Kristin Ess: The Queen of Instagram Hair and Her Line at Target
I have been madly in love with Kristin Ess since high school. I was introduced to her through The Beauty Department, a blog that was co-founded by Lauren Conrad, her hairstyle Kristin Ess, and her makeup artist Amy Nadine. The site focused solely on beauty and it was the first time I had experienced beauty blogging. As a beauty fanatic it was my favorite site to see tutorials on fun easy hairstyles, learning about the best waterproof eyeliner, and so much more. Unfortunately the blog no longer is updated (but I highly recommend you still hop over there sometime to check it out) as Lauren started her own site and the 100s of other businesses she owns, #bosslady. I was sad to not have my Kristin fix anymore, but thankfully with Instagram I can now stalk her daily.
If you've ever been on Kristin's instagram or follow Lauren Conrad you have seen some of her amazing hair creations (you can see my favorites above!). Her work seamlessly blends the styles of California beach culture with the sophistication of the East Coast. So she pretty much creates hair magic. In early 2017 Kristin debuted her haircare line that sells exclusively at Target (like we needed another reason to spend all our money at Target) and they literally flew off the shelves in a matter of hours. I have tried 11 out of the 15 products she has come out with (again, bye bye money) and will probably pick up the other four in the near future as well as any other products she comes out with in 2018.
My favorite things about the line are the incredible color palette, awesome packaging, it's SUPER affordable, and its convenient availability at a retailer like Target. Keep reading for all my thoughts on the products I've been using and loving.
Cleanse + Condition
I was a bit nervous about the shampoo and conditioner because it is marketed as clarifying and immediately I jumped to the conclusion that it would dry out my already dead and fizzled hair and leave me with a dry scalp that produces a little snowfall on my clothes every time I touch or scratch my head. Though it's clarifying, Kristin writes on the back that it can be used daily and to use only a nickel sized amount on the scalp. I did as prescribed by the Queen and it lathered beautifully for a sulfate-free shampoo. I followed up with a second cleanse, which is something I do every time I wash. *Sidenote - if you don't double cleanse your hair already, start now! The first cleanse cleans the product buildup and the second cleanses the scalp and nourishes the hair. You'll be able to extend your washes and have a cleaner and healthier scalp which will benefit your hair growth and health.* The scent in all of Kristin's products is a bit strong and perfume-y. I wasn't the biggest fan until a few weeks into using the products I noticed how much I loved it and how the strength of the scent really clings to the hair and keeps it smelling fresher than any other shampoo I've tried. She got a bit of backlash on the scent, so I wouldn't be surprised if she comes out with a new one in 2018. When it was all cleansed my hair felt very clean but soft at the same time. I highly recommend this shampoo to everyone with all hair types and at only $10 a bottle, you don't have a lot to lose.
The conditioner had the same scent as the shampoo and the consistency was the perfect balance of not too thick and not too thin. I used a little more, okay maybe a lot more, than a quarter sized amount - is there really anyone who doesn't use almost twice as much conditioner to shampoo? - and smoothed it over the length of my hair and wrapped it up in a small bun while I shaved my legs, washed my face, and other shower tasks. I keep a wide-tooth comb in the shower and brushed through my hair to detangle and also distribute the product all over. My hair was incredibly soft and smooth and didn't feel heavy whatsoever. The shower experience of both products was amazing but the true test is always that first blowout. I blew out my hair without any of my usual products to really see what the shampoo and conditioner did and to my happy surprise it blew out really well. My hair was smooth with usual amount of volume, didn't leave my hair static-y at all especially since I didn't use any of my other products, and felt weightless.
Cleansing Conditioner - $14
Cleansing conditioners are a must for anyone with curly hair or particularly frizzy hair, I'm lucky enough to have both, yippee for me. This product is the most recent I have tried out. I only use cleansing conditioners if I had just washed my hair the day before or if I'm wearing it curly (which is not very often, to be honest). I followed the directions by applying a nickel sized amount to the root and scalp of four sections of hair and massaged it all around. Because a cleansing conditioner is a combo of both shampoo and conditioner it doesn't lather at all, so the first time may seem a bit weird. I usually wouldn't blow dry my hair after using a product like this but I decided to try it out. I was really nervous my hair would be too heavy and have possible buildup but again I was happily surprised how well it blew out! It was really shiny and smooth and now I'm a cleansing conditioner convert.
If there is one thing to buy from the Cleanse + Condition line it's the Reconstructive Moisture Mask. Not only is the pot incredibly cute but the formula of the mask is amazing! It has a really nice slip that makes the hair super smooth in the shower and out. Because I have such dry and damaged hair I use a mask every time I wash. I focus it on the bottom third of my hair and put it in a bun to let it sink in and do its magic. If you want a more intensive mask you can put it on dry hair and put a shower cap on for 30-60 minutes, you'll look funny but your hair will thank you, when the timer rings hop in the shower and continue with your normal routine. I love love love this mask and can really feel the difference it makes to my hair. It feels and looks less dry and I really do believe it has helped repair the damage. If you see it at your local Target grab two or three because these are always sold out!
