Lucy Hale's Hairstylist Is Determined To Give You A Good Hair Day Every Day

Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess.
If you're not familiar with celebrity hair magician Kristin Ess, allow us to introduce you. The LA-based stylist is the creative genius behind those badass looks on The Beauty Department, works with some of the best hair in Hollywood — think Lucy Hale, Lauren Conrad, and Jenna Tatum — and even served as a judge for our 2016 Beauty Innovator Awards. So yeah, you could say we trust her.

Now, we've exclusively learned that one of the biggest names in the biz is stepping into unchartered territory — launching a spanking-new product line at Target, aptly named Kristin Ess Hair. Her goal with the collection? Damn good hair, of course. "A good hair day means waking up and your style has held," she tells R29 exclusively. "It means air-drying and your waves fall properly in place. It means your coils are voluminous and bouncy and free. It means you feel good about the way you look with little effort."

But that shouldn't have to come with a hefty price tag. In fact, Ess wants the products and treatments getting you there to be affordable and accessible for the masses, no matter your hair type. "I don't want anyone feeling like they were left out of this line," she says. "From the straightest, curliest, finest, thickest — the gang's all here."

While the full collection won't hit stores until January 22 (with an early launch on the Target website on January 15; more information on that to follow), we knew the stuff was going to be ridiculously good, so we asked Ess to walk the walk — and show us exactly what her new products could do. Ahead, we've got a sneak peek at the braids, beach waves, and ponytails that'll take you one step closer to Lucy Hale hair status.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Instagram Braids
Any braid will benefit from Ess' new loose styling powder, but these Dutch side plaits — and subtly-waved ends — feel especially whimsical. To use the forthcoming product, start by shaking a light layer of the powder onto the braid after it's done, then use your hands to pat it into the hair until it disappears. Gently tug apart the pony to fatten it up. "[The powder] has grit and hold, and will bulk everything up while holding the braid in place," Ess says. "It's nice to not have to worry about it falling apart or unraveling on you."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Beefed-Up Pony
It all starts with Ess' thickening spray. Evenly spritz it on wet, towel-dried hair, then blowdry. Pull it all back into a ponytail, then back-comb the tail to thicken it up. "[This product] was created to make the hair feel more dense," Ess says. "It's less about volume, and more about making you feel like you have more hair."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Lived-In Texture
A braided bob reaches new levels with the brand's pomade. "It brings texture and life to shorter hairstyles, as well as volume at the root," Ess says. After you weave in your desired plaits, apply a dime-sized amount of pomade to palms and warm it up for easier distribution. "Focus on rubbing it into the root, and then detailing with it on the ends for a matte finish," Ess says.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Cool-Girl, Messy Hair
Like that fresh-outta-bed look, texture spray is where it's at. "[Mine] lightly mattifies, but also adds volume and separation," Ess says. To get the bedhead-but-better look, run a 1.5-inch barrel iron through hair, then lightly flat-iron the ends. Finish with a light mist of the texture spray all over, "Focusing more on the root and a little less on the ends." Then, "Massage the spray into the root for a little extra volume."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Major Moisture
Curly and textured hair types — or anyone with dry or brittle strands — will benefit from the hydrating cleansing conditioner. While in the shower, part your hair into four equal sections, then apply a quarter-sized amount of product to each section. Massage onto scalp, then rinse. "It will clean your ends on the way out," Ess says.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Beachy Waves
For that dipped-in-the-ocean hair effect — without stepping foot on a beach — you need the line's version of salt spray. "Only it isn't salty, gritty, or crunchy like other beach sprays, and it doesn't go on wet hair," Ess says. "It goes on dry hair after it's styled, and gives the perfect shine and separation to any waves." Just air-dry (or, for straight types, use a one-inch curling iron to create subtle ripples) and then hit 'em with a thin veil to give waves and curls the L.A. treatment.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Old Hollywood S-Waves
"It can be hard to get a soft wave pattern or an updo to stay put all night," Ess says. "The hairspray I created is dry, so you can easily brush through it. Plus, it helps the styles I create on my clients stay in place." Even better: It's buildable and won't feel tacky — so apply a second (or third, or fourth) mist for a stronger hold.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Squeaky-Clean Strands
When it comes to her shampoo, Ess says simply, "You know the drill: apply to wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat." The formula is sulfate-free, so you'll never have to worry about harsh surfactants stripping away your hair's natural oils. "I have used it for nearly a year on every single hair type. I would say this is great for anyone unless your hair is excessively damaged or dry — in which case, then you should stick to Cleansing Conditioner."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Spiral Curls
If you've got it (and by it, we mean naturally wavy or curly hair), flaunt it. "My Curl Creme has a good amount of slip, making it easy to apply evenly," Ess says. "It also adds a bit of weight, while still leaving behind a soft shine." Apply a dollop onto wet hair from roots to ends, then air-dry or use a diffuser.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Bardot Bangs
You can use Ess' new dry shampoo two ways. First, spray it as you normally would — on top of excess oils at the scalp — to give new life to yesterday's style. Or, spritz it onto freshly-dried hair to add subtle volume. "Spraying this on bangs also keeps them fresh and airy, instead of weighed down and piece-y," she says.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Defined Coils
"Kinky curls love extra moisture and shine," Ess says. "Serum is a great source for that, and [this one] also provides extra weight to any areas that need it." To add definition and fight frizz, work a few drops of the elixir into curls. "Or, for straighter hair, use a drop or two when it's wet, before you blowdry, then add another drop after for a polished look."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Megawatt Shine
Damaged ends can rob your hair of its luster, so weekly masks are a must. To use the one from Ess, apply, comb through, twist in a bun, and let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then rinse. "You can also cover with a plastic shower cap to trap in steam and heat for a more intense treatment," she says. "It's ideal for anyone looking to increase style and shine."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
French-Girl Ponytail
Using a curling iron or flat iron, add a subtle wave starting from the mid-shaft and going down. Spray the brand's texture spray thoughout, focusing most at the root and lighter on the ends. Gather all the hair in a small clear elastic, then add a thin, black ribbon. "The spray mattifies your hair, giving you that second-day, lived-in vibe we all love so much."
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Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Ess
Undone Curls
Her mousse is meant to give you waves that reach Shakira and Beyoncé heights. "It's easy to distribute evenly through thick, coarse, or wavy hair," Ess says. Medium hold, lots of volume, and zero stickiness? We want in. Apply it all-over towel-dried hair, then air-dry or curl as desired.
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