Sep 30, 2021 - Economy

Hair care sensation Olaplex goes public

Illustration of a stock chart as an open door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Olaplex, the Southern California-based company known for its "miracle" anti-damage additive to hair bleach, went public Thursday morning after raising $1.5 billion in an initial public offering. It closed its first day of trading at $24.50 per share (up 17%), with a market cap of $15.9 billion.

Why it matters: In an age of unprofitable software and internet-driven companies going public, Olaplex stands out: it had $94.9 million in profit in the first half of 2021, on $270.2 million in sales — and it's a social media sensation.

The pandemic effect: "You were cutting your hair at home, you were bleaching your hair at home," so consumers flocked to purchasing the company's products, Olaplex CFO Eric Tiziani tells Axios.

  • And then when hair salons reopened, there was another wave of demand for Olaplex products as those same consumers needed professional help to fix their at-home mistakes, Tiziani added.

Backstory: Founded in 2014, Olaplex grew out of the creation of a pair of scientists in Santa Barbara, Calif. It uses an ingredient that repairs hair bonds during the bleaching and coloring process.

  • Since then, it's released nine products all derived from this initial ingredient, developing a cult following among hair stylists and customers (head to YouTube and TikTok if you want a glimpse of its popularity).
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