Personalized shampoos: a Prose review (and Function of Beauty comparison)
Technically this isn’t my first time trying personalized hair products. I actually ordered the Function of Beauty shampoo + conditioner duo years ago, which I’ll compare to Prose in a bit, but in a nutshell Function of Beauty did not work for me. So when I first heard about Prose, I was hesitant, but after reading more about them, I decided to give personalized hair care another try.
The Prose Experience
Right away I was impressed by their online consultation. They not only ask about your hair condition and concerns, but also about your lifestyle habits (because stress and diet can both impact our scalp and hair) and your current location.
Prose cares about your personal preferences too. In addition to picking the scent of your products, you can also make them vegan, gluten-free, or silicone-free! Their products are already sulfate free, non-GMO, and cruelty free, so for those interested in green or clean beauty, Prose is an excellent option. I’m not a fan of silicones in shampoo so I opted for a silicone-free formula.
Based on your answers, Prose will then formulate a personalized shampoo, conditioner, and pre-shampoo mask, and you can choose which you want to buy. I already have my holy grail Sachajuan Hair Repair (a 2017 favorite) and didn’t realize the mask was a scalp mask, so I only bought the shampoo.
After you order, Prose gives you the option of sending them photos of your hair and scalp so they can fine tune your formula. Or if you happen to live near a salon carrying Prose, you can get diagnosed in person! Overall I found the whole customization experience to be thorough yet enjoyable. It really felt like they’re creating a truly personalized formula and it made me feel more confident about the results my one-of-a-kind shampoo will give me!
Prose shampoo review
- Key ingredients
- Depending on your formula, it can include honey, silk proteins, fruit acids, oat lipids…view the full list here.
- Products are free from parabens, dyes, and sulfates. There’s also the option to remove fragrance and silicones from your formula!
- An amber plastic pumpbottle for the shampoo & conditioner, and a amber plastic jar for the mask.
- You can choose one of 3 scents, 2 are floral and 1 is fruity, or you can go scent-free if you’re allergic to fragrances!
- The shampoo is on the runnier side, but lathers beautifully
- Available At
- Prose or one of their partner salons; shampoo is ~$25, conditioner ~$30, and mask ~$44. Final price I believe depends on the formula.
I love the apothecary bottle design, and it also come with a pump for ease of dispense. The included instructions suggested 5 pumps for my hair, which seemed like way too much at first, so I only used 2 pumps. That was enough to create a beautiful lather that cleaned my scalp well, but I’ve found that 5 pumps really does work better as it cleans both the scalp and hair without stripping them dry.
The scent I chose was Elixir, which is supposed to be a beautiful blend of freesia, jasmine, and vanilla, but to my nose it smelled like potpourri gone wrong. Such a shame as the usage experience would’ve been incredible otherwise. Next time I’m going with Fruitissime, because no one can mess up pineapple + coconut + vanilla…or at least I hope not. There’s also a scent-free option for those with sensitive scalps!
After towel drying my hair, I always apply oil to the ends and blow dry the roots on medium heat. I do notice that my roots look more voluminous and feel more airy after using Prose shampoo, but my scalp also feels a bit tighter. Luckily the tightness goes away after a few minutes, but the extra bit of volume is still there on day 2! Typically volumizing shampoos are also drying, but with Prose my hair doesn’t feel any rougher or dryer compared to other formulas. If anything, it feels just a touch smoother. Unfortunately the shine activating ingredient Prose uses, fruit vinegars and acids, are only in their conditioner formula, so I saw no difference in shine with the shampoo.
I’ve also noticed that after using the Prose shampoo regularly, my scalp feels more balanced and I’m now able to go 3 days without washing my hair, and this is during the summer! Plus I don’t need to use my Christophe Robin Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt as much since my scalp feels less congested and grimey. I guess all my past shampoos were leaving residue on my scalp without me even realizing it.
Prose vs Function of Beauty
Each has their pros and cons, but when it comes personalized hair care, I’d rather pay more to have something truly customized to fit my hair and scalp’s needs. I don’t think Function of Beauty’s 4 question “consultation” is enough to really understand someone’s hair type, and relying on the user to select their own hair goals can be dangerous if the user themselves don’t really know what they need (not want, need). On the other hand, I think Prose does a much better job of trying to understand both the user’s wants and needs, which is also reflected in their higher prices.
One thing I do have to give props to Function of Beauty for is their customer service. I reached out after my first formula was a dud (left my scalp greasy), and they offered to reformulated it for free. Unfortunately the second formula still didn’t work, but I appreciate their efforts to make things right.
For me the winner is Prose, but both Renee and Angela of BeautyandtheCat raved about Function of Beauty, so YMMV. I’ve also reviewed a third custom haircare brand, Formulate, and I like the latter’s shampoo slightly better.
Prose Personalized Shampoo
Funky scent aside, I really happy with the shampoo, but I feel like I missed out on the full benefits of my custom formula by opting out of the mask and conditioner. Keep this in mind if you plan on trying them out! Since I've yet to find a shampoo I'm crazy about, I will be reordering the this when I run out, and I'll definitely pick up the scalp mask and conditioner next time around!