Do you see Facebook or Instagram ads for Prose shampoo and conditioner regularly? I tried this heavily advertised product, so you don’t have to trust paid reviews. So let’s talk about shampoo.
Prose is a “customized hair care system formulated just for you.” Prose asks you a series of questions about your hair’s texture, whether you struggle with oiliness/dandruff, etc. to create a formula to suit your needs. Then, they send you a hair care mask, shampoo and conditioner.
I’d seen Prose’s ads everywhere. On all of my social channels. On the blogs I read. In newsletters that I subscribe to. This product was everywhere. So when readers inquired about its effectiveness, I decided to give it a whirl.
I took the questionnaire and pinpointed by specific concerns — dry ends and volume. I chose an unscented formula, because I hate most product scents. And then, I waited with bated breath for my custom hair care experience to arrive.
Judging by the hundreds of glowing blogger reviews, Pinterest posts, and Instagram stories, I was expecting a great product. What I got was shampoo, bad shampoo.
To use Prose, you apply the hair mask first. Usually when you apply a hair mask, your hair feels softer and more conditioned immediately after application. But even after rinsing, my hair didn’t feel softer or better conditioned.
I was also perplexed by the ‘formula’ written on the bottle. It described my ‘custom tailored’ shampoo as perfect for smoothing hair. I have stick straight hair, and I never mentioned having texture issues or frizz in my questionnaire, so it doesn’t make any sense to me that that was the primary issue my ‘personalized’ shampoo was solving.
Then, it was time to shampoo. Opening the bottle I was hit by the smell. Unscented for Prose means “smells vaguely like the indoor pool at a Quality Inn.” I thought I would adjust to it, but even after a week, I still noticed the smell every time I opened the bottle.
Also, on the subject of the bottle, a screw on metal cap is about the dumbest way to seal a receptacle for shampoo. If you drop it, it spills everywhere. It’s easy to pour too much in your hand. And you can’t squeeze the bottle to get to the product at the bottom of the bottle.
The conditioner was also nothing special, and like the shampoo, it had the smell. So the products were zero for three.
I wanted to like Prose. All the reviews were so positive. But at $80, I better be wow’ed by your products. And not only was I not wow’ed, I was extremely disappointed. Had I paid $5 for this shampoo at CVS, I still would have found it underwhelming verging on bad.
Bottom Line: It was shampoo. It smelled weird. It did nothing for my hair, except to somehow make it lifeless. It was expensive. And I’ve rarely been so disappointed by a product. I’d take a hard pass on Prose.
I purchase all products on Saw It On Social with my own money. No freebies are requested or accepted. Because how can I decide whether a social media darling is worth your money if it wasn’t worth mine?
I’m so happy you said this. I ordered Prose and was deeply disappointed. Based on all the glowing reviews, I wondered if I just hadn’t filled out the quiz properly or something. I didn’t even finish the bottles (threw them away).
I threw them away when I moved. They weren’t even worth packing. I felt awful doing it at the price point, but there was no reason for them to take up box space. And if it really is “tailored” who am I going to give it to?
Thank you, as always, for your honest reviews!!
(For my two cents, about five years ago I switched to an 1800s-style shampoo bar and highly moisturizing natural conditioner — no sulfates, no silicones, etc. I went back to Redken twice and both times it proved how much better my hair was on the new regimen. It took awhile to get used to the shampoo bar and to see the full results (or perhaps for my hair to adjust), but now my hair is *remarkably* smoother and less frizzy and it looks great despite massively simplifying my styling time/product/effort. I’m a complete convert.)
I also really like the shampoo bar I got at Whole Foods. I was thinking about getting one from Lush. How do you store yours?
I’ve tried shampoo/conditioner bars and really been pleased. I love them for my daughter.
Do you have a link or name to these products – especially the shampoo bar?
I highly recommend LUSH’s Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar. I started using it 2 years ago and haven’t looked back!
Love this one too!
I’ve tried two brands of shampoo bars that I like. Ethique sells sampler packs on AmazonSmile/Amazon https://ethiquebeauty.co.nz. I also really like the shampoo from Package Free Shop, https://packagefreeshop.com/collections/beauty/products/meow-meow-tweet-rosemary-avocado i did not like Ethique’s conditioner bar, and I haven’t tried the ones from Package Free Shop yet.
I adore Chagrin Valley’s shampoo bars. https://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/products/natural-hair/natural-shampoo-bars/ You may need to experiment to find the right formulation for you, but she carries sample sizes. I have dry hair and scalp and some frizz, and I like the Cafe Moreno and Rosemary Mint Charcoal. I use the Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner.
Chagrin Valley is a woman-owned, family-owned company, they create a good variety of formulations, and they’re made of high-quality (and minimally fragranced) components. <3
nancy m says:
Thanks for the recommendation – I just ordered some soap!
