If you are a 1. woman and 2. breathing, chances are that you love shopping at Target as much as I do. Because if I’m sure of anything, it’s that Target is the MOST lovable superstore ever created. It’s a universal truth, right? We love it because we can shop for (superior) groceries, clothing, housewares AND cosmetics all in the same run. We love it because it offers in-store snacking, for a class act shopping experience — Hellllooo, Target popcorn and Starbucks! We love it because going there feels like a mini vacation. A vacation from life. And we really (really) love it because Target collaborates with big-name designers, offering us exclusive and affordable lines. And quite honestly, knowing that these designers give Target the stamp of approval just feels good, like we’re a part of the club, you know?
So as part of this club we’re all in, I’m sure you heard that in 2017 Kristin Ess brought her line of celebrity-endorsed hair products to Target. And we all freaked out about it. Because it’s affordable luxury! Salon quality, for way less. Kristin Ess, celebrity hair stylist, has won our hearts with her “cool girl” line of products that fits any and every hair type and texture.
A couple things to know about the line:
1. Even if you had no idea who Kristin Ess was before the Target launch, I bet you noticed her products as you were casually browsing the aisles, because her products are simply gorgeous. They’re sleek and chic and just so. freaking. good. They’ll look as beautiful on your counter as they’ll look in your shower. Pieces of art, I tell you.
2. The packaging colors she chose aren’t by accident, either— they’re color coded. That blushy pink means you use them for cleansing and conditioning IN the shower. White product packaging is for wet hair and will repair and detangle after the shower. The gray are for styling wet hair. And black are for dry hair styling— those are your finishing products.
3. Each product will cost you between $10-$14. For real. Hands in the air #hallelujah.
4. Each Krisitn Ess product is formulated with “Zip-Up Technology.” This strengthens stands and “zips up” split ends, smoothes the cuticle and makes everything glossy.
5. Kristin Ess has written fun and breezy product descriptions on the back of each of her products. I genuinely had so much fun reading each of her descriptions! She shoots it to you straight and explains things the way a best girlfriend would. She writes why she loves it, how she uses it and further, she offers tutorials on how to use each product on her website. She’s got us all covered.
Since the launch in 2017, she’s continued to add products into the collection and now boasts a hefty 26 products! Each better than the last. But here is a list of my most favorites and why.
Dry Finish Working Texture Spray ($14) - Dry texture sprays are today, what side-swept bangs (that cover your eye) were in the early 2000s. EVERYTHING. A dry texture spray provides that perfect undone, lived-in texture we’re all dying over. This texture spray reminded me so much of Oribe’s texture spray (my holy grail) and costs a small fraction of the price. Dooooo it.
Style Defining Shine Pomade + Edge Control ($10) - Honestly, one of the most underrated beauty tools is pomade, in my opinion. I feel like sometimes it’s reserved for shorter hairstyles or men— but this just isn’t the case. I use pomade to smooth down any flyaways. I use a little (on a toothbrush) to comb down my baby hairs, that never seem to grow. And when I want a sleek ponytail or top knot, pomade is my BFF. This pomade is one of the best I’ve encountered, no joke. It doesn’t leave my hair tacky or gummy and it does its job well. It holds anything down I’ve given it. My high ponytail stays tight and sleek all day and night. Winner, winner.
Reconstructive Moisture mask ($14) - I use this weekly and love the deep hydration it offers. I apply in shower, leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse out in lukewarm/cool water. 20 minutes seems long, but it’s worth it! Shave your legs, sings show tunes, step out of the shower for a bit— but 20-30 minutes is always my secret for hair masking rituals. Your hair will feel instantly softer and thanks to the Zip-Up Technology, your hair will also feel smoother and less broken on the ends.
Weightless Shine Working Serum ($14) - This is a product that I grew to love. TBH I hated it at first. Really hated it, but only because I didn’t read the product description. I assumed it was a hair oil and should be smoothed on dry hair post-styling. This isn’t the case, as I later learned. Use it on towel-dried hair, focusing on the ends of your hair. That’s the game changer. **Also mix it with the pomade (mentioned later) to create a rad cocktail for textured hair.
Weightless Shine Air Dry Creme ($10) - This is another (much needed) product that I used while in Hawaii because it offered me that wash-and-go style, perfect for a beachy life. It gives you shine, separation, and texture (i.e. beach girl wavy hair) that I loved rocking! I have natural wave, but this product can be used on curly AND straight hair as well. Apply when hair is half-way air dried, then scrunch as needed.
Signature Shampoo ($9.99) - I love this shampoo because it leaves your hair feeling ultra, squeaky clean, but it doesn’t strip it the way some shampoos do. The product is called “The One,” which is so fitting because it’s a kind of one-size-fits-most shampoo. I’m convinced 90% of everyone who uses this will adore it! (And the remaining 10% are covered by another one of Ess’s shampoos). You’re left with soft, shiny hair that you’ll be smelling all day. And the scent is killer, guys! So amazing.
Frizz Management Cleansing Conditioner ($14) - This cleansing conditioner is meant for gals with wavy, curly or frizzy hair. Essentially, hair that lacks natural moisture. A cleansing conditioner is treated as a shampoo— since using a typical shampoo on hair already lacking moisture would strip and dry it further; causing more frizz. I used this cleansing conditioner while I was in Hawaii a couple weeks ago, since my desert-born hair tends to freak out in humid environments. I was very relieved to have Kristin’s product description on the back of this one because she get’s into a detailed “how-to” which involves sectioning the hair in certain way and a specific application method. *Note: After using a cleansing conditioner, your hair won’t feel the same as when washing with regular shampoo. It won’t feel as… for lack of a better word, clean? Even though it IS clean. But that’s the point. It takes a second to get used to it. But it’s worth it!
Shine Leave In Conditioner ($10) - This is the self-proclaimed “number one since day one” of Kristin Ess. Her favorite product. And understandably so! It weightlessly detangles and seals ends, so that your comb slides through like warm buttah. It smells amazing. It helps to cut any unwanted frizz. What more could you want? Nothing.
Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray ($14) - I love this product specifically for creating beach waved hair. And unlike sea salt sprays that can leave hair feeling crunchy and dehydrated, this spray is applied on dry hair, after styling, for soft, effortless waves. Kristin recommends flipping hair from side to side and spraying an even veil over each section. This product is a crowd pleaser, folks.
There they are! My favorites. Quality hair product at a totally doable price. Thanks to Kristin Ess, you’re out of excuses for poor hair care.
Tell us, which Kristin Ess products have you used and did you love them? Which are you wanting to try? Tell us in the comment section below!
Thank you Target and thank you Kristin Ess! You sure know how to treat a girl right.
Article and Images by Amy Hutchens.