Review: Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Wild Berry

I’ve been a fan of Kristin Ess since the early days of The Beauty Department (RIP). Her beautiful bright red hair has always been #goals, and I’ve had my eye on her haircare line since it launched at Target a few years ago.

Since I’ve been on a curly hair discovery journey, I have resisted the urge to pick up any Kristin Ess Hair (KEH) products for awhile now, beautiful as they may be. But when it came to my attention that Kristin was launching an entire set of curl-specific products among her 2020 lineup of new products, it felt too good to be true. New year, new hair…new me?

The product that most intrigued me, though, wasn’t actually one of the curl ones. It was a new shade of KEH’s Signature Hair Gloss: Wild Berry!

Kristin describes this shade as a “deep rich burgundy” and recommends it for darker-haired folks looking to refresh or add burgundy tones to their hair. The beautiful shade on the box had me mesmerized from the moment I saw it, and it was only a matter of time (read: a few hours) until I picked it up at my local Target.

Before I did, though, I called the company to confirm that this product is vegan (the whole KEH line is certified cruelty-free by PETA). A real person answered the phone immediately and confirmed that all the hair glosses are vegan. A great customer service experience!

What is a hair gloss, anyway?

From the Kristin Ess Hair website:

I always recommend that my clients come to get glossed and toned between salon visits to extend the life of their color. I’m finally able to give them, and you, something that is easy to use at home. This in-shower treatment is formulated to instantly boost vibrancy and shine, while adding deep burgundy tone to color treated or naturally brown hair. It will help you keep your color looking fresh, shiny and healthy between appointments.

The way I understand it, it’s like a lip gloss, which adds shine and some sheer color to the lips—that, but for hair.

The transformation

Here’s my hair before: Very dark brown base/natural color, with some reddish highlights I got a couple months ago that are fading. (The colorist I went to actually used a gloss after bleaching for these, which is probably why they faded so quickly—glosses aren’t meant to be permanent.)

Annnd here’s the after:

As you can see, my highlights took on that lovely burgundy tone! My base color is pretty much the same, which I more or less expected because it’s so dark. The overall effect is not too in-your-face, but not invisible—when I saw my friend the next day, she immediately asked if I had colored my hair.

Read on for the process of applying the dye and more photos of the results!

The process

This gloss is supposed to be applied to wet hair and then washed out. As suggested, I lightly shampooed my hair beforehand because it was pretty dirty.

Then, I put on the included gloves—Kristin recommends doing this before getting in the shower because it’s hard to put gloves on wet hands, which is a pretty great tip!—and got back in the shower with the two bottles of product.

You basically mix one bottle into the other, then apply all over your hair and leave for 15-20 minutes. I did just that, and it felt pretty foolproof! The instructions were very thorough. One word of warning, though—this shade of the gloss does look a lot like blood when you’re applying it. When I was rinsing it out, my shower looked like a crime scene.

I was concerned about the blood gloss staining my skin and/or shower tiles, but it didn’t at all—it just wiped right off.

After rinsing out the gloss, I shampooed and conditioned with the new KEH curl line. I may review those products soon once I’ve used them a bit more.

The results + final thoughts

I’m now a couple weeks out from my first at-home gloss adventure, and I’m glad I did it! Kristin Ess created an approachable product that I felt comfortable using, and I plan to use it again in the future, whenever this round of the gloss fades out.

I’m happy with the results—as I expected, it didn’t do much for my natural hair color besides a bit of burgundy glow in the sunlight. But it colored my highlights quite well. So if your hair is super dark like mine and you don’t have any highlights or naturally lighter bits, I wouldn’t expect more than a subtle effect. I also didn’t notice much of a difference in the overall shininess of my hair, so I can’t really speak to that. But if you’re looking to add or revitalize some red-violet tones in your not-the-darkest-brown hair, I think this is a fantastic product!

Here are a few more photos & videos to show you what the color looks like on my hair:

Let me know if this review was helpful or if you have any questions! Have you tried a KEH hair gloss? Will you?

4 Comments

  1. Thank you sooo much for this review! I have black, fine curly hair with medium/light brown highlights that are looking a little brassy. I have always wanted to dye my hair a dark but noticeable burgundy color without damaging my curls. This gloss looks like it shows up well on your hair and is exactly what I want! Thank you for this review!! Going to try this out!

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