Zahir Dossa: Function of Beauty

September 19, 2017

Function of Beauty was started in 2015 by two MIT students, one of them being Zahir Dossa. Function of Beauty caters to a customer’s specific hair needs and uses an algorithmic process to develop these personalized hair care formulations.  It currently offers 450 million different combinations based on hair type and goals. Read on to find out more about Zahir Dossa and his company:

Can you tell us a bit more about Function of Beauty and about yourself?

I completed my undergraduate and masters degree at MIT in computer science and business. I started Function of Beauty while I earned my PhD at MIT focusing on value chain optimization and leveraging ecommerce technologies for direct to consumer (DTC). I identified beauty as being the most disrupted industry and continued to study this field. I established (my first business) The Argan Tree which was very successful and expanded rapidly, however reviews from customers all gave conflicting feedback in which they personally wanted something that would make the product perfect for themselves. This led me to the idea to start Function of Beauty, a shampoo & conditioner line that gave each customer the opportunity to completely customize their own beauty products. It gives each person exactly what he or she wants out of the products they use. Using a unique algorithm based on results from each customer’s survey results, Function of Beauty generates over 12 billion shampoo/conditioner combinations and each bottle is individually filled per each individual order.

Have you always been interested in the beauty industry?

I am most interested in value chains and the possibility of ecommerce as a disruptor. Again I saw beauty as being the most disrupted industry and further pursued this field. I always loved retail and CPG but as an aside I have never been a fan of cookie cutter beauty standards and the way existing companies portray or speak of beauty. This was a way for me to respond.

What are some challenges you faced as you grew Function of Beauty? 

Convincing customers that every formulation is unique. People can be skeptical but we truly customize each bottle towards each customer’s beauty goals. Another challenge is differentiating from other companies. We strive to be personal and not forceful. We also try to scale and automate things while still making sure we are creating a personalized product for each customer.

What are your future plans for Function of Beauty? 

Expanding our product line and going internationally with Function of Beauty.

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone wanting to start their own company? 

Find the perfect biggest problem they can solve as a team.


We loved speaking to Zahir and are looking forward to Function of Beauty going international. Check out Function of Beauty here:

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  • Reply Vansh September 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Really proud 🙂

    • Reply parina September 19, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Thank you <3

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