Before I dive into my experience with buzzy custom hair care brand Prose, I want to preface that it's, in general, a difficult task to test and review hair products — especially because we all have such differing textures, styles, lengths, and levels of oil when it comes to our main manes. Then throw in variables like lifestyle, diet, hair treatments, and geolocation and suddenly it's nearly impossible to say if a product that's a saving grace for one person will even be effective for another person. But that's essentially the whole deal with Prose — it's a brand that takes all your unique and personal hair factors and concocts formulas to specifically address the hair goals you might have. So, for the purpose of this story, I'll look at how well Prose has worked in addressing my three current hair goals. Each Prose customer's unique formula and routine is built not only from their specific hair type but also what results they want. Currently, my goals are to grow out my pandemic pixie chop, to not overly strip my hair oils (I shower a lot with all my tennis playing), and to get some perky waves into my hair despite my below-the-chin cut.
The first thing to note is that Prose does not offer one-off, drop-ship, or pre-packaged products you can purchase — every single item is made to order and customized for its shopper. So, before you browse the site, I recommend you take the free Prose consultation quiz to get your customized recommendations on the best products for your hair. This part is actually extremely fun, very informative, and incredibly comprehensive — and it only takes a few minutes because all you're doing is pressing buttons.
The quiz covers the basics like age, hair texture, length, and oil levels, but also things like scalp density and sensitivity, shampoo frequency, and how much you're graying (if you are). It'll ask about your hair color and treatments, and what kind of hair tools and products you take to your tresses. Then, the last section breaks down your lifestyle: what you eat, how often you sweat or exercise, and where you live (to figure out what kind of water is used to wash your hair). The quiz even asks if your hair is the kind that absorbs and retains cigarette smoke. I mean, phew, talk about thorough. Finally, it asks about hair goals, scents you like, and if you're interested in one-time orders or getting a subscription going. The quiz itself is completely free and you are in no way roped in or obligated to purchase anything when you get your results. From there, Prose will serve the top suggested products for your hair, which will likely be at least one shampoo and conditioner and maybe a secondary styling product. What I truly appreciate about Prose is that it's not pushing or upselling you on anything — all products are presented as an optional add-on which makes the overall shopping experience pleasant. And if at any point your lifestyle changes — i.e. you move to a different state or you bleach your hair, as two random examples — all you have to do is adjust your consultation quiz.
For testing purposes, I got sent a customized shampoo, conditioner, curl cream, dry shampoo, and two supplements for hair growth and scalp balance. Pricing all depends on what kind of subscriptions or products you decide to bundle. Upon delivery, I was a bit disappointed that the bottles are on the small side — but, actually, in a way it was a blessing as it forced me to rethink how I don't really need that much product to get my hair clean. The privilege of using customized hair care also means that I am forcing myself to use these products sparingly but correctly. It means that I reserve, at most, one and a half shampoo pumps strictly for massaging into my scalp and then half of a conditioner pump just for the ends of my hair (which, currently, is short so I don't need much of it).
As I had mentioned earlier, I play a lot of tennis (especially in the summertime), and what obsesses me about Prose is that the shampoo is totally okay to use every day if I need to. For testing purposes, I did shower daily, though I'm usually an every-three-days kind of gal. And even with daily washing, my hair never got that weird squeaky, stripped feeling. As my hair is half air-drying, I also scrunch in a pump of Prose's curl cream that promises "touchable waves." And, I kid you not, at a recent housewarming, a friend asked if she could (respectfully) touch my waves because I guess she was so taken by the bodacious bounce. Mind you, this is all upon a head of hair that is so short that it cannot even gather into any kind of ponytail yet.
Using Prose products has been an incredibly luxurious experience for me, but I also did not have any serious "hair issues" to begin with. So while I didn't have to work through any hair repairs or damage, I can only imagine that the experts at Prose can offer those who do need some extra TLC a bit more guidance (I'm telling you, folks, the consultation quiz is the first step to unlocking your best hair days).
And, similar to many of the contemporary DTC brands on the market, Prose pledges to be a responsible company with its lineup of cruelty-free products that contain zero sulfates, parabens, and mineral oils. In fact, Prose is the first beauty company to go completely carbon neutral and it's a certified B Corporation, which means it's part of a network of brands that works to "benefit all people, communities, and the planet." A rep from Prose also informed me that the brand has garnered over 345,000 5-star reviews on its products across the board, ensuring that its customers are consistently being heard when it comes to formula feedback and updates.
If you're even remotely interested in customized hair care, I implore you to give Prose a try, even if it's just for a month (all customers receive 15% off and free shipping when you subscribe to a recurring plan). Whereas I'm going to assume that the majority of us, throughout our lives, have catered and surrendered to expensive hair products — such as shampooing our heads based on a product's intensity levels, whatever they are packaged to be — it's a radical concept to finally use hair products that cater to us as individuals and what our unique lifestyles require. After all, I get to choose how to take care of myself and how I want to present myself to the world — why shouldn't I get to do the same with my hair?
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