Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building and N°3 Hair Perfector Review

I have tried dozens of top-rated hair care products over the years, including pricy salon and luxury brands, that have promised to restore the appearance of my aging, dry, dull, breakage-prone hair. While many have helped to some degree, the only ones so far that have truly delivered on that promise are Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment paired with Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector. Thanks to the company’s patented bond building technology that repairs and strengthens damaged hair and improves their elasticity, using this dynamic duo just once a week prior to shampooing, conditioning, drying, and styling with my usual products has helped my tresses look nearly as smooth, shiny, soft, and frizz-free as they do after a salon visit.

Olaplex N°0 + N°3 The Perfect Pair for Damaged Hair
This dynamic duo from Olaplex is an at-home version of the famous salon treatment

Olaplex N°0 and N°3 Have Transformed My Damaged Hair

I have always worn my hair long. In my teens and twenties, my locks were smooth, silky, and frizz-free, even in hot and humid weather. After four decades of being color treated, bleached blonde for highlights, and styled with heated styling tools, however, the cumulative damage has left my tresses dull, dry, frizzy, and prone to breakage. I also have more and more gray hair, which is coarser, drier, more brittle, and more fragile, since the scalp’s sebaceous glands slow down their production of sebum (oil) that helps keep strands from drying out around the same time the number of cells producing melanin (pigment) diminishes. 

The Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment primer with Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector made a remarkable difference in the appearance and texture of my mane after just one use, and I’m seeing even greater improvement with consistent weekly use, thanks to the cumulative repair and strengthening benefits of Olaplex’s bestselling product duo. My hair feels softer and silkier, and looks smoother and less frizzy, than it has in many years. It’s also stronger and less prone to breakage, and I’m quite happy to see fewer and fewer strands relocating from my head to my hairbrush!

The Patented, Bond-Building Molecule That Revolutionized Professional Hair Care Products and Services

Olaplex was born when the company’s founder teamed up with two UC Santa Barbara scientists, who discovered a new, single molecule, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, that works from inside hair strands. Thanks to this groundbreaking active ingredient, their proprietary, patented active chemistry allows the Olaplex professional salon treatments and companion products for at-home maintenance to work at a molecular level from within the damaged strands. Unlike traditional salon treatments and products that temporarily mask the damage, Olaplex finds and repairs broken disulphide bonds to strengthen the hair and improve elasticity. 

The Olaplex standalone treatment is a salon service that pairs the company’s two flagship, professional-use-only products (Olaplex N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector) to repair existing damage and improve the hair’s strength and elasticity. This proprietary, patented bond building treatment repairs all types of hair damage, whether caused by chemical factors (e.g., coloring, bleaching, perms, chemical relaxers, keratin treatments), thermal factors (e.g., blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, hot rollers), mechanical factors (e.g., brushing, friction, tugging, pulling on wet hair), or environmental factors (e.g., sunlight/UV exposure, humidity, extremely hot or cold weather conditions, pollution). 

Salons can also add Olaplex to any type of lightening, bleaching, or coloring services (or use it as a perm prep) to mitigate their damaging effects and decrease the hair’s porosity. 

Top hair salons and celebrity stylists, as well as their famous clients (including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Julianne Hough, to name just a handful) have raved about Olaplex, fueling a social media buzz that turned the once-small startup from a dark horse into one of the global professional hair care market’s key players

The brand's innovative technology was so disruptive to the industry that L'Oréal, the world's largest beauty company, went so far as to essentially steal the formula for Olaplex N°1 (which contains the largest proportion of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate) and use the stolen intellectual property to develop competing products for three of its own professional hair care brands, L'Oréal Professionnel, Redken, and Matrix! L'Oréal was found guilty of misappropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement, and Olaplex was awarded $91 million in damages. The damages awarded were later amended to $53.5 million

Olaplex No.0 and Olaplex No.3 hair treatment products
Olaplex's "perfect pair" for repairing damaged hair!

N°0 + N°3: A "Lite" Consumer Version of the Professional Olaplex Standalone Treatment?

The professional products used in the Olaplex salon treatments, the N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector, contain the highest concentrations of bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate and deliver the maximum repair and strengthening benefits. 

