Prose vs. Function of Beauty: Which Custom Hair Care Brand Should You Try?

Both companies offer unique formulas for a variety of hair types.

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prose vs function of beauty

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When you’ve shopped for hair care in the past, it was hard to ignore the bright labels promising volume or bold fonts highlighting anti-frizz benefits. But how many times did those shampoo and conditioners, regardless of the brand’s popularity, fall flat? While “customized” has become a favored buzzword in the beauty industry, particularly when it comes to hair care products, there’s still some validation to the idea. Because, let’s be frank, hair is very personal; there’s not—or at least shouldn’t be—a one-size-fits-all solution for the general population. and our precious locks deserve some attention.

When it comes to customized hair care, two companies that have propelled the movement forward are Prose and Function of Beauty. There are quite a few similarities between both companies, such as subscription options, natural ingredients, and product range, but they both have several key differences, too. Here, we compare Prose and Function of Beauty so that you can better decide which, if either, are a good fit for you.

What Is Prose?

Established in France in 2017, but based out of Brooklyn, Prose specializes in customized hair care products. Like other similar services, the experience begins with a “hair quiz” that asks typical questions about hair texture, oil and dryness level, hair loss, and more. But unlike many companies, Prose’s questionnaire dives a little deeper, covering topics like hair styling and treatments, diet, stress levels, and zip code, the last of which immediately generates information about your area’s environment (pollution, UV rays, water hardness, humidity, wind). Plus, each question, of which there are about 30, is accompanied by either a reason for why it’s being asked or a correlated fact, oftentimes explaining how something can affect your hair.

Following your results, you’ll learn more about the ingredients that will be used in your customized product. Prose prides itself on utilizing natural ingredients devoid of parabens, sulfates, GMOs, mineral oils, and animal cruelty; supplements are also gluten-free. You’ll be provided with a list of product recommendations based on your hair and scalp needs, and then can purchase the items one time or on a subscription basis. Subscribers will receive Prose products on a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly basis, and also receive a 15 percent discount and a free product for every 10 products purchased. The best part? Prose has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your results, you can request a full refund or request for an adjusted formula free of charge within 30 days of delivery.

What Is Function of Beauty?

Founded in 2015 by two MIT engineers and a chemist, Function of Beauty is often credited for being the company to popularize customizable hair care products. Its quick and easy quiz sticks to the basic questions, like hair type, scalp moisture, and hair goals. Once the results are processed, you’ll have the chance to learn more about the vegan and cruelty-free ingredients that’ll be used in your products. In addition to selecting your desired fragrance and fragrance strength, you’ll be able to personalize the bottle and choose the color for your shampoo and conditioner, adding an extra layer of customization.

When checking out, you’ll find a list of suggested products based on your quiz results and hair goals. While there’s an option to make a one-time purchase, subscribers benefit from perks that include free shipping and members-only discounts. Other hair care products, unfortunately, are not eligible for a discount on automatic monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly deliveries. However, like Prose, Function of Beauty offers full refunds within 30 days of receipt if you’re not happy with your order. And while the company is best known for hair care products, it has also expanded into body wash, lotion, and skincare since its inception, making it a one-stop shop for customizable beauty products.

Prose vs. Function of Beauty: Key Specs

Specs Prose Function of Beauty
Starting price $24 $27
Free shipping? Yes Yes
Influenster rating 4.2 out of 5 stars 4.4 out of 5 stars
Fragrance-free option? Yes Yes
Delivery frequency Monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly Monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly
Vegan ingredients? Yes Yes
Products include Shampoo, conditioner, scalp mask, hair mask, styling gel, hair supplements, hair oil, dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner, curl cream Shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, leave-in conditioner, hair serum, styling primer, co-wash, purple shampoo, purple conditioner

How Much Do Prose and Function of Beauty Cost?

Prose Plans & Pricing

Custom Product Subscription Price
Shampoo $27.20
Conditioner  $27.20 
Pre-shampoo scalp mask  $38.25 
Pre-shampoo hair mask  $38.25 
Styling gel  $25.50 
Root Source™ $52.70 
Hair oil  $40.80 
Dry shampoo  $23.80 
Leave-in conditioner  $23.80 
Curl cream  $23.80 

Function of Beauty Plans & Pricing

Custom Product Price 
Shampoo $27
Conditioner  $27 
Hair mask  $24 
Leave-in conditioner  $24 
Hair serum  $29 
Styling Primer  $29 
Co-wash  $30 
Purple shampoo  $27 
Purple conditioner  $27 
Purple hair mask  $24 

Prose Reviews

Overall, Prose customers are content with their customized hair care products. Many note that they appreciate the extensive quiz, natural ingredients, scents (Botanica was singled out on several occasions), and the company’s sustainability efforts. Reviewers also rave about the results, saying that they’ve noticed healthier locks. Many have also commented that the products, most notably the curl cream, have been particularly beneficial for curly hair types. Aside from the shampoo and conditioner, additional popular products amongst reviewers include the pre-shampoo hair mask, which many said left their locks feeling soft, and the scalp mask, which greatly helped reduce oiliness.

Despite the higher price point, customers generally believe that Prose is worth the cost and will continue using the products, however, some wished that bigger discounts were offered to loyal customers. Others didn’t recognize a significant difference between their customized products and regular shampoo and conditioner while some also reported scalp dryness, irritation, or hair loss.

prose subscription


Function of Beauty Reviews

Function of Beauty customers seem to really enjoy the scents and additional personalization options to the bottle label and color for shampoo and conditioner, in addition to the timely deliveries. Majority of reviewers are happy with their customized hair care products, even if they are on the pricier side. And several comments touch on how the products have led to softer, yet stronger, hair with less frizz.

