Prose Hair Review: A Detailed Look

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Published on: May 11, 2020

Prose is a customized hair care brand that lets you order shampoo, conditioner, and other products that are tailored to your specific hair care needs.

The company claims to take into consideration factors like your natural hair type, lifestyle, styling habits, and even geography to create formulas that will give you the best results possible. If you don’t love your first formula, you can tweak the next batch to better match your preferences.

Are Prose’s promises just a gimmick, or is it worth the price for the brand’s custom hair products? Our analysis will help you make a decision.

Pros
  • It’s possible to tweak your formula over time
  • Can purchase as many or few recommended products as desired
  • The in-depth quiz takes hair goals and even geography into account
Cons
  • More expensive than other hair products
  • Hard to learn precisely what ingredients are in your formula
  • Formulas don’t seem to work for everyone

How Does Prose Custom Hair Care Work?

The first step towards ordering prose is taking the company’s hair care questionnaire. Once you verify your email, you’ll answer about 25 questions related to your age, hair habits, natural texture, whether your hair is naturally fine or thick, whether you deal with an oily or flaky scalp, and whether you have recently undergone chemical styling.

There are also questions related to other factors that could affect your hair, including your diet stress levels, environmental exposure, and how much you exercise. Finally, you can specify whether you want your formula to be vegan, gluten-free, or silicone-free and what your overall hair goals are.

The last step is choosing your preferred fragrance from seven options. Alternatively, you can choose to go fragrance-free.

At the end of the quiz, you’ll get a consultation result analysis that ranks your hair characteristics based on five factors. Here were my results:

  • Sensitivity: 85/100 Your scalp could use some soothing
  • Sebum: 70/100 Oil levels need to be rebalanced
  • Flakes: 85/100 The scalp needs some soothing and rebalancing
  • Dryness: 65/100 Your strands could use a hydration boost
  • Damage: 54/100 Each strand could benefit from some nutritive ingredients

Next, you’ll get an overview of some of the ingredients in your custom formula.

My recommended ingredients included vegetable oil (conditioning agent), professional polymer (curl defining), jujube bark extract (scalp cleansing), plant collagen (fiber repair), bamboo charcoal (scalp detox), kombucha tea and yacon root (scalp root), argan, sacha yushi and jojoba oils (nourishing), and locust and soybeans, and corn starch (volumizing).

Note that this overview won’t include every ingredient within each treatment.

Finally, you’ll reach the point of purchasing decisions. The company will offer you a range of products, which may include any combination of the following:

  • Pre-Shampoo Hair Mask: 8.5-oz, $38 (subscribe and save for $32.50)
  • Pre-shampoo Scalp Mask: 8.5-oz, $38 (subscribe and save for $32.50)
  • Dry Shampoo: 1.4-oz, $25 (subscribe and save for $21.25)
  • Shampoo: 8.5-oz, $25 (subscribe and save for $21.25)
  • Conditioner: 8.5-oz, $25 (subscribe and save for $21.25)
  • Hair Oil: 1.7-oz, $48 (subscribe and save for $40.8)
  • Curl Cream: 5.1-oz, $25 (subscribe and save for $21.25)
  • Leave-in Conditioner: 5.1-oz, $25 (subscribe and save for $21.25)

The company also sells four styles of hair brushes designed for different hair types. Each costs $72.

To qualify for the subscribe and save benefits of 15% off your order, you’ll need to commit to receiving a new prose order every one to three months. You can cancel this subscription plan at any time through your online account.

Prose products will arrive in an apothecary-style plastic bottle with your name on the label.

All orders will come with a leaflet of your full ingredients list and application instructions. You can request an update to these ingredients at any point through the “Your Consultation” tab on the company website.

Each order will also include a pump to connect to your bottle. It’s possible to reuse the same pumps for multiple bottles and opt-out of receiving new ones when you order.

A Closer Look at Prose Hair Ingredients

What’s contained within your Prose hair products clearly depends on your survey answers, but a complete list of potential Prose hair ingredients can be found here.

The company has rated each ingredient by safety level, and only a small percentage seem to qualify as “moderate safety.” We didn’t notice any ingredients that qualified as “low safety,” the highest risk warning.

Some of the ingredients that qualified as moderate risk include the following:

  • Benzyl Alcohol: Functions as a fragrance agent in cosmetics, may cause itching and irritation in some people.

