The EU Just Banned An Ingredient In Olaplex No. 3 That Could Cause Infertility And Allergies

By Gina Florio··  3 min read
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Hair care Olaplex banned

You've probably used the popular haircare product called Olaplex No. 3 at least once in your life. The product boasts a unique power to repair broken bonds that are found in colored or bleached hair. Countless women use Olaplex No. 3 to restore their damaged locks to a healthy, shiny mane.

A recent development has uncovered some pertinent information about an ingredient by the name of butylphenyl methylpropional, also commonly known as lilial. It is found in Olaplex No. 3, and according to new European Union legislation, lilial is now banned from being sold to consumers.

Lilial Can No Longer Be Sold To Consumers in the EU

This toxic ingredient has been banned per EU legislation, but because the UK seceded from the EU it is uncertain whether lilial will also be prohibited from being sold in the UK. However, cosmetic experts expect that it will be banned in the UK as well, and they're preparing for this to happen.

The Olaplex No. 3 we all know and love without a doubt contains lilial, but that doesn't necessarily mean the whole product is going to be banned in the EU and the UK. A rep from Olaplex explained to Refinery29, "We removed the ingredient butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial) from manufacturing already, so you'll still be able to purchase the product in the future."

"Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is not being banned," the rep added. "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."

There is still some ambiguity with this statement. They said that they "proactively removed lilial" from the No. 3 product, but specifically said that they haven't sold any of their products containing lilial in the UK or EU without naming any other countries. That means that Olaplex No. 3 could still be sold in the US with lilial in it, as there is no ban in our country against lilial.

This Is What We Know about Lilial

Olaplex No. 3 is certainly not the only hair product to contain this ingredient, which is usually just marketed as a fragrance. Popular brands like Bumble and Bumble, Redken, and Living Proof have lilial in their ingredient lists.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates the danger level of certain products, and they say that Olaplex No. 3 has a high concern of allergies and immunotoxicity due to the presence of lilial, as well as a low-moderate concern of developmental and reproductive toxicity.

Lilial has been linked to infertility and could have adverse effects on reproductive abilities. A 2019 scientific committee for the European Commission came to the conclusion that lilial "cannot be considered as safe." Olaplex claimed that lilial was only in the No. 3 product for fragrance purposes.

We have to wait and see if the ban of lilial will also take place in the U.S. In the meantime, there are very likely some products still on the shelves that contain it.

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