Review | Function of Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner

If you’re struggling to find the perfect shampoo and conditioner for your hair, it’s probably because they don’t exist – yet.

Function of Beauty 2.jpg

Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to Function of Beauty, a company that lets its patrons customize their shampoos and conditioners to suit their hair types and needs. She described it as “kinda bougie, but 10 outta 10 would buy again and again.” And I’d have to agree. While the price tag isn’t pretty, my hair sure is – and healthier, too!

I don’t have the best luck when it comes to hair. Thanks to genetics, my hair is super fine and limp, so I can’t keep it too long unless I want to look like the girl from The Grudge. And because it’s thin, it tends to get oily – like Professor Snape-level greasy – by day two. To top it all off, I have to deal with an over-sensitive scalp once every couple of years. Just the thought of finding a product to address those concerns gave me a couple of grey hairs (and another problem).

On my search for a new shampoo and conditioner duo, I’ve run into extravagantly overpriced products that, for some reason, contain harsh ingredients that do more harm than good. Suddenly, spending a little over $30 on products that are both free of those toxins and fully customizable didn’t sound so bad.

Function of Beauty 3.jpg

The main question: is it worth it? The price is probably the most off-putting part for many people, myself included. And while I’m glad that I’ve had a positive experience with Function of Beauty, I first had to get over how gimmicky it sounds; seeing Facebook ads for it didn’t help either. If you’re still on the fence about Function of Beauty, I hope this walkthrough and review of the brand and its products help you make a decision that you’re confident with!  

About Function of Beauty

Founded in 2015 and developed by two engineers from MIT, Function of Beauty celebrates individuality by producing shampoos and conditioners specifically tailored to the unique hair types and needs of each customer.  They use their own algorithms to create personalized formulas, with 12 billion possible combinations.

Function of Beauty 9.jpg

All formulas are free of sulfates, parabens, and toxins. They’re also cruelty-free and, as of March 2017, vegan-friendly. However, they do contain silicones. By taking the hair quiz, customers are able to pick and choose their formulas based on hair type, hair goals and personal preferences like colors and fragrance.  

Taking the Hair Quiz

When you first go to their website, you’re greeted with a punch of color and an invitation to take their hair quiz. As long as you know your hair type and what you want out of a hair care product, the short questionnaire should be straightforward.

Step 1 | Build Your Hair Profile

Here, you select how your hair naturally looks, how thick the strands are and how dry or oily your scalp is – you know, all the basics.

Step 2 | Select Five Hair Goals.

This is where things get interesting because you have 17 hair goals to pick from. When you click on each goal, a bit of text shows up at the bottom explaining what that goal entails and what key ingredients are used to achieve it.

You can select up to five goals. And if you’re unsure of what to pick, their customer service is available to answer any of your questions.

Step 3 | Customize Your Formulas (aka The Hardest Part)

Alrighty, you’ve decided on what your formula does, so it’s time to choose how it looks and smells! You can pick the colors of the shampoo and conditioner separately, or you can forego the color altogether and choose the dye-free option. Do keep in mind that the same colors can appear slightly different from what you see online because each formula is unique.

Next, you have the scents. I wish we had the technology to smell fragrances through a computer screen, but the descriptions are fun and pretty spot-on. While they don’t have an unscented option yet, you can choose the strength of the fragrance.

Lastly, you name your hair products. When you get them in the mail, the box and the bottles will say “function of – (your name)”. You can enter up to 10 letters, but no special characters.

Step 4 | Choose a Size and Frequency

If you know that you use up your shampoo faster than you do conditioner, this step takes care of that. You can get them both in the same size or different sizes, but you can also purchase the products individually.

And if you like the products and see yourself using them in the long run, you can order a subscription to have them shipped every one to three months, depending on your hair length. That’ll save you 10 percent, as well!

Shipping and Packaging

As of now, Function of Beauty only ships to the United States and Canada, but they’re working on expanding worldwide. Shipping and returns are free. And if you don’t like the products, you can get a full refund within 30 days.

UPDATE [02/2019]: Shipping now costs $5, unless you choose a subscription option.

I got my order remarkably fast for something that’s personalized. It was ordered, produced, packaged, shipped and delivered to my doorsteps all within 5 business days!

Function of Beauty 4.jpg
Function of Beauty 1.jpg

I also love the detail put into the packaging. The box, which arrives in protective plastic, is a lovely light blue-green with the name of your product printed in the front. When you open it, the first things you see are the bottles and a little pamphlet explaining the unique formula and their recommended use. Below the white cardboard placeholder, you’ll find bottle pumps and some postcards. I ordered mine early January, so the box also came with winter-themed temporary tattoos.


They’re all nice touches, but let’s get to the important part: the quality of the shampoo and conditioner.

One Month Check-In

I love and hate that it works so well. On one hand, my hair has never been softer, stronger and healthier. On the other, it means regularly spending over $30 on hair products. Maybe I should just keep my hair short so that I’d only need to order every couple of months.

Function of Beauty 8.jpg

function of anhthology

hair profile | straight, fine and oily
hair goals | strengthen, volumize, shine (accidentally), nourish roots and oil control
others | blue for both, hibis(kiss) medium strength in 8 oz bottles

When I first used it, I actually lost more strands of hair than usual. Whether that was because I introduced a new product or because those were doomed to fall anyway, I don’t exactly know. But after just a week, I noticed that my hair felt a lot softer and that less of it was falling out.

A little goes a long way, so after nearly a month of using them every three days, it doesn’t look like I’ve gone through much. And yes, I said every three days. The shampoo and conditioner definitely helped with oil control, so I can now go longer between washes and still look socially acceptable (#finehairproblems). I can’t say there’s a noticeable difference in volume, but my hair and scalp both feel healthier and more nourished.

I went with the hibis(kiss) which is a little too sweet for my taste, but it has a lovely fruity scent underneath the cotton candy and bubblegum. At medium strength, the fragrance lasts for a good three days.

All in all, I was one happy camper, and I’ll certainly be repurchasing – probably with a more ridiculous name, though.

In Summary

Before I made the switch to Function of Beauty, I used Nature Gate’s Tea Tree Calming Shampoo. And although its gentle formula kept my scalp happy and healthy, I quickly got sick of the smell, and my hair didn’t feel as soft as it was when I was younger (but to be fair, that probably has a lot to do with my lifestyle habits).

Your diet, stress-levels, and habits play roles in the way your hair feels inside and out. But when you need a product or two to really make it shine, and if you have the budget to do so, I recommend Function of Beauty.

Pros: gets the job done, fully customizable, free of parabens and alkyl sulfates, cruelty-free, fast and free shipping

Cons: contains silicones (if that’s an ingredient you’re trying to avoid), price, potential user error, only available in the US and Canada for now

To get the most out of Function of Beauty products, you really do have to understand your hair and what it needs. The price may be relatively steep, but you’re paying for the convenience of not having to research and test a bunch of other products, as well as the option to pick and choose exactly what you want your shampoo and conditioner to do.

Plus, you can have your name printed on a formula specially made for you, so that’s always fun.

I hope this review covered a bit of everything about Function of Beauty. I can’t say much beyond my own formula and experience, but I’d be more than happy to answer other questions about them. Otherwise, for more info, feel free to stop by their website and give the hair quiz a go!