It’s no secret that Kristin Ess has been a favorite haircare line for me. You’ve seen me use her products a lot in hair tutorials like my everyday beachy waves and this hair pin in several tutorials. I’m not sure why there’s such an obsession for me. I just love her account from the simple hair tutorials, beautiful packaging and honestly, affordable and effective products. I love when things don’t have to cost a ton to actually get the work done. Have I mentioned, they all smell AMAZING?
If you’re not familiar with Kristin Ess, she got her start many years ago as Lauren Conrad’s counterpart on The Beauty Department. It’s a beauty focused website sharing tips and tutorials from makeup to hair to skin. I used to check it ALL the time and it inspired me to try lots of fun things. But since then, she’s branched out and made a whole name for herself. As a hairstylist to the stars (Lauren Conrad, Lucy Hale and Jenna Dewan to name a few) she knows a thing or two about beautiful hair!
I’m so obsessed that I’ve pretty much bought everything that can be used on my hair type. From the working texture spray which was my original purchase and something I’ve bought time and time again, to thickening sprays, the at-home gloss and more.
Kristin Ess Reviews
I’m sharing my honest reviews of all the Kristin Ess hair products and tools I’ve personally tried. A few things to note, I didn’t love everything, but I loved most of it. There are die hard favorites in this list like my working texture spray and blow dry mist. But I was unimpressed iwth the Air Dry Creme and at home gloss situation.
Here’s the deal though. For a Target beauty collection, this is quality stuff. All of her products contain Zip-Up Technology which is their proprietary strengthening complex designed to “zip-up” split ends while targeting weak areas of the hair, smoothing the appearance of damaged cuticles and helping to protect hair from environmental stressors and color fade. She’s a hairstylist to the core and knows we want to see results, quality products and not break the bank. And I love that! So let’s get into these reviews!
Cleanse & Condition
Signature Shampoo & Conditioner
This was a more recent buy for me and I had a bit of a rough start with it. The shampoo didn’t lather and was insanely runny. I ended up messaging Kristin Ess herself about it to see if it was normal. I knew it couldn’t be since several friends swore by it. She responded promptly and said there was a bad batch and they’d send me a new one. Such customer service! The new batch was perfect and lathered just like shampoo should. The sulfate free shampoo and conditioner smell a lot like the rest of the collection but not AS good. There’s something different about it. The collection also offers a leave-in conditioner that’s supposed to be great! However, I just use my DIY hair mask instead.
Dry & Wet Styling
Working Texture Spray
This is hands down my most favorite product in the collection. The working texture spray is something I use almost daily. It adds volume and grit to your hair which for someone like me who has heavy hair that’s super shiny, is helpful to get that look I want to achieve for my beach waves. Plus, it’s great for adding in before you do any sort of hairstyle from braids to buns. It helps to create a bit of hold and a soft matte finish. Plus, it smells great! Apply this product into the root from the middle up to the scalp. See how I use this product here.
Beach Wave Spray
My second favorite product and one that goes hand in hand with the working texture spray. The beach wave spray is to be used on dry hair to give that separation for truly beachy waves. I use it from the middle of the strand down. Just a light spray over your waves is all you need. Unlike other beach sprays, it isn’t crunchy AT ALL and instead your hair feels soft. You’ll also always use this on dry hair. Great for all hair types too. See how I use this product here.
Air Dry Creme
This product is ideal for curly haired people. I have a bit of a wave to my hair and I was really hoping this would let me live the air dried hair life to its fullest. Sadly, it really didn’t. But, I will say it did not leave my hair crunchy or gross. So if you have decent curls, I’d say give this a try as it’s hair smoothing and frizz calming!
I’ve been pretty loyal to my Klorane Dry Shampoo for years. But the Kristin Ess Dry Shampoo is a fantastic affordable option that I love. I can’t get over the smell, it’s so damn good. But most importantly, it really does help to soak up excess oil. Check out this post on how to properly use dry shampoo!
Blow Dry Mist
I never blowdry my hair without this stuff. This helps to cut down drying time, adds shine, is split end smoothing and super lightweight. It’s designed for all hairtypes so go on and grab yourself a bottle of this. I do about 4-5 sprays and then comb it through my wet hair before drying.
I was really excited when Kristin Ess’ scalp collection came out. Typically we don’t even think about our scalps and that’s exactly why she came up with this collection. The scent is totally different from the original collection’s signature scent. It’s got a bit of a coconut smell to it and it’s amazing.
Exfoliating Scalp Scrub
I keep this scalp scrub in the shower and use it about every other week. It’s actually gentle enough to use every time you wash your hair. But I don’t use a ton of products and don’t have a lot of buildup. This product helps to remove flakes, product build-up, excess sebum, and hard water deposits from the scalp. The gentle exfoliation with sugar to keep natural moisture in tact. Just use the nozzle to get into the scalp, use circular motions to work it in, then rinse it out. I only use it in areas of the hair I typically see build up which is where any dry shampoo gets sprayed.
Scalp Detoxifying Bubble Hair Mask
Oh I wanted to love this product but I didn’t. And it’s mostly because it’s just a pain to use. You have to shake the living hell out of it to get it to come out in the right foam consistency. It’s definitely a cool experience as it goes on and feels cool to the touch and then starts to pop and crackle like your favorite childhood candy. Once it’s done crackling, it’s ready to wash out. Use it before you get in the shower with dry hair. I just think this product is a bit difficult to use. And unless you have a TON of buildup, just use the in shower Kristin Ess Exfoliating Scalp Scrub.
French Hair Pin
You all have seen me use this french hair pin time and time again. It’s easy to throw your hair up into a half knot, bun, or this fun party style. Her hairpin was a part of a gift set but she’s coming out with 3 permanent ones for the collection!
See 4 ways to use the Kristin Ess French Hair Pin here →
Comb & Clips
I of course picked up her comb and clips because they’re rose gold and oh so pretty. The comb is great, it’s the only way to brush your hair when it’s wet if you ask me. As for the clips, I have a love hate relationship with them. They’re metal and I have found that they can pull a hair strand or two if I’m not careful. However, for someone like me who has a ton of heavy hair, it is the first ever hair clip that has held my hair! I usually have to use several to hold my hair up when blowdrying and styling it. These are powerful!
I don’t think I can speak to this well because I was not a great candidate for her glosses. My hair is naturally very shiny and the only reason I would ever need to gloss my hair is to tone my old balayage. Since I was terrified of screwing it all up, I did the signature gloss that just adds shine. It didn’t do anything. Why? Because my hair is shiny AS HELL. However, after seeing all of her before and afters from real customers, I do think these work. I just wasn’t a good candidate. I should’ve tried the Bitter Sweet to tone my color. It’s definitely a great affordable option to keep your color looking fresh in between salon visits.
Products I Have Heard Amazing Things About But Haven’t Tried
There are a slew of her products I still haven’t tried. For good reason though, I don’t need them. I know, it’s sad. I really want to use the Kristin Ess Temporary Rose Gold Tint but I am not a blonde. It did, however, inspire THIS blog post. Plus, if I was blonde, I would 100% use her Purple Shampoo, I’ve heard it’s amazing. Also, I already own one too many curling irons so I haven’t tried hers but I do hear they’re AWESOME.
Photos by Hannah Lozano