Prose is a custom hair care brand that takes in 85 data points including scalp condition, lifestyle, styling techniques and, importantly, exactly where the customer lives in the United States or Canada.
Co-founder of Prose Nicolas Mussat said the brand uses the information on where their customer lives to make hair care formulation specifically for the environmental elements they face, like UV exposure, water hardness and air pollution.
“Multiple factors have a huge impact on your hair and scalp health,” Mussat said. “We can circumvent environmental factors with custom ingredients. One of these factors is pollution and air quality.”
When Prose was only selling in the US market the company was able to use EPA data to determine the pollution element of their formulation. As the brand expanded into Canada Mussat said they partnered with Breezometer to provide pollution data in both markets.
Hyperlocal air quality and pollution impact on hair
Recent studies have suggested that air pollution can negatively impact hair and scalp health, possibly causing hair loss, dullness and dryness. What pollution looks like can be drastically different between regions, cities and even neighborhoods.
Paul Walsh, general manager of BreezoMeter’s North American offices, said the service was originally developed to collect data points on hyperlocal air quality for health purposes like asthma management.
A hyperlocal view of air quality can be important in understanding what someone is exposed to on a day-to-day basis, Walsh said.
“Air quality is very much a function of where you happen to be,” Walsh said. “Specifically, if you're upstream from a highway, for example, your qualities can be worse than if you were five miles away from it or even downstream from it.”
He also said having hyperlocal and accurate data as the effects of climate change become more prevalent in people’s lives will be important in responding to air pollutants through all levels of health. BreezoMeter is also able to make the use of air quality data within a company, like a personal care brand, scalable.
Ultra-personalized protective formulation
The purpose of Prose’s personalization process is to make hair care products specific to a consumer’s life and with the hyperlocal air quality data Mussat said they are able to determine exactly what protective care is needed and what ingredients are and aren’t required.
“The industry can compensate for pollution, but not on a precise level for each individual,” Mussat said. “They will create a specific formula, create millions of bottles and try to sell that on the shelves. That will create loss and it will not be personalized to you, you might use additional ingredients that aren’t fitting your very needs.”
With environmental data, Mussat also said the company is able to make seasonally dynamic formulations for consumers which may change month-to-month based on pollution, UV and weather data.
Along with the environmental data, Prose feeds customer feedback into the algorithm responsible for the personalization to sharpen their formulation, Mussat said.