Jane Feddersen

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About the Author

Jane Feddersen

Jane is a former DI student-athlete and lifelong health enthusiast. Since graduating from College of Charleston where she played both indoor & beach volleyball, Jane’s spent the last four years building her marketing career with experience in project and partner management. Outside of work, her nutrition certification, dog, travel and yoga flows keep her busy.

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Formulate Shampoo Review: Is Custom Shampoo Right for You?

In this Article

In this Article

Jane Feddersen

No one wants to waste time trying a thousand different shampoos. Like, hey, this one has nice packaging and smells great, but yikes, it contains an allergen. And that one feels wonderful on your hair, but the scent isn’t the best. Or maybe you finally find one you love, but then you dye your hair purple, and suddenly need a color-safe option.


If you’ve ever spent an embarrassing amount of time squinting and scratching your head over the few selections offered in cosmetic aisles, you’ll know that hair care isn’t one-size-fits-all. At least, that’s what the marketing says.


With so many wellness companies tailoring products to individual needs in categories like personalized nootropics, skincare, vitamins, allergy meds, and more, it comes as no surprise that hair care brands can now craft custom formulations for your scalp, as well. If you’ve tried a million shampoos or simply want to avoid unnecessary trial and error, personalized shampoo may be the way to go. 


Formulate is a science-backed leader in personalized shampoo and conditioner, ushering in the “chemist-to-consumer” trend. They are attempting to put an end to the oversold, trend-driven gimmicks that promise results for all, and instead deliver something that’s actually tailored to your individual needs.


Join us as we peel back the layers and review Formulate’s personalized shampoo and conditioner offerings for women and men. We analyze the ingredients and cost, as well as compare Formulate to alternative options – so you can determine if personalized shampoo is worth it for you.




Why personalized shampoo and conditioner are worth considering 


Stepping away from the best-for-all approach, personalized shampoos are similar to standard hair wash products. The key difference is that they consider customers’ input when being formulated. They first ask you to take a quiz to determine the unique ingredients needed for your specific hair type. These quizzes inquire about your hair texture, dandruff, color, oiliness, and current daily care routine, as well as your goals.


Pretty much all shampoo products remove dirt and oil residue from hair while occasionally moisturizing and smelling nice. Personalized shampoos, however, strive for more profound changes in scalp and follicle health by including active ingredients that help alleviate dandruff, dryness, lice, and other common conditions.


Similarly, individuals with allergies who prefer more control over their shampoo ingredients may benefit from personalized formulation. 


That said, shampoo personalization isn’t just for people actively looking to solve a scalp health issue. It also allows you to choose your preferred scent and color, and even get your name printed on the bottle – so no one else can mistake it as their own! Thus, whether for medical reasons, dissatisfaction with your current products, or just a general recognition that there may be a better way through customization – personalized shampoo is a new trend that offers serious benefits. Once you try it, you’ll probably never go back.



Review of Formulate – is it legit?


Source: Formulate


As we hope is clear by now, Formulate is a completely customized shampoo and conditioner manufacturer that engineers custom formulations specifically for you. They aim to make the hair care shopping process as simple as possible, so you don’t have to be an expert on common hair care ingredients and formulations to craft the perfect blend.


Their handy online quiz/survey simplifies the process by gathering feedback about your hair type, scalp sensitivity, and how oily your strands get. Based on your responses, you will be assigned a chemist to personally recommend an initial formula. Formulate is not the ONLY company to do this, of course, and we’ll discuss how they compare to competitors in just a bit.



How does Formulate personalized hair care


Source: Formulate


To get started, you take a quiz at formulate.co/join. Even though it’s in-depth, the quiz is super easy (it’s all about your hair and your routine – and who knows that better than you?) and takes less than 15 minutes. I found it fun, actually, because it also helped me more deeply consider what I wanted my hair to look and feel like – something I hadn’t spent enough time considering before.


You can select up to five core goals including deep conditioning, thermal protection, strengthening, oil control, and split end prevention. These are just a few of the options that I chose for my own formulation.


