novel “bond-strengthening” product for bleached hair.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2018;17(5):785-795.
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