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Custom Hair Care & Transformation with Formulate | AD


Disclaimer: I did receive both the shampoo and conditioner from Formulate for free, but that does not affect or change my opinion about the product.

Formulate Shampoo Conditioner 1

It’s been a while since I’ve done a shampoo or conditioner review or try-out on here. Honestly, I had just given up on my hair after using color remover. My hair was lifeless and frizzy. I could barely stand it and had been living in wigs for the blog/YouTube and had my hair in buns every day. As while the shampoo and conditioner made my hair feel soft again, it did almost nothing else for my hair. So, the idea of a personalized shampoo and conditioner that does what you need sounds amazing to me. Which is why I was extremely excited when Formulate reached out to me to try their products. As I had been looking at their site a few weeks prior to receiving their email. Honestly, I was going to try out their shampoo and conditioner system when I ran out of what I was currently using.

How It Works

Before you get your customized formula, they need to know a bit about your hair using the Formulate quiz. From your hair color, length, texture, thickness, oil level, sensitivity, dandruff, scent, goals, and climate you will be in for the next few months. All these things are taken to their chemists who create your personalized formula. You can choose between the standard 14 oz shampoo and conditioner set for $44, or the starter set of 4 oz each for $14.95. They also have an app where you can give them feedback on your formula in case things need to be adjusted or talk with someone from customer service.

About My First Formula

Now when I did my quiz, I was planning on getting a haircut before starting the system, but had no intention of cutting off more than two inches… my hair dresser did not share my opinion on that and the shortest strand in the back is like one or two inches and the longest strand in the front is now just past my chin. Not the shoulder length I originally had when I took the quiz, nor what I thought I was going to have. And my hair dresser also did a free hydration treatment on my hair considering she was insanely late to our appointment. So, my hair isn’t necessarily dry anymore. Still more hydration on previously damaged hair isn’t a bad thing, but I wanted to make note of that before getting into my experience using this system.

The goals for my hair were the following:

  1. Anti-Frizz
  2. Lengthen
  3. Mend Split Ends
  4. Curl Definition
  5. Replenish Hair

So, with those goals in mind they pointed out three main ingredients that were going to help achieve those goals:

  • Broccoli Seed Oil (Brassica Oleracea Italica): An excellent source of vitamin C & K and also contains sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant compound found in cruciferous vegetables.
  • Acetamide MEA: Enhances the appearance and feel of hair by increasing body, manageability, sheen, and improving the texture of hair that has been damaged physically or by chemical treatment.
  • Sugar/Lipid Derived Soap (Lauryl Glucoside): A surfactant (soap) that is gentle and non-irritating. Naturally derived from palm oil and corn, it has an excellent performance profile in cleansing products, getting hair and skin clean without damaging it.

Broccoli Seed is towards the end of both ingredient lists, Acetamide is at the top of the conditioner list, and lauryl glucoside is near the middle of the list of the ingredient list for the conditioner. All formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservative free, and cruelty free.

As for the scent I went with freshly squeezed which is a combination of tangerine and oranges making it a good scent for summer. It was the only scent I saw on their website that I was interested in as I prefer sweet smells but most sounded like they were more floral, so I just went with the citrus one.

My Experience with the First Formula

Being 100% honest, I was very tempted to give up on this shampoo and conditioner when I initially tried it. I mentioned that a few weeks ago in my bad haircut post I was having a horrible experience with it. My hair was greasy the second my hair dried and all my natural waves were gone. Add on the bad haircut which I talked about in more detail on that post, I was in near tears… OK, I cried a few times over it. My hair felt and looked disgusting no matter how much or little I used of the product. From half a pump to six pumps, it didn’t matter. But I didn’t give up, mainly as I didn’t have anything else to use so I kind of was stuck.

Here is my hair at the start of the process, which was the day all of my hair was chopped off more or less. I took this photo after washing my hair for the first time with the product. It wasn’t until later that day that I noticed my curls were not holding anymore and things started to go south quickly.

I worked with the team at Formulate during the entire process and they were so helpful. As they want to make sure your formula is perfect for you, which is not something I’ve experienced with other customized shampoos and conditioners. While they were nice, I never knew how to give them feedback or discuss if there were issues. During the time, I had voiced concern over the product as I did give it three attempts before commenting since they did warn me it might seem heavier at first to another three attempts later things finally changed. My hair no longer looked or felt gross, and some of my natural waves had returned. Though I could still feel a slight film of oil over it after about seven washes into the process, which was like two and a half weeks in.

Then I received a new conditioner where things got a little better. I could get through one maybe two days before feeling the need to wash my hair again. But it still felt heavy. So, I provided more feedback and received a brand-new shampoo and conditioner within a week.

