I have been getting my hair dyed (i.e. bleached) for a few years, which is evidently damaging to hair, as bleach is known to damage the bonds within our hair. As a result of this, our hair appears damaged, and strands fall out and split.
I have been using the “Olaplex” brand shampoo, as this shampoo is deemed to be “reparative” to the hair. The Olaplex company claims that this product encourages “bond maintenance”, as it re-connects the broken bonds within the hair in order to mitigate hair damage and breakage. Curious as to the specifics of this, I looked into the bio-chemical aspect. The main active ingredient in this shampoo is bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. This active ingredient is known to re-link broken disulfide bonds together, in order to “strengthen” the hair.
In class, we learned that keratin proteins are a component of our hair. While we know in general that proteins are made up of chains of amino acids, we learned that the keratin proteins have a high cysteine content (7-20%). Thus, Olaplex shampoo attempts to re-link the disulfide bonds between cysteine residues in order to prevent hair breakage. We typically use products on our skin and hair everyday without knowing what they actually do or how they work. It is interesting to learn more about the bio-chemical aspects behind these products, rather than simply reading a slogan on a label.