I’ve been trying to do a better job at shopping at places other than Amazon, and at smaller businesses altogether. That is along with my general commitment to be more eco-conscious, especially given the city I live in, which doesn’t actually recycle its recycling, just takes it to the dump. I tend to take my cans and number 1 plastic to an actual recycling company, and I cry about the other plastics and glass that I end up hoarding and then having to trash because this is America and we make it exceedingly difficult to even attempt to rectify the major climate damage we do simply by living here.
The other great thing about patronizing local and small businesses is that their products necessarily and rightfully cost more than stuff at discount mass retailers like Target and Amazon. I make minimum wage, hi, so what this does is force me to be more mindful and discerning about the purchases I make overall. When I choose those stores and businesses, I’m not just choosing to avoid big boxes and internet giants, I’m also choosing not to overspend in general. That’s a good thing.
Okay, so that’s my soapbox. Anyway, I also have sensitive hair, due in part to its being curly and fine, and also because I have nutrient malabsorption and a terrible immune system, which means my hair is the last place to receive any vitamins and minerals I take in, whether from food or supplements. So I try to be as clean as I can with hair products.
Enter Prose, a company that does custom hair products based on your profile, taking into account everything from texture to scalp health to your zipcode and its specific allergens and pollution levels (I know, right!?). They ask about your diet and allergies to make sure nothing will trigger anything bad in you, whether emotionally, politically, or physiologically. I have some allergies not listed on their options, and when I emailed about it, they were very clear about what they could and could not take out and said they would make manual notes on things that I wasn’t able to put in their survey but wanted to avoid (oats, in my case).
You’ll notice up to now I haven’t even talked about the product itself–it’s great. I currently buy the pre-shampoo mask and the conditioner. I skip the shampoo just because in general, I only shampoo once or twice a week, so I have a backlog of samples to take care of, and like I said, I make minimum wage. I’ve also not tried the oil yet, which is a newer product in their line. I’m sure it’s great, though. I try to use the mask once a week and make it part of my post-swim lesson routine. I hang out in the pool with a six-year-old for an hour, then I go home, quickly rinse my body and wet my hair, scoop out some globs of mask, and then run a bath and sit with the mask in for about thirty minutes while I read a book. Then rinse, shampoo, condition, and out. If I’m running short of time, I’ll do the mask and maybe skip the shampoo and conditioner until tomorrow, and even then, my hair is the softest it’s ever been in my entire life (unless you count when it’s soft because it’s so dry and I’ve finger-combed it to within an inch of its life, which I do when I’m anxious and I worry that maybe I have trichotillomania, but mental illnesses that I have are another blog post entirely). Masks are nothing new, but in my experience, it’s rare to have one that’s so refreshing that my hair still feels light and soft afterwards, not heavy with remnants of oil and lotion. Good stuff. Since I started using Prose, I’ve barely needed to touch my leave-in conditioner, even on days I don’t condition in the shower at all. And I use less gel and oil when I’m styling than I did in the past.
This stuff is not cheap, but it’s worth it. As if the quality weren’t enough, they have such great customer service that I actually tell people about it apropos of nothing, even when I’m not talking about my hair. Once I was charged twice, and before I could even notice it myself, I had an email from them telling me there had been an error and they would be refunding my card. They answer every question on their Instagram feed. They respond to emails very quickly. Once they sent me a little package with a set of branded, empty travel-sized bottles so I could put my product in them when I went out of town. And their ads have a lot of diverse models on them. All of these things make me even happier to spend nearly my entire beauty budget on hair stuff.
I was not paid or even asked to write this review. I just really like them, and I think not only do good companies deserve good reviews, but as a woman of color and person with lots of ingredient restrictions, I like helping my fellow of-colors and ingredient-restricted friends out.