BIPOC Voices, Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Olaplex doesn’t work for a lot of POC Hair

So stop believing it works for all hair types as advertised.

words by: Alee Kwong
Mar 17, 2021

After coloring my hair gray in 2015, I promised myself I would never do a full head of color again. The amount of damage my hair took was enough to get me to commit to jet-black hair for six years. It was smooth sailing until quarantine hit. I was doing well for most of last year, with an expected bang cut being the most drastic thing I did during last summer. Winter rolled through and the seasonal depression weighed heavy on top of my crippling clinical depression. I decided to change things up a little bit and get some dark gray highlights on the underlayer of my hair. Less than a month after my highlights appointment, I made the choice to full send and color my hair blue.


Yes, blue. I was in the chair for eight hours, and after two bleach sessions and a lot of hair breakages, my hairstylist was beyond surprised that I still had hair. He asked me how I planned on addressing the hair damage and I told him that I was peer pressured into purchasing Olaplex No. 3 (which is supposed to go with hair bond repair) and that I had been using it for about a week. He stared at me through the mirror for a few seconds and said, “No, stop using that. It’s useless on your hair.” I replied, “What do you mean? Everyone who has damaged hair raves about Olaplex. I asked people for suggestions and Olaplex was the only answer I got.”


He said, “Olaplex is not thick enough for your hair. It’s super watery and if anything, it’ll make your hair drier. You need something thicker to coat your hair and repair it. The friends that recommended it to you, do they have thick hair and coarse hair like you?” Avoiding eye contact, I said back to him, “No, most of them have fine to medium hair.” My hairstylist quickly responded, “I figured. Look, Olaplex is best for, to be honest, white people hair. Fine-medium, straight/slightly wavy, soft hair. Anything outside of that is going to make Olaplex useless.”


I was shocked. I had just wasted $28 on a bottle of bond repair that wasn’t even made for me. I had already used half of the 3oz bottle, that of which barely covered my hair. If I had stuck with my weekly Olaplex No. 3 treatment, I would have been spending almost $700 per year on a placebo effect. Olaplex is advertised to work for all hair types, which is almost unheard of in the hair industry. With such a large range of hair types that require such nuanced care, having a product on the market that claims to work for every single one is sure to turn heads and perk up ears.


If you have fine to medium hair, definitely go with Olaplex. There are so many positive testimonials from people about Olaplex. If your hair is the ideal fit for it, I say reap the benefits it has to offer. If you have thicker, coarser hair such as myself, go with something substantially creamier like the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque ($11.19). I have heard very good things about Queen Helene’s Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream ($9.52) and already placed an order for a huge tub of it. Don’t worry, once I test all these alternatives out, believe that there will be a power ranking of best hair treatments. The health of my gummy hair strands depends on it.


Photo via Olaplex