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- Even with a sea of options, it’s hard to find haircare that feels like it’s really made for you.
- Function of Beauty is changing that with custom haircare that’s based on your quiz results.
- We tried it and loved the personalization process, but our thoughts about the formulas were mixed.
For the most part, the world we live in makes it easy for us to personalize everything in our lives — from monogrammed phone cases to data-driven subscription boxes.
So, why doesn’t our haircare get the same treatment?
Function of Beauty was founded in 2015 with the intention of helping people embrace their one-of-a-kind hair — and shaking up the shampoo aisle with some much-needed personalization. After all, we search for customization in so many other aspects of our lives, why should we settle for two-in-one shampoo and conditioner?
Zahir Dossa may not seem like your typical beauty brand founder. But, the MIT alum (with four degrees from his alma mater) saw a need for customization in the space. While receiving his PhD, Dossa started working on a beauty cooperative. When he asked a group of people for feedback on the same product, he was surprised at the wide range of answers he received. It was that experience that planted the seed for what would become Function of Beauty, a haircare brand that lets people customize their routine with totally personalized shampoos and conditioners.
What we thought after trying Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty has received tens of thousands of five-star reviews, but we wanted to see how it actually worked on our own hair. So, four of my colleagues swapped out their regular shampoos and conditioners for customized Function of Beauty regimens. They all filled out the hair quiz and received an 8-ounce shampoo and conditioner just for them. Find their reviews, below.
Elisabeth Chambry, former strategic partnerships manager:
Hair type: light brown, curly, fine, dry scalp, long
Products: shampoo in purple, peach scent; conditioner in purple, peach scent; leave-in treatment
Elisabeth’s experience: As a curly-haired girl, I was skeptical of the Function of Beauty haircare products but pleasantly surprised by the results. It might not be noticeable to the untrained eye, but my curls look more defined, less frizzy, and more moisturized.
I’m always searching for the perfect leave-in and curl cream combination for styling my hair. For the last two months, I’ve exclusively used my Function of Beauty leave-in treatment. It does a great job conditioning my curls and fighting frizz without weighing down my hair. The shampoo was sudsy even though it was silicone-free. I had to use much more conditioner, so the bottle is about 50% less full than my shampoo. This is common for me as a curly-haired girl who needs a lot of conditioners, so I wouldn’t necessarily note it as a drawback. I have used other conditioner formulas that penetrated my hair better, making it softer and detangled, but I thought this formula did a fine job. The bottles are a joy to have in the shower, but the pumps also lock easily for travel.
As for my scalp, I didn’t notice any difference in ridding flakes and dryness. I’ve had trouble finding a haircare product that competes with my simple apple cider vinegar rinses. I’ll likely continue my treasure hunt to find something that absolutely blows me away, but I’ll keep Function of Beauty in my back pocket for a reliable and fun-to-have haircare system. Finding products that work for my hair is pretty difficult, but I enjoy the chase.
Connie Chen, former senior reporter:
Hair type: dark brown (color-treated), medium coarseness, straight, medium-length
Products: shampoo in purple, pear scent; conditioner in blue, pear scent; hair mask
Connie’s experience: With most haircare, it often feels like I have to compromise somewhere, whether it’s an ingredient I don’t want in the formulation or being pigeonholed into certain fragrances. I love that Function of Beauty gives me way more control. I have dyed hair, so I was able to choose a purple shampoo to reduce brassiness. At the same time, I could choose to have my products address my specific hair goals, which include strengthening and conditioning with a nice smelling formula. Over the last six weeks, I’ve used the shampoo and conditioner every other day. I apply the hair mask once a week and my hair looks and feels much healthier. A plus is that all the fragrances smell amazing — I’ve tried the pear, peach, and mango over the years and they’re some of the most memorable haircare scents I’ve used.
Alyssa Powell, graphic designer:
Hair type: black, tightly coiled, short
Products: shampoo in turquoise, lavender scent; conditioner in purple, lavender scent; both silicone-free
Alyssa’s experience: As much as I love my tightly coiled, well-put-together hair, maintaining moisture, retaining length, and finding the right products have always been a struggle for me. So I chose the following hair goals when customizing: curl definition, hydrate, and strengthen. I also chose to get the silicone-free formula for both, in the True L(o)vender scent because it was 100% natural.
