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These days, it’s pretty easy to get bespoke…anything. No longer is one-size-fits-all the standard – personalization is the new name of the game, and I am so here for it. From candles to perfume and vitamins, I’m on a mission to try it all – but as I have tried more and more products, I’ve realized that only some products are actually custom; many offer superficial, surface-level personalization.
My latest obsession has been finding haircare that’s tailored to my hard-to-tame locks, and seeing as two brands dominate the space, it was only fitting to conduct a head-to-head: haircare edition. Below, see how Prose and Function of Beauty stack up in areas like customization, ingredients, price, and experience when it comes to my curly hair.
How Custom Are We Talking?
While drugstore brands cover the big themes (volume, color, curl, etc.), there are so many factors that can affect our hair. Newer brands like Prose and Function of Beauty offer to get to know you a bit better – then make custom blends specifically for you.
Prose: Prose takes customization to a granular level, considering over 85 factors (including hair type, environment, and how often you wash it) to create a tailored haircare regimen. It truly delves into the nittiest, grittiest of details, asking about everything from your hair’s porosity (how quickly it dries) to your zip code (to get a sense of humidity, water hardness, and pollution in your area) to comprehensively understand your unique needs.
Function of Beauty: Function of Beauty also offers a personalized quiz, though it's notably shorter. It skips over questions around your age, location, hair length, shedding, or washing frequency and instead focuses on more basic things like hair type and hair goals. While it feels more custom than off-the-shelf solutions, it’s nowhere near as exhaustive of Prose’s quiz.
What About Ingredients?
As it turns out, there are a lot of questionable ingredients bottled up in drugstore haircare. Watch out for ingredients like sulfates, which can cause a stripping effect and your hair to feel dry and brittle; parabens, suspected to be hormone disruptors; and phthalates, sometimes used as an ingredient of cosmetic’s fragrance, suspected to be hormone disruptors and caused health issues. Unfortunately, the list goes on – but these brands are extremely intentional with the ingredients they use.
Prose: With cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, GMO-free, phthalate-free, and alcohol-free formulas, Prose is very intentional about creating better products. They incorporate safe and sustainable ingredients like CBD powder for scalp soothing, acacia collagen for strand repair, oat oil for color protection, argan oil for strand nourishment, and apple cider vinegar for hair shine. You can find an index of the brand’s ingredients here – it even includes the EWG score of each one!
Function of Beauty: Every ingredient in Function of Beauty’s formulations adheres to both US and EU cosmetic regulations and is reviewed by an expert toxicologist, ensuring safety and efficacy. The brand also leans on naturally-derived ingredients like agave extract, avocado oil, and beet root extract.
How Do Their Prices Stack Up?
If you’re in the market for more custom products, prepare to shell out some extra cash. In my experience, a personalized regimen is absolutely worth the cost, though.
Prose: I was recommended the Custom Shampoo and Conditioner, priced at $28.90 for 8.5 fl oz each. I also grabbed a few additional products, including the Curl Cream and Styling Gel, which are $25.50 each. There’s no getting around the fact that these products are expensive, but Prose offers 50% off your first order when you subscribe (you can cancel anytime) and 15% off of following subscriptions.
Function of Beauty: I also tried out the brand’s Custom Shampoo and Conditioner, which are a bit cheaper at $21 for 8 fl oz each. Function of Beauty doesn’t offer as extensive of a product range as Prose, so I couldn’t get a custom Curl Cream or Styling Gel ($12.99) from them. However, they do have some non-customizable products (Curl Cream, $12.99; Styling Gel, $12.99) available as part of their Target line, so I snagged those versions to see how they’d stack up.
Winner: Function of Beauty
And The Overall Experience?
Simply put, personalized is better. My hair looks and feels way better when I use custom products – but one brand definitely stands out.
Prose: With a wide array of options, including custom scalp and hair masks, styling products, and even hair supplements, Prose stands out for its variety. They offer seven fragrance options, plus a fragrance-free choice, that smell absolutely amazing. The personalized packaging also adds a touch of elegance – but the best part is how incredibly soft, lustrous, and strong my hair feels and looks. Taming my curls is no small feat, and I’ve gotten compliments from co-workers who can see how shiny my hair looks over Zoom, and I was even stopped at the grocery store by a total stranger! I can confidently say that my hair has never looked better – and my routine has never been so streamlined.
Function of Beauty: I also love this custom packaging – you can choose from several scents, and even choose the color of your blend! The shampoo and conditioner are nice – and certainly a step up from the drugstore brand I had been using previously – but without the same styling product range, my results aren’t as impressive as with Prose. If you’re going to make the effort to invest in personalized products, I highly recommend going all the way with Prose.
Prose is the best of the best when it comes to custom haircare. I’ve tried a lot of hair products in my day, and nothing compares. The ingredients are mindful, the formulas are extremely custom, the scents are beyond, and the packaging is so chic. If you’re prepared to upgrade your hair game, there’s really only one place to start.