  • Behentrimonium Chloride: Acts as a disinfectant, is often added to condition hair and fight static. It can cause skin irritation at high concentrations.

  • Cetrimonium Chloride: This topical antiseptic agent is common in hair care products. Again, some people find that it irritates their skin.

  • PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate: Derived from fatty acids found in coconuts, this ingredient is often used in hair care formulas. Some people find that it irritates their eyes.

  • PEG-7 Dimethicone: This water-disposable silicone is a common hair conditioning agent. It might be slightly toxic if you ingest it.

  • PEG-8: Commonly used in cosmetic products as an emulsifying agent, PEG 8 raises concern for potentially containing impurities like ethylene oxide that could increase incidences of uterine or breast cancer.

  • Potassium Sorbate: Often found in both food and personal care products, potassium sorbate acts as a preservative. Those with sensitive skin often find it irritating.

Overall, these ingredients don’t seem to have much cause for concern. Most are known only as mild skin irritants, and the compound associated with the worst side effects, PEG-8, is only a problem if it accidentally contains impurities.

Regardless of your chosen formula, the company claims to it will be free of parabens, mineral oils, dyes, sulfates, GMOs, phthalates, and methylisothiazolinone (MIT).

All customers have the option to request that their formula be vegan, gluten-free, or silicone-free, though omitting these ingredients may affect the success of your overall hair results.

Satisfaction Guarantee and Refund Policy

All Prose formulas are mixed to order, which means that the company doesn’t offer samples. However, all purchases are backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.

If you are unhappy with a pre-shampoo mask, shampoo, or conditioner, you can either request a reformulation or a full refund. Neither the hair oil nor the dry shampoo has a formula that can be adjusted, so they can only be returned and refunded.

Note that Prose recommends you try your products at least 5-7 times before deciding whether they work so that you give your hair and scalp time to adjust to the new formulas.

You can start the formula adjustment process or request a refund by contacting the company at hello@prose.com. You’ll receive a prepaid shipping label for returning your purchase.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

More than 90 Prose customers have left reviews of the brand on Influenster, and they average 4.4 stars. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common comments.

Common Compliments:

  • Shampoo lets people wash their hair less often without it looking greasy
  • Improved users hair after several months of use
  • Detailed hair quiz
  • Easy ordering process
  • Light, pleasant scents

Common Complaints:

  • Short-lived positive effects for hair before it reverted to how it was before
  • Difficult to learn what’s inside each formulation online
  • Too expensive for regular use

Prose Hair vs. Function of Beauty

When it comes to customized hair care, a direct competitor to Prose is Function of Beauty.

Like Prose, the company relies on a personalized hair profile to formulate products meant to help you achieve your hair goals. You’ll share your natural hair texture and select up to five hair goals from a list including options like “deep condition,” “strengthen,” “color protection,” and more.

This quiz isn’t as in-depth as Prose’s, as it doesn’t ask for information about your geographic location or whether you are chemically treating your hair in any way.

One difference in the final product is that Function of Beauty lets you choose both the color and the size of your custom shampoo and conditioner. Likewise, Function of Beauty offers a more limited product range that includes only shampoo, conditioner, a leave-in treatment, hair mask, and hair serum.

Pricewise, expect to pay $40 for an 8-oz set of shampoo and conditioner or $30 for each individually. A similar set would be $50 from Prose, though only $25 per individual product. One thing that’s nice about Function of Beauty is that you can customize the size of each product in your order, if, for instance, you wanted a bottle of conditioner that was twice as big as your shampoo.

Overall, both of these brands claim to prioritize natural ingredients and long-lasting results. Some reviewers aren’t huge fans of Function of Beauty, as they awarded the company only two stars out of five due to expensive products and poor overall results.

The Bottom Line: Is Prose Hair Worth It?

Prose offers a unique way to purchase personalized hair care products. The company impressed us with its in-depth questionnaire and willingness to work with customers until they are happy with the final result.

However, you’ll still be spending about $25 per 8-ounce bottle of product, which is far more than many haircare brands, and the company only offers discounts if you sign up for a subscription.

Customer reviews indicate that lots of Prose shoppers love adding this product line to their hair routine, but others thought it under-delivered and was more hype than substance.

This brand is a safe choice to experiment with if you’re looking for something new from a hair perspective. It’s especially nice that the company offers the option for fragrance-free formulas for those who don’t love strong scents. Maybe just don’t commit to a subscription until you know whether you like your formula.

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