Unlike other people who save curled beachy waves for special occasions, I use my curling iron every single day. I’ve justified the excessive use of heat on my hair by claiming curling your hair is not as bad as straightening it daily. Let’s just say my dead ends are proof that this theory is straight up bad science. To remedy my mistakes, I added Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 ($28; amazon.com) to my cart on Amazon Prime Day.
Previously called a life-saver by Drew Barrymore during her #BeautyJunkieWeek on Instagram last year, Olaplex is not only the best-selling treatment on Amazon but hair stylist-approved too. Unlike other hair masks, the formula claims to relink broken disulfide bonds in your hair—whether it’s caused by excessive dying, overstyling, or too much heat (!!!). As someone who puts her hair through a lot (we’re talking daily washes, styling, and tight ponytails), I loved the idea of strengthening my hair from within.
When the box arrived two days later, I immediately smelled the Olaplex No. 3 fearing an overwhelming chemical scent. Instead, I was met with the soft fragrance of a bougie salon where haircuts costs hundreds of dollars. Considering Olaplex started as a salon-only treatment, my scent association was right on the money.
Reading the instructions, I was surprised to read No. 3 was not a conditioner, but a pre-shampoo treatment. All my plans to apply the treatment like a mask mid-shower as I shaved my legs went down the drain. Instead, I had to jump into the shower to get my hair wet only to hop right out again and towel dry it. The back-and-forth definitely made it clear this was a product originally crafted for salon use.
Despite the unconventional timing, the treatment itself was super easy. The formula is like a watery conditioner, and I used about one fourth of the 100 mL bottle coating my mid-length locks. I left it on for about 15 minutes (Olaxplex recommends at least ten) before resuming my normal shower routine—which typically involves whatever cheap shampoo and conditioner I have on hand. A few times a week, I incorporate Amika’s Soulfood Nourishing Mask ($28; amazon.com) to give my ends an extra dose of hydration or Ouai’s Scalp Scrub ($38; nordstrom.com) to give my scalp a good rub down. But I decided to skip my usual add-ons considering my hair felt like it had been doused in conditioner, even after a wash and rinse.
After the shower, I generously sprayed Ouai’s Leave-In Conditioner ($26; nordstrom.com) throughout my strands. I use it after every shower to compensate for the harsher, drying chemicals in my drugstore shampoo and conditioner. My hair already felt super malleable, so I wasn’t sure the addition was necessary but I wanted to stick to my normal routine.
As my hair started to dry, I couldn’t believe how soft it was. I tried to resist running my fingers through it, but every strand felt so undeniably smooth. Even my typically dehydrated ends had a new life to them.
I decided to let my hair air dry to really see the difference. Typically, I prefer to heat-style my hair because my wavy texture is completely unpredictable. But post Olaplex, my frizzy hair was replaced by sleek, smooth locks.
The craziest part was how long the benefits lasted. My hair texture (a lot of thinner hair follicles) is usually quick to knot and tangle. But No. 3 made knotty hair a non-issue. Instead, my hair actually felt close to its original virgin self before I started balayaging it five years ago. My only complaint is the slightly steep price at $28 for a bottle smaller than an iPhone X. But you get what you pay for—and I don’t intend to give up my smoother strands anytime soon.
At first I was dubious about the plethora of reviews (over 2,400) on Amazon. But it’s obvious why this hair treatment is the giant marketplace’s best-seller. Countless before and afters showcase just how life-changing this treatment can be. I’m officially a convert—take me to Olaplex No. 3 church.
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