I Have Naturally Curly Hair, and These Kristin Ess Products Work Wonders on It
As someone with thick, coarse, and naturally curly hair, I'm always on the hunt for products that can tame my voluminous mane. When I learned that celebrity hairstylist and colorist Kristin Ess — who's worked with the likes of Lauren Conrad and Lucy Hale — had an affordable luxury haircare line (including curly hair products) at Ulta and Target, I was eager to give it a try.
The first thing that caught my attention about the line was the snazzy packaging — all of the products come in pretty matte colors (read: the perfect accessory to any beauty counter), and better yet, most of them are between $10 and $15. The collection has a range of easy-to-use, cruelty-free products for a variety of hair types, plus styling tools like a curling wand and flat iron. Ess shares pro tips on the back of each bottle, so it's easy to recreate the looks at home; you can also watch tutorials on the Kristin Ess website if you're more of a visual learner, like me.
I like to style my hair curly and blow dry it straight, so I start my routine by using the One Signature Shampoo and One Signature Conditioner, which I was happy to learn are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. I use about two quarter-sized dollops of shampoo, massage the product into my scalp, and apply it to the rest of my strands before rinsing. If I recently had my hair highlighted, I also mix in a little bit of The One Purple Shampoo to cut the brass. I do the same with the conditioner, except I leave a little in my hair as a detangler and brush it through in the shower using my beloved Wet Brush (which I highly recommend for anyone with curly hair).
I always look for products that add moisture back into my dry curls, and I love how this conditioner is creamy and leaves my hair feeling soft and nourished right out of the shower. After a few washes, I even noticed that my split ends weren't as visible — probably because of the brand's signature Zip-Up Technology, a blend of ingredients designed to strengthen ends and smooth the appearance of damaged hair.
Before I begin blow-drying, I use the styling mist on damp hair, which not only protects against heat up to 450 degrees, per the brand, but it also adds incredible shine to my coarse locks. After straightening, I use the 1.25-inch ceramic curling wand to create tight curls, and then comb them through with my fingers to create a more natural look. If I'm going for loose, beachy waves, I apply the working texture spray to add some volume and keep my strands in place. I finish with a small amount of the line's water-based soft pomade around my hairline to keep flyaways at bay.
The dry shampoo, which eliminates odors and absorbs buildup, allows me to extend the life of my blowouts for up to seven days after my initial styling session. Unlike other dry shampoos I've tried, this one has a soft, subtle scent that's not overpowering, along with a brown tint that's made for brunettes (no more white powder residue to worry about).
The Kristin Ess collection has something for everyone, and with most items going for under $15, you can't beat the price for a luxe product. To recreate my curly hair-approved routine, shop the rest of my favorites from the line, below.