At Glitter Guide, we are always excited about new haircare products, so when we found out about the new line from celebrity hairstylist, Kristin Ess, which is sold exclusively at Target stores, we couldn’t wait to check it out for ourselves. With 15 products to choose from in the line (cleansers, conditioners and styling products), the line was designed so that each formula can be used alone or with other products in the collection. We tested the products and are sharing our thoughts below!
Caitlin Kruse, Editorial & Partnership Director
PRODUCT: Kristin Ess Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner ($14)
HAIR TYPE: I have thick hair with a natural wave. I also dye and process it a lot, so I consider it very damaged. I recently cut three inches off, and am still getting used to styling my new longer bob. I’ve never considered myself to be much of a ‘hair person.’ I don’t keep up with getting it colored and cut on time, and I’m not the best at styling. I probably actually ‘style’ my hair two times a week.
EXPERIENCE: I was excited to try this cleansing conditioner because I’ve used them in the past with great results, but I’ve never tried one that cost more than $5. While cleansing conditioners do take some getting used to, I really think they work well if you have frizzy hair. First, this product smells great. I know some people have complained about the scent of the shampoos and conditioners in this line, saying that they’re overwhelming, but I liked it. You apply a small amount to your scalp only—the directions say that enough product will make its way to the rest of your hair as you rinse. I like this concept and have never thought of washing my hair in this way before! The product looks and applies like a conditioner, so it’s hard to feel like you’ve really gotten your hair clean because it doesn’t lather. After rinsing, you style as usual. I found that I could easily let my hair air-dry without having to put much other product in it for everyday wear. I love this because I don’t have much time to get ready! I would say that I’ll be more inclined to use this product on days I’m not planning to blow-dry my hair. I felt it did make the top look and feel a little greasy, but it wasn’t as noticeable when I let my hair air-dry. I also found I could only skip one day before I felt like I needed to wash my hair again. Overall, I really like this product and have been using it about once a week since I got it. It’s great if you want fuss- and frizz-free hair!
In this photo, Caitlin added a few waves to her hair with a curling iron and followed with hairspray.
Carrie Waller, Features Editor
PRODUCT: Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo ($10)
HAIR TYPE: Back in 2015, I bleached my hair to achieve a platinum look. I kept it up for about 10 months, but then decided to start fresh, and chopped all of my hair off to a pixie style. I’ve been growing it out ever since, and just about have it back to its original “lob” length. My hair is naturally really thin, and tends toward straight or wavy—it never holds a curl.
EXPERIENCE: Since bleaching my hair, I haven’t dyed it and have been going longer than I probably should between cuts to grow it out faster. Now that it’s almost grown out, I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually cut my hair into a style. I just started using the Kristin Ess shampoo a couple weeks ago, and love how soft it makes my hair feel. It also leaves behind a really nice shine. I blow-dry my hair every day after showering, so it’s pretty heat-damaged, but this shampoo masks that because it makes my locks look hydrated and healthy. Because I’m still growing it all out though, I’m dealing with lots of split ends. The cool thing about this shampoo is that it promises to “zip-up” split ends. It kills frizz, too, which is always nice. I do think that it’s best to use the collection as a set rather than just using one of the products at a time. My hair tended to look a little on the frizzy side after using just the shampoo, but then I added the Kristin Ess Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner ($14) to my routine, and it seems to keep the frizz at bay. All in all, I really love the shampoo. It smells like a high-end salon product and is sulfate-free, which I really love! I definitely plan to continue using it this season in tandem with the other products in the line that complement it.
Abby Sterling, Operations Manager
HAIR TYPE: My hair is thick, long, wavy with a little frizz and generally on the drier side, although recently my roots seem to be getting greasier much faster. Right now I have balayage coloring in my hair, which I’m obsessed with and plan to keep around for a bit. It took me a long time to finally grow out my hair and I’ve had it around this length for a couple of years now. I’d love to chop off a few inches soon because I only get it cut once or twice a year. I typically wash it every other day and before bed (especially since I work out after work). I pretty much never blow dry it. If I need to style for a meeting or event, I usually throw in some waves and curls with a curling iron or do a low bun or braid. I wish I was a bit more creative!
EXPERIENCE: In all honesty, I picked up these two products because I bought them the day they arrived in stores and these were pretty much the only products left. Lucky for me, I’ve really and truly loved them. I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve tried many a drugstore conditioner and while I do have my favorites, I never feel like there’s anything truly amazing about it, unless it’s a deep conditioner mask. I have to say, this conditioner is totally my all-time favorite! I was a bit surprised because the formula doesn’t feel super thick, which is typically what I use for my thick, long dry hair! It felt moisturizing and lightweight when I applied it, and it smells SO good! The next morning after my first use, my hair felt so much softer and smoother and I’ve been using it ever since. I probably need to pick up a new bottle soon!
Since I go a pretty long time in between haircuts, I’m always looking for some kind of oil, serum or cream to put on the ends of my hair when they start to look rough, dull, dry and damaged. This serum gets another gold star from me! I apply about two to three pumps in my hand and warm it up before I run my fingers through the ends of my hair. Then, with any leftover product on my hand, I gently smooth over the rest of the hair. Once my hair is dry and I’m going to style it, I’ll also add a little bit of the serum to the ends. It makes my hair look so much more polished! Love!
Taylor Sterling, Creative Director
PRODUCT: Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo ($10), Kristin Ess Reconstructive Moisture Mask ($14), Kristin Ess Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray ($14), Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray ($14), Kristin Ess Depth Defining Water-Based Pomade ($10), Kristin Ess Hydrating Curl Defining Creme ($14)
HAIR TYPE: When describing my hair, I often think of a rat’s nest (there’s a funny story that goes along this, but I will spare you the details). I have naturally wavy hair. It’s fine in texture, but I have a ton of it, so it feels like it’s thick. It’s also prone to frizz. I tend to embrace my frizz, but I still try to tame it. I typically air-dry my hair and add a bit of product to give my waves more definition. If I do heat style it, I like to use a 1/2-inch curling iron and wrap my hair around it to get those coveted loose beachy waves.
EXPERIENCE: First off, I love the packaging. It’s so pretty and looks very high-end. I also love that it’s sulfate-free. When using the shampoo, you do have to get used to it not lathering a ton. It’s a different feeling when you get out of the shower. That being said, I felt like my hair responded well to it. It helped my frizz while still giving me texture to get my waves. The Reconstructive Moisture Mask made my hair feel really nourished. I think the key for me was the Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray + Working Texture Spray + Depth Defining Water-Based Pomade. After blow-drying my hair, I added in the beach wave spray and a little texture spray to give my hair more texture and grip. Then I curled my hair by wrapping it around the curling iron and holding it for about 15 seconds. Then I loosened the curls by tugging on the ends and adding some of the pomade to the ends and rubbing them to give it a really beachy look. The photo above was 2-day-old hair with those three products re-added for some extra style. I have to say I love those three products. I also use the Hydrating Curl Defining Creme + The Water-Based Pomade for creating my air-dried waves. I let my hair air-dry naturally (no brushing!) and then work the cream into my hair by scrunching up the ends. Then I add a tiny bit of the pomade to give it more hold and it creates a more dreadlock look, which sounds scary but looks cool (I promise!). Overall, I am majorly impressed with this brand and will become a repeat customer.