B of V Reviews: Formulate Hair Care

Ever since I can remember, my hair has been my trademark (I mean, my blog name and handle refers to my hair). I remember being three years old and having to kneel on the floor so my mom could brush my really long, curly, thick hair into a tight bun on top of my head for ballet. It was the early 90’s so I also had blown out bangs. I loved them. I loved letting my hair down when not in a tutu, even if my dad’s friends called me Gloria Trevi (that comment hurt my feelings then, but now I think it’s probably the best compliment).

As I grew up, my hair style and my hair's overall characteristics changed all the time. By my high school graduation, my hair was more wavy than anything, but still thick and to my waist. But my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis 5 years ago changed my hair dramatically. By my college graduation, my hair was thin and falling out.

Just last year I felt that my hair was getting back to it's more normal self. It grew so long it was just about to my butt and I wasn't afraid of styling it anymore. But, some new traits began to emerge. My hair was still pretty thin, it was dry, I had crazy split ends even after a haircut, and it was pretty brittle when I ran a brush through it. The worst change was that my hair, specifically the root of my hair, was always extremely oily. So oily that if I washed my hair in the morning, blow dried, straightened or curled, went about my day, and then got home in the late afternoon, my roots would be a shiny greasy mess. I would have to wash it that night or surely have to put my hair up in a messy bun for work the next day.

I tried drug store shampoos and conditioners. I splurged on salon quality products and hair masks. But nothing worked. Some even made it worse.

Then out of the beauty product heavens came Caroline from Formulate and her email asking if I would be interested in collaborating. I had nothing to lose, and the system of developing the product just amazed me. It was shampoo and conditioner customized in a lab specifically for my hair needs and goals.

The process requires you to be open and communicative with the Formulate team so that they can answer your questions and provide you with the best product possible.

The first step in the process is to take the Hair Survey. This survey will ask questions about the natural & current state of your hair. My hair is naturally brown, wavy, medium thickness, long, oily at the roots and dry at the ends. The survey will also help you pinpoint your struggles, and of course, your goals. My goals with this hair care system include mending split ends, preventing thinning, hydrating, strengthening, and the most important, controlling my oily roots!

After you submit your responses, TA-DA! Formulate's lab will get to work on a formula to help you reach your hair's full potential!

And because it takes them some time to perfect your formula, you'll have to wait about two weeks to receive your set. But while you wait, it's a great opportunity to take note of any questions or concerns you may have and ask the team at Formulate for guidance. They have been so helpful and attentive during my journey, and it has made all the difference!

Photos of my hair BEFORE using Formulate. My hair was washed and air dried.

Let’s fast forward shall we!

Upon receiving my custom set, I was so excited and already in love with the overall look of the products. The design of the product packaging is chic, minimalist and pretty cool looking sitting in the shower!

So what ingredients did my personalized hair care consist of?:

Coconut Based Soap - A gentle ingredient that "provides gentle, yet thorough, cleansing with outstanding rinseability."

Lactic Acid - A plant-based ingredient that helps "strip the hair of dirt, pollutants, and products without stripping the hair's moisture."

Sweet Almond Oil - An oil rich in vitamins A (for healthy cell membranes), B1, B6 (promote hair growth), and E (can increase circulation to the scalp).

It was reassuring to be able to learn about the ingredients in my shampoo and conditioner. I'm not usually sure what is exactly going on with that stuff because most products confuse the consumer or are flat out evasive with that kind of information. It is important to note that all of Formulate's products are sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. That alone would convince me to switch over to their products!

Also, Formulate lets you choose the scent of the product. I chose Verdant which is a mix of grass, lilies, and eucalyptus (my favorite). Other scents you can choose from include:

Green with Envy – Green Tea, Honey

Tidal – Sea, Warm Sand, Coconut

Shoreline – Spice, Citrus, Sea

At Dawn – Rose, Green Apple, Pear

And their two All Natural Scents:

Freshly Squeezed – Tangerine, Sweet Orange

Burgeon – Blooming Orange Blossom

You can also choose the strength of the scent in case you want something more subtle, or like me, prefer the scent to linger until the next wash.

