I Tried Prose for a Month — Here Are My Thoughts

My custom formula from Prose helped address my biggest concerns involving my hair.

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Prose Subscription Products

InStyle / Kalea Martin

You can easily find a shampoo that’s designed for curly, straight, or wavy hair, but other factors like oiliness, heat damage, and hair dyeing history can make it hard to pinpoint what product works for you. Instead of studying the ingredients list on the back of every single bottle of shampoo, custom hair care companies like Prose help remove the guesswork. As a part of its service, Prose creates unique formulations for every subscriber, then delivers the products straight to their doors.

As someone who has been bleaching their hair for years and is in the process of growing it all out, I figured subscribing to Prose was worth a shot. The ends of my hair are weak, dry, and full of split ends, while the new growth near my roots still has plenty of volume and hydration. Because hair products usually treat one texture or one aspect of my hair, it’s hard to find items that check all the boxes for me. Luckily, my concerns were addressed by Prose thanks to its custom hair care subscription. Rather than resort to chopping off my dead ends, I decided to put Prose’s products to the test.

How I Tested Prose

I tested Prose for 30 days, and during that period, I didn’t use any other products besides the ones that were included in my subscription. Since my order came with shampoo, conditioner, and a hair mask — products I already use — I didn’t have to change anything else about my actual routine. Because of the higher price and customization options, it made sense to compare the quality of each product to its generic counterparts. 

However, considering how small the bottles are and how long and thick my hair is, another factor I felt was important to consider was how much of each product I’d have to use per wash. I also paid a lot of attention to how the shampoo in particular made my hair feel over time. While I’m used to seeing immediate results from conditioners and hair masks, I never really notice any major differences in my hair when it comes to shampoo, no matter what brand I use. Overall though, I have to say I definitely noticed a positive difference in my hair after using Prose’s products.

Key Specs

  • Base price: $24
  • Free shipping? Yes
  • Delivery frequency: Monthly, bimonthly, quarterly
  • No. of items per shipment: 3
  • Sample size: 1.5 - 8.5 ounces

How Does Prose Work?

To ensure that your products are the right fit for you, Prose asks you to take an extensive online quiz centered on your hair. The quiz will ask you the basics like your hair’s texture, length, and oiliness, but to truly understand what type of hair care you need, you’ll also need to share details about your lifestyle and habits. For example, Prose will ask how often you use hairspray in order to determine the cleanser strength of your shampoo or ask about your diet to get an idea of how much biotin you’re getting. 

Once you complete the quiz, Prose will curate your personalized hair care routine. The formulation of each product is automatically determined by your quiz answers, but you’ll also get to pick a scent and request to remove silicones, dyes, and non-vegan ingredients. I opted to leave the default ingredients in, and for the fragrance, I went with “Oasis,” which includes picking jasmine, amber, and white peach.

Prose Subscription Box

InStyle / Kalea Martin

Custom shampoo and conditioner are standard in every subscription, but you’ll also receive additional products specific to your hair type. Prose has custom curl cream for subscribers with curly hair, hair oil for those who want to tame frizziness, and dry shampoo for customers who get oily roots. Depending on your hair needs, you may also receive custom scalp masks, hair masks, hair supplements, or styling gels. If you decide you don’t want to receive a certain product in your routine, you can simply remove it from your cart during checkout.

Prose Cost

Prose isn’t your average hair care brand, so the prices of its products aren’t either. The total cost you end up paying depends on the products included in your subscription, but you’ll pay at least $27 each for the shampoo and conditioner. Considering the bottles are only 8.5 ounces, this might seem like a pretty steep price point. However, since the formulations are tailor-made for your hair, you’re ultimately getting higher-quality products. 

The most expensive products are the Root Source custom hair supplements priced at $53, which contain biotin to support hair growth. Conversely, the least expensive products from Prose are the dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and curl cream, all priced at $24. There’s always an option to purchase products individually, but subscribing is the most cost-effective method since you pay 15 percent less, and shipping is always free. You’ll also get a free product of your choice (up to $45) after every 10th order, and a limited edition gift with your delivery on occasion.

Delivery and Packaging

Since Prose is a custom hair product subscription, it takes time for the formula to be created. The brand states on its website that your order will arrive five to 10 days after you place it, and this proved to be an accurate time frame. My order said “processing” for two days until I got an email saying it had shipped, and I received the package four days later.

There’s always a risk of spillage whenever you order liquids online, but the shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask I received were packaged securely in the box. It also helps that the bottles are made from plastic and not glass and that the pumps come detached. If I hadn’t read the little sticker on the box though, I could’ve easily missed the included pumps because they’re hidden underneath the protective layer of cardboard.

Prose Packaging

InStyle / Kalea Martin

In the event that you end up being unsatisfied with your products and would like a reformulation, you can conveniently return them in the same box they were delivered in. Just contact Prose within 30 days of subscribing, and you’ll be given a prepaid return label. Otherwise, you can just toss your box in the recycling bin because Prose’s packaging is 100 percent recyclable.

Quality and Ease of Use

Before receiving my products, I already had high expectations for the quality of the items due to the outlined details in my quiz. Ingredients like plant collagen promised to repair fiber damage, while others like fermented rice water and apple cider vinegar would make my hair smooth and shiny. 

