Are custom-made hair products worth the hype (hello, Prose)?

Look, I made my own shampoo. And conditioner. And pre-shampoo mask. Actually, Prose made it for me in their NYC lab – but according to my specifications. Which is much the same thing? Right?

Actually it’s better for me if someone else does the heavy lifting because I am not a hair person. My hair kind of sucks. It’s super-fine, tends to get really frizzy and has the wonderful combination of oily roots and dry strands that conventional hair products cannot begin to understand. Most conditioners weigh it down, while volumizing formulas don’t moisturise it enough.

So, hello Prose… the epitome of bespoke hair products. The brand claims it can custom create more than 50 billion possible unique formulas, based on a proprietary algorithm of 85 data points and 76 natural ingredients (like pea sprout, honey, lilac, jojoba oil, sunflower seed extract, and hyaluronic acid).

In a major step towards transparency, every single ingredient is listed with its EWG (Environmental Working Group) rating on the Prose website.

And the formulas are sans sulfates, parabens, dyes, mineral oils or GMOs. Plus, they are cruelty-free and have recyclable packaging. Good for the earth, good for me?

What you need is to take an extensive questionnaire on the site, which involves about 25 questions. Some are pretty usual – like your hair type and . Others are more unique – like stress levels, and where you stay (this calculates the pollution levels, humidity, water hardness, wind and UV rays!). 

I ordered the shampoo, conditioner and mask, all of which came in chic old school apothecary bottles (#shelfie goals!). 

I have been trying all three now for several months now and honestly, they work as promised! Firstly, my hair smells amazing even through the summer sweat, thanks to the Amalfi-coast inspired Napoli fragrance (lemon, neroli, orange blossom). You can choose to go fragrance-free but I got tempted by the vacation vibes this promised.

The shampoo cleansed my oily scalp, without drying out the ends. And the conditioner did not weigh down the roots while, miraculously, leaving my ends looking softer and shinier. I still needed a serum to cut down on the frizz but it was definitely more manageable.

Actually, Prose, could you make a serum as well? There’s a hair oil, leave-in conditioner, curl dream, and scalp mask… none of which I haven’t tried yet, but I would definitely like a serum.

My favorite from the current lineup, however, has to be the Pre-shampoo mask (mine contains, among other things, maca root to stimulate the follicles, fermented rice water for smoothing, and vinegar and caviar lime to amp up the shine). Who wants to sit around with wet hair, waiting for a mask to soak in for a lifetime. This one goes on before I shampoo, preferably while I am relaxing on the couch and -ing, and makes my hair super-soft and shiny.

You know how difficult it is for me to write a review without finding at least one thing I don’t like. Seriously? Well, I tried really, really hard but this one just ticks all the right boxes. 

Guess things are just that much nicer when they are actually made for you?

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2 thoughts on “Are custom-made hair products worth the hype (hello, Prose)?

  • March 7, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    I used prose for about a year. The first bottle was awful, the second was good. Not great, but better than anything else I could find. Then they changed my formula– I asked them to switch back, and they did. That same formula was sent to me for the better part of a year. Then, they switched it, without saying anything. I *immediately* noticed because my hair, which is what you’d call “ethnic” (I’m Jewish and have typical Israeli hair– very, very thick, coarse, curly/wavy, and a TON of it), was fried. I asked them why they did it, and they claimed they “upgdated” the ingredients, couldn’t go back, and it was to my benefit. They said they do this every so often and discontinue certain things. They tried “reformulating” it again but it only made it worse.

    I think these products are really made for white women, frankly. I had a much worse experience with another custom hair product brand. It all lacks the amount of slip and moisture I need.

    TLDR: These products are really great for white women, as I’ve seen endless super-happy reviews by white women. But for those of us with more coarse hair? Oof. Not so much. Which is fine, in that there are products for us, but it would be great if they’d either admit that they don’t make products that will work for our hair or start making them. Wasting money on their stuff while they claim they can make products for super coarse, thick, curly hair is a pain.

    • March 8, 2021 at 12:53 am

      Sorry you had a bad experience but please be aware that I only re-publish articles that I find which I think might be of interest to my readers.
      I understand your frustration but please don’t shoot the messenger!! 😉


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