This custom shampoo and conditioner has 17,000 five-star reviews — but does it actually work?

Photo courtesy Instagram/Function of Beauty

When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I’ll admit that my motto is usually along the lines of “Whatever’s cheapest.”

I’ll visit the drugstore and pick up a $2.99 bottle of something, and occasionally treat myself to something from Aveda when I get my hair cut.

But I’m also a sucker for aesthetics — so when I saw Function of Beauty’s pastel-hued, personalized shampoo and conditioner pop up on Instagram, I was intrigued to say the least.

Function of Beauty is a beauty brand that creates custom shampoo and conditioner built to match your hair’s specific needs — because, as they say, “you know your hair better than anyone else does.”

Their founding team of world-class MIT engineers and data scientists spent years building an algorithm and machines that pull from hundreds of ingredients to potentially create billions of completely unique shampoo and conditioner combinations. Plus, they’re cruelty-free, made in the U.S.A, vegan and paraben- and sulfate-free.

How? First, you fill out a hair quiz, identifying your hair type (straight, curly, wavy, etc.), structure (fine, thick, etc.) and scalp moisture level. Then you select five hair goals, which can include everything from nourishing to fixing split ends to anti-frizz,, curl-definition or oil control.

After that, you choose from a number of mouth-watering scents (peach and cherry blossom just to name a couple) and Instagram-worthy hues (we see you, pastel pink, lavender, mint and more)— and then you add your name for bottle customization.

I’m not the only person I know who’s been lured in by the pretty colours and customization (anything with a monogram is a thing I need) — but the pretty bottles don’t come cheap. Prices vary by size, but to get a 16 oz bottle of both your custom shampoo and conditioner, it’ll set you back $49 USD (about $65 CAD) total.

That’s a pretty penny — so I decided to test Function of Beauty out to see if it measures up to its 17,000 five-star reviews.

I received the shampoo and conditioner set, along with the newly-introduced leave-in conditioner, and was immediately as in love with the look of Function of Beauty as I thought I’d be. Appearance wise, this is a 5/5, no doubt.

I selected the nude (p)each scent, and picked my hair type as wavy + medium + oily, with the hair goals of anti frizz, fixing split ends, straightening, volumizing and oil control.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical that the shampoo and conditioner would make a noticeable difference in my hair, and almost willing to accept that it would be little more than a pretty shower accessory. I’ve used tons of hair products at different price points over the years and have never really noticed much of a difference, scent aside. But...I was totally floored by Function of Beauty.

The peach scent was incredible - fruity without being too over the top, and I was pleasantly surprised by how little of both shampoo and conditioner I had to use. And what’s more impressive? It actually delivered the exact results I wanted.

After just one wash (seriously), my hair was noticeably smoother, more voluminous and while it wasn’t straighter per se, it did have a more uniform wave to it and wasn’t so frizzy. My hair gets super oily — I need to wash it daily, and sometimes even toy with washing it twice daily — but since I’ve started using FoB, I’m washing it once every two or even three days. One of my biggest beauty annoyances is that I get a super oily-but-yet-somehow-itchy scalp, which many shampoos actually seem to irritate and make worse. However, the specially-formulated product not only soothed my scalp when I applied it, but has kept it noticeably less oily and less itchy to boot.

I also tried Function of Beauty’s new leave-in conditioner, which you can add onto your order for $18 USD ($24 CAD). I was wary of this especially, since as I mentioned my hair is already oily and flat, but FoB promises the lightweight cream won’t weigh your hair down and will enhance the hair goals you picked. I alternate between washes where I use the leave-in conditioner and where I don’t, and I do notice that on leave-in days, my hair definitely stays smoother longer.

The final verdict: Function of Beauty is pricey, yes — but it’s also one of the first products I’ve used that has definitively done what it said its going to do. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like your hair rules you, and not the other way around, I would definitely recommend giving the custom formula a spin.

As an added bonus, if you receive the product and decide it’s not working for you the company will work with you to reformulate a new formula to meet your hair needs better.

SHOP IT: Function of Beauty, $48-65 CAD

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