Working Serum - $14
My love for serums run deep, hair, body, face, if there's a serum for it I'll buy it. Hair serums add great shine and smoothness and can be used on both wet and dry styles, which makes them incredibly versatile. The Working Serum is a really nice consistency that doesn't feel like it sits on dry hair or adds weight to wet hair. All serums tend to do the same thing and act the same way so it's hard to tell the if it's actually doing anything unique. I decided to put the serum to the test against another serum by using each on a different side of my head. After I finished blowdrying I didn't really see or feel a difference between the two, so if you're using a serum that is more expensive than this one you could save a couple bucks and switch, but if you already found your one true serum love you won't be missing out.
Leave-In Conditioner - $10
Leave-ins are probably the most important product to any haircare routine post-shower. They fight frizz before it begins, add different nourishing benefits depending on the ingredients, most have UV protection for any heat styling, and detangle your hair in preparation for your next styling steps. One of the problems you can often run in to with leave-ins is the spray, nothing is worse than to get a shot of thick product right in the ear. This product is thin so it doesn't add weight and the spray has a nice even mist to delicately coat the whole head. Because of its many rave reviews I was hoping this leave-in would beat out my favorite Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray, as its $28 price tag isn't my wallet's fave, but unfortunately it just didn't out perform Living Proof's. If you're currently looking for a new leave-in I'd still recommend giving this one a try at its budget-friendly $10 price.
Curl Defining Cream - $14
Even though I have curly hair I rarely leave it in its natural state, because of this I am VERY picky about curl products for the rare occasion that I do decide to wear it naturally, I want it to look good, duh. One of my least favorite effects of curl products is that they are usually overly gelly which then make me look like I have wet noodles for hair. Not sure when the wet noodle look was ever popular, but it'll never be a look you'll see me sporting. This product truly has a cream texture that hydrates the hair and smooths the frizz with no wet noodle in site. I have particularly frizzy hair that seems to never want to be tamed and although I've never found a product that eliminates 100% of it, this one gets rid of about 75% which is a winner in my book.
Volumizing Mousse - $14
The only type of mousse I like is chocolate served with berries and whipped cream, and that fact still stands after trying the Volumizing Mousse. I have never been a big hair mousse fan but it's been on the rise the past few years and hairdressers swear by it, so I decided to give it a try since I hadn't been disappointed by any of Kristin's products yet. It acted and distributed like your standard mousse, but the reason I returned it the next day was because when I went to blow dry my hair it was SO hard to pull the round brush through my hair and it made a strange squeaky noise while I did it. It took twice as long as my usual dry time and when it was all done it looked stiff and just didn't feel right. If you are a hair mousse lover please tell me what I'm doing wrong or what mousse is life changing, because I'd love to try out some new ones. Until then I guess I'll stick to the edible form.
Dry Styling + Finishing
Working texture Spray - $14
The Dry Styling + Finishing portion of the line is by far my favorite! I am obsessed with texture sprays and since I'm not a Kardashian my budget doesn't allow for an endless supply of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray so I'm always on the hunt for a comparable dupe. After trying a good handful of products, I think this texture spray is one of the best. It sprays evenly and not too aggressively while leaving the hair with a good grit that allows for volume. You can use it on both the lengths of the hair and the root and holds the style really well even without a finishing coat of hairspray.
Beach Wave Spray - $14
I can whole heartedly say that this is the BEST product of the entire collection, if you only want to buy one thing make it this one. The Beach Wave Spray is unlike any product I have ever used! If a salt spray, texturizing spray, shine spray, and dry shampoo had a baby it would be this product. I like to spray this on after a blow out to add some body and on second and third day hair to revive it. But its shining moment is when it's used on curled hair. It adds this beachy element to the curls that creates a piecey texture that looks like you spent all day on a patio of a cafe in Malibu, and isn't that always the look we are trying to create ladies?
On my forever quest to find the perfect hairspray, I'm so glad I stumbled upon this one. It has an amazing fine mists that doesn't clog the nozzle EVER. It also has a slight aroma of the line's signature scent which is so nice compared to the usual chemically choke-inducing scent that all other hairsprays share. My favorite part of the product though is in the way it performs, it's light but builds nicely without creating the inevitable crunch and still allows for some movement. If you're looking for a new hairspray, this one is a must try!
Final thoughts, if you're going to buy any two products make it the Reconstructive Moisture Mask and the Beach Wave Spray. Once you've fallen in love with those two, I have no doubt you'll be running back to Target to pick up more from the line.
Are you as obsessed with Kristin Ess as I am? Let me know in the comments below what you think of her new line!
Shop the Post
See these products and more on my shop page!