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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.
Human beings are unique. We wear outfits that show off our personal style. We create playlists so we can listen to the music we love whenever we want. We have myriad interests and passions which we proudly display on our social media profiles — and talk about often in person. For the most part, the world that 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 that would soon become Function of Beauty, a haircare brand that lets people customize their routine with totally personalized shampoos and conditioners.
The personalization process
Using Function of Beauty is simple. You'll follow these steps to create your 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, shea butter and vanilla, and peach)
- Choose from seven 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.
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 eight- or 16-ounce bottle of either shampoo or conditioner. The pricing ranges from $29 for a single eight-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.
Function of Beauty also recently released a more affordable product line at Target where you can pick out a base formula and then mix in booster packets that address specific hair needs. The base formulas are $10 each and the booster packets are $2.99 each. You can read more here.
What we thought after trying Function of Beauty ourselves
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, three of my colleagues and I swapped out our regular shampoos and conditioners for customized Function of Beauty regimens. We all filled out the hair quiz and received an eight-ounce shampoo and conditioner just for us. Find our reviews below.
Connie Chen, senior reporter:
Hair type: Dark brown, medium coarseness, straight, medium-length
Products: shampoo in purple, pear scent; conditioner in blue, pear scent
Experience: Both my scalp and my actual hair tend towards dryness, so I'm always looking for shampoo and conditioner that hydrates and conditions it. After a few weeks of using my customized Function of Beauty products, my hair has been reinvigorated and overall feels softer and less dry. The colors are pretty and I'm also in love with the scent — this might be the best-smelling shampoo and conditioner I've ever used.
Alyssa Powell, associate graphic designer:
Hair type: Black, tightly coiled, thick, short
Products: shampoo in blue, pineapple scent; conditioner in orange, pineapple scent
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. It's been a year since I did my big chop. Ever since then I've been particular about the products I use and have been consistent with my routine.
The packaging of these products was beautiful. I loved how my name was printed on the bottles and on the direction booklet. I followed all the directions except one: to cleanse or condition three to four times per week. For those with coily hair (who don't rock wash-and-gos) you know washing too often can strip the much-needed moisture from your hair. I did my normal routine washing once a week in the shower, followed by moisturizing with Uncle Funky's Daughter Extra Butter, and then styling with mousse.
After one month of using the products, I don't think Function of Beauty is right for me. My hair felt clean, the pineapple smelled amazing, and my twists still looked great. However, my hair did not feel moisturized.
Remi Rosmarin, former reporter:
Hair type: Blonde (color-treated), fine, wavy, medium-length
Products: shampoo in purple, nude peach scent; conditioner in purple, nude peach scent
Experience: I can never really get a read on my hair. It's frizzy and dry one day, oily the next. I usually alternate between a slew of haircare products each week — my attempt at giving my hair everything it needs. I was excited to try Function of Beauty and try to slim down my routine.
Doing the hair quiz was quick and fun. I chose the following goals for my wavy and fine hair: lengthen, reduce brassiness, color protection, oil control, and volumize. If you choose reducing brassiness as one of your goals, you'll get Function of Beauty's purple shampoo. While I love Clairol's iteration, I had recently had a hair treatment that required me to use sulfate-free shampoo, so I was happy to get this new sulfate-free brass banisher.
My favorite parts of Function of Beauty are the customization features. I love the light peachy scent, the cute purple colors, and the bottle which is sweetly labeled "Function of Remi." All of these aspects make washing my hair a little more fun. It doesn't hurt that the bottles look absolutely adorable in your shower.
In terms of how well the products are working, I've been using them for over a month and am still not really sure. My hair feels very clean and soft, but I haven't noticed a real change in volume or how long it takes my hair to get greasy. I'm definitely satisfied with the products, but I haven't noticed enough of a difference to justify the price, which is double what I usually pay for shampoo and conditioner.
Mara Leighton, senior reporter:
Hair type: Brunette (color-treated), thick, wavy, long
Products: shampoo in purple, eucalyptus scent; conditioner in purple, eucalyptus scent
Experience: My hair is wavy, long, and verges on as dry and frizzy as grass in a drought on its worst days. Since sulfates can over-dry the hair (and humid summer weather is not the time to tempt such problems), I've been trying to find a sulfate-free formula that I really like — and Function of Beauty did the job.
The personalization test is a nice touch — I already knew my bottles wouldn't have a host of potentially bad ingredients, but a personalized formula meant I felt assured that they would actually have all the ingredients that I specifically needed in their stead (like those combating brassiness in color-treated hair, rebuilding strands, boosting shine, and taming frizz). I also loved the ability to choose a big bottle of conditioner and a smaller bottle of shampoo — for perhaps the first time ever, I won't run out of conditioner before shampoo.
In practice, the formula is really good. It smells fresh and clean (my preferred scents), and manages to make my hair feel clean, lightweight, and keep frizz to a minimum without dampening volume. I shower at night and let my hair air dry, and my waves seem to look more uniform, though not exactly glossy. I could still be using too much shampoo. Either way, I really love the effect and am fine supplementing with a hair mask in my routine.
And, while not as important as the formula, it doesn't hurt that the bottles look so nice in my bathroom. Even having the small personalization of "Function of Mara" on them makes the act of showering feel kind of like a treat.
Create your own personalized hair-care routine at Function of Beauty.
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