When it comes to hair care, there’s a lot to consider: Will it cleanse, detangle and hydrate your strands? Do the products leave a strong scent behind? Will they combat flakes, dryness or a greasy scalp? And hey, most of us don’t have the time or patience to test every product in the market, so when a customizable line like Prose comes along, it’s only right to be curious.
Can Prose’s Custom Line Really Transform Your Hair? 3 Editors Put It to the Test
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Prose is a haircare brand that utilizes an online quiz to curate a custom selection of products that cater to all hair types and textures (i.e. curly, oily, color-treated, etc.) From dandruff to oily strands, Prose takes all your hair woes into consideration and develops a routine that can help combat those issues. All of their products are cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free and sustainable.
Given the ongoing buzz around the brand, we decided to try it out ourselves. Ahead, we asked three editors with different hair types to build their own routines and answer the million-dollar question: Did it really transform their hair? See their honest reviews below:
The Consultation Quiz
Before you can buy your products, you have to fill out an extensive online consultation quiz. The quiz is broken up into four categories: hair and scalp, treatments, lifestyle and preferences and goals. It asks about everything from your hair type (i.e. texture, porosity) to your fragrance preference (like adding floral, citrus or fresh notes) to make sure the products are catered to you. The quiz is crucial to understanding how these factors can play a big role in your haircare.
For Catrina Yohay, PureWow’s managing editor, it was a process she really appreciated: “These types of quizzes can feel a little gimmicky, but this one felt thoughtful and purposeful. There was reasoning behind each question, which helped the Prose team create a custom formula for my hair type, needs and goals.” (While I found it extremely long, I agree with Yohay.)
The consultation also delves into specific ingredients that are often misunderstood like sulfates. Yohay adds, “We've been told for years that sulfates are 'bad' for our hair, but during the quiz, Prose explained that some sulfates can be OK if sourced properly and used in the correct amounts. I'll be honest, I love a shampoo that really lathers up. I have thick hair, so a wimpy cleanser won't cut it, and the sulfates are usually what provides that rich lather. I love that Prose isn't feeding into the hair myth media hype, and rather doing their own research and educating their customers accordingly to help them reach their hair goals.”
Once the quiz is complete, products are recommended to you based on your answers. Prose has nine core products in the line that are customized to fit each person’s needs. All three of us received a shampoo and a conditioner, but we were recommended different additions (like a mask or a curl cream) to cater to our specific hair types and needs.
It's also worth noting that each product comes with printed instruction sheets on how to use them instead of on the bottles. While it was a nice addition, it’s not super helpful when you're already in the shower. As Yohay explains, “The instructions for how to use each product came on separate pieces of paper (rather than on the bottle), which I inevitably misplaced within the first few days.” Overall, we all agree the aesthetic of the products were A+ but the lack of instructions on the bottles knocked a few points off our overall ratings.
Tester: Catrina Yohay, Managing Editor
Hair Type: Thick, Wavy
Products Used: Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Brush
“Overall, I loved every product! The scent was definitely my favorite. It felt unique and special since it was crafted just for me. I felt like I was getting a spa experience at home every time I washed my hair. The shampoo and conditioner felt so luxurious and I loved how clean and smooth my hair felt after each wash. The bottles are small (I wish they were bigger to include more product) but I wash my hair sparingly, so it wasn't a huge deterrent.”
She adds, “I'd consider buying the shampoo and conditioner again, but I'd probably skip the leave-in conditioner because it didn't impress me. I absolutely love the brush because it gets rid of knots, while leaving my hair silky smooth. It also looks adorable on my vanity—especially since it's monogrammed.”
Tester: Katherine Gillen, Food Editor
Hair Type: Super Fine, Thin
Products Used: Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-In Conditioner, Pre-Shampoo Scalp Mask, Pre-Shampoo Hair Mask, Dry Shampoo
“My shampoo seemed like a pretty standard one...very middle of the road in terms of suds and cleansing factor. I chose the botanical scent and it's nice—not too strong and a little minty. The conditioner has a nice texture, but I think it might be slightly too heavy for my fine hair. However, it does a decent job at taming my frizz. I liked using the leave-in conditioner because it's lightweight, yet smoothing and it gave my hair a little bounce. The hair mask was luxurious. It was thick and very moisturizing. I probably wouldn't use it all the time though since it did weigh my hair down some.”
She adds, “I didn't love the scent of the scalp mask (heavy on the eucalyptus), but it was tolerable. It was kinda hard to get only on my scalp and seemed a little unnecessary if you're also using a regular hair mask. And I'd probably skip the dry shampoo next time. I think because it's a non-aerosol powder, I found it messy and hard to initially distribute in my hair.”
Tester: Chelsea Candelario, Assistant Editor
Hair Type: Curly, Frizzy
Products: Shampoo, Conditioner, Pre-Shampoo Scalp Mask, Hair Oil, Curl Cream, Brush
“There were definitely a few hit or misses in the collection. Overall, I love the scent I chose for the products. I picked the botanica option, and it wasn’t overpowering—even when I used every single product. The true winners from the collection were definitely the shampoo, conditioner and curl cream. The shampoo and conditioner combo really cleansed and softened my strands, and improved the shine of my curls. The curl cream wasn’t the best I've ever tried, but it did the job of keeping my curls moisturized and defined. One of my hair goals was to get more volume and I definitely saw a difference after using these three products together.”
She adds, “The pre-shampoo scalp mask was alright. It didn’t feel like it made a huge difference to my scalp and actually felt heavy, which made it more difficult to remove before the shampoo. Once applied, I wasn’t getting the added soothing and exfoliating benefits it promised, so I think I can do without this product in my routine. Also, the hair oil was just fine. It didn’t do much to tame frizz or add more moisture than the curl cream, though I wonder if it would work better on completely dry hair?”
- Value: 16/20
- Functionality: 18/20
- Quality: 18/20
- Aesthetics: 18/20
- Customization Accuracy: 17/20
- Total: 87/100
So, did our personalized routines completely transform our hair? Not quite. But we did enjoy Prose’s customizable features. “We all have a unique head of hair that can change as we go through life. There are so many external factors that can impact your hair, many of which are out of our control. Being able to take hold of your haircare with a customizable option is empowering and I love that you can even refine your consultation to adjust your products as needed,” says Yohay.
The quiz itself helped us learn more about our hair and have a better understanding of what it might need. Even if we decide to return to our local beauty aisle in the future, it'll be easier to shop for products because we're more informed on what to look for now. For Katherine Gillen, the system is not something she’s willing to fully commit to, but it was an experience she liked trying. “I've never been particularly loyal to a single shampoo or conditioner, and I like to switch things up based on the seasons or how my hair is feeling, so I don't think I could commit. I think it makes sense to want haircare tailored to your unique needs, but because those needs can be so wide-ranging and specific, I'm not sure if a brand can really ever provide the customization level necessary for every hair type.”
So, should you try a customizable haircare line? Sure, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about your hair and you might find that it works well for you. (We’ve had friends who swear by it.) Plus, you might find haircare shopping a little bit easier in the long run.