In my experience, the products did deliver what they promised but perhaps not due to the natural ingredients that were highlighted. In my shampoo, for example, yucca stem extract was highlighted as the main cleansing agent, but when I looked at the ingredients list, it was the second to last item. Regardless, the formula not only made my hair feel clean but also more nourished than it normally does after using generic shampoo.

A telltale sign of a lower-quality product is that you have to use a lot of it at a time because it’s so diluted, but it quickly became obvious to me that Prose’s formulations have hardly any fillers. I usually have to use multiple pumps of conditioner and slather on a thick layer of hair mask in order for my hair to feel properly hydrated, but the month’s supply of Prose really did last the full month.

Prose Shampoo Mask

InStyle / Kalea Martin

Since my Prose shampoo doesn’t lather a lot like a store-bought shampoo (due to the lack of sulfates), it felt like I was doing three rounds of conditioner, but my hair did get noticeably softer and silkier because of it. By the end of the month though, it was starting to feel borderline greasy, so I appreciate that Prose has a Review and Refine feature that makes it easy to adjust your formula as your hair changes. All you have to do is answer specific questions like how the shampoo made your scalp feel, and Prose will adjust your product accordingly.

Pros and Cons


  • Quiz asks tons of questions to provide maximum customization
  • Formulas are always free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals
  • Dye-free, fragrance-free, and vegan formulas available upon request
  • You don’t have to use a ton of product to see results
  • Formulas get tweaked whenever you provide feedback on your progress
  • You can adjust the delivery frequency of each product according to your usage
  • Subscribers get 15 percent off along with a free product every 10 orders


  • Natural ingredients don’t always make up the majority of the formulation
  • Shampoo doesn’t lather much and can be hard to adjust to

Who’s Prose Good For?

Because all of its products are customized, technically anyone can benefit from a Prose subscription. However, people whose hair doesn’t fit just one type or texture will likely benefit from this service the most. Prose’s quiz accounts for hair features that aren’t commonly addressed by generic products, and it also goes extremely in-depth. 

For example, the section on oiliness covers not only how oily your hair is but also what sections experience this most, how frequently it happens, and how often you wash your hair. Before you even get your products, Prose also gives you a full breakdown of what ingredients are in each one and why, which can be especially helpful for people who can’t find products that are perfectly suited to their hair and perhaps don’t know why or what will work.

Final Thoughts

It was hard to believe that the contents of three tiny bottles would be able to address all of the specifics that were brought up in the hair quiz, but Prose did exactly what it said it would. It did take time to get used to the low-lathering shampoo and not having to use as much product at a time. However, using my custom products definitely felt like an upgrade to my normal hair care routine because I did see improvement in the areas that were pain points for my hair. 

Had I not been entirely happy with the results, I would’ve still felt confident about renewing my subscription because of the Review and Refine feature that lets you tweak your current formulas. Moreover, Prose’s 30-day satisfaction guarantee also promises a full refund or complimentary reformulation within 30 days of subscribing if you’re not happy with your products. If the ingredients in generic shampoos and conditioners don’t really affect your hair, you probably won’t find Prose worth the price. But for those who have particular hair needs, you may find the opposite to be true.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Hair Care Subscriptions Help With Hair Loss?

    Hair care subscriptions are designed to address a number of common hair concerns, including hair loss. But how helpful a subscription is in regards to this concern depends on the types of products available and the ingredients included in them. Prose takes into account how often you lose hair and whether hair loss runs in your family, but only addresses it in two ways: by including volumizing agents in your products and/or by adding millet extract to your custom supplements to increase collagen and cell activity in hair follicles. If hair loss is a major concern for you, you may want to consider subscribing to a service that specializes in products that treat hair loss.

  • Do Hair Care Subscriptions Take Hair Type and Texture Into Account?

    Prose offers more customization options than most services, but factoring in hair type and texture is standard for every hair care subscription service. Knowing simply if your hair is curly, for example, can dictate whether your subscription will include curl cream or leave-in conditioner. But exactly how curly your hair is will determine the formulation of each product, like if your shampoo includes anti-frizz ingredients. Be sure to be as specific as possible about your hair when filling out a questionnaire for a hair care subscription service to ensure you receive effective products. 

  • Can I Easily Cancel a Hair Care Subscription?

    Hair care subscriptions typically allow you to pause or modify your subscription terms at your convenience, which can be helpful if you’re the type of person who runs out of shampoo and conditioner at different rates. But if you want to cancel your subscription altogether, you can just as easily do so in your account settings. As long as your order hasn’t shipped yet, you can usually expect to get a refund shortly after canceling.

  • Are Hair Care Subscriptions Dermatologist Approved?

    Even if you don’t have a sensitive scalp, it can be reassuring to know if your hair products are dermatologist-approved. But while some hair care subscriptions, such as Function of Beauty, are dermatologist-tested, services that are dermatologist-approved are harder to come by. Prose’s Root Source supplements, which are a part of its namesake subscription, are dermatologist-approved and clinically proven to improve hair growth. Prose’s other products, however, are neither dermatologist-tested nor approved. Despite this, all of the ingredients used in the company’s products are evaluated by chemists before they’re sent to subscribers.

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