An Honest Review of Olaplex’s New No. 8 Hair Mask

Model posing with her head turned to wall, showing her naked back and hair.
Photo by Bill Brandt/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The hair care brand Olaplex is known for its scientifically backed products, which are among celebrity stylist’s favorites—the brand’s hero product, the No. 3 Hair Perfector, is practically beauty canon. And earlier this year, the storied label released its latest offering: the No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, which purports to smooth, add body and shine, and give a visibly healthier overall look to hair. Does it actually work? Four W editors gave it (along with the No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Treatment and the No. 3) a try, and shared their honest opinions.

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Sandra Ballentine, Beauty and Wellness Editor at Large

Generally speaking, how much damage do you do to your hair? On a scale of 1 to 10—one being the least amount of damage and 10 being the most—how much do you think your hair goes through on a monthly basis?

Hello, my name is Sandra, and I’m a hair-aholic. (I even wrote a story for this magazine about my blow-dry addiction, which turned into a rather mortifying segment on Good Morning America.) I’d put my damage rating at a nine; I used to go to the salon three times a week (which isn’t all that uncommon in New York City) for primping and pressing, and dyed my hair for fun (like the time in the 1990s I had my highlights painted to match a favorite Gucci coat). Now I color out of dire necessity, and am generally deflated by the toll vanity has taken on my fragile and thinning tresses.

Like most salon addicts, I was forced to go cold turkey during lockdown. Obviously, I wasn’t focused on how my hair looked during those terrible months, but after a few DIY do’s, I couldn’t help but realize that 20 years of relying on an international network of stylists had left me incapable of smoothing my own strands. I had no idea how to wield my fancy Dyson dryer (or flatiron, for that matter), and the mineral-filled well water at my country place wreaked total havoc on my hair’s color and texture. I began to resemble some kind of crazed badger. If anyone was ever in need of a mane miracle, it was me.

What concerns were you hoping to tackle with the Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask?

I knew Olaplex couldn’t address my number-one concern—thinning—but I hoped it could plump up the locks I have left, and fortify them against future fits of balayage and blow drying. I also hoped it would tame my flyaways to the extent I could dispense with the whole at-home blow-dry concept altogether.

Had you used Olaplex products before?

I think various stylists have used the salon-strength versions on me post-color, but I can’t be sure as I’m usually either daydreaming or straining to use my smartphone when at the shampoo basin.

Describe your experience using the product.

As I said, I’m hopeless when it comes to DIY hair. I’m also not great with numbers, or multi-step regimens that involve strict adherence to fine-print instructions. The first time I attempted to use my three products in tandem, I somehow neglected to apply the (odorless) No. 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment liquid before working in the No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask (which has a fruity fragrance) and No. 3 Hair Perfector (also kind of fruity). As I was in a rush, I didn’t leave any of it on long enough. Nonetheless my strands were definitely softer than before. A week later, I slathered on the whole cocktail as directed, and it left my hair soft, shiny, even bouncy.

Would you use it again?

Considering that I haven’t had bouncy hair since seventh grade, I would definitely use the products again. But despite company claims that their “patented active chemistry works on a molecular level to repair damaged and broken bonds,” I will never love any product enough to risk damaging or breaking the bond between me and my hairdresser.

Maryam Lieberman, Contributing Beauty Editor

How much damage do you do to your hair? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think your hair goes through on a monthly basis?

I abuse the hell out of my hair. I don’t care what it’s doing as long as it gives me the visual results I want. I’ve been blowdrying my hair since I was 15, highlighting my hair since 17 years old, and I go through on and off periods of bleach if I’m doing balayage. That’s not to say that I don’t care for my hair—I use deep conditioning masks on a rotating, regular basis; I use only shampoos that specifically hydrate and I always, always use a heat protectant before I get ready to torture my hair with the blow dryer or occasional straightening iron. I also take hair growth promoting Viviscal Professional regularly, and make it a priority to cut my hair every three months. With all that I do to my locks, however, hair damage is still inevitable. I would say my hair is in the eight range when it comes to damage.

Have you used Olaplex products before?

I’ve known about Olaplex for many years. I used to get highlights with Tracey Cunningham, and about four or five years ago, my hair was in bad shape (not from the highlights, but from too many heat styling products and what I think was a bad application of a Keratin treatment—never again!). She used Olaplex No. 3 on me and my hair changed completely. It was soft to the touch and it was as if my split ends disappeared. But of course, like everything else, I forgot about using it and really stopped when I went through my no-highlight phase for a year.

Describe your experience using the product.

