I’ve been eying Function of Beauty since about 3 years back. Excited when they started shipping to Europe, I was going to order a year ago. But they seemed to have growing pains at the time, so I opted to wait until they got their sh*t together. The whole idea of customized hair care appealed to me as I can never seem to find a shampoo and conditioner that checks all my boxes. If I want curl definition, I have to let go of volume. If I want volume I get too little moisture… There’s always something lacking. I saw Function of Beauty as a way of getting the best of both worlds!
Cost & Delivery
Something to be aware before ordering is that the delivery time is around 4 weeks time depending on where you live. So don’t go ordering when you run out of shampoo. When I placed my order, I stupidly did not think of it. As I was ordering this as a birthday present to myself, I went with express shipping and it delivered within a week right on my birthday! If you decide to subscribe, basic delivery will be free.
Function of Beauty ships their products from the US. If you’re ordering outside, be sure to check out their FAQ about any additional costs upon delivery. Getting this shipped to Sweden (which is part of EU) I did not have to pay any additional fees.
Besides your profile, Function of Beauty lets you choose up to five hair goals. You could choose only one if you wanted. There were some dilemmas filling the last spot. I wanted something that would boost hair growth. It stood between “Strenghten” (horsetail extract + evening primrose oil), “Lenghten” (pea sprout extract + blue-green algae extract), and “Soothe Scalp”. Which kind of promotes the same stuff.
In the end, I chose Strenghten as it includes horsetail extract that I’ve seen in some hair-promoting shampoos and supplements. Now, since my order I see that they’ve added a new hair goal, “Nourish Roots” (blue-green algae + coconut fruit extracts), which used to be the ingredients for “Soothe Scalp”, I think (now with aloe vera + salicylic acid). One of the key ingredients is similar to that of the hair goal Lengthen which made the decision-making a bit difficult.
- Fine Strands
- Balanced Scalp
- Curl Definition
- Fix Split Ends
After you’ve chosen your hair goals you get to then decide what fragrance you’d like, how strong of a scent, or none at all. You also get to pick an individual color for your shampoo and conditioner (or go with dye-free) and set a name for your formula. It doesn’t need to be your name, but within 10 characters long. If you are a subscriber you get to choose past season limited edition colors and fragrances. Plus, you can actually choose to omit silicones in the formula if that’s not your thing!
I went with their, at the time, new green color as it kind of went with my bathroom tiles. As a celebration of that color, I also got a complimentary tote bag. My birthday is around Valentine’s Day, so I was feeling romantic and went with the “rose and black currant”-scent. I was contemplating if I shouldn’t just go fragrance-free as none of the scents really spoke to me. But I kind of like it when my hair smells. I did choose the fragrance strength to be light. However…
I’m all considerate that mix-ups could happen. I’m also aware that a freshly opened bottle may have an intense scent… So with that in mind, I don’t know if my opinion is valid? But despite choosing the scent to be light, it’s quite strong. And it’s still strong months later. If this is supposed to be “light scented”, how intense would medium be? But again, there could be a mix-up in the process. I won’t be sure until I make another similar order. As for the scent of roses and black currant… It’s not my favorite and I regret not going with their best seller Peach and Mandarin.
With your order of Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner comes two pumps for the bottles, which you can omit if you already have a pair, and some stickers to add a fun personal touch. I personally love the packaging, the bottles and pumps feel sturdy, and you can lock them for safe travel. As they are transparent, they give you full control of how much is left. I will definitely reuse them once I’ve used up all the products. Oh and also, I went with their 236ml bottles for both shampoo and conditioner.
The Shampoo: One pump gives the perfect amount per wash. Takes about two washes to get up to a lather. Three, if I waited too long. I find it to cleanse well, no need for a separate “detox shampoo”. My only thought is that, compared to some other shampoos I’ve used in the past, this did not leave my hair feeling soft. I know, I know, conditioner is supposed to do that. I don’t know how to explain it. But some shampoos do leave the hair clean but moisturized. And I kind of wish it did that. I can only speak for this formula though. Perhaps if I had chosen a more hydrating profile I’d get that softening feel right off the wash? Or it could just be that the shampoo has a high pH.
The Conditioner: I’ve been using equal parts conditioner applied to the lengths of my hair, which has been sort of enough. I don’t know if it’s because I chose “fine hair strands” in my profile, but the conditioner doesn’t feel hydrating enough for my hair. Even after 2 minutes of “squish to condish” my locks have not clumped together and there’s frizz. It’s definitely lightweight but could’ve had more hydration and slip to it for detangling. My hair doesn’t feel very soft after rinsing. For the price, I have had better for less. And yes, I did try using more of the conditioner, but it didn’t exceptionally boost more success. So instead of wasting conditioner, I’ve ended up reaching for hair treatments (from other and cheaper brands) to mix in and give me the boost my hair needs.
Result: I started using this duo in February and we’re at the end of June. Without a leave-in or styling cream, my hair will dry airy, sort of non-defined, and frizzy. Now that we’re in summer though, it dries a little less frizzy I would say… But nonetheless, it’s not the greatest result. My hair appears sort of shiny, but I was envisioning more gloss. (See images below, from wet to dry)
Without additional leave-in and curl products, my hair dries super fast though. I like the airy and voluminous part, but I was expecting more definition from the “curl definition”-goal and wavy profile. It’s probably too much to ask for a shampoo and conditioner to be enough when you got textured hair. But then again, I’ve had better drying results with other brands. It’s hard to admit, that perhaps, I didn’t pick the right things for my formula… And I will discuss some of the downsides and issues with customized products further down.
Experience by hair goals
Here are my thoughts on how the goals delivered.
