Why Olaplex No. 3 Could Be Banned In The UK

All products containing lilial are banned in EU countries.

by Vivian Iroanya
Woman getting her hair washed, still used for article about Olaplex
miodrag ignjatovic/E+/Getty Images

Olaplex and good hair are two things that go hand-in-hand, and it isn’t just a special thing to treat yourself to at the hairdressers, you can use Olaplex in the comfort of your own home thanks to at-home hair treatments, conditioners, and shampoos. The brand has been transforming and strengthening all hair types including curly, coloured, and natural.

Sold by outlets such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty, Olaplex is best known for its popular No. 3 Hair Perfector. At the cost of £26, the product has amassed over 31 million views on TikTok alone (#olaplexno3). It’s safe to say it’s a go-to hair product for many of us.

But this best selling product contains an ingredient — butylphenyl methylpropional — that will now be banned under European Union (EU) legislation. So, the question is, what would this ban mean for Olaplex in the UK? Below, find out everything we know about how this will affect UK customers.

What is happening with Olaplex?

Olaplex’s patent ingredient in its No. 3 Hair Perfector — butylphenyl methylpropional (also referred to as lilial) — has been classed as a 'reprotoxic' substance. As per Tyla, the classification was made in 2020. As per the European Trade Union Institute, “reprotoxic substances are chemical substances that, if inhaled, ingested, or if they penetrate the skin, pose a severe threat to fertility in both men and women.” Because of this, all products containing lilial will now be banned in EU countries, including Northern Ireland, from Mar. 1st, 2022.

An Olapex spokesperson told Bustle: “In September 2020, the EU regulatory authority announced their intent to have Butylphenyl methylpropional, commonly referred to as lilial, phased out by March of 2022. At Olaplex, lilial was previously used in small amounts as a fragrance in No. 3 Hair Perfector. It is not an active or functional ingredient.”

They continued: “While this phase out is limited to the EU, out of an abundance of caution, Olaplex proactively removed lilial from our No.3 Hair Perfector globally. As of January 2022, Olaplex no longer sells products using lilial in the UK or EU.”

Is Olaplex being banned in the UK?

Following the UK’s exit from the EU (otherwise known as Brexit), the legal status of lilial in this country is different from that of EU countries. The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) has confirmed a ban in the UK is expected soon, but a date is yet to be announced.

This, however, does not mean Olaplex’s No.3 product is set to be banned. Instead, the brand is simply removing the lilial ingredient from its products. The ingredient is no longer featured on Olaplex’s UK website.

Speaking on the ban to Refinery29, Olaplex said: "The No.3 Hair Perfector is not being banned. Olaplex takes the health of our consumers and regulatory compliance seriously. While lilial was previously used as a fragrance in the Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector, it was never an active or functional ingredient. Out of an abundance of caution, we proactively removed lilial from our No.3 Hair Perfector globally, and have not sold products using this ingredient in the UK or EU since January of 2022."