I used it twice. The first time I only used the shampoo and hair mask, and left the mask on for 30 minutes. Once I rinsed, my hair felt really lustrous and soft, but more importantly, stronger and fuller. I used it a second time three weeks later. I was about to get highlights for the first time in 10 months, so this time around I used not just the mask but all of the the Olaplex prep products, too: the No. 0 spray, the No. 3, and the mask; when I got out of the shower, I applied a little of the No. 6 heat protectant styling cream. I loved it. My hair was bouncy and felt even softer, but still maintained body. The result was even better with the pre and post products. Plus, the softness and fullness lasted for a few days, not even changing after being exposed to outdoor weather.

Would you use the Olaplex No. 8 again?

I will, but I won’t be diligent and regular with it. I don’t like to use any hair product on too much of a consistent basis because my hair stops responding. I will say this: the whole shebang of pre, during, and post Olaplex products are the way to go for me, to ensure strong hair before highlights. I am certain it kept my hair from breaking until I decide to do something stupid with it next month.

Tilden Bissell, Digital Designer

How much damage do you do to your hair? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think your hair goes through on a monthly basis?

I put my hair through a lot of damage in my early 20s, but I’ve definitely calmed down since then. I do color it, but the team at Kinloch Salon in Brooklyn does a great job of keeping my hair healthy no matter what color I choose. Before the pandemic, I would heat style a few times a week, but now my curling iron and hairdryer are lucky if they come out once a month, if that. I would give my damage a three, but I know it will go up when I start regularly hitting the salon and socializing post-pandemic.

What concerns were you hoping to tackle with the Olaplex No. 8 mask?

Olaplex has single-handedly saved my hair while I was still bleaching it—I was blonde for most of college and my first few years of living in New York, and my hair’s quality dramatically changed for the better when I added the bond-building product to my routine. My hair definitely isn’t in as dire shape as it was then, but I was hoping for refreshed, touchably soft hair that has been eluding me lately.

Describe your experience using the product.

The first time I put the mask on, I did the time-consuming routine of: pre-treatment, hang out for 10 minutes, rinse; No. 3, hang out for 10 minutes, rinse; apply shampoo and conditioner as normal (right now I’m using Mr. Smith), rinse; apply mask, hang out for 10 minutes, rinse. I’d moved recently and my dinosaur of a hairdryer had somehow gone missing, so I did a quick towel/air dry situation and was off to meet a friend for coffee and a walk outside. I’d given her a heads up that I was trying a new hair product for work and asked for her honest opinion—she said my hair definitely looked healthy, so I would consider it effective. I noticed it had a nice wave thanks to not heat treating it and it felt incredibly soft to the touch. I continued the routine for a few weeks and my hair kept looking better and better, even though I haven’t seen the inside of Kinloch Salon for some time.

Would you use the Olaplex No. 8 mask again?

Absolutely! I had only been using the No. 3 product before, but I could feel a distinct difference in the texture and health of my hair with the addition of the No. 0 and especially the No. 8 mask. I’m debating getting some highlights next time I go to get my hair done, and Olaplex will definitely come in handy with any damage that might occur.

Erin Meagher, Senior Designer

How much damage do you do to your hair? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think your hair goes through on a monthly basis?

Until recently, I’ve always had something of an au naturel approach when it comes to hair care. I would most definitely be shamed by any beauty guru for my excessive shampooing, and I’ve never dyed my hair, let alone styled it regularly. My hair doesn’t hold product or style well, so my ethos for a majority of my life has been to let it live as it pleases. That is, until the last two years, when I simultaneously grew out my hair and discovered the blow dryer. Nowadays, I blow dry my hair after every single shampoo, and as a repercussion I’ve noticed newfound damage.

What concerns were you hoping to tackle by using this product?

I was hoping to get back the silkiness and shine I had seen in my hair before my venture into the realm of heat styling.

Describe your experience using the Olaplex No. 8.

I used the Olaplex No. 8 after shampooing and applied it to the middle and ends of my hair. I’ve always had oily hair, and my one hesitation was the mask being too moisturizing, especially anywhere near my oil-prone roots. There is a definite scent to be wary of, but I didn’t mind– in a way, it felt like an olfactory reminder that, yes, I had a hair mask on and it was working.

After washing the Olaplex off and immediately blow drying, my hair was incredibly voluminous. Truly, it was like nothing I had seen before—not untamed and most definitely not coarse. On the second day, my hair settled and was so much silkier, shinier, and smoother. Most impressive of all, my hair wasn’t as oily as usual. A win-win. This product definitely worked for me.

Would you use this product again?

The Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Mask is much more effective than any sort of daily conditioner. It would be great to use a couple of times a month when I’m feeling that my hair is beginning to spiral out of control, and I’ve set aside the time for a 10-minute hair mask. I’m excited to add this to my very new, burgeoning hair care regimen.