TikTokers Found Olaplex Dupes at Aldi — Here's What a Trichologist Thinks

Spoiler alert: The affordable alternatives may be missing some key ingredients.

Photo: Olaplex, Lacura

If you have color-treated hair, you're probably familiar with Olaplex — a hair-care brand known for its professional-grade hair-strengthening products that help revive damaged hair. Hairstylists, celebrities, and shoppers love the popular brand, but here's the catch: It's expensive — $30 for a 3.3-fluid-ounce bottle of product expensive. (See: Billie Eilish Is the Latest Celeb to Use This Famous Hair Serum She Calls 'Amazing' for Colored Strands)

Olaplex products include the brand's patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, a bond builder that helps repair damaged hair. ICYDK, hair strands are made of proteins, which contain amino acids held together by three types of chains: disulfide, hydrogen, and ionic, Mark Curry, the lead chemist at and co-founder of the beauty brand the Inkey List, previously told Shape. When these bonds are intact, hair looks shiny and feels strong. But bonds can be broken by heat, bleach, and other aggressors, Matt Rez, a celebrity hair colorist and Redken brand ambassador, previously told Shape.

That's where bond repair products, such as those from Olaplex, come into play. The brand's patented bond builder is often customers' justification for spending $90 on the Bond Maintenance System Kit. The bundle includes shampoo, conditioner, and a hair-wash treatment designed to reduce breakage, visibly strengthen hair, and add volume and shine. With that in mind, TikTok users have been on the hunt for more affordable options and discovered some product dupes from an unexpected store: Aldi, the budget-friendly supermarket chain.

Some TikTokers suggest hair-care products from Aldi's in-house beauty brand Lacura provide similar results to those from Olaplex at a fraction of the cost. Lacura's pre-wash treatment, shampoo, and conditioner cost around $13 USD each — a steal compared to the $90 Olaplex kit. However, the Aldi products are currently only available in the U.K., and it may even be hard to get your hands on them there since they've been selling out fast, likely in part due to their rise in popularity on TikTok.

One TikTok user, @bethwainwrightt, posted a video after she used the Lacura pre-wash treatment, shampoo, and conditioner, saying her hair felt "so soft" and noting the products are "so much cheaper than Olaplex itself." Another TikTok user, @unpakked, posted a video, comparing the ingredients in Olaplex's No 3. Hair Protector to those in Lacura's Bonded Pre-Wash Hair Treatment. The two products share 18 of the same ingredients out of roughly 26, according to the clip.

Opalex Versus Lacura

At first glance, that sounds pretty promising. But how well do these affordable Aldi products hold up to Olaplex's more expensive formulas?

While some TikTok users who tried the Lacura hair products say the products seemed to improve the condition of their hair, Deborah Chester, a trichologist and bio-energetics screening expert with the Simone Thomas Salon, says these aren't exact replacements for Olaplex products. That's because they don't appear to include any bond building, amino acid ingredients (necessary for treating damaged hair), as Olaplex does. However, a full list of Lacura ingredients isn't available online, so this conclusion is only drawn from ingredients listed in TikTok videos and other stories from those who've gotten their hands on the dupes.

"There is no mention of glycine and L-cysteine [in content about the dupes], either of which you would expect to see in a bond-building product," Chester says. "On the other hand, Olaplex has bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate as its patented bond-building ingredient, [in addition to] moringa, corn, and pomegranate oils for additional moisture."

Olaplex penetrates deeper into the hair to rebuild bonds and repair individual hair fibers, whereas the Lacura products, with key ingredients vitamin E, argan oil, hyaluronic acid, and hydrogenated castor oil, simply moisturize without rebuilding bonds, according to Chester. The Aldi shampoo also contains sulfates, which can lead to scalp irritation, unlike Olaplex which is sulfate-free, she adds.

Although Lacura's products may be less expensive than Olaplex's, they don't provide hair with the same reparative treatment. "The Aldi bond-building products are using the title without any biomimetic science," says Chester. "They are not using amino acid chains to rebuild the bonds and they're purely moisturizing products."

So, there you have it. If you're looking affordable, moisturizing hair-care products and can get your hands on the Lacura lineup from Aldi, go for it. But know that without Olaplex's signature bond-building ingredients, the Lacura dupes likely won't be as effective at repairing damaged hair.

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