It seems like custom shampoos and conditioners are the future, because another new brand has joined the scene: Gemmist. Their claim is bold too: Get the best hair of your life? Challenge accepted!
A 15-question quiz where you answer questions about your hair and scalp conditions, hair styling habits, age, and location. Unlike other custom hair care brands, you can’t choose the scent or appearance of the product, only the formula.
8oz shampoo/conditioner – $22.50 each
8oz shampoo + conditioner smart subscribe bundle – $36 ($18 each)
16oz shampoo/conditioner – $42.50 each
16oz shampoo + conditioner smart subscribe bundle – $68 ($34 each)
3.8oz Scalp Balancing Bar – $25
White opaque plastic bottles with a disc top caps. The bottles feel cheaper compared to other custom hair care brands, but are relatively easy to squeeze, so dispensing the correct amount of product isn’t difficult. The shampoo bar, is well, a soap bar, so it’s packaging-free and eco-friendly!
The shampoo and conditioner both have a soft white floral scent. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not off-putting by any means either. It’s very light and not noticeable once you dry your hair. The scalp bar doesn’t have any noticeable scent.
Gemmist vs Prose or Function of Beauty
Now the main difference between Gemmist and other personalized hair care brands is that instead of creating a customized shampoo/conditioner formula, they suggest one of their 13+ formulas* based on your quiz results.
But that actually makes me wonder, are the other brands actually creating custom formulas for each customer, or are they too just sending us one of their many premade formulas?
While I think the idea of a truly bespoke formula sounds fancy, to me it doesn’t really matter if it’s made from scratch or an existing blend, as long as what they suggest works for my hair. But that’s just me, and ymmv.
Anyways, onto the Gemmist reviews!
* I actually have no idea how many preset formulas they have, but I know it’s at least 13 because my conditioner is formula 13 :)
Gemmist Shampoo – Formula 4
Ideal for low density straight hair and a balanced scalp. Helps to lift roots, adding more body to the hair, and provides enhanced shine thanks to quinoa protein.
✔️ Hair looks shinier!
When used together with the conditioner, I definitely notice a difference in shine. Even at the roots where I only use the shampoo, I notice glossier locks compared to other shampoos I’ve tried!
✔️ Lathers + cleans well
With SLS-free shampoos, some are almost too gentle and can lather poorly, leaving a film behind. Yuck. The Gemmist Shampoo creates a decent lather and is easy to rinse cleanly. Scalp feels fresh and residue-free!
❌ No noticeable difference in volume
Volume wise I feel like it’s on par with the Ouai Shampoo for Medium Hair. As in, roots feel airy and not flat, but nothing that wows me. For a formula that focuses on volume, I expected more results compared to a conventional shampoo.
❌ Roots get oilier quicker
Even though this shampoo rinses clean and doesn’t leave any residue, I do find it a tad more moisturizing than other brands.
Namely, I can usually got a solid 2 days without shampooing, but with Gemmist I’m noticing a bit of grease on day 2 and by day 3 I’m borderline Severus Snape. On the plus side, my scalp never feels dry or irritated with this shampoo!
Overall thoughts: One of the better shampoos I’ve tried and the shine factor is a nice plus, but I’m concerned that it could be too rich for my scalp come summer.
Custom shampoo ranking: Formulate* (they’ve got CS issues though) > Gemmist = Prose* > Function of Beauty* (only works well when combined with conditioner on the scalp)
Gemmist Conditioner – Formula 13
Helps with chemical/thermal damage, dull/not shiny, and flat/lifeless hair. Helps protect from chemical treatments and heat styling. Hydrates and smoothes hair strands for better manageability and shine.
✔️ Ooh look at that shine!
Like the shampoo, this conditioner delivers on its promise to add shine to my hair, even my dry damaged ends! Results are much better than most conditioners I’ve tried and even comparable to some hair masks.
✔️ Softer, more manageable hair
Again, this conditioner delivered on its promise in terms of manageability, and it does that without weighing down my hair, so no weird film or residue on hair. I’ve reached for my hair masks a lot less since using this conditioner!
❌ No changes in volume
I’m not sure how a conditioner can add volume as it seems to be counterintuitive? Like if I wanted smooth sleek strands that pretty much means my hair won’t be big and poofy. Not a deal breaker for me, more of a minor inconvenience that brands feel the need to make unrealistic claims.
❌ Won’t help much with really damaged hair
Again, I don’t expect most conditioners to, that’s really a job for an intense hair mask/treatment. But since the conditioner made the claim, well here I am to refute it.
Overall thoughts: As a conditioner I think this is one of the best I’ve tried, especially in terms of delivering shine. I just wish it wouldn’t try to overpromise, especially on things that I don’t really expect from conditioners to begin with.
Custom conditioner ranking: Gemmist (by a far stretch too) > Function of Beauty* > Prose* > Formulate*
Scalp Balancing Bar
Perfect for balanced scalp. Exfoliates the scalp and nourishes hair from the root.
✔️ Deep cleans but not drying
Most deep cleaning shampoo/scalp scrubs can leave my roots and scalp all kinds of dry, but this one doesn’t! It does leave my scalp feeling super refreshed, airy, and balanced, which is exactly what I’m looking for!
✔️ No waste packaging
This is my first time trying a shampoo bar but it won’t be my last. Imagine the amount of plastic we can reduce if we cut down or stop using our regular shampoo bottles!
✔️ You control the level of exfoliation
With regular scalp scrubs, you turn into Goldilocks trying to find one that’s not too rough, not too gentle, and doesn’t dissolve before you can start scrubbing. Since the exfoliation here relies on you rubbing the bar into your scalp, you control how intense or gentle you want the pressure to be.
Overall thoughts: For me this is the star of the Gemmist line up, and I really have no complaints about it. If you’re not a fan of the usual scalp scrubs or SLS deep cleaning shampoos, this is definitely worth a try!
This scalp cleansing bar is the only hair care that made it to my 2021 beauty favorites! Find out what other amazing products I discovered that year!
Scalp scrub ranking: Gemmist = Christophe Robin Sea Salt Scrub > Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Scalp Scrub* (amazing initially but loses efficacy after product separates) > The Body Shop Green Tea Scalp Scrub
While I had a positive experience with their "custom" shampoo and conditioner, their price/oz is on the higher end and their bundle discounts aren't great. On the other hand, I know both Function of Beauty and Formulate are problematic in certain aspects, so if you're looking to avoid them, Gemmist is a great alternative! Now what I do highly recommend, despite the price, is their scalp balance bar! It's still cheaper than my HG Christophe Robin scalp scrub and I've been thoroughly enjoying it as my weekly deep cleansing product!