Prose vs. Function of Beauty: Which custom hair care brand deserves a spot in your shower?

If you’re into hair care, you may have heard of the shampoo brands Function of Beauty and Prose. Both offer hair (and skin) products designed specifically for your hair. These custom hair care companies compete solidly on many levels, and the ultimate decision on Prose vs. Function Inc. may lie in the beholder.

Function of Beauty was founded in 2015, and Prose was founded in 2017. They are both startups hoping to gain market share by individualizing their products for your unique hair care needs. Both deliver after providing an in-depth quiz to ensure they are tailoring their products specifically for your hair, and both have investors who have bought into their business models and educational backgrounds (hello MIT). But there are distinct differences, so the choice of which is better depends a bit on what you’re looking for.

Similarities

Both Prose and Function of Beauty send your products to you with about the same shipping time (approximately one to two weeks depending on where you live), and both let you change your hair profile after taking their initial quiz to ensure you’re 100% satisfied with the results of the products.

Both companies also have similar ingredients in their products and have dye-free options available if you want them. The same goes if you prefer a gluten-free, vegan, or fragrance-free product. Both also have a subscription-based model available, which means there are discounts and free shipping available if you sign up. If you aren’t happy with their products, both companies offer a free, one-time reformulation that must be requested within 30 days.

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Differences

Function of Beauty is a bit more affordable and customizable, giving you options for shampoo and conditioner bundles and a wider range of bottle sizes. Some of their products are also at a better price point. For instance, the leave-in conditioner is $19 (8 ounces) at Function of Beauty and $25 (5.1 ounces) at Prose. Function of Beauty also lets you design your bottle and name it, and their products come in a wide variety of colors.

Prose has a more in-depth quiz, so you know you’re absolutely picking the right products for your hair. They also have more products available, including dry shampoo, curl cream, and a scalp mask, so take that into consideration if having a wide range of options is important to you. Prose also sells hair supplements, which is not currently an option with Function of Beauty, but they only ship in the U.S.

Getting started

For both companies, simply visit the websites and click on the Take Our Quiz button, and it will guide you through a series of questions that asks you about your hair type, length, scalp moisture, and the goals that you have for your hair (shine, length, volume, oil control, etc.). Once you’ve gotten through the questions, you’ll pick the types of products recommended by their experts, and it will ask you if you’d like to reorder on their subscription-based model or make a one-time purchase.

Function of Beauty has almost 70,000 5-star reviews, and it’s a similar story for Prose — 84% of their current customers would refer their products to a friend, according to their website. With tons of reviews that talk about how much they love the products, how they’ve seen a difference quickly, and how they have seen the results they were hoping to achieve, it’s easy to see you can’t really go wrong with either company.

Their products are more expensive than, say, heading to your local Walgreens and grabbing a bottle of Dove shampoo. Even for more upscale products sold at retailers like Fekkai, you’ll still be paying about $10 to 13 more per bottle. If you’ve got the funds, these products are more than worth a try.

You also want to make sure to do your homework. “It is possible to customize shampoos and conditioners based on a number of factors including hair type, environmental factors, lifestyle, and scalp issues,” cosmetic chemist at Perfect Image, David Petrillo, told Good Housekeeping, but they have to employ a chemist or hair restoration physician who truly understands how the ingredients work together to solve for hair issues. “Don’t be fooled just because a product says it’s personalized.” Luckily, both companies above do this well, so it comes down to your personal preference and what’s important to you at the end of the day.

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