After providing details about your hair ranging from color and texture to the overall results you want to achieve, you can also chat with Formulate’s support team and make any changes to your fragrance. After all, your hair goals aren’t set in stone, and it’s only natural that they evolve over time.


Source: Formulate


One of the most interesting parts of the quiz, in my opinion, is when it asks for your zip code. This allows Formulate’s cosmetic chemists to pinpoint where you reside and tailor the formulation to your home turf’s humidity, average temperature, and climate. After all, the weather has a large impact on our overall hair health! Formulate’s hair quiz even considers what type of water your home uses, as this influences the shampoo’s capacity to lather and clean your hair thoroughly.


Furthermore, Formulate’s quiz is interested in what brands of shampoo and conditioner you’ve used lately. This informs your personal chemist about the substances that your hair reacts well to, as well as the types of cleansers that your hair has grown accustomed to.


Source: Formulate


Overall, the consultation process asks just enough questions to fully address your hair and scalp concerns. In case they overlooked something, there is a notes section at the conclusion where you can add your own remarks. If this all sounds like overkill, well then, personalized hair care may not be for you. If you’re curious how well all of this personalization actually works to achieve more beautifully-smelling and flowing locks, continue reading.



Can you customize your Formulate Shampoo scent?


Source: Formulate


When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, scent is many consumer’s more important criteria. Specifically how it makes your hair smell, and just as crucially, how long that scent lasts as you go about your day.


Formulate let’s choose from twelve different fragrances, ranging from flowery to fruity. And should you desire one that lasts all day, Formulate lets you specify your scent’s strength. With the flexibility to adjust the scent level, it’s simple to keep your hair smelling fresh for as long as you desire. It is also appealing for those who are particularly sensitive to certain odors since there’s also a fragrance-free alternative. Remember, we’re all different!



Formulate shampoo ingredients


Source: Formulate


One of the best features of Formulate is that each bottle is:

  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Cruelty-free


During your consultation, you can modify it further to exclude other ingredients that you’re allergic to, such as silicones, nuts, gluten, or go totally vegan. Since every formulation is personalized, it’s only after you’ve completed your order that you’ll be able to see your individual formula (and all of its ingredients listed transparently) in greater detail in your dashboard. Formulate deconstructs each active compound and its specific role in targeting your hair objectives.


Another great service provided by Formulate is that the team periodically contacts you to check on your level of satisfaction with the product, allowing you to ask questions about the ingredients in your formula and ensuring that you aren’t stuck with something suboptimal. They will ask you a few questions about the scent, shampoo, and conditioner. And if the product isn’t working 100% as hoped, a Formulate Chemist will work with you to make tweaks.



Formulate’s packaging and delivery


The chemists at Formulate understand that you might not need your new shampoo right away, which is why you get to choose your own shipment timetable. It’s important to note that this is a subscription-based service, which means that it will continue to send out refills based on your preferences. You can cancel their memberships any time before your next order has been freshly made.


When you place your initial order, you can specify whether you want the product delivered immediately or if you need extra time to finish your current set. You have the option of waiting up to 4 weeks for your delivery – especially useful if you’re relocating or traveling.


What’s really cool about their shipping calendar is that you can see the dates on which your formula is planned to be made. That gives you peace of mind that your shampoo hasn’t been sitting on the shelves collecting dust.


Source: Formulate


Your Formulate box is delivered directly to your door. Its sleek geometric pump bottles are not an eyesore in your bathroom, and they even include braille for anyone visually challenged. You’ll also get two pumps to help you easily apply the shampoo and conditioner. The entire experience made me feel fancy, which is a mood that we all need from time to time 😉


Source: Formulate


How much does Formulate cost?

Formulate’s customized shampoos and conditioners cost $19 for 4oz, $39 for an 8oz set, and $49 for a 14oz set. Initially you must order them as a set, but you can reorder them a la carte thereafter. Shipping is free on all orders.


How does that compare to non-personalized shampoo? An 8oz set of custom shampoo and conditioner costs more than what you might find at a drugstore, but about the same as any shampoo purchased at your local hair salon. The key difference, obviously, is that Formulate creates a solution that’s bespoke for your individual head.