The products I have been using, Olaplex N°0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment and Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector, are considered the "hero products" for at-home maintenance between salon treatments. Both products contain significantly more bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate than any of the other consumer products (N°4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, N°5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, N°6 Bond Smoother, and N°7 Bonding Oil), which are more nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Olaplex introduced N°0, which it calls "a professional-inspired treatment that primes hair for deeper repair," has the highest dose of patented Olaplex technology in any of the take-home products. Designed to be used as "the first step in a two-part system with N°3 Hair Perfector," it rebuilds hair bonds, strengthens, and protects hair integrity. The N°0 "acts as an intensive repair booster, working in tandem [with N°3] to receive your most intense repair" and delivering "68% more repair & 3x stronger hair" after a single use when used together as a two-part system. According to the consumer website FAQ, "OLAPLEX technology works best when the product is wet in the hair. No.0 is a watery liquid that will dry quickly. Using No.3 over it keeps the hair damp, so both products can continue to work during the [at-home treatment] process."

Given the similarity of the product names and the characterization of N°0 as "a professional-inspired treatment that primes hair for deeper repair," I think this new primer was created to work with N°3 as a "lite" consumer version of the professional treatment, with N°0 and N°3 being used at home very similarly to the way N°1 Bond Multiplier and N°2 Bond Perfector, respectively, are used at the salon. 

Even Without a Professional Olaplex Salon Treatment, a Weekly at-Home N°0 + N°3 Two-Part Treatment Can Deliver Impressive Results

The primary purpose of doing a weekly Olaplex N°0 + N°3 two-step treatment at home may be to maintain the benefits of the professional treatments between salon visits. However, I and many others have found that even without having had an Olaplex salon treatment with the full-strength, professional products, the weekly at-home, two-step treatment can still produce unprecedented improvements in the smoothness, strength, and elasticity of our tresses. 

I would love to get the full, professional Olaplex salon treatment experience someday. In the meantime, however, I'm thrilled with how well these two consumer products perform together synergistically to repair, strengthen, de-frizz, and restore elasticity to my brittle, overstressed locks.

Note: Amazon Luxury Beauty is one of the authorized online retailer for Olaplex N°0, Olaplex N°3, and the rest of the brand's consumer products, which are also good for keeping healthy hair strong and resilient.

Olaplex No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment + No. 3 Hair Perfector Product Review written by Margaret Schindel

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  1. Glad to hear you have found a product that is restoring your hair to its former glory. I know how much dryer my hair has become since turning gray, and how much less manageable. These products look to be a helpful solution to those problems. Thanks for this very informative review.

    1. You’re very welcome, Ms. Elf! Thank you for your lovely comment. The improvements I’ve experienced firsthand from having using the Olaplex No. 0 and No. 3 consumer products in tandem on my long, damaged, color-treated and highlighted hair every one to two weeks has been quite a wonderful surprise.

  2. Margaret, this sounds like a wonderful product. You certainly have peaked my interest. I'm always nervous to try new products because my hair likes the same 'ole routine. I do switch shampoos up from time to time, so adding this to my regiment would probably be fine. I'm one of those lucky ones who can go 7 to 10 days between washings - but that's because it's thick, doesn't get greasy (ever), and with natural curls (tons!) I flat iron it and the flat ironing seals the cuticles for a long time. If I left the curl in I would have to wash it every other day - out of control curl is what I would have, lol. This product does sound like a treatment my hair could withstand - I do like the added benefit of de-fizzing this product offers. Thanks for the intro to the product.

    1. Barbara, I, too, can go for a week between shampoos (just one more thing we have in common, lol!).

      As you probably know, flat ironing creates two different types of damage simultaneously: mechanical (pulling/tugging/keeping the strands under tension) and thermal (direct, prolonged contact with a heated styling tool). So, if frizz is any concern, that’s the most likely reason.

      Just curious - is your hair more breakage-prone after so many years of flat-ironing it straight? (If you’re starting to see more hair coming off on your hairbrush or ending up in your shower drain, flat ironing it every 7 to 10 days might be causing cumulative damage over time and causing increased dryness or brittleness.) You’re a very smart cookie, so I’m assuming you already apply a good 450 F or higher heat protectant before using the flat iron. 😊)

      Anyway, if any of the those things are an issue for you, it might be worth adding the two-step Olaplex No. 0 bond building primer + No 3 hair protector mask duo, used in tandem as directed for a pre-shampoo treatment, and just see how your tresses respond after a few treatments.

      The great thing is that you can keep using the same shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and heat protectant you usually use, and just add the No.0 + No.3 two-step treatment before you shampoo.

