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Bella Interview: Kristin Ess, Part III

Let's finish Friday with the last installment of my interview with celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess. I really enjoyed talking with her because she not only knows her hair stuff, she also has the kind of attitude that would make her fun to work with. In the first part of our interview, we talked about how she began working in a salon at the age of 16. Yesterday, she shared some hair trends, and today she talks about where you should scrimp and where you should spend on hair products.

What kinds of hair products are worth splurging on, and which can you get at a drugstore?
It depends on the hair. If you have long hair and highlights and you need moisture, spend the money on shampoo. It's different for everyone. As far as hairsprays go, there are definitely hairsprays that are more of an aid in styling than others. If I'm in a pinch in another city or country, and I have to run to the store in the middle of the night because I lost my bag or something, I can buy any hairspray at the grocery store. I know which ones on the market are doable. Rather than using Pantene, I'd rather use Aqua Net because I know it's going to hold for a photo shoot. It's horrendous and it's disgusting, but it works.

You should definitely splurge on a blow dryer. It makes all of the difference. If there's one thing I tell my clients, I always tell them to get a good blow dryer. But you don't need to splurge on a curling iron. My favorite curling iron is Hot Tools. It's the most amazing curling iron ever. They're so cheap and so amazing.

For the rest of the interview,


Ah, good to know. I feel justified in my loving my T3 dryer.
That's the thing! It's very important because it takes care of your hair, for one. It's the difference between whether you're spending a half hour or an hour blow-drying your hair. And also, having a nozzle — some of the cheaper dryers don't come with a nozzle. One of the most important things for smoothing out hair that you're blow drying is to have a nozzle.

Why is that?
Because if you don't have a nozzle on it, basically the air comes out like a cyclone. It stirs up the air more than directs it. So if you have a nozzle, you almost don't need to use a brush; the nozzle takes all of the air and pushes it in one direction to smooth the cuticle 75 percent more.

Kristin Ess is a stylist at Warren-Tricomi in West Hollywood.

Join The Conversation
robjen82 robjen82 9 years
I am a true believer in the T3 and I don't travel anywhere without it! It's all I will use on my hair! That and my Sedu flat iron. Do not skimp on a flat iron or you will pay for it. TRUST!
pandatours pandatours 9 years
I love my cheapo's called Andis, and it's $15 at Walmart. I don't really use a hair dryer since I have wavy hair and refer it to air-dry. But the part about having a nozzle is very helpful. I'm glad my Conair one comes with a nozzle and a diffuser! When that breaks though I might splurge for a better one, and blow-dry my hair more. It would make things a lot easier!
Barbarbar Barbarbar 9 years
I just splurged on a T3 and it's the bomb! Dries fast and not a hint of frizz on my fine hair. There was definite sticker shock but I had heard only great things about it. I shopped around (a lot) and found them on Amazon at amazing prices (the $300 model is $150 there). The only catch is Amazon is not an authorized reseller of T3 so there's no warranty. Not a huge drawback IMHO.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Aquanet :rotfl:
leanneluvsu leanneluvsu 9 years
Didn't mean to go on my schpiel, but the only way to permanently banish flyaways, is to use a good treatment or rinse before using heat and use a low setting. Also, a good moisture cream.
leanneluvsu leanneluvsu 9 years
Um.... Well...hmm... If you have hair that has been processed is some way (relaxer, perm, color) you need to be spending boucoup bucks on conditioners and deep conditioners. Shampoos don't replenish moisture. If they did, they REALLY wouldn't be doing their jobs. Now, should they strip moisture? No. And any that does must be thrown out the door. But, one you alter the state of your hair in any way, you have to try and rebuild the strands. And, the less heat you use on hair, the better for it. I'm sure she's great at styling hair, but I don't think she knows a thing about its health. A Generic Chi Iron from Sally's works just as well as the expensive thing. Truth be told, it doesn't matter how much money you spend on professional hair tools; if you don't take care of your hair before you use them it will just become brittle and break.
thewavingcat thewavingcat 9 years
i love my CHI. it's really great and my hair is kinda difficult to straighten sometimes and snags on cheaper straighteners. and they have a lifetime warranty so if they ever break you can just replace it. def worth the splurge!
koolkat1021 koolkat1021 9 years
I have been waiting to splurge on a fancy dryer, but I couldn't justify buying a hair dryer that costs that much especially since I feel like NOTHING helps my unruly hair. I can't wait for the review either!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I adore my T3 hair dryer. I got it for xmas this year and it really does dry hair quicker and less frizz! I also noticed that my hair doesn't feel as fried as when I use a cheap dryer. I have dry hair so I love being able to touch my hair and it doesn't feel like straw. Also if you buy the T3 I suggest buying their round brush; it's wonderful.
nikkipez nikkipez 9 years
cant wait for that T3 post! I am definitely going to get it at some point, but the saver in me is waiting for a reliable detailed account of exactly why I need it. Thanks (in advance) Bella, lol :)
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Oh, the T3 dryer is worth it for sure. I'm going to do a post on it soon! I use a FHI iron and I like it a lot. Conair also has a new line of hair styling products, and people rave about them.
chiquita29 chiquita29 9 years
This is very interesting. I had been wanting the T3 blow dryer but was hesistant to buy it thinking it might not be worth it. I wish she'd mention whether you should shell out for a straightening iron. I've heard friends go on about the CHI iron but it's so pricey :(
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