Fix Split Ends. I would not say that I saw any reduction in split ends nor did my ends feel more hydrated. They were still forming and current ones were still very visible. Of course, the only thing to beat split ends is cutting them off. But I was hoping to see them hydrated thus reducing their appearance and prevalence.
Curl Definition. It sort of helped my locks clump together in the wash. But as the conditioner wasn’t softening and detangling enough frizz would develop as the hair dried. Perhaps if my formula focused more on hydration than volume I’d have the definition I expected?
Shine. Although the ingredients for curl definition should provide shine, I chose to add this goal over “lengthen”. However, compared to other brands that are big on shine, I felt this one lacked the gloss it should’ve provided. Yes, my hair is kind of shiny… But only “sort of”. I still had to rely on styling products and hair treatments to give me the healthy shiny and soft hair I wanted. The conditioner did not provide gloss or enough hydration on its own. I also suspect that the pH of the conditioner isn’t low enough to give that ACV-rinse shine and feel that brands like Maria Nila, whose conditioners have a low pH of 4.5, deliver.
Strengthen. This one’s hard to measure. It’s supposed to increase your hair’s resilience and elasticity, and protect your hair from breakage. I picked strengthen over lengthen as it included horsetail extract. Horsetail is usually taken as a supplement to promote faster hair growth as it’s high in silica and other minerals. Also, from a hair growth perspective, increasing the hair’s resilience to protect it from breakage should evidently result in longer and thicker hair. The goal “Lengthen” includes pea-sprout and blue-green algae extract that’s supposed to increased scalp circulation and follicle stimulation for longer, stronger locks.
If you ask me if this reduced the number of lost hair strands per day, I can’t say yes. There are some people who have experienced more hair loss with these products, but I can’t be sure I’ve lost more than usual as I know very well that springtime is a season of shedding for me. Like, I did have a period of lots of hair fall out, but that stopped and now my hair feels thick again. And as per usual, I have lots of baby hairs sticking out. Still, nor did I find my hair to grow any faster, and my hair breaks just as easily when combing… Overall, I’m afraid to comment on this goal as I think it’s one of those long-term effects you’ll perhaps see after a year of use?
Volumize. This might be the only goal that I saw some satisfactory improvement on. My hair does indeed feel lighter and look a bit thicker, and the shampoo feels clarifying.
The issue with customized formulation
In the case of Function of Beauty, the responsibility for a product to work is put on the customer. The customer is pretty much left to know exactly their hair type and what their hair needs. The problem is, that most of us probably don’t know and choose goals based on our wants than our hair needs. These two things don’t always go hand in hand.
There is customized hair care, like Prose (only available in the US atm), that takes other stuff into consideration. Their quiz is more like a consultation rather than you telling them what you want. They will ask you things about your genetics, how you style your hair and how you live. Something interesting is that they’ll also take into account your environment, checking the humidity level of your current place of living. Which I think is cool. But from the reviews I’ve seen, even this doesn’t guarantee 100% satisfaction. But I think their way of customization sounds more personalized in my opinion.
The other issue is that, unlike other hair care brands with a few lines to choose from, Function of Beauty offers over 10 000 combinations of formulas. Meaning, if a formula doesn’t work for your hair, instead of just buying another shampoo from a different line, you have the option to play scientist, going through trial and error… Up to 10 000 times. I mean, I’m more inclined to just test another shampoo than I am trying to combine the perfect customized formula.
The last issue is that any review can’t be reflected on the brand’s products overall. The chances of someone else picking the same exact formula are kind of small. My experience with my particular formula does not tell you whether you’ll be happy with your personalized formula. You might think you’re getting an idea, but really, there are so many variables to this that you’ll just have to test it out for yourself.
While I really like the idea of customized hair care, it does have some issues that I discussed above. Like, I can only speak for this particular formula and how it worked with my hair. And my honest opinion is that I was expecting to be wowed and in love but felt more like “meh”. It’s not bad, but it’s not really delivering on the points. And it might be sort of my own fault, not knowing what my hair actually needs. Nonetheless, I totally appreciate being able to add certain ingredients that I would otherwise have to buy a separate product for that might lack other aspects that my hair needs.
My main issue?
Besides not getting the softness, wave definition, and shine I expected… I also felt the need to wash my hair every other day as opposed to every third or fourth which I’m used to (with the shampoo I was using before). I will add that my hair is behaving a bit better now during summer for some reason; I’m able to stretch it to day three. But it’s a small stretch. I also don’t find the shampoo to be gentle enough for everyday use. So by having to wash my hair more frequently – with the addition of the conditioner not being hydrating enough – I had a period where my hair felt drier and more damaged. But I’ve been able to offset some of that with deep conditioning treatments and oiling my lengths before wash.
What would I change?
This formula isn’t terrible as I may make it sound. But it’s clear it’s not for my hair. If I were to repurchase – which I totally still would consider in the future – I’d go for a more specific treatment formula. Like, I’d choose heavy stuff that promotes hair growth, strength, and hydration, leaving shallow stuff like shine, volume, and curl definition out. I pretty much would stick to a base profile of wavy hair, fine structure, and balanced scalp. But could perhaps change to “medium strands” in my next order to see if this affects the heaviness of the conditioner. As this particular one did not feel hydrating nor softening enough.
So I might test a different formula out in the future. But getting the formulation right without proper consultation is like betting your luck on the lottery. It’s hoping that the right numbers get drawn and stars align. I would like to test out their custom skincare as they look really pretty. Learning from my mistakes, I’d go for a more targeting formula than trying to hit all the spots. And I kind of regret not trying out their leave-in as I think it would perhaps have added more wave definition and shine that I was looking for. But as I had to go with express shipping, I had to leave it out. And that’s it. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either.