If you dig a low-maintenance hair color, this is great news.

By Victoria Moorhouse
Updated Jan 23, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
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Courtesy Kristin Ess

Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.

Celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess doesn't want you to just give her Instagram pics a double tap. Sure, she wants you to give the perfectly imperfect beach waves she creates for her A-list clients (like Lauren Conrad and Lucy Hale) some love — but she also wants you to create the viral looks for yourself. And she wants you to do that without dumping all your money down the drain. That's why the Internet-famous stylist, colorist, and a beauty site founder created her very own line of affordable and incredibly effective styling products, all sold at Target.

Since its initial launch, which included must-have nourishing and hydrating care products and a game-changing $10-sea salt spray, Kristin Ess's line has soared in popularity and expanded to hot tools and an entire range of products dedicated to keeping the scalp healthy and happy.

Here, we chatted with Ess on how she got her start, the one haircare product everyone should own, and her prediction for 2019's hottest hair color.

Tell us about how you got your start in hair? Were you always interested in a career in hairstyling?

Hair is the only job I’ve ever had. When I was little, I cut hair unprofessionally at home on family and friends, but I started working in the salon when I was 15. I never imagined doing anything else. The older I get, the more I realize how lucky I was to find my craft so early in life.

So how did you start working with celebrity clients?

My first major break in the celebrity world was Lauren Conrad. I'd worked with a few celebrities prior to her, but styling Lauren's hair truly elevated my career.

Do you have a favorite hairstyle that you like to create?

I will forever gravitate toward waves — soft waves, beach waves, lived-in waves, vintage waves, any kind of wave.

What’s your prediction for the most popular hair color trend this year?

I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a longer, drawn-out root and natural, subtle shades because people are really chasing healthy-looking, shiny hair right now. I also get the feeling that the new pink hair will be more of a muted lavender this year.

How do you keep your red hair so bright and vibrant?

I generally stick to sulfate-free products. I gloss my hair in-between salon color applications, and I use dry shampoo to extend my style so I can shampoo less.

Why did you decide to launch your own line of scalp products?

It was just time. I hear so much about people's ongoing struggle with scalp issues, and I just wanted to see if I could help. Then, I decided to take it one step further by making scalp care fun. It's always been either unappealing or a full-on chore, and that's why we avoid it.

If someone didn’t own any of your hair products, what’s the first one you’d tell them to buy?

Probably the Weightless Shine Leave-In Conditioner. It's the most universal of all the products, and I have yet to meet a hair type that doesn't need/love it.

Which one of your clients is the most brave when it comes to trying out new hairstyles?

Lucy Hale, for sure. She's the most adventurous, and she's down to try anything. If I suggested we give her a pixie tomorrow, as long as she didn't have a job that required longer hair, she'd do it in a heartbeat. Actually, I wouldn't even have to suggest it — she would suggest it!

What’s your best tips for avoiding hair damage?

Take time to nourish your hair and scalp — restoring protein and/or moisture with a good pre-shampoo treatment is always a good idea, and a scalp regimen is a must! Make sure you're using good quality tools if you heat style, and learn various air dry techniques so you can give your hair a little break every once in a while.

What’s your weekly hair routine like?

Every week is different for me, honestly. I stay in tune and aware of what's going on with my hair and I cater to it as needed. Most weeks I shampoo and condition every other day, and then I have at least one "head spa night" where I focus on cleansing and exfoliating my scalp while I slather a moisture mask on my ends.