REVIEW: The Kristin Ess Scalp Collection

Scalp care has grown so much in the past couple years - I remember not too long ago only really knowing about the Christophe Robin scrub, but now scalp products are so readily available, and thanks to Kristin Ess there are even more options at Target. She’s released a line of 5 products focused on scalp health, including a shampoo, two masks, a scrub and a hair milk oil - and all are under $15. Kristin Ess included 5 products to provide different options for different hair types and textures, so that everyone would be able to find the formulas that worked best for them. A variety of products and an approachable price point are what initially piqued my interest, but I found some new favorites in the lineup as well. For reference, my hair is straight, long and thick - I have a dry scalp that gets itchy and flaky, and roots that can get bogged down in product if I don’t pay special attention to them every few days. I also probably overwash my hair because I work out often and get super sweaty, adding more chaos to my delicate scalp, but that’s where I’m at.

Scalp Detoxifying Bubble Mask: My favorite out of the lineup, and the most clarifying in my opinion. It’s a pre-shampoo scalp treatment that you apply on dry hair. The packaging looks like a mousse can that you have to shake extra vigorously before using (shake it harder than you want to), and it’s recommended to put a golf ball size amount in your hand to apply. The product comes out super cold, so I’ve just started applying it straight to my scalp because I’m a wuss. You then massage the product in and listen to the little bubbles pop, and after 1-3 minutes hop in the shower and shampoo and condition. I love that you can spot treat with this product, because sometimes my whole scalp isn’t the issue. I tend to get a lot of flakiness around my sideburn area, and more buildup around the crown of my head, so I just focus on those areas rather than wasting product on parts of my scalp that feel perfectly fine. This removes the buildup gently, helps with my dry scalp, leaves no residue, and gives me amazing volume. My hair feels super clean after this mask, and it’s quick, easy, and mess-free. This one seems like it’d be the most gimmicky in the bunch, but I found it to be the most effective for me and different than any other scalp product I have in my collection.

Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub: A sugar scrub that can be applied directly to the roots thanks to the handy pointed tip that makes it easy to place the product where you want it. Honestly, the pointed tip packaging for these products are GENIUS, and solve a problem that I thought I just had to deal with before - trying to push the scrubby bits past my thick hair so that it actually got to my scalp. The texture of the scrub is pretty thick so you have to give it a strong squeeze, but it’s easy to work into the hair and then you follow up with shampoo and conditioner. This is a solid scrub! It works in well and it scrubbed out the buildup and flakiness without irritation. Since my hair is pretty thick, I have to take a little extra time to make sure I get the scrub fully out of my hair. The first time I felt a bit of stickiness after I just did a quick shampoo without being too thorough, but I chalk that up to user error and I haven’t had any issues since, but something to keep in mind if your hair is thick and likes to trap things in it like mine. The texture feels most similar to the Christophe Robin scrub because of it’s chunkier texture, but left my hair less squeaky than the CR one does. $14 for a pretty big tube and an effective scrub is a good deal to me.

Weightless Hydration Daily Scalp and Hair Mask: I get nervous about using creamy hair masks all the way to my root, but that’s the recommended application method for this product. It is a whipped texture but still quite thick, and doesn’t spread out much, so I find I have to use quite a bit to get full coverage on my long, thick hair. If I used this daily I’d probably run out in a month or two. I like how soothing this one feels - it’s different than the bubble mask in that it’s focused on hydrating and rebalancing the scalp, rather than trying to take away buildup, etc. It didn’t leave my roots greasy, and my hair didn’t feel weighed down, although shinier and softer! This gets extra points because I can’t use most of my other masks all the way to my roots without residue or losing volume.

Anytime Anywhere Scalp & Hair Milk Oil: A bi-phase blend of milk & oil that you give a little shake and can be used on your scalp or hair to restore moisture and add shine. The texture is light and more watery than a typical hair oil, which is great for when I’m applying to my scalp because it doesn’t make my roots look especially greasy (not sure how it’d work on thinner hair). It feels soothing to the touch on the scalp, and helps to calm those more irritated, itchy dry spots. The oil can also be used for styling on either wet or dry hair, and can tame frizz and add a little shine. It has a subtle sweet scent, but nothing too noticeable once it’s on my hair. I like this most as a scalp touch up when I have areas that need some soothing, and I imagine this working well for people who have fine hair and don’t want an oil that will weigh down their ends, or people that don’t like silicones in their hair oils. I tend to need a more rich oil for my dry, damaged tips, but it still does a nice job of getting my ends to look less ragged.

Scalp Purifying Micellar Shampoo: This feels like the product you could use most often when you just want to maintain balance in your hair and get out some light buildup in between the times you do a mask or scrub. This product is pretty straightforward - it has a nozzle tip so you can apply straight to the root, it lathers up and rinses out easily. I feel the slightest bit of sqeakiness after I rinse, but nothing my conditioner doesn’t take care of. It’s a good purifying shampoo, but nothing particularly groundbreaking or different.

Overall, I think it’s a great variety of products that approach scalp care in a different way so you have options to choose from, especially at a great price point. A lot of the scalp care products can get super luxury with their pricing, and I think these stand up to those higher-ticket items. The Bubble Mask is the most unique in the range, and the Scalp Scrub feels like the best value if you’re comparing to some other scalp scrubs out there at a higher price point for less. Have you tried any products from this scalp care line? Share your thoughts in the comments! I love reading different perspectives from different hair textures and scalp issues - because hair care is just as personal as skincare!

*The collection was gifted, but I was not required to review. All opinions are my own.