There seems to be a common trajectory with hair and makeup artists in the age of social media:

1) Promote work on Instagram

2) Grow followers

3) Work with celebrities

4) Become friendsly with celebrities, (Not actually friends, more like strangers. It’s an American Dad joke. Ba-dum-ching!)

5) Become actual friends with celebrities

6) Capitalize on subsequent Insta-fame with either a brand collaboration or their own product line

A great many of these entrepreneurial forays end up being sub-par for one main reason: creating physical products is hard. There are exceptions, like Jen Atkin’s Ouai Haircare, or Fiona Stiles Beauty, but suffice it to say, artist-helmed brands are met with a lot of skepticism these days.

You’ve got to hand it to Kristin Ess, though. The beauty world lost their mind when they heard that the queen of Pinterest-worthy hair was coming out with her own full-fledged haircare line, and it would be sold at Target (read: affordable!!). If anyone could deliver products that worked at a reasonable price, it would be the stylist behind the heads of Lauren Conrad, Lucy Hale, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, etc. As with any big brand launch, there are a lot of questions, so we compiled the important ones to help you out.

 

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS LINE?

Partly because of Kristin’s celebrity roster. Also because, in addition to the big names, she maintains tons and tons of “regular girl” clients, all with fantastic hair. The brand already has that coveted balance of aspirational, yet attainable. The prices don’t hurt, either!

WHY ARE THE PRODUCTS DIFFERENT COLORS?

The line is divided up into four categories. The pink products are for cleansing and conditioning in the shower, the white products are for restoration (detangling/repairing) after you shower, the gray products are for styling wet hair, and the black products are for styling/finishing dry hair.

I HAVE $20 TO SPEND. WHAT SHOULD I BUY?

If your main concern is damaged hair, buy the Strand Strengthening Reconstructive Moisture Mask ($14). It works as well, if not better than the pricey salon counterparts for a fraction of the cost. 5+ minutes per week will give you a one-two punch of shine and softness.

If your main concern is volume, buy the Instant Lift Thickening Spray ($14). Kristin calls this “liquid mousse”, which is a spot on description. If you’ve ever struggled with a mousse, but crave thickness, spray 3-4 pumps on wet hair from roots to ends and enjoy.

If your main concern is dry curls, buy the Curl Defining Creme ($14). Curl creme can be tricky. For tight curls, you end up having to use so much that your curls are left feeling crunchy. For wavier textures, most are too heavy and leave your hair feeling greasy. This product is more like a Creme/serum hybrid, so it glides through your hair easily with the perfect amount of shine and weight. Adjust the amount you use based on where you fall on the curly-haired spectrum.

If your main concern is texture, buy the Dry Finish Working Texture Spray ($14), or the Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray ($14). The Texture Spray delivers matte-ness and volume, while the Beach Wave Spray is more of a shiny, separated finish.  Both are used on dry hair once you’ve finished styling. The latter is especially revolutionary considering it’s meant to be used on dry hair, unlike traditional wave sprays. If you’ve ever struggled with too much frizz or crunchiness from a wet wave spray, this one will not disappoint.

Where is it sold?

Your local Target and Target.com. If you prefer the brick and mortar shopping experience, definitely check the inventory of your go-to Target on the website before going since the products keep selling out.

What are people not liking about the products?

Not much. As far as functionality, there have been minimal, if any complaints, but the fragrance in a handful of the wet and dry styling products have gotten mixed reviews. Those critiques are few and far between, though, so unless you’re uber sensitive to smell, you should be OK with it.

What’s the final verdict?

The price point is more than fair, the products look good on your shelves or in your shower, and if you’re not great at doing your hair now, these products will help immensely. Confused about what order to apply hair products in? The color-coded bottles make it easy. Not sure which products produce the end result you’re looking for? Kristin has handy tutorials on her website that show you how to use the entire line. You may not walk away looking exactly like Lauren Conrad just by using these products, but the results aren’t too far off.

Credits

Photography
Greyson Tarantino for Highbrow