Spoiler alert—Olaplex No. 3 saved my hair!
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I love my hair—I just don’t always treat it the best. Between all my high-heat styling tools and tight Bella Hadid updos, it’s been through a lot. My ends have definitely seen better days, but I’m not planning a trip to the salon anytime soon. I’ve heard great things from my hairstylist about the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, so I decided to give my hair some much-needed TLC right from home.
I’m a big fan of scalp massagers, the Mielle Rosemary oil and other home remedies to make my mane healthy and soft. My only reservation with starting the Olaplex journey were some rumors I’d heard about harmful ingredients and how some users experienced hair loss. However, the brand is loved by stylists and professionals alike, so I decided to give it a shot.
What is Olaplex No. 3?
Olaplex is a cult-favorite professional haircare system. It has a numbered product line, from zero to nine, for every step in your hair care routine. Ranging from the No. 0 bonding treatment to the No. 9 nourishing hair serum, the brand carries a product for all hair types. Olaplex No. 3 is the hair perfector, a pre-shampoo hair treatment that repairs and protects against damage.
Olaplex No. 3 isn’t a conditioner. It’s not even a hair mask. It’s actually a bond builder that repairs hair on a molecular level. Using patented technology, the cream “rebuilds broken disulfide bonds,” or links between proteins. Who knew good hair days could be so scientific?
According to the instructions, the hair perfector should be used before shampooing and not in place of a conditioner. Dry and damaged hair would benefit from two to three uses per week, otherwise, a once-a-week treatment should suffice. Once those bond babies are restored, your dry, brittle hair will take its healthiest form once again.
Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector comes in a 3.3 fluid ounce bottle. It barely makes the TSA liquid limits, so you should be able to pack the cream in your carry-on or toiletry bag without issue.
The product’s formula is vegan and cruelty-free. There’s also no gluten, nuts, parabens, phthalates or phosphates. It feels very much like a normal conditioner with its opaque, creamy white consistency. If used generously, the 3.3-ounce bottle should last up to ten uses.
How we tested it
My hair is thick and typically lasts four to six days between washes. Since chopping my waist-long tresses into a bob a few months ago, I haven’t let go of my styling tools. Blow drying, straightening and curling has taken a toll on my head, adding a brittle texture to my ends. Safe to say I was eager to test the Olaplex hair perfector.
The product’s instructions state it should be generously applied to damp hair from roots to ends. Once the hair is thoroughly saturated, leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Rinse it well and follow up with shampoo and conditioner (Olaplex or otherwise). Easy enough, right?
During my first three tests, spread over about two weeks, I followed the bottle’s instructions and applied the cream on my wet hair in the shower. I clipped it up for the recommended 10 minutes and, after rinsing, used a non-Olaplex shampoo and conditioner. Only after drying and styling did I feel the hair perfector’s effects, but the results may have been different if I had bleach-damaged hair as opposed to heat-damaged hair.
My goal for the product wasn’t to boost hydration, because this isn’t a conditioning treatment. Instead, after three uses, I was pleased to find that my hair did feel stronger and fuller. My ends felt less brittle, like some years of damage had been reversed.
- Helps hair feel thicker and stronger
- Reverses damage from styling tools and rough treatment
- Salon-quality hair can be achieved right from your shower
- Olaplex is trusted by thousands of professional hair stylists
- Olaplex products are pricier than drugstore items
- A 3.3-ounce bottle doesn’t last very long
Is Olaplex No. 3 used on wet or dry hair?
Olaplex No. 3 should be used on damp hair before shampooing. Saturate your hair from roots to ends, leave for 10 minutes and rinse. Don’t leave it on as a long-term mask.
Can you use Olaplex No. 3 every day?
The brand recommends using the No. 3 Hair Perfector two to three times a week if you have especially damaged hair. For minimally damaged hair, use the product once a week.
What other reviewers/experts had to say
Ready to give your hair some love but unsure of the Olaplex price tag? Just read these reviews on why others love their No. 3 Hair Perfector and you’ll be ready to splurge. After all, self-care is an investment.
“Olaplex has been one of the best products I have ever used,” writes Steve Wynder, expert hair stylist at Steve Wynder Hair & Beauty Salon, on his blog. “There are many copycat products on the market, but I have found nothing to give me the results I’m getting from Olaplex.”
Amazon verified purchaser Eliza Turner ordered the Olaplex Hair Perfector after severely damaging her hair through bleaching to the point of extreme breakage. “I have used this three times so far and cannot believe the results,” she writes. “My hair is nowhere near 100% healthy, but the areas that felt gummy now either do not feel gummy at all, or are about 75% improved. I am pretty sure that if I did not purchase this, I would be sporting a pixie cut right now. Overall, I am extremely happy with this purchase.”
After enduring years of heat damage, environmental damage and box dyes, Amazon reviewer Alyssa Pall and her daughter gave the Hair Perfector a try. “I was so impressed and it felt amazing!” she raves. “You only need a little and it goes a long way. I’m 100% in love with Olaplex!”
I haven’t color-treated my hair since October, but I’m an avid heating tool connoisseur. I sleep with a satin pillowcase and use heat protectants—most of the time. Still, Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector seemed to bring my hair back to life in just a few uses. It’s pricier than other drugstore hair products, but it’s well worth the splurge.
Also, keep in mind that it takes some time to see results and you might not even see an obvious difference, but that’s not a bad thing. Hair damage doesn’t occur in one day (although bleach blondes may beg to differ), so repairing hair shouldn’t, either. Rebuilding hair on a molecular level requires patience and consistency. I’m glad I gave Olaplex a shot and I’m already considering other products in its hair care line.
Where to buy No. 3 Hair Perfector
Ready to start your Olaplex journey? Shop Olaplex No. 3 on the brand’s website for $30. It’s also available at Sephora and Ulta, as well as Amazon. Don’t wait for a trip to the salon—self-care starts here.
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