      You have such beautiful blond locks, and from the photos I’ve seen, you have had them for many years, lucky you! (I say, if you’ve got ‘em, flaunt ‘em, girl!) 😉😁

    2. Thanks Margaret - lol, another thing in common - the gap we get between washes :) - I'll keep the product in mind for sure, it sounds excellent - frizz is never an issue when my hair is flat ironed - and only an issue if I leave the curl in and don't treat the curl - which honestly I never do (leave the curl in - the curl is soooo much work) my hair is super thick, even at my age, knock on wood. I still get new hair growth (around my face etc - hope that continues). The flat iron is my best friend. lol.

  3. For many of us who have spent decades coloring/bleaching our hair, using hot rollers and/or hot irons, these products are nothing short of a miracle. Thank you for the introduction, as well as the very thorough review!

    1. Sylvestermouse, it’s true - the improvements I have been seeing with consistent use of this at-home Olaplex treatment system every week or two really does feel pretty miraculous!

      Since we share many of the same hair challenges, if you haven’t tried this pre-shampoo treatment regimen before, I think you’d really like it. If you do decide to try the Olaplex No.0 + No.3 two-step intensive repair and strengthening system, please let me know what you think of it. I’m hoping it will turn back the clock on your blonde tresses as much as it seems to be doing for mine!

      FYI, the Olaplex two-step consumer treatment system, as well as the shampoo, conditioner, styling cream, and heat protectant/smoothing oil can benefit any type of hair, since even the healthiest, virgin strands (i.e., never lightened, bleached, color treated, permed, or otherwise processed) that have never been blow dried or heat styled, are still exposed to damage-causing environmental and mechanical factors, such as sunlight/UV rays, pollution, humidity, temperature extremes, brushing, and friction (from brushing your hair, rubbing against the pillowcase while turning over in bed, putting on or taking off a hat, etc.).

      However, even though the products will still find, repair, and strengthen broken bonds regardless of the hair’s’ type or condition, the results will be far less extensive, visible, or striking on healthier locks than on more compromised strands with greater room for more dramatic improvement. 😊

  4. Thank you Margaret for this in-depth review of hair care products. I can imagine that after many years hair does indeed become damaged and needs help. Personally I keep my hair really short, so don't have the problems with damaged hair, but I have many friends that like you use all kinds of products and temperatures on their tresses. I am sure they will see this review and take your recommendations to heart!

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Olivia! You are very wise to have avoided the types of salon or DIY hair treatments and heated drying and styling tools whose cumulative damage we often don’t notice until it’s to late to do anything about it! I have always thought your hair looks healthy and happy whenever I look at photos of you, and envy the smoothness and sleekness of you cropped locks.

      Thanks very much for sharing my review with your friends with more challenged strands, like mine. I hope this information helps them!

  5. Thank you for this detailed, very useful review. I feel it is important for our self esteem and well being that we take good care of our hair and keep it as healthy as possible. You have lovely looking hair! I am so happy you found products that keep it so healthy.A product that helps to make hair soft and smooth and silky feeling is wonderful.I am growing my hair long again as I just prefer it that way, but over the years it has been coloured and heat styled etc and it all does some damage. These days due to allergies I can't do any of those hair styling things so just going for longer, clean healthy hair and as I cannot colour it anymore trying hard to embrace the greys that appear!!

    1. Jasmine, thank you for the lovely compliment! I, too, am trying to decide whether to continue coloring my hair or embrace my (plentiful) grey and white hairs. My guess is that you will love how healthy your hair looks as you grow it long and gradually trim off the color-treated, damaged ends!

  6. I'm really glad that you found a product that works for you Margaret. For me it's just wash and dry, normally I don't even have to dry Ha Ha!! I don't even use a comb anymore. It seems to me, based on your photos that I see online you have beautiful hair. As always thanks for a very well researched and detailed review.

    1. Sam, thanks so much for your very kind words about both my hair and my review. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to go through hoops (as many of us do) to make your hair behave? 😉

  7. Margaret, I have to admit that my hair has been pretty much ignored for the past year. That is, it has not been cut and I usually just pull it back in a ponytail. You have seen it on Facebook, I am sure. It is not pretty right now but I will know where to turn when we get back to normal and I need product advice.

    1. Brenda, I think few of us have had our hair cut or colored in the past year! I have three inches worth of growth that doesn't match the rest of my hair to prove it, lol. Now I just need to decide whether to embrace the gray or find a gentler way to keep the blonde.

      I've never once looked at a photo of you on Facebook and thought, "Gee, her hair doesn't look very good these days!" We're usually our own harshest critics, especially when it comes to our appearance. If and when you decide you'd like to try these hair products, this review will always be here for you to refer to. :)


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