Sure, she creates double tap-worthy hairstyles on celeb clients including Lucy Hale and Lauren Conrad, but at her core, Kristin Ess is all about us regular people. Just look at her Instagram. She consistently responds to customer requests and questions about her fan-favorite hair-care line at Target.
That customer input has led to her launching a full curly hair-care collection. Although Kristin Ess Hair already included a few curl-friendly products, fans wanted more. "We didn't have curl products that were aligned with the Curly Girl Method," she tells Allure, citing the regimen made popular by hairstylist Lorraine Massey, founder of the Devachan Salons. "There were a lot of people asking me for that, people who really need to avoid silicones and want to focus on moisture. That was the entire purpose of this collection."
Fans love Ess's Hydrating Curl Defining Cream but they frequently told her they wanted one without silicones. As part of her huge 2020 launch, she went back and removed silicone from the product entirely. "We found a great formula that doesn't need it and it performs the same, it feels the same," she explains. "Curly girls, in general, are very educated on the fact that most curly hair (not all curly hair), lacks moisture naturally and silicones can essentially block moisture from getting into your hair."
The six-piece collection — which is all under $15 — includes the Moisture Rich Curl Shampoo and Conditioner, as well as the Ultra Hydrating Curl Co-Wash, Repair Mask, and Leave-In Cream. Ess sought out specific labs that specialize in curly hair to get the formula for each just right. "You really have to work with people who understand curly hair. Making sure you're aligning yourself with chemists and a lab in general that really understands curly hair is super important," she says. "We sought out a couple of different [labs] because there were certain products in the line that I really wanted to focus on moisture and other ones that I felt like needed to be a little more lightweight, like the Curl Defining Jelly."