Can Plexes really repair the hair?

Time: 10:00 am - 10:30 am

Date: 12 November

Since the launch of Olaplex in 2014 the hair category has gone ‘plex’-mad.  Many products now claim to rebuild broken hair bonds and to protect hair from colourant damage.  The question is, is this just marketing hype?


Course attendees will first learn about the structure of hair at the molecular level, the various chemical bonds present in the hair and how these bonds contribute to the physical properties of the fibre.  The presentation will then explain how hair damage affects the bonds inside the hair and how these chemical changes affect the hair characteristics.


Whilst chemical treatments can change the hair properties quite markedly through changing covalent bonds, the presentation will next explain how less severe treatments can have important effects on non-covalent bonds, and also change hair physical properties.  For example, hair properties are changed markedly by humidity, pH and by treatment with low molecular weight cosmetic actives (for example, carboxylic acids).


Attendees will next learn about all different Plexes available today; what technology they contain, how they are believed to work and what hair end-benefits are claimed to be associated with them.  The claimed mechanisms of action and effects of these actives will be critically evaluated.  The insights taken from the first part of the presentation will be used to test the information provided.   For example, the known effects of pH and carboxylic acids will be compared with the effects claimed for the Plexes.


The presentation will conclude with a balanced, unbiased assessment of what is actually known about how Plexes might repair the hair or prevent colourant damage.


Learning Outcomes


  1. Understand how hair fibre structure relates to hair properties
  2. Understand how common chemical treatments damage the hair
  3. Understand how humidity, pH and low molecular weight actives affect the bonds in hair and so affect hair properties
  4. Understand the different Plex technologies on the market and what they claim as mechanisms of action and as useful consumer end-benefits
  5. Be able to critically assess, using the background information given in the course, what is certain and what is still uncertain about how Plex treatments might actually work


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