Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
Prose is a luxury personal care company that sells personalized products. Consumers can buy custom-formulated shampoos, conditioners and more based on their skin type and other factors like age.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Prose topical and supplement formulations to determine if their products truly are safer and more effective than mainstream personal care products.
Unlike most personal care reviews, our articles take a strictly analytical approach in regards to the health benefits or risks, since qualitative factors like whether a product feels or smells good are totally subjective.
We aim to tell you whether the products are likely to be effective based on medical research, and we believe there are significant health concerns with ingredients used in many popular products as we’ve outlined in prior personal care and cosmetic brand reviews.
Prose Ingredient Safety
Prose lists every ingredient they use for all products on an Ingredient Index page on their site. The company states their formulations are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils, GMOs and are cruelty-free.
Parabens and phthalates are classes of hormone-disrupting chemicals which can mimic estrogen in the body based on medical research. Even if the amount absorbed is low, we believe these chemicals should be totally phased out of personal care products due to the health risks so it’s a good start that Prose avoids them.
Prose also states that based on consumer preference during the individualized product selection, your formula can be made vegan, gluten-free, silicone-free, dye-free or fragrance-free.
We would recommend that consumers consider making all of their formulas fragrance-free, because fragrance is a broad and lightly-regulated term that could refer to a host of different chemicals.
Some chemicals used to make fragrance are safe and some are not, but if all you see on the label is “fragrance” you have no way to tell. It was the fragrance inclusion in nearly every product that led us to not recommend Dr. Squatch cosmetic products, which were otherwise well-formulated.
We would also recommend consumers consider going dye-free, since hair coloring products have been associated with cancer in at least one medical study.
If fragrance and dye are avoided, we find Prose’s formulations to be very safe. Most of the ingredients are actually edible food products which proves a low toxicity risk, like corn starch, chia oil, flax seed extract and more.
This is the first personal care products company that we can approve for safety to date, since all of the other companies contained at least one potentially harmful ingredient.
Prose Ingredient Efficacy
Safety is just one part of the equation; whether a product will actually work is the other. There are several ingredients that Prose uses which we would recommend considering for your personalized formula, since they’re proven to be effective for hair quality.
Biotin has been proven in medical studies to be effective for hair loss and hair quality generally. The studies in the linked article looked at oral biotin supplementation rather than topical use, but the use in personal care products may still be effective due to transdermal absorption. Biotin does effectively absorb through the skin based on a medical study.
The main chemical compound in green tea (EGCG) was effective in vitro (test-tube study) for human hair growth enhancement in a medical trial, and green tea water is one of Prose’s ingredients.
Hibiscus is another ingredient which seems like it may be effective as part of a natural hair quality product, because research has shown that it may act to enlarge follicular size when part of a topical hair product.
Jojoba oil is an effective natural conditioning agent and one of Prose’s ingredients. Research has shown that it provides protection to hair thread, and improves breakage resistance when added to a hair formula.
Prose offers hundreds of potential ingredients, and we can conclude from the highlighted selections above that many of the ingredients they offer are effective for natural hair quality improvements. The company appears to source their ingredients based on medical research, which is uncommon for personal care products companies in our experience.
Prose Hair Supplement Review
Prose offers a hair supplement called Root Source with customized ingredients like their cosmetics offerings, but we want to focus on one trademarked ingredient which they’ve actually subjected to clinical studies called PureCatalyst.
In 2020 a medical trial was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology proving that supplementation of this compound improved hair condition and reduced hair density that was in in the telogen phase, which is the hair cycle phase associated with near-future hair loss.
This study was placebo-controlled and double-blinded, which is the medical gold standard for unbiased results.
Prose also funded another study finding that their supplement improved hair growth and hair quality, but this one was published in-house and not in a scientific journal (which has publication standards and criteria for inclusion), so we’d take the results with a grain of salt.
Root Source is the first cosmetic supplement we’ve reviewed to date which we’d recommend because it’s backed by science and uses non-toxic ingredients which we’ve reviewed earlier (Prose selects from the same set of ingredients for their supplement formulation that we reviewed in the topical formulations above).
We recommend Prose because their formulations are both safe and effective for natural hair quality improvements.
This is the only cosmetics company to date that we’ve reviewed that doesn’t include fragrance in their formulations. We find these formulations to be much more non-toxic than what you’ll find from most commercial personal care product companies, and they should also make your hair look better (on average).
We recommend both their topical products and their hair supplement called Root Source.
We look forward to a future where more cosmetics companies are conscious of consumer health and the ingredients in their formulations.