The ONLY Product You Need from Kristin Ess' Scalp Line at Target

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My loyalty to Kristin Ess and her line at Target has been well documented on the blog and evidenced even clearer at home in my bathroom. A review of her initial launch was one of the first posts on the blog and with each and every launch I rush my Target in haste like millions of other women around America. We are ruthless, ladies. After just one day on the shelves, most if not all of the products have already been ransacked!

In Ess’ newest line, she teased us A LOT on Instagram. The woman knows how to build hype! The five product lineup was focused all on scalp. Helping ease dry itchy winter scalp, get rid of product buildup, and conditioning the scalp to perform at its best so we can then grow beautiful Instagram hair, worthy of the “kween” herself. Being the beauty obsessed person that I am (this blog wouldn’t exist without this obsession) I of course bought every.single.product. Even making one online order and trips to both Targets in my town! I was dedicated. I put all five items to the test over the past two months and I’ve made some very definite conclusions — you only NEED one of the products. I’m sad to say, that the majority of this line just didn’t wow me or work for me. As a self-described beauty investigator and someone who very much relies on thorough reviews to make a purchase, I’m going to review all five products from worst to best. I hate being a negative Nelly, especially about products made my someone I admire in the beauty community, but what I hate even more is wasting money and I’m pretty sure you do too.

To preface: just because these products didn’t work for me, it doesn't mean they won’t work for you. To help you make a better buying decision based off my reviews, I have fine hair that is naturally curly, color-treated, and damaged. My specific hair concerns are frizz, dryness, and product buildup (I only wash my hair about two times a week). So if you identify with a majority of that, there is good chance that these products also won’t work for you, but if you have thick, coarse hair, and battle an oily scalp, you might be better suited for these products. And don’t worry, I’ll tell you which ones I recommend in the reviews below!

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This foam masks that sounds and feels like pop-rocks when dispensed was designed to lift and clean the scalp of product buildup pre-shampoo. While the concept makes sense, execution is missed. It is SO HARD to actually get this product on the roots!!! Putting it into your hands, like you would mouse, means most product ends up on the lengths of your hair. Squirting it straight onto the roots means using half the bottle in one session. When it is actually on the roots and then rinsed out, I expected a clarifying effect that would leave my hair squeaky clean but instead it was just a tangled mess and actually caused pain during the rest of my shampoo routine. I was not surprised to see the low ratings on Target.com.

Who might this work for? No one. Please don’t buy this.

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Kritin married two tried and true hair formulas - milk and oil - to create a bio-phase styling treatment that would hydrate and protect the hair. I wanted to like this product so badly, but after the 42304th time trying it I still wasn’t in love. On the packaging she says you can use this on your scalp to help hydrate it, but I would NOT recommend that. When on the scalp, you’ll be left with a greasy mess that even the driest of scalps can't recover from. On dry hair I found this to make my hair too wet even when I used the littlest amount. Wet hair is the only time I noticed a difference. I dispensed one dropper full and worked it through the mid-lengths and ends of my hair before blowdrying. It made my hair smooth, soft, and shiny, but even so, after a month it still sits in my cabinet easily looked over by other products.

Who might this work for? Someone with thick, coarse hair that struggles with shine. Thin haired girls STAY AWAY.

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Every hair company is coming out with a scalp scrub these days, mostly after seeing the wide-success of the OG of scalp scrubs, Christophe Robin, but that one is a million dollars (not really but sorta). So to give the people what they want while also allowing them to keep their savings in tact, the semi-premium and drugstore brands are delivering. Kristin’s is a bit different from traditional scrubs in that she uses sugar instead of salt to not over dry the scalp. She also suspends the sugar in a jelly consistency for a more soothing and easier application process. Like the bubble mask, the concept makes sense, but the execution is missed. Even with the pointed tip applicator, it’s so hard to spread the product particularly in the crown and back of the head. It is very easy to target the hairline and nape of the neck though. I don’t hate this product, but I like other products on the market better. I would highly recommend the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo (which I like better than Christophe Robin’s!). Be advised: You will still need to shampoo as usual after!

Who might this work for? This would work for someone with thin hair or a very sensitive scalp. I do not think it is strong enough for anyone with thick hair.

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Yay finally a positive review! I love Micellar technology and find it ultra effective to clean the face of makeup and dirt without drying out the skin. Kristin was very smart to use this technology for the hair!! This consistency is very liquid-y so the pointed tip is perfect to dispense it right on the scalp. It lathers beautifully, almost like a traditional sulfate shampoo. The one thing I would disagree with the claims of this product is “deep-cleansing.” When I see deep-cleansing I think of clarifying but this is definitely not as strong as your traditional clarifying shampoos. Like Kristin suggests on the back of the bottle, I would rotate this between your favorite shampoo and a clarifying one so think second/third day level of dirty, whereas your clarifying shampoo would be for five/seven day level of dirty.

Who would this work for? Anyone! I think this is a very good product, but is definitely an “extra” product to clutter your shower.

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We’ve finally reached the one product you NEED from this entire line. The thought of putting conditioner on the scalp usually horrifies us, because we have been conditioned (see what I did there?) to think that it will cause greasy weighed down hair. But without ever conditioning the scalp, we can leave it dry, tight, and itchy, especially during the winter months or in the summer when you’re in the pool, ocean, and sun more often. This mask is truly magic because it really is weightless. It’s not as heavy as your traditional conditioners (which is on purpose) so that’s why it is so safe to use everyday, truly! If you have pretty damaged strands like I do, I would suggest layering a heavier mask on the ends. Tip: Throw this mask into your beach bag and apply it on the hair before taking a dip (create your best low sleek bun a la Blair Eadie) to protect your hair and prevent those awful after pool tangles.

Who would this work for? Everyone!! Especially anyone with a tight and dry scalp.

And there we have it folks, a very thorough look into Kristin Ess’ scalp line. I’m very curious to know if you had the same struggles I did or if you are obsessed and I’m missing something. Let me know in the comments below or slide into my DMs on Instagram.

All images sourced from kristinesshair.com.

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