About My Second Formula

Now the goals are overall the same, but the key ingredients have changed, and I can see a lot of differences in the ingredients listed for the shampoo and conditioner. So, what are the new key ingredients?

  1. Broccoli Seed Oil (Brassica Oleracea Italica): An excellent source of vitamin C & K and also contains sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant compound found in cruciferous vegetables.
  2. Wheat Germ Oil (Triticum Vulgare): Wheat germ oil nourishes and moisturizers hair. It contains naturally occurring antioxidants like vitamin E that help protect against aging and environmental stresses.
  3. Polyquaternium-37: One of the most widely-used members of the polyquarternium group and is an anti-static agent that coats the hair. It enhances the body and increases volume, especially for fine hair.

Looking at the back I do notice Broccoli Seed Oil is second to last ingredient on both lists. Wheat germ is about mid-way on the list and the final ingredient is at the top of the conditioner ingredient list. So, I do find that interesting. Again, all formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservative free, and cruelty free.

My Experience with the Second Formula

I was able to go back to showers on the second or third day again but anything past that was extremely obvious. Also, I don’t know if you can tell my hair in the back is getting longer! It’s extremely hard to tell from here but it was maybe two inches in length at the very bottom in the back. Now it’s like three inches so that makes me super happy. I don’t see a huge difference to length in the front. As for how my hair feels, it’s not half bad. I don’t think it’s super soft after use but it’s not greasy anymore. I have noticed when my hair is back in ponytails that I do have a bit of dandruff and itchy scalp after starting the second formula. Something I never had before trying Formulate. And when I mean itchy, it’s an all-day every day situation. So, I stopped using the second formula and went back to what I used before Formulate (Kristen Ess) while I wanted for my feedback to be handled the chemists.

About the Third Formula

What’s that phrase, “third times the charm”… well that’s what I was hoping for when I received the third formula. Especially considering the previous one while not making my hair greasy anymore, make it void of all moisture leading it to be frizzier and my scalp super itchy from being dry. So, let’s look at the ingredients of the third set:

  1. Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita Pepo): Pumpkin seeds are rich with essential healthy fats, antioxidants, key vitamins and amino acids which makes them a super food for hair and skin.
  2. Polyquaternium-37: One of the most widely-used members of the polyquarternium group and is an anti-static agent that coats the hair. It enhances the body and increases volume, especially for fine hair.
  3. Vitamin B5 (Panthenol): Behaves more like a protein than a vitamin. It penetrates the hair shaft and assists in moisture retention, improving elasticity and helping hair appear thicker.

I did find it interesting that Polyquaternium-37 is a key ingredient again but considering my hair became insanely dry maybe it will help. Like we’ve done with the other two formulas, let’s focus on where each of these key ingredients fall in the list of ingredients. Pumpkin seed appears at the end of the list for both. Polyquaternium-37 is towards the beginning of the list for the conditioner. And lastly Vitamin B5 is towards the beginning of the list for the conditioner but after Polyquaternium-37. I do see the previous key ingredients in the list as well, but in different order so there are differences between all the formulas. So, they are adjusting it, not that I assumed they were. I was more just curious. Again, all formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservative free, and cruelty free.

My Experience with the Third Formula

So, the very first thing I noticed when I got the new shampoo and conditioner that I didn’t receive a pump for either products. Which made it a bit difficult the first few washes as I ended up getting way too much product or ended up wasting products as the shampoo is a very thin liquid. They did send me a new one, which I got on the fourth time using the third formula. Until that wash, using more than the recommended pumps of products would still leave my hair feeling like grease. If I used the right amount, then my hair behaved like I would’ve loved to have in the last two months. It felt soft, my waves were back, and I generally felt better about my hair.

Update on the length, I can put it all in a low ponytail without any hair falling out. Which I’m beyond excited about, my hair is getting longer. I don’t believe that’s from the formulas considering everything else I dealt with using the three different formulas, but I did want to note it has grown two inches in two months. Which is the typical length hair grows. So overall, I think the third formula is the best I’ve gotten thus far from Formulate that I have received. I still experience grease feeling hair if I use too much, which is slightly annoying but when it’s the right amount it feels wonderful.


Formulate is holding a giveaway for a free custom set of their shampoo and conditioner. I do really enjoy the formula when I get the right portions of my third formula, so if you would like to try it out for yourself enter the giveaway!

Here are the rules of the giveaway:

  1. All entries have to enter through this link
  2. US Residents only
  3. One winner will receive a free set at the end of the giveaway.

And all entries will receive $5 off their purchase and free shipping from Formulate. Giveaway ends on February 28th, 2019.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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