Customers who were not content with their customized products noted that they didn’t notice a difference from their regular shampoo and conditioner. A few of the reviewers also mentioned issues with hair loss and dryness after using the products. Some also mentioned that they weren’t notified about the recent price increase, but that prior to that change, many customers were satisfied with the friendly customer service.

Pros and Cons



  • Subscription perks include 15 percent off your entire order and a free product for every 10 products purchased
  • Comprehensive quiz that takes into account environmental factors
  • Silicone-free options available
  • Ability to set a different delivery frequency for every product
  • Offers complimentary reformulation or full refund within 30 days of delivery 
  • A carbon-neutral, B Corp–certified company


  • Silicone- and vegan-free options available
  • Prices are relatively high compared to other hair care products
  • Can only contact customer service via email

Function of Beauty


  • All products are vegan and cruelty-free; silicone-free options are also available
  • Offers complimentary reformulation or full refund within 30 days of delivery
  • Live chat support available
  • Ability to choose shampoo and conditioner color as well as personalize bottle label
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles made from 100 percent recycled plastic
  • Also offers custom body and skincare products


  • Prices are relatively high compared to other hair care products
  • Subscription discount only available for shampoo and conditioner
  • Brief quiz that only asks the basic questions
function of beauty

Function of Beauty

Alternatives to Prose and Function of Beauty

While customizable hair care products by companies like Prose and Function of Beauty appeal to a breadth of individuals, sometimes you need a more targeted approach for specific hair types or concerns. Whether you’re dealing with hair loss or looking for products that work best for colored hair, you may want to consider more niche options.


  • Starting Price: $15
  • Free Shipping? Yes
  • Delivery Frequency: Monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly

Hims is a telemedicine service that tackles men’s health concerns ranging from erectile dysfunction to mental wellbeing. One of the company’s areas of expertise is hair loss. After you’ve taken the online quiz and answered questions about your current hair loss status, which products you’ve previously tried, and medical history, a licensed medical professional will review your responses and provide product recommendations to prevent or treat hair loss. The brand’s range includes items like Biotin gummies to promote healthy hair growth, thickening shampoo and conditioner, and FDA-approved products like Finasteride and Minoxidil.


  • Starting Price: $26/month
  • Free Shipping? Only on orders over $42
  • Delivery Frequency: Every 3–10 weeks

Let’s be honest, sitting in a salon chair can be time-consuming and expensive. So if you’re seeking custom hair dye rather than tailored hair care, eSalon is the ideal service for at-home coloring kits. Following an online quiz that covers topics like hair type, color history, and desired color, coupled with details like eye color and ethnicity, your hair color is crafted from scratch to fit your needs and wants. 

Each kit contains bottled hair color and volume developer, of which feature personalized labels with your name, formula ID, and the date it was made; shampoo and conditioner to seal in color; accessories such a gloves, stain guard and remover, and an applicator; personalized applications instructions; and access to a colorist should you have any questions. There’s the option to purchase a single kit for $32.50, but subscriptions are reduced to $26 per shipment with automatic deliveries set at your preferred frequency, ranging from every three to 10 weeks. Subscribers will receive perks like a 20 percent off future orders, curated how-to videos, and one-on-one consultations. And if you do end up wanting some customized hair care, Aura, eSalon’s sister company, offers products that will compliment your new hair color.


  • Starting Price: $25/month
  • Free Shipping? No
  • Delivery Frequency: Monthly

After experiencing firsthand how difficult it was to find the right products for textured hair, Myleik Teele established CurlBox in 2012 to help women owning their curly or natural hair. The monthly subscription box costs $25 per month (plus a $5 shipping fee) and each shipment holds four full-sized products, such as shampoo, scalp scrub, cleanser, and more. The products are chosen by Curl’s expert team and change every month. But if you prefer to know what’s being sent to your doorstep, the company also offers a selection of themed boxes that don’t require a subscription.

Final Thoughts

Both Prose and Function of Beauty offer customized hair care products for a variety of hair types. Prose’s hair quiz is much more comprehensive and offers a wide range of products, including a supplement to promote scalp health and hair growth. It’s ideal for those who want the extra attention to their locks and are willing to pay a higher premium for it as a result. Function of Beauty is a little simpler in its personalization, but covers the basics. It costs less than Prose and also has its own customizable features like adding your name to the bottle and choosing the color for your shampoo and conditioner. The company also offers purple shampoo and conditioners that are great for blonde hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Types of Ingredients Can You Expect to Find in Customized Hair Care Products?

    There’s no single answer to this as ingredients vary from company to company, but many custom services will prioritize natural ingredients to separate themselves from brands that mass produce. You’ll likely find ingredients like aloe vera for hydration, bamboo charcoal for scalp detox, and grape seed oil for hair health. Many companies will also use silicone in their products, which helps tame frizz-prone hair and can help prevent tanging, but can build up on hair, causing dullness and dehydration. As a result, some brands will offer a silicone-free option.

  • What Are “Clean Ingredients?”

    While there are no definitive guidelines or regulations that have been put in place for what makes a product “clean,” clean products are typically free of toxic chemicals and ingredients such as parabens and sulfates.

  • How Many Times per Week Should You Use Custom Hair Care Products?

    Just like store-bought hair care products, frequency of use for custom products depends on your hair, scalp, and habits. For example, if you have oily hair or frequently work up a sweat exercising, daily use may be required. Normal and dry hair types might be able to go without washing for several days, while natural hair can be as little as a few times a month.

  • What Size Products Do You Get With Most Hair Care Subscriptions?

    You’ll typically receive full-size products with hair care subscriptions, often starting from eight ounces for products like shampoo and conditioner. However, it’s best to check with your chosen service.

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