I’ve also tried Prose, so I thought I’d throw in my thoughts. My only disagreement with your post is relating to the screw on cap (kind of). There are pump tops in the box, so you are supposed to throw away the screw on cap. The trick is that they are hidden under the part of the box that the bottles nest in. I had actually thrown the box in recycling and just kept thinking, “this is dumb–why is there no pump?” until I looked again just to be sure, and there were pumps.
Also, I got scented, and the scent isn’t awful.
Otherwise, it beyond sucks. The shampoo/conditioner is seriously meh, and the masque is actually bad. I couldn’t figure out how to work it at first–is it supposed to rinse out? Do you shampoo it out? Ultimately, it does not rinse out at all, so I shampooed it out. It simultaneously makes my dry hair oily in places and frizzy and drier in places. I’m trying to at least finish the shampoo/conditioner since I spent so much, but I don’t think I can. It’s messing up my hair. Even without the ridiculous masque, my hair has never felt so unhealthy and unmanageable as since I started using Prose.
I’m no stranger to expensive shampoo, but for that price point, I expect it to be life changing. I’m going back to my $80 a tube Oribe Gold Lust conditioning masque because that stuff IS life changing. It’s like a keratin treatment every time I condition, and it makes me feel like $80 a tube is a deal.
Either there weren’t any pumps in my box, to I just didn’t see them. Were they under the cardboard insert?
Couldn’t agree more. My hair just felt lifeless and dry with Prose. I was not into it.
Yes, they were under the cardboard insert, adding basically no weight and with no indication that they were there. It’s baffling that they would package them like that.
This might not be an issue for you (I don’t know about Spokane or Helena but my hair was amazing when I’d visit the bf in Moscow, ID), but for anyone living in the DC area or other places with hard water, I just discovered hard water shampoo and it has revolutionized my hair (I used Ion off of Amazon). My hair was never as nice as in other places, but since I moved to my new building, I’ve had flakes, and the texture was weird, always felt dry and dirty. This shampoo has been friggin amazing. My hair is so soft and manageable. I don’t know how I could only find it online.
Just FYI, ION shampoo is sold at Sally Beauty Supply. It’s frequently BOGO 50%. I use their hard water shampoo on my curly hair, and not even the D.C. water can keep me down 🙂
Ah yes, forgot about this. It’s also cheaper, at least for the smaller, regular sized bottle, there, but there isn’t one near my house. I was surprised I couldn’t find any hard water shampoos at Ulta, Sephora, or Whole Foods.
Thank you for this. My hair is looking especially dull lately. I live in D.C. I’ll try a hard water shampoo. I think a vinegar rinse also helps but don’t want to risk smelling like a pickle. 😉 Appreciate the Prose review very much, too. Also seeing the ads everywhere.
I tried the vinegar rinse thing, and it didn’t make a huge difference. For a while I was using it as a conditioner, because it worked about as well as any in-shower conditioner but was way cheaper, and I really only noticed the smell when I sweat.
You all might try switching out your shower head. Because of the hard water, gunk can build up in there, so switching that out can make a huge difference.
jill gerber says:
Thank you both. My shower head is really gunky, I bet.
Thanks Abra for this review. I was seriously thinking of buying this but thought for 8.5oz bottles it was very expensive. Now I will take a pass! Btw Function of beauty is pretty good so far but I think I’ll be trying something else next
Rachel Malis says:
Thank you! Their marketing has been so tempting but damn that’s disappointing and really expensive for such a pathetic output.
Thank you so much for the honest review.
I had the same experience. I liked the mask but I think I washed away all of the benefits with the mediocre shampoo. Thanks for the honest and helpful review!
I’ve also been seeing these ads everywhere but as someone on a budget I wasn’t going to spend $80 on a product that I couldn’t even try a sample size of first. Thank you Belle for giving us an honest review of the hype.
I used to be a skeptic about expensive hair products, but the one product I will splurge on is the Redken “all soft” conditioner…nothing else has worked for my both wavy and fine (read: frizzy AF in humidity) hair texture. I can get away with drugstore shampoo, but the conditioner does wonders. I’ve finally figured out how to scour amazon and ulta sales and invest in a giant bottle every six months or so.
I used to love All Soft and was wondering if they still made it. Thanks for reminding me!
Sure thing! I just got a big bottle on sale at Ulta, and noticed they’ve got a newer formula called “all soft mega.” Not sure what it’s like because I’m attached to the original version but might be worth a try: https://www.ulta.com/all-soft-mega-conditioner?productId=xlsImpprod17701055
Has anyone tried Monat hair products? My friend is selling it and keeps urging me to try it. I try to avoid buying from any MLM companies, and I have read mixed reviews, but my friend’s hair looks great and another hair stylist friend is selling it now. I would love to hear any unbiased reviews.
Don’t do it! Monat has several lawsuits filed against them – people have had chemical burns and major hair loss.
Also, MLM’s are the worst.
I fell for it and am stuck with having to purchase 3 orders (finally ordered my last one and can cancel my subscription.)
I’ve had dry, brittle hair since having my son. I tried three different “systems” and my hair is exactly the same. One of the systems smelled terrible and the other felt like I didn’t fully rinse the product out.