Source: Formulate


It’s not just Formulate’s ingredients and scent that are customizable, but also its quantity. If you use a lot of conditioner and very little shampoo, for instance, you can request a larger conditioner container and a smaller shampoo bottle. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, they also allow you to try a small set before committing to larger quantities. Over time, assuming you enjoy the product, you can always save by buying in bulk, which means repurchasing less frequently, and less overall waste.



Formulate Alternatives: How does it compare to other personalized hair care brands?


As we mentioned before, Formulate isn’t the only brand offering the promise of personally formulated hair care products. We’ve previously compared many of the best personalized hair care brands in an in-depth review, and today we’ll compare Formulate vs Prose vs Aura head to head.

Best Personalized Shampoo Brands: Formulate vs Prose vs Aura

How they personalizeOnline quizOnline quizOnline quiz
Types of custom hair care?Shampoo, Conditioner & Scalp SerumShampoo, Conditioner, Hair and Scalp Mask, Hair Supplements, Curl Cream, Dry Shampoo & OilShampoo, Conditioner, Pigments & Masque
Available for?Women & MenWomen onlyWomen only
Price of shampoo and conditioner$19 for 4oz each $39 for an 8oz set $49 for a 14oz set$23.80 for 8.5oz Shampoo $23.80 for 8.5oz Conditioner$28 for 10oz Shampoo $28 for 10oz Shampoo
Number of scents available1266
Fragrance free option?
Continuing chemist alterations to the formula?
Subscription available?
Free shipping?
Recyclable / reusable packaging?
Locations available?US onlyUS onlyUS only
Other custom care services?Custom skin care

Formulate Reviews: What are other customers saying?


While we appreciated our experience customizing shampoo with Formula, there appear to be a lot of other satisfied customers based on an abundance of glowing reviews online. That said, not everyone found the perfect formula on the first try. Some endured some trial and error, which is where Formulate’s highly dedicated customer support really shines. Here are some testimonials we gathered from various sources online:


Source: Reddit


Source: Reddit 


Source: Formulate.co 



The Verdict: Should you try Formulate?

Formulate offers an exciting way to change up your hair care system. When was the last time you could literally talk to a chemist about what you want for your hair? Probably never. Traditionally not even celebrities have had access to something like this. Plus the stakes for giving Formulate a shot are low – you can buy a starter set for just $19 to sample your personalized shampoo formula and see if it’s right for you. 


Formulate has a reassuring vibe about it, which stems from its hair care quiz. You may also contact your allocated chemist using Formulate’s mobile app if ever you’re concerned that the formulae aren’t the perfect fit. Their specialists will devise a new recipe to send over based on your feedback. Lastly, if you feel like the conditioner isn’t doing much for your hair, Formulate lets you order shampoo separately, so you never feel locked in. 


Is Formulate the best personalized hair care brand relative to competitors like Aura and Prose? We love their in-depth personalization process and wide variety of scents. Their customer service is also top-notch, offering you quick and unlimited access to a chemist to help perfect your personalized compounds. Pricing-wise, Formulate isn’t the cheapest BUT they do offer the least expensive trial option. So all things considered, Formulate is indeed our top choice for anyone looking to try personalized hair care for the first time.


Have you tried customized shampoos and conditioners in the past? If not, are you willing to give them a try? Let us know in the comments below.


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About the Author

Jane Feddersen

Jane is a former DI student-athlete and lifelong health enthusiast. Since graduating from College of Charleston where she played both indoor & beach volleyball, Jane’s spent the last four years building her marketing career with experience in project and partner management. Outside of work, her nutrition certification, dog, travel and yoga flows keep her busy.

Learn more
Jane Feddersen

Jane Feddersen

Jane is a former DI student-athlete and lifelong health enthusiast. Since graduating from College of Charleston where she played both indoor & beach volleyball, Jane’s spent the last four years building her marketing career with experience in project and partner management. Outside of work, her nutrition certification, dog, travel and yoga flows keep her busy.

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