We chat with celebrity hairstylist, colourist, social influencer and co-founder of The Beauty Department, Kristin Ess.
Her idea was simple; to create an affordable collection of luxury haircare and styling products for anyone, so every woman could create a modern, perfected look.
She’s a woman of many talents who literally has no time for anything outside of designing fabulous new products in her hair care range.
It includes the release of new travel-sized shampoos and conditioners and styling tools to work with her products. Together they help women create beautiful hairstyles at home.
One of Kristen’s mantras is to only wash your hair when it’s really really dirty.
“Some people can go one day, others can go one week. If your hair isn’t oily or dirty, you shouldn’t wash it just for sport. Let those oils come in, they’re very beneficial, “she says.
Do you feel there is a difference between Australian and American hair?
“No. I feel like women’s hair in America is very similar to women’s hair in Australia. The majority, which is also the commonality, are women who like to air dry and have lower maintenance surfer-like hair. And women who love to get soft, undone waves from a curling iron, and then women who have embraced their natural curl. It’s very similar to me in both locations.”
Hair extension are a big in Australia, do you recommend them?
“I love them! Hair extensions can be a miracle but they can also be damaging if the wrong kind are applied for your hair type. Making sure you have the right kind— tape, sew-in, beaded, individual bonded, etc, is extremely important. Always make a consultation appointment with someone who specialises in extensions.
Be sure the person doing yours can recommend what’s best for your particular hair type, and ask them why! They have to take a look at your hair to tell you, but it’s worth taking the time first.”
Why has the unique fragrance been such a critical part of your range and it’s success?
“Fragrance has always been a big part of my hair journey. After a couple of decades in the salon I saw what a good or bad fragrance would do for a brand.
“I worked really hard with a perfumer to get to what I considered to be a “signature scent” that was also cohesive with the look/feel of the line.
“I want people to feel joy when they smell KEH. I know you can’t make every single person happy with one fragrance but I did my best to make a scent that appeals to both women and men, younger or older, wealthy or broke.”
How did you come up with the fragrance?
“I love mixing fragrances. Every day I wear three fragrances combined, so I asked the perfumer we worked with to come up with one fragrance which smelled like all three. It took some time to get there but we did it.”
Are there are any tips on how you can keep hair glossy and health whilst travelling?
“Leave-In Conditioner, always use leave-in conditioner. It’s the one thing I always take.
“Even if I shampoo with something else, if the water is different in another city or if I am forced to use other styling tools, I still HAVE to have my leave-in to keep my hair soft and shiny. Another great thing is an oil stick.
I take the Anytime Anywhere Recovery Balm (coming to Australia soon) because it’s an oil stick and not considered a liquid.
It’s a great all around styling balm but also works to nourish your hair while you wear it. I use it after I blow-dry to “de-puff” and I use it before I braid. It doesn’t have any hold, just gives you great shine and separation.”
What is the secret to younger looking hair as we age?
“I don’t really believe in that, however if there’s one thing that significantly changes with age it’s your texture. Greys start to come in and your hair may get thinner, yet more coarse.
“Know how to soften your grey hairs, whether you cover them or not, because the wirey texture can appear like frizz.
“My favourite ways are a deep conditioning mask once a week and using a leave in conditioner after every wash. Those things will help a great deal with softness and shine.”
What can we expect from your product range in future?
“More environmentally friendly packaging, and more formulas for every need. There are still 2 major categories I haven’t launched yet and both are coming in Dec/Jan to Australia which I’m very excited about.”