I think Monat May be best for people with fine hair who want more volume. Of the reviews I’ve read, that’s what all the users are raving about.
You do not have to buy it 3 times. You can keep pushing your order back for a year until your account expires! I’m a MONAT rep & always let my clients know that. You’re never stuck into buying the flexships. That’s BS! I have super long thick hair & I love it. I used it before I partnered w/ them for a year prior. I hated MLMs too, I was a huge skeptic. But every company has lawsuits & monat has won all of the lawsuits so far & is counter suing. There is scientific proof & was tested at a well known cosmetics testing center in 2019 with all positive results. (I can provide proof if need be) I say try it for yourself, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee & any good rep will help you if you don’t like it after the 30 days, all my clients are happy & I go above & beyond for them. Lots of reps don’t know the correct shampoos & conditioners/products to give to certain people, hence bad results. I’ve seen people say it’s good for thick hair and bad for thin & you’re saying the opposite. I say try it for yourself if you’re interested it really is honestly a good product, but everyone is different! Someones holy grail might be someone else’s worst product ever. That’s why I always try for myself first. Also, licensed esthetician here, the skin care is hands down the best I’ve ever used. (When I partnered w/ monat I hadn’t tried the skincare, I was skeptical & used my own samples & fell in love in 3 days, it’s been a year now & my skin is amazing, used to have moderate acne too) I’ve used a LOT. From drunk elephant, to tatcha, to MUAC, to AVEDA, to drug store & so much more. Everyone needs the skincare I will tell you that much. BEST. EVER. Anyone interested or who has questions/concerns can email me or Instagram DM me @laurraa_marie
If you’d still like to try a personalized shampoo and conditioner, I highly recommend Function of Beauty. I’ve been using it for several months, and it’s been a game changer.
Yes to Function of Beauty! I was nervous to try this at first because my thick hair is heavily color-treated (didn’t want to risk more damage), but wow I’m glad I did. For a “personalized” hair product experience, it’s definitely worth a shot.
THANK. YOU. Oh my god I thought it was just me. I used it a few time and then just gave up. The conditioner had no slip and didn’t seem to moisturize anything. Awful. I was so glad to see your verdict on this.
Agree on the MLM’s comments. Monat – NO. NO. NO. I succumbed to the pressure and purchased the products to gift to a friend going through chemo to go in a beauty box. Because they were safe, right? so not right. They did a lot of damage to her newly grown hair and scalp. We both felt terrible! I am not surprised there are numerous lawsuits.
Agree–the shampoo was a total waste of money. I’ll go back to my drugstore shampoo and feel 100% good about that.
Can you do a review on Beauty counter products? Maybe a few from each category? I see SO many bloggers that use it but all of them receive commission for it so I’m not sure if I trust the reviews. Thank you!!!
1. I started using shampoo for hard water when I lived in Chicago. My go-to is Paul Mitchell’s Shampoo Three which you can buy at Ulta and in PM salons.
2. T3 makes showerhead filters and you can buy them at Ulta. No idea if those or other filters work well. They may only be an option if you own your home.
3. Vinegar rinses are fine with apple cider vinegar. Do an extra quick rinse before you get out of the shower and any smell should dissipate. Don’t use straight – dilute in a large bottle of water first. Unfortunately, it makes for a cold rinse 🙁
4. My other go-to, and I find it’s more effective than vinegar, is a teaspoon of baking soda in my shampoo. It’s a natural abrasive and works with any shampoo.
Wow, so helpful, thank you. Maybe I need a new shower head with the filter you mentioned.
Kathleen H Lisson says:
Thank you so much!
Chiming in six months late to say, thanks for reviewing Prose, Belle! I’ve been seeing their ads constantly lately and was considering trying it out, but I knew I’d find an honest review here and was so glad I checked. Really appreciate the Saw It On Social series!
While this was posted in January, I’ve seen so many ads for Prose lately that I considered buying their products. Then I thought, I wonder if you had reviewed it in your “Saw It On Social” posts and sure enough – I found your review! Thank you for reviewing so many heavily advertised products. I almost went for it, until I saw your review and you’ve never steered me wrong before.
Thank you. I wish I had found your review sooner. Using this product, my hair has been falling out at an alarming rate and it did nothing but make my hair thin and lifeless. I don’t think that I have EVER been so disappointed in a product. I stopped using it and while I can see and feel a difference – the damage from this product has been done. DO NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE.
Prose does not rinse from the hair well. I noticed this washing my hair in a sink and I could see greasy bubbles going down the drain before I applied the product. My hair was breaking off horribly. I had handfuls of hair in my hands. My hair had thinned to the point where I wondered if I would need to shampoo every day. No. I rinsed my hair with apple cider vinegar and it helped immensely. I quit the Prose and now use a PH balanced product and rinse with apple cider vinegar once per week. My hair is growing as it should and I have finally gotten the crud buildup from my hair and scalp.