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Flights, dye jobs, lots of sun and cold weather wreak havoc on my hair, yet somehow Olaplex No. 3 can bring it back to life.
My hair has been through a lot. Between all the flying I do as a travel writer and regular time spent in warm, sunny climates or on a very dry ski mountain as a result of said travels — not to mention aging — it’s certainly seen better days. At age 32, when I first felt the texture of my hair start to change, I was lucky enough to discover Olaplex at a salon in Los Angeles. My wonderful hair stylist had just given me a dye job to get the perfect caramel color into my naturally dark brown hair, and afterward, finished it off with a salon-grade Olaplex treatment.
The results were incredible, and kept my hair feeling strong and shiny despite having just gone through a chemical process known to turn the healthiest of strands brittle. For subsequent dye jobs, I was partial to getting the in-salon treatments — that’s until I later learned about Olaplex’s at-home line with one specific product that’s now always in my medicine cabinet and dopp kit whenever I travel: Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector.
To buy: amazon.com, $24 (originally $30)
While there are a lot of hair masks and treatments on the market that claim to restore damage and protect hair structure, the secret sauce in Olaplex is the patented ingredient bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate. It looks hard to say, but numerous haircare professionals tell me it’s the trick for rebuilding disulfide bonds (aka hair bonds responsible for your hair type). When these bonds are broken, it results in hair damage, which for most of us results in dull appearance, breakage, and sometimes, even hair loss.
A rep for Olaplex told me that its technology penetrates the hair shaft working on the entire hair structure to rebuild the hair throughout, while also building a permanent bridge between the disulfide bonds. At the same time, it lessens and eliminates damage caused by molecules that eat protein from the hair by working faster than the damage can occur. This essentially translates to healthier, stronger, and shinier tresses.
To buy: amazon.com, $72 (originally $90)
Anytime my hair is dry, and especially after a long flight, I immediately reach for this hair treatment. I simply wash my hair, towel dry it until it’s damp, and apply a generous amount from the roots to the tips of my hair. Sometimes, I comb it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it covers as much as my hair as possible. I then keep the treatment on for a minimum of 10-15 minutes as I do other things.
Once the time is up, I wash the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector out with lukewarm water and watch in glee as my strands get an instant boost and shine. And while that healthy hair glow is nice to have, what really sets Hair Perfector No. 3 apart is how much stronger and more durable my hair feels after I’ve used it.
I have shorter-length hair and so I can generally get away with using Hair Perfector No. 3 once a week, or even every 10 days or so. But Olaplex advises that you can use the treatment 2-3 times a week on damaged hair. For maximum results, the product is also best combined with the professional salon-grade treatments many salons offer and is recommended to be used in between those visits with a professional.
Despite knowing I can stretch my personal use of the product to about every 10 days, I travel with Hair No. 3 Hair Perfector virtually everywhere — especially since it comes in 3.3 ounce packaging, meaning I can safely get it through the TSA scanner at the airport. Other reasons I can get behind buying the hair repair treatment include that it’s non-toxic, cruelty-free, and vegan. It’s also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and other toxins that aren’t advisable for the hair or skin.
To buy: amazon.com, $168 (originally $210)
And with a whopping 87,000-plus five-star ratings at Amazon, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who feels this way. In fact, many reviewers agree with me that there’s a noticeable difference in their hair quality after just one use. One Amazon reviewer with damaged hair called it a “game-changer.” They shared, “I’ve been bleaching my hair for a year or two now, and it has left damage. For the first time, this stuff seriously seemed to restore my hair almost back to its pre-bleaching days! It is soft, tame and not nearly as frizzy.”
The reviews further confirm my suspicion that Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 has a huge following not only amongst beauty junkies and TikTok users, but salon professionals too. One scroll through the reviews section at Amazon, and you’ll see more than 100 customers report that it was recommended by or used on them by their stylist. Anytime I bring the product up to any of my friends or folks who work in the beauty industry, they gush about it the way I do, likely because of the versatility of hair types it works on. And did I mention that it’s also loved by celebrities, too?
Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily strands, this is one versatile treatment that can actually be used across hair types. And if your hair is brittle, dry, or just needs a little post-vacay pick me up, I cannot recommend trying Olaplex’s Hair Perfector No. 3 enough. While the brand rarely ever hosts sales, it’s offering its No. 3 marked down by 20 percent right now, bringing its price to just $24. And while you're at it, check out the brand’s at-home line including the Bond Maintenance System Kit and the Complete Hair Repair System, which both include the No. 3.
At the time of publishing, the price was $24.
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