The packaging of these products was beautiful. I loved my name printed on the bottles and on the direction booklet. When I tried Function of Beauty last year, I was not impressed. However, I decided to give it another try because I finally found a wash routine that had been working for me. I also wanted to use the products properly this time.
I followed my normal routine: shampooing once a week, using conditioner every other day, then following up with a leave-in gel from another brand. I let the conditioner sit for the directed 5-10 minutes. I liked the way my hair felt after using the shampoo and conditioner. It was clean, moisturized, and the products smelled amazing.
After one month of using the products, I think Function of Beauty has earned a spot on my bathroom shelf. Having a consistent routine and following the directions made all the difference.
Mara Leighton, senior reporter:
Hair type: brunette (color-treated), thick, wavy, long
Products: shampoo in purple, eucalyptus scent; conditioner in white, eucalyptus scent; body lotion in eucalyptus scent; hair serum in pear scent; body wash in white, eucalyptus scent; body lotion in white, eucalyptus scent
Mara’s experience: My hair can be as dry and frizzy as grass in a drought, so I tend to favor hydrating products — and I was surprised by how much I loved Function of Beauty’s formulas.
First, I was able to customize my shampoo and conditioner to include the stuff I know I need but hate looking for in ingredient lists, such as ingredients to combat brassiness in color-treated hair and nutritious oils to smooth and hydrate. Personally, I don’t care about the option to pick the color. But most importantly is that my hair consistently dried looking more hydrated and less frizzy, but still clean and voluminous.
If I could only buy one thing again, though, it would be the Hair Serum. It makes my hair look so uncharacteristically hydrated, shiny, and more defined (the qualities I find most difficult to replicate) without edging on greasy. It’s also more manageable after I’ve applied the Hair Serum. I’ve definitely used too much before, but in my experience, that’s difficult to do; my hair drinks this formula up. And the pear scent smells really nice.
The lotion and body wash are nice but don’t reinvent the wheel (and they don’t need to). My one nitpick is that I wish I’d gone for light strength on the fragrances. I chose the fresh, clean eucalyptus (which smells a lot like mint) for most of the products, and it’s just slightly heavy for my liking.
How to create your personalized shampoo and conditioner
Creating your own Function of Beauty haircare is simple. You’ll follow these steps to get a customized formula:
- Fill out a quiz about your hair type and hair structure (curly, straight, thick, fine, etc.)
- Choose five hair goals (Do you want to banish brassiness? Reduce oil? Add shine or volume?)
- Pick out a fragrance (some of the scent options include eucalyptus, lavender, and peach)
- Choose from nine color tints (all 100% vegan and sulfate-free; you can also choose to leave it dye-free)
The hair quiz tells the FOB team everything they need to know about your hair, and the brand’s algorithms will get to work to find you the perfect formula. Your products will also come to your door in cute personalized bottles.
What other products can you customize?
While the shampoo and conditioner are the most popular, Function of Beauty offers a full line of customizable haircare, including: a hair mask, purple shampoo, leave-in, co-wash, and hair serum. There’s even a bodycare line with body wash and body lotion. We haven’t tried it yet, but the brand recently expanded into skincare with the launch of a serum ($49.99) that’s customized to you based on your quiz results.
There are a few ways to buy Function of Beauty products. You can choose to get a delivery just one time, every six months, every three months, or once a month. In terms of size, you can choose from an 8- or 16-ounce bottle of either shampoo or conditioner. The pricing ranges from $29 for a single 8-ounce shampoo bottle to $49 for a 16-ounce shampoo and conditioner set. These are definitely pricier than your drugstore haircare brands, but the price tag reflects the custom approach as well as the high-quality ingredients used.
If you love the idea of custom haircare but need something less pricey, Function of Beauty also has a more affordable product line at Target. It works by having you first pick out a base formula, and then mix in booster packets that address your specific hair needs. The base formulas are $10 each and the booster packets are $2.99 each. You can learn more here.
The bottom line
Function of Beauty’s custom shampoo and conditioner is fun to create and the colorful bottles look great on a bathroom shelf. Most of us were won over, but whether or not it works for you will really come down to your personal preferences. What we can all agree on is that we appreciate the clean scents, the thoughtful details, and the easy-to-use ordering process.