Function of Beauty sells expensive individualized personal care products, including shampoo, body wash and more. The brand's website claims that customers are "guaranteed a highly efficacious formula with no compromises."
But is personalized shampoo really better than regular shampoo? Is Function of Beauty worth the high cost? Does this product line contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the aesthetic effects?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in one of Function of Beauty's personalized shampoo formulations to give our take on whether or not it's likely to improve hair quality.
We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews, discuss whether or not Function of Beauty causes hair loss, and compare the personalized formulations to the standard formulations available in store at retailers like Target.
We'll also share our concerns about a safety announcement published by the brand, and compare Function of Beauty to another popular personalized shampoo brand called Prose.
We completed Function of Beauty's online quiz with random answers to get a sample ingredient list, shown above.
There are no active ingredients in this formulation that we can find research backing for, meaning there isn't a single ingredient on this list that we believe is likely to improve hair quality.
Even though the above ingredient list is a dye-free and fragrance-free option, there are still several ingredients that we recommend avoiding.
1,2 hexanediol was shown in a medical review published in the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety journal to be potentially harmful to humans:
“it is highly likely that 1,2-hexanediol is toxic to humans.”
Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative. As we referenced in our review of Kristin Ess Shampoo, this ingredient was shown in a clinical trial to be toxic to human cells.
Ethylhexylglycerin is a synthetic preservative shown to potentiate the toxic effects of phenoxyethanol in a 2016 medical review.
Overall, this is one of the worst-formulated shampoo products that we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.
That being said, this is just one randomly-generated example formulation, and perhaps others are better-formulated.
Real People Try Function of Beauty
A YouTube creator named Abbey Yung reviewed Function of Beauty after using the product line for a month, in a video with over 100,000 views:
A TikTok creator named "hannah_unlost" has a Function of Beauty review that includes before-and-after images:
@hannah_unlost #greenscreen do you guys see a difference?! #functionofbeauty #functionofbeatuyscandal #help ♬ original sound - hannah🍄✨Cleveland, Ohio
Does Function of Beauty Cause Hair Loss?
Function of Beauty has a somewhat notable amount of negative customer feedback online.
A 2021 VICE article reported that many customers were complaining that Function of Beauty products were causing hair loss.
The brand's Better Business Bureau (BBB) page is also overwhelmingly negative, with an average review rating of of 1.17 out of 5 stars at the time of updating this article.
In fairness to the brand, most companies have negative BBB ratings.
A BBB user named "Stefnie A" gave the brand a 1 out of 5 star rating and complained of hair loss:
"within the first few washes noticed a ton of my hair was falling out . I cried !!!!! I cant wash it without having clumps of hair clog my drains . I can brush it out without removing wads from the brush I cant even touch it without pieces falling out . Hair all over the back of my shirt its awful !!!"
A user named "Fe M." gave the brand a 1 out of 5 star rating and echoed similar sentiments:
"After using the shampoo and conditioner for a few months I've noticed an incredible amount of hair loss and thinning. I found no positive results in the products purchased."
The company does respond to the majority of customer complaints on the BBB website, which is a sign of a high-quality brand.
Are the Target Versions Better?
Function of Beauty is sold in standard formulations at Target, and in individualized formulations online.
A dermatologist and popular YouTube creator named "Dr Dray" shared her thoughts on which version is a better option:
Function of Beauty vs. Prose
Prose is another popular personalized cosmetic brand, so consumers are often curious about how it stacks up to Function of Beauty.
Our Prose shampoo reviews article reviewed the brand favorably, and we would recommend Prose over Function of Beauty.
Like Function of Beauty, Prose sells fragrance-free and dye-free versions of their custom formulations, but we identified a variety of research-backed active ingredients in Prose in our review, so we consider the potential effectiveness of Prose to be superior to that of Function of Beauty.
Prose shampoo is also free of questionable additive ingredients like synthetic preservatives, and the brand doesn't appear to have as many online complaints about hair loss (at least that we could find).
Questionable Safety Claims
Function of Beauty published a blog post claiming that the brand "Passed Major Safety Standards."
The article details how a for-profit company called Biorus tested Function of Beauty’s products and deemed them safe.
There is no link to the testing data or even an explanation of what was tested, so this announcement is entirely useless to consumers in our opinion, and should be regarded as marketing.
We urge Function of Beauty to publish the raw data, or at least a summary.
If the brand could prove that their products are free of toxins or contaminants, this would be useful information for consumers, but publishing an announcement of safety data results without any link to those safety data results is quite strange and unhelpful in our opinion.
Our Clean Hair Care Picks
Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo is our top shampoo pick, and only costs $7.49 at the time of updating this article.
This shampoo is formulated with effective and non-toxic plant-based compounds like aloe vera juice and argan oil. It also contains rosemary leaf oil which was shown in a clinical trial published in the Phytotherapy Research journal to promote hair growth.
Happy Head Topical is our top hair growth solution.
This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.
The brand also publishes the percentage concentration of each active ingredient, which is a sign of quality and transparency.
Pros and Cons of Function of Beauty
Here are the pros and cons of Function of Beauty in our opinion:
- Beautiful branding
- Brand offers fragrance-free versions
- Brand offers dye-free versions
- Our test formulation contained no active ingredients we could find research backing for
- Our test formulation contained some questionable inactive ingredients
- Brand published product safety announcement without relevant data
- Some online customers complain of hair loss
- Negative BBB rating
- Some products contain fragrance
- Some products contain synthetic dye