Before washing my hair for the first time, Caroline let me know that I might experience a slight greasy feeling. This is totally normal when you haven’t been using sulfate-free products prior to Formulate. This was vital information to know so that I wasn’t shocked by the results after just one wash.

After my first shampoo and conditioner wash with my personalized Formulate set, my hair did feel kinda greasy, like I had quite a bit of product in it. But, it smelled AMAZING! I brushed and let my hair air dry. It was smooth and shiny, and looked so great that I didn’t even have to style it for work.

Unfortunately, after about a week and a half and 4 more washes, my hair still felt greasy, and not just my roots. I could go a bit longer than usual without washing my hair, maybe about 2 days, but barely. Around the same time, Formulate requested my feedback, and Caroline was in contact with me shortly after seeing my response. She wanted to make sure my experience was the best it could be and suggested I request a re-formulation. In other words, the Formulate lab would go back and change the formula accordingly and resend a new personalized set. How amazing is that!

Caroline told me that sometimes it takes 1 or 2 reformulations to get the product just right for your hair needs. This makes total sense and it’s the reason Formulate is next level hair care! Unlike a product you pick up at the drug store or salon that is basically one size fits all, Formulate is trying to tailor their product to you!

Photo of my hair AFTER using the first formulation. My hair was styled with a straightening iron here. No other products used.

About two weeks after submitting my feedback, I received my second set of Formulate hair care products. I was excited to try them right away! The ingredients I listed above were replaced with:

Broccoli Seed Oil - A "potent antioxidant" and "excellent source of vitamin C and K."

Keratin Oil - A "fibrous protein" that gives hair "strength and protective quality."

Aloe Vera - Enzymes that help "repair dead skin cells, prevents itching, may reduce scalp dandruff, and condition" hair.

The scent was still my immediate favorite part, but after letting my hair air dry, I realized the greasy feel had lessened! I was so happy! I had no plans to leave the house that day but styled my hair anyway!

I definitely liked the second formulation better than the first. I felt that with this new formulation, less went a longer way. My hair also felt a lot cleaner right after I washed it. Unlike the first formulation, which made my hair feel greasy and heavy, this new shampoo and conditioner did a better job of moisturizing and making my hair feel smoother without the oiliness. After washing my hair, I could brush it out with ease, and felt comfortable letting it air dry or styling it.

Now after a month and a half of using sulfate-free hair products, and 3 weeks of washing with the second reformulation set, my hair feels healthier than ever! If you’ve been following the blog, you may have noticed that I just recently dyed my hair and chopped a good 6 inches of it off. I would never have done that if I felt insecure about my hair health. And it smells so good that my boyfriend even does double takes of sorts. He’ll give me a hug, smell my hair, realize it smells phenomenally, and come in for a second hug!

Photos of my hair AFTER using the second formulation for 2 weeks. My hair was air dried and then curled here. No other products used.

I am really happy with my hair right now and feel confident that Formulate is going to continue to be the right product to meet my hair care needs. Instead of feeling that dread of “oh no, it’s hair washing day,” I get excited because I know it’s going to smell and look great for the next 3-4 days before the next wash!

If you are interested in trying Formulate for yourself, first of all, YAY! Second, enter my GIVEAWAY going on in collaboration with Formulate! You’ll be in the running for a chance to win your own personalized hair care set from Formulate shipped to you completely FREE of charge! Here’s the link: https://www.formulate.co/u/brunette_of_vantes

Or, if you’re interested in getting started right away, check out Formulate.co to learn more and take the hair survey! You can also download the Formulate app for quicker access wherever you are!

Have questions, concerns, or comments regarding Formulate or my experience with using their products? Ask away! We’re here to help!

In the meantime, I’ll be over here doing endless hair flips as I patiently wait for you all to discover how amazing Formulate can be for your hair!

-The B of V

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