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Why I’ve Had Three Different Custom Shampoo Formulas This Year

BY Laura Casciola

Going from dirty blonde, to blonde, to red in six months could be seen as an identity crisis. I prefer to call it self exploration. Either way, it was all a lot for my hair, which needed different care at every stage of each dye process. I fully relied on function’s customization to easily, and without too much research, meet my hair’s needs with every new formula (there were three). Let me talk you through the process of updating your custom formula when it suits you, and how to consider the changes you might need.

My original custom shampoo formula

My dirty blonde, natural hair is straight, super fine, and pretty oily. At its best, my hair is manageable and air drys neatly. At its worst, it’s flat and so smooth that it’s tough to style or hold a wave. My top pick hair goal has always been ‘volumize’– I love anything that makes my hair look fuller and more bodied. For the same reason, I include ‘oil control’ as a goal, but stay away from goals like ‘hydrate’ and ‘deep condition’ (my hair doesn’t need any more sleekness). For goals three to five, I picked ‘lengthen’, ‘strengthen’, and ‘nourish’ to keep the little hair I have as healthy as possible. 

So, here’s my first custom formula in its totality:

Profile: Straight, Fine, Oily

Goals: Volumize, Oil control, Lengthen, Strengthen, Nourish

Fragrance: Nude (P)each medium

This formula always really worked for me. Since I first started using function shampoo almost two years ago, my hair has been less flat– it’s just a fact– people in my life even comment on it. I use my conditioner less often, just because of my whole anti-smoothness thing. But I make sure to use it on my ends once a week or so to healthily hydrate.

My blonde custom shampoo formula

So what changed when I went blonde? There are a few things to consider. First of all, bleaching your hair literally breaks apart your proteins, making your strands damaged and more rough. This sounds like a negative, but it’s actually recommended by stylists to people like me with really fine smooth hair to add texture. You have to be okay, though, with the idea of damaging your hair a bit (I was). There are two major changes I made to my formula post-bleaching, which were adding ‘reduce brassiness’ and ‘fix split ends’. ‘Reduce brassiness’ is a hair goal that automatically makes your shampoo purple shampoo– if you don’t know about purple shampoo get the run down here. The basic idea is that the violet tones in it counteract any brassy tones that might come up in your blonde color over time, keeping it cool and ashy. I added ‘fix split ends’ to help with the original point I made about bleaching: hair breakage. 

So, here was my new custom purple shampoo formula:

Profile: Straight, Fine, Oily

Goals: Volumize, Oil control, Strengthen, Reduce brassiness, Fix split ends

Fragrance: Nude (P)each medium

My red custom shampoo formula

So where does the red come in? Truthfully, I was underwhelmed by the blonde. Not that you’re reading this for a tell-all on my life, but seeing myself as a blonde again after so many years brought me back to associating myself with a much younger version of me. I felt past it and wanted to explore what 27-year-old-me looked like. My (incredible) stylist mixed my strawberry color and the minute it was set and dried, I could tell my hair was not only a different color but a different texture, as well. The full-head dye is known to be very smoothing (I know, my worst nightmare) so all of that great texture from my previous bleaching felt immediately gone. To be fair, it’s come back a bit since after a few weeks of washes, but in general my hair is back to being smoother than it was when it was blonde. Since my formula is already focused on keeping my hair textured, I didn’t have any real change to make in that department, but I did get rid of ‘fix split ends’ and ‘reduce brassiness’ and replace them with ‘color protection’. ‘Color protection’ is different than ‘reduce brassiness’ in that it’s meant for any color rather than just blonde. Luckily, I LOVE the strawberry color I’ve got now and want it to hold up for as long as possible, and the ‘color protection’ goal seems to be working so far. The final change I made was to add ‘thermal protection’, not because I dyed my hair but because the season changed and with the chilly weather, I’m more likely to blow dry my hair regularly.

Here’s my current custom formula:

Profile: Straight, Fine, Oily

Goals: Volumize, Oil control, Strengthen, Color protection, Thermal protection

Fragrance: Nude (P)each medium

In conclusion

I love nude (p)each. But really– customization doesn’t mean an obligation to switch up your formula all the time. If I hadn’t dyed my hair this year, I would have probably been okay with my formula as it was for much longer– I might just update to and from ‘thermal protection’ based on the season. But in general, customization does mean the ability to adapt your formula when the mood strikes you, in a way that doesn’t include too much research around ingredients since function’s experts handle that for you. Planning to dye your hair soon? I hope my story helps. Planning to keep it the same forever? Amazing! Enjoy making no tweaks, small tweaks, or changes in your color or fragrance. The goal is to put you in control of what fresh mix is created specifically for you.