Sunday, 3 November 2019

Olaplex no. 3 review

My first thought is that these are very expensive products. And so small bottles! Both are just 100 ml.
But I keep seeing this product praised to high heavens, so it made me curious.

I bought it at Lyko for 289 sek. Which is 26,7 Euro or 30 USD.
Usually I buy my conditioners according to "Whatever is on sale", and then usually around 20 sek for a bottle of 200-300 ml.
So this product is relative to the portion around 30 times more than I usually am willing to spend. Yikes.

I have to give Olaplex a point for how easy it was to find their ingredient lists online. Good job!
This is the first step towards gaining any sort of credibility for your products.

So Olaplex's selling point is their ingredient Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, which supposedly knits sulfur hydrogen bonds back together to form disulfide bonds. I'm not a chemist, so... Ehh. I will just have to trust Labmuffin's explanation of what it supposedly does. I didn't even know hair had sulfur-hydrogen bonds, so... Eh? But the company does hold some patents for this stuff. Patenting something isn't that easy or cheap, so they must really believe in this stuff.

But I dislike that Olaplex keep recycling the excact same microscopic before and after-picture. Yes the one below here:

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector 
Water (Aqua), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Quaternium-91, Sodium Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyquaternium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate.

Without getting into too many details, this seems like a pretty nice conditioner. Nothing too troubling or too exciting there. Mostly green ratings. Some ingredients with warnings for acne and irritants. Nothing troubling. I'm of course deeply suspicious of the Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, but maybe I'm lucky and this is pressed without the aloe vera skin and I won't have any reaction to it.

The method
Every place I read about this, they write that you should leave the conditioner on for 20 minutes at least, and then shampoo it out.

I have a few thoughts on this:
I have never ever encountered a product that truly needed to be shampooed out. This is simply an advertising trick: It makes the product sound like a serious, heavy duty reconstructor. It is not necessary.

But, wait. Let's take a look at the shampoo's ingredient list:

Olaplex Bond Maintenance Shampoo No. 4
Water (Aqua), Sodium lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Potassium Cocoate, Decyl Glucoside, Glycereth-26, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propanediol, Euterpe, Oleracea Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Rosmarinus Officinails (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract.Fragrance (parfum) Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Panthenol, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Acrylates Copolymer, Prunus Armenica (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Pseudozyma Epicola/Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil Ferment Filtrate, Pseudozyma Epicola/Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil Ferment Extract Filtrate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Amodimethicone, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-10, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Polyquaterrnium-11, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, C11-15 Pareth-7, Laureth-9, Glycerin, Trideceth-12, Hexyl Cinnamql, Limonene, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3, Hydrlyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Acetic Acid, Citral, Benzoic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Pentasodium Triphosphate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Quaternium-95, PEG-8, PEG-8/SMDI Copolymer, Palmitoyl Myristyl Serinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Biotin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

First of all, this is a massive ingredient list. Yuck. I have half a mind to take it apart and mock it mercilessly, but this is not the product I'm reviewing. I didn't even buy it, I just found the ingredient list online (Which is a good thing).

Where as the conditioner is cone free, the shampoo contains Amodimethicone and Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer. So that's the play: Recommending shampooing the product out makes the product sound stronger and more serious than it is, and the shampoo adds cones to smooth down and gloss over the hair. 
Clever. Slow clap for Olaplex. Naughty little trick. But I caught onto that.

What I did
It's an old longhair trick to first use a protein conditioner and then follow up with a moisturizer. By first adding proteins, you give the second conditioner something to bind to. You can also do the same with first a moisturizing conditioner, then following with a coney one. It creates a synergy effect that is stronger than the single products.
So I did that.
First the Olaplex under heat and then add one of my favorite conditioners: Barnängen Normalt balsam. That should bind everything together.

I worried that the bottle was way, way too small for all my hair. But it turned out that it was very easy to spread. Sort of thin but not runny. It didn't drip. So that was impressive.
I covered it in cling wrap and left it under a heatcap for a full five hours. It was mildly boring, but I felt I should give it the full time to work since it was such an expensive product.

Perfect time to be super sexy...

Rinsing it out, my hair felt... Nice?
Nothing impressive or remarkable. No intense shine like the advertising pictures.
But, maybe that was remarkable enough in itself? Usually my hair gets more or less cranky after a good deep conditioning. Some times it's just mildly troublesome when I comb and braid it after the treatment, other times it can be weird and irritating for well over a day afterwards.

Of course this made me a little suspicious because the established hair theory says that hair (Especially coarse like mine) can be irritated after a good treatment because the ingredients "rough up" the scales on the hair surface to penetrate into the strands, and it takes a while for the scales to settle back down again. (You can also mechanically close the scales afterwards by flat ironing it or chemically closing them by adding acidity)

So this is an either or-situation: Either the treatment did nothing, which is why my hair didn't react. Or it did an impressive job of rebonding the disulfide bonds, so my hair is smooth and happy.

I then followed with the Barnängen Normalt balsam, which immediately started dripping. I guess this means the Oleplex did something, since it almost felt like my hair rejected the Barnängen conditioner?
So I got in the tub with the Barnängen conditioner wrapped up under cling wrap like when I henna. It makes the dripping more tolerable.
So I rinsed again, gave it some leave in conditioner and made a simple braid.

Awesome "Netflix and avoid people" T-shirt from CatHairGlitter

I'm not entirely sure what to think. Hair felt nice. Smooth, healthy and happy.
I think the most impressive part was that my hair didn't feel cranky afterwards. Usually, my hair gets cranky after a deep treatment, but not this time. So, that's good?
Other than that, I'm not really sure.
I like the product, but not the price. So... Dunno, buy it when it's on sale? 


  1. I once bought a similar treatment from the DM drugstore. Can't remember every detail, but it recommended wrapping the head with a damp towel and then blow-drying it for a few minutes before letting it sink it.
    Hair was okay after it, not bad but I also wasn't overly impressed. I know that it felt nice for two or three washes, but it definitely wasn't a lasting effect. Don't think I'd buy another of these treatments...

    1. I'm strangely happy that you had the same experience! Usually I'm very suspicious about treatments like this, because honestly, there is only SO much you can do to hair, right?
      I guess we both gave it the best conditions we could by adding heat and all, but I guess it's just not worth the price. I honestly thought the "bonding" would be more permanent, sort of like henna is, so reading you write this doesn't really make me optimistic....