Formulate Review: Is Custom Shampoo and Conditioner Worth the Hype?

*This post is in collaboration with Formulate. I received the products mentioned for free to review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support College with Caitlyn.

We all know I never wash my hair, but when I do, I only use products I know will keep my hair looking great for the five or six days I don’t shampoo. But I decided to take a risk and try out a new product. For the last five weeks, I’ve been using custom shampoo and conditioner from the new company Formulate.

I had super high hopes for Formulate’s formula (oooh that was fun to say) because they specifically engineer your shampoo and conditioner to account for your natural hair, your hair goals, where you live, and your lifestyle. Sounds promising right? So let’s get into this review.

formulate custom shampoo and conditioner


No sulfates. Sulfates are the things in shampoo that make your hair feel knotty and slick while trying to wash it. I haven’t used a shampoo with sulfates in years so I was glad to find out Formulate doesn’t use sulfates. Formulate is also free from preservatives and parabens and is cruelty-free. These are all super important to me because I try to live as natural a life as possible and try to live as vegan a lifestyle as possible.

You choose the smell and they are all as strong as you want them to be. I chose medium and it’s not overpowering, but you know how in books people in love say their crush’s hair smells like oranges or something? Well, since I chose the Freshly Squeezed scent, my hair really does smell like oranges for the first day or so after washing!

The different scents they have are : Green with Envy (green tea and honey), Verdant (grass, lilies, eucalyptus), Tidal (coconut, sea, warm sand), Shoreline (spice, citrus, sea), Freshly Squeezed (sweet orange, tangerine), Burgeon (blooming orange blossom), and At Dawn (green apple, pear, rose).

The packaging is so aesthetically pleasing! I love how they kept it simple with the alternating black and white on the shampoo and conditioner bottles. It just looks high quality right away. And plus, black and white is so me, so love that!

They customize the formula to fit your hair and your needs taking into consideration where you live and the weather there. How cool is that? And let’s say your formula doesn’t feel right the first time around? They’ll tweak it and send you a new set for free! And if you still aren’t satisfied, they’ll issue you a free refund. Talk about amazing customer service.


It may be difficult to get your perfect formula. As amazing as the chemists at Formulate are, they can’t be perfect and always get your formula right on the first try. You may have to deal with the team a couple of times before you get your perfect formula. But if that’s something you’re ready to deal with, I guess that really isn’t a con.

My first formula may be a little off. That or they told me to use the wrong amount on the pamphlet that came in the box. Sometimes, not always, after I wash my hair it feels like there’s a film on my hair and it’s greasy on day one. Like I said, this might be because I’m using too much and not washing it all out, or it might be because it’s a more natural shampoo and when your body is used to more artificial things, adjusting to natural ingredients can be hard. Like switching to natural deodorant.

I’m not sure if it’s one of those two issues, or the formula is really off. I only wash my hair about once a week so I’d honestly need a few months to figure out which one it is, but Formulate is a brand new company that I’ve been talking about since June, and I wanted to get this review up and out for your research!

Update: I did some research and found that your hair can feel “filmy” if you use too much conditioner or if it’s too strong. I definitely think I’ve been using too much conditioner because I use it to cover all the hair that would be in a ponytail, but you’re only supposed to put it on the very ends of your hair. Little hair advice for ya. When I stopped using the conditioner and just the shampoo I had no issues! Seems my conditioner was just a little off.

The last con I thought of was that while it did make my hair feel thicker, it also made it much more prone to knots and getting tangled. My comb would be filled with hair after showering even though I had already taken out enough hair to make a small cat (TMI? Lol oops) while washing my hair.

Did I achieve my hair goals?

When I took my hair quiz I listed the following five things as my hair goals: anti-frizz, volumize, improve scalp health, oil control, and straighten.


I’ve always had an issue with frizzy hair. It’s been a combination of damaged hair from over styling and the humidity I’ve had to deal with since moving to Kentucky. I really wouldn’t say my frizziness level changed at all while using Formulate. Not better, but not worse, so I can’t complain.


Lately, I’ve felt like my hair has been falling flat. I’m always self-conscious of my roots being flat because I feel like it makes my hair look oily and my head look big.

Using Formulate definitely added some more volume back into my hair! It also made my hair feel thicker and hold a curl even better than it used to. Which is saying something since when I curl my hair it’s wavy, if not curly, for at least five days.

Scalp Health

The one huge downfall of going a week without washing your hair is your scalp health. By day four my scalp is usually so dry and itchy and gross. While using Formulate that gradually started to go away. I’m day four in right now while writing this and my scalp doesn’t feel bad at all. I definitely think this was the best thing Formulate did for me.

curly hair after formulate

Oil Control

Oily hair comes quickly when you go a week without washing your hair while working out three or four days of that week. I was actually quite disappointed with Formulate’s ability to control the oil in my hair. There’d be times when my hair would be oily right after I literally just washed in. There’s no way this had to do with using too much conditioner because I didn’t put that anywhere near my roots and I made sure I washed out all the shampoo real good.


I’ve always wanted to have my natural hair straighter. I’ve tried other shampoos that were supposed to straighten with no luck. My hair is technically naturally straight, but it’s also poufy and wavy in some spots. I like to describe my natural hair type as poufy because it’s not fully straight or wavy. I was hoping Formulate could help with this, but I honestly didn’t see much improvement over the last five washes.

Overall Thoughts

I love the idea and passion behind Formulate. Any brand looking to make my life easier, and with such great customer service has me backing them. Especially if they care about natural lifestyles as much as I do. Plus, they even labeled the bottles in braille! How freaking cool is that for people who need that?

I will continue to use what I have left in the shampoo and conditioner bottles. Which is quite a bit since I’ve only washed my hair five times in the five weeks I’ve had it. Saying that makes me think the price tag is worth it for sure.

A set of custom Formulate shampoo and conditioner bottles will cost you $39. Mine was estimated to last 10 and half months since I wash my hair once a week. That would be about 90 cents a wash. Sounds legit to me.

If you want to go ahead and sign up for multiple shipments, you can also do a three shipment order for $99, which was estimated to last me 31 and a half months. So over two and half years. Can you imagine never having to worry about if you have enough shampoo and conditioner for two and a half years? I don’t know about you, but I’m always forgetting I’m out of conditioner so that sounds like a dream to me.

formulate giveaway


The team over at Formulate is great enough to let me host a giveaway for one of you to win your own custom bottle of shampoo and conditioner! Just go to this link here, and enter my giveaway! It’s closing on November 9, 2018 and Formulate will be picking the winner. Go sign up now and you’ll also get $5 off your order even if you don’t win!

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Formulate Review: Is custom shampoo and conditioner worth it?

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