Are you guys wary of products/brands that are constantly hyped on Instagram? I definitely am, and it happens that Function of Beauty is one of them. So I’m here to spill the tea and also compare the 3 major custom hair care brands: Formulate vs Prose vs Functions of Beauty.
- Product Range
- Shampoo + conditioner combo (can be purchased individually), purple shampoo, hair serum, hair mask, and leave-in treatment
- Customization experience
- A short 4-step quiz that allows you select your hair type, goals, scent, and color preferences.
- Price point
- 8oz shampoo/conditioner – $29 each
16oz shampoo/conditioner – $36 each
8oz/16oz shampoo + conditioner combo – $43
8oz shampoo + conditioner combo – $39
16oz shampoo + conditioner combo – $49
3oz hair serum – $19
7.oz hair mask – $19
8oz leave-in treatment – $19
- Clear plastic bottles with with your name printed on them. The shampoo/conditioner come with optional pumps, and all products come with really cute stickers to decorate with.
- They have 5 standard scents ranging from sweet to fruity to floral, plus an extra seasonal scent. You can customize how strong you want the fragrances to be, with the medium level being pretty strong already imo. There’s also the option to go fragrance-free. The scent would apply to all products in your order.
- The only custom hair care brand that allows you to customize the product color. There are 7 standard shades, occasionally a seasonal shade, and the option to go dye-free. You can customize the colors individually for the shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask.
Making your custom shampoo work
I first tried Function of Beauty years ago when they first came out and were the first of their kind. In short, I was disappointed by the products, but their customer service was kind enough to reformulate free of charge, and I wasn’t even working with them then, just a regular customer.
Their hair quiz is the simplest of the 3 brands: 3 simple questions about your hair type and scalp condition, and then they let you select 5 hair goals:
Important: focus on your scalp care goals and what you want for your roots!
Think about it, you’re mainly applying shampoo to clean your scalp and roots. If you pick goals geared towards your ends like “deep condition” or “fix split ends“, you can end up with products that are too rich, leaving you with a greasy and flat scalp. This is where I prefer Prose and Formulate’s more guided consultation process, as allowing the users to just select goals openly like this can result in products that just don’t work.
Now that I’ve figured things out, let’s actually review the products:
Function of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner
With my goals set correctly, I’ve truly enjoyed the shampoo this time around. The texture is creamy but lathers and rinses well. My hair does feel a bit knotted afterwards, and this is when I apply the conditioner near the roots.
Before you freak out, remember my formula mainly focuses on my scalp and roots, and that includes the conditioner. The instructions also said to apply to the scalp down, and I’ve found that using half a pump has helped balance the oil production and increased growth in the long run!
Once dried, my roots feel fresh and balanced. My color has also stayed fresh longer, since it’s one of the goals I selected. The results remind me a lot of the Formulate shampoo, but I prefer the usage experience of Function of Beauty because I’m a sucker for fun colors and scents.
I also find that the shampoo and conditioner work best together, if I use the shampoo alone my scalp feels a bit drier and actually gets oilier quicker. So in that sense, the Formula shampoo is better since it does everything with just one product vs two.
Function of Beauty Hair Mask
As for my ends, my custom Function of Beauty hair mask takes care of those. It’s noticeably richer than the conditioner but not enough to weigh down my strands. The formula is created using the same quiz results as the shampoo + conditioner, but it removes any scalp/root goals and focuses on nourishing your ends instead.
I found this to be an above-average hair mask in that it did make my hair smoother and softer, but not as much as other in-shower treatments I’ve tried. I think if we could select separate goals for the mask, the results might’ve been better.
Function of Beauty Hair Serum
My favorite product from the brand! A single pump of this on dry hair instantly smooths flyaways and adds some serious shine to my strands, all without weight them down. Plus the delicious smell really lingers, but in a subtle way that might get a whiff when they hug you or stand really close.
I’ve also used this on damp hair in place of my usual hair oil and it did a great job of moisturizing and softening my hair. For those who don’t want to use a million hair products, this little bottle will do it all.
Function of Beauty vs Prose vs Formulate
I compared the brands briefly in my Formulate review, so this comparison is going to focus mainly on the products they offer:
Function of Beauty
Looking at everything, I would say that Function of Beauty offers the best value and selection of products overall. With their super cute packaging, I can see why they're a social media favorite. However their short and open hair consultation can lead to users creating a formula that just doesn't work, and why I had a bad experience with them the first time.
Once you have a good understanding though, I do think their shampoo + conditioner set is nice and definitely a joy to use! Make sure you add on the serum too, that for me is the star of the whole line!
Are custom formulas worth it?
After trying all 3 brands, I have to say that I do prefer custom shampoos to conventional ones due to my finicky scalp needs. Moving forward I’ll either repurchase the Formulate shampoo or buy the large Function of Beauty shampoo with the small conditioner.
As for custom conditioners, hair masks, and leave-in treatments, I honestly don’t think they’re superior to conventional versions. I’ll most likely stick to my current hair masks from Amika and Sachajuan, but I will eventually repurchase the Function of Beauty hair serum because I love the shine it adds.
If you have unique hair needs that you feel like regular products can’t meet, custom formulas are a great option. Otherwise if you already have products you love that work for you, I’d say keep using them