Is Olaplex Cruelty-Free and Vegan in 2022? (Yes – But Can They Prove It)

May 23, 2022

Olaplex is a haircare industry disruptor that found a way to repair hair damage with bond multiplying technology. But at what cost? Learn about its cruelty-free and vegan policies before you shop. 

Olaplex is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. Olaplex is also 100% vegan – it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients.

Olaplex is a ground-breaking brand developed by businessman Dean Christal and two scientists – Dr. Craig Hawker and Dr. Eric Pressly.

What started out as a humble project in Christal's garage in California became a massive hit after three years of hard work.

The scientists developed a chemical that could maintain hair health and even strengthen it during any chemical treatment – like dying or bleaching, for example.

Olaplex became a cult favorite when it was released in 2014. As of 2022, Olaplex Holding's net worth is $7,89 billion, with the company being listed on the stock market.

Before deciding on what to buy, here's what you need to know about Olaplex's current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Olaplex Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Olaplex Cruelty-Free and Vegan Haircare

Olaplex is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Olaplex has a firm stance on cruelty-free beauty, and it shows. They are also not owned by a parent company that permits animal testing when required by law.

Unfortunately, they do not have any cruelty-free certification and are not backed by European anti-animal testing laws.

There are no legal constructs to verify what "cruelty-free" means or ramifications if these "points" are not followed.

But there is some promising news.

Olaplex is Not Vegan

This revolutionary haircare brand is entirely vegan. It does not use any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products.

However, it's worth knowing that Olaplex is the exception and not the rule.

Most mainstream haircare brands are not 100% vegan. These are certain animal-derived ingredients to look out for in general:

  • Hydrolyzed silk is extracted from raw, unprocessed silk made by silkworms. It has a level of serine, excellent for moisture retention and preservation.

    It's commonly used in hair care because silk protein adds elasticity to the hair and helps it retain moisture. This helps prevent breakage in the long term and adds a lot of shine.  
  • Keratin – is another essential protective protein that helps protect your hair against structural damage. Keratin in haircare often comes from the feathers, horns, or wool of different animals.

    But you can also extract keratin from plant-based wheat and soy amino acids solutions.
  • Collagen – is an essential protein that plays an integral role in strengthening your hair and firming and strengthening the roots.

    Naturally, collagen can only be found in connective animal tissue. But today, it's possible to make vegan collagen by genetically modifying yeast and bacteria.

If you're interested in finding the best vegan products or vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Olaplex vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

Olaplex has been committed to creating modern, exciting and innovative cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been their intention since it was founded 24 years ago.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Olapex's official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from their website:

Olaplex Cruelty-Free and vegan website claim


Olaplex has no cruelty-free certification. Although they claim to be cruelty-free – there's no third party there to confirm it.

It would be nice to see more certification from Olaplex since they are proudly cruelty-free.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. So having certification from an association like Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty-Free, is ideal.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products it sells.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, is considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to mislead consumers.

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Olaplex Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Olaplex does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes. Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

The Best Vegan Olaplex Products

Olaplex has an excellent range of vegan products that continues to expand. It develops products with you (the consumer) and the planet in mind.

To save you some time, here are some of its most popular hair care products that we love:

  • Daily Cleanse and Condition Duo
  • The Complete Hair Repair System
  • No8 Bond Intense Repair Moisture Mask
  • No9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum
  • No3 Hair Perfector

For a complete list of Olaplex vegan products, you can find everything on their website.

Vegan Alternatives to Olaplex

Olaplex is a top-quality cruelty-free brand that's 100% vegan. We love that no matter how much it continues to expand – its ethical values around holistically clean beauty don't waver.

But, if Olaplex is out of your price range or not accessible in your area, here are some vegan alternatives to check out:

Is Olaplex Natural and Organic? 

Olaplex is not considered natural or organic. However, it does claim to use safe and clean ingredients.

The brand's entire ethos is centered around making clean formulas and products that anyone can use

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" doesn't mean it's good for you. Take gluten, for example. It's a natural protein found in wheat that certain people are highly allergic to. Even topical application can lead to terrible health issues. 

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Olaplex is no exception – but it chooses to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it is safe and non-toxic. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

Does Olaplex Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Olaplex has an 82-91% allergen-free ranking across 19 products.

All Olaplex products are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, phosphates, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, mineral oil, triclosan, synthetic fragrances, and other toxins.

Many Olaplex products are free of allergens such as coconut, propylene glycol, irritant-free, common preservatives, gluten, soy, and Balsam of Peru.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Olaplex is not 100% hypoallergenic, and they do not claim to be.

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your hair and scalp need.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States.

This is because the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

For good measure, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid with haircare:

  • DEA, MEA, and TEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin and urea (that often release formaldehyde)
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Triclosan

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you're worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics that are not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn't be just as safe as anything tested on an animal.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there really is no need.

If you're interested, here's more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Olaplex Sustainable and Ethical? 

Time to give Olaplex a round of applause! Yes – they are a sustainable and ethical brand. All their initiatives tie in with the company's values.

As it stands, the brand:

  • Help create ethically developed products.
  • Focus on lessening the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strive to do more to help people.

Olaplex has put a lot of effort into reducing its carbon footprint since 2015. By 2021, it managed to:

  • Saved 44K gallons of water from being wasted.
  • Prevented 35 million lbs of greenhouse gasses from being emitted.
  • Protected 57 million trees from succumbing to deforestation.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands are only making it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways Olaplex is taking strong environmental accountability are by:

  • Making non-toxic formulas that are safe for the environment.
  • Using limited secondary (or paper box) packaging.
  • Using recycled plastics, particularly those found in the ocean, to make its product bottles.
  • Encouraging consumers to recycle all used containers once they are used.

Unfortunately, the only thing we cannot find is the mention of a refillable program, recycling scheme, or any alternative energy used.

Other than that – we see that Olaplex is making a concerted effort to be sustainable.

Final Thoughts

Olaplex has been cruelty-free and vegan from the start. The brand takes quite a few sustainability factors into consideration.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

It's great that they don't use palm oil. There is a lot less stress on natural resources since it eliminates any excess cardboard paper from its product packaging.  

As a multi-million-dollar brand, we commend their efforts this far. However, there are two things we'd like to address:
  • We would like to see more from them about a streamlined recycling program in the regions Olaplex chooses to distribute.
  • We feel that cruelty-free certification is a must-have for this brand as it doesn't have any accreditation to back up its current claims.

That said, Olaplex is probably one of the better hair care choices for activists. So if you love their products – share your thoughts about areas you'd like to see the brand improve.

By voicing our opinions, we have the opportunity to see change.

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