Nexxus vs Kristin ESS Review

Nexxus vs Kristin ESS Comparison 2024: Which Cult-Favorite Brand Is Better?

Today I’ll compare the brands Nexxus vs Kristin ESS to let you know which salon brand is better. Is Nexxus shampoo good and is Kristin ESS a good brand? Find out here.

People today have become so conscious about using the right products on their hair. And yes, I’m one among the “people”. 

The drugstore shampoos won’t do anymore. But some of the high end brands are still out of reach for most men and women.

Enter the “salon brands”. 

Some of these shampoo brands are owned by celebrities and hair stylists who use these products on their own hair. And the best part? They are just a few dollars more expensive than your average drugstore brand. So you can afford it easily. 

Two of such brands are Nexxus and Kristin ESS. If you have take a trip to Target recently you must have definitely noticed the latter in the beauty section and Nexxus is used almost at every salon.

So which one of these is better? Well I’ve used two popular shampoos from both these brands and did a deep dive to see which one you should choose for your hair. 

Nexxus vs Kristin Ess: Brand Overview

Nexxus and Kristin Ess are two popular hair care brands that offer a wide range of products for different hair types and needs.

Nexxus has been around for over 40 years. It is known for its salon-quality products that use advanced scientific technology to nourish and repair damaged hair.

Their products are formulated with high-quality ingredients such as keratin, elastin, and collagen, which help to strengthen and protect hair from damage. Nexxus offers a variety of product lines, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and treatments, each designed to address specific hair concerns.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess is a newer brand that was launched in 2017 by celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess. The brand’s philosophy is to provide salon-quality hair care products at an affordable price point.

Kristin Ess products are formulated with high-quality ingredients such as avocado oil, hydrolyzed keratin, and rosehip oil, which help to nourish and hydrate hair. The brand offers a range of products, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and tools, each designed to create healthy, shiny, and manageable hair.

Both brands are committed to using high-quality ingredients and advanced technology to provide effective hair care solutions. However, Nexxus is more focused on repairing and strengthening damaged hair, while Kristin Ess is more focused on nourishing and hydrating hair to create a healthy, shiny appearance.

Nexxus vs Kristin Ess: Product Comparison

Nexxus and Kristin Ess are two popular hair care brands that offer a wide range of products for different hair types and concerns. Here’s a comparison of some of their most popular products:

Shampoo and Conditioner

Nexxus offers a variety of shampoo and conditioner sets for different hair types such as dry, damaged, and color-treated hair. Their Therappe and Humectress line is particularly popular among users with dry and damaged hair.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess offers sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner sets that are safe for color-treated hair. Their Signature line is known for its lightweight formula that provides volume and shine to the hair.

Hair Masks

Nexxus offers a range of hair masks for deep conditioning and repairing damaged hair. Their Emergencee line is specifically designed for hair that has been chemically treated or exposed to heat styling.

Kristin Ess also offers a range of hair masks that provide intense hydration and nourishment to the hair. Their Reconstructive line is particularly popular among users with dry and damaged hair.

Styling Products

Nexxus offers a variety of styling products such as hairsprays, mousses, and gels. Their Comb Thru Finishing Mist is a popular choice among users for its lightweight formula that provides a flexible hold.

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Kristin Ess also offers a range of styling products such as texturizing sprays, pomades, and serums. Their Working Texture Spray is particularly popular among users for its ability to add texture and volume to the hair without weighing it down.

Shampoo and Conditioner Formulas & Ingredients

When it comes to hair care products, the formulas and ingredients used can make all the difference. Nexxus and Kristin Ess both offer a range of shampoos and conditioners with unique formulations.

Nexxus shampoos and conditioners are known for their protein-rich formulas that aim to nourish and strengthen hair.

The brand uses a variety of ingredients such as hydrolyzed keratin, elastin protein, and collagen to help improve hair health. They also offer products that cater to specific hair types and concerns, such as color-treated hair or damaged hair.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess shampoos and conditioners are formulated with a focus on natural ingredients and are free from sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. The brand uses ingredients such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter to help hydrate and soften hair.

They also offer products that cater to specific hair concerns, such as a purple shampoo for blonde hair or a scalp detoxifying shampoo.

Both brands offer a range of options for different hair types and concerns. It’s important to note that while Nexxus uses protein-rich formulas, it may not be suitable for those with protein-sensitive hair.

Similarly, while Kristin Ess focuses on natural ingredients, some people may still have sensitivities to certain plant-based ingredients.

Styling Products Range

When it comes to styling products, both Nexxus and Kristin Ess offer a wide range of options to choose from.

Nexxus has a range of products that cater to different hair types and concerns, including frizz control, volume, and heat protection.

The brand’s most popular styling products include the Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Mist, which provides a flexible hold without leaving any residue, and the Nexxus Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam, which adds volume and body to fine hair.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess offers a range of styling products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and free from sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

The brand’s styling products are known for their sleek packaging and affordable price point. The Kristin Ess Working Texture Spray is a fan favorite, as it provides a flexible hold and adds texture to any hairstyle.

The Kristin Ess Style Assist Blow Dry Mist is another popular product, as it helps to speed up the blow-drying process and protect hair from heat damage.

Price and Accessibility

When it comes to price and accessibility, there are some notable differences between Nexxus and Kristin Ess.

Nexxus is generally considered a higher-end brand and its prices reflect that. Its products are sold at various retailers such as Ulta, Target, and Amazon, with prices typically ranging from $10 to $30. While this may be more expensive than some drugstore brands, many customers believe the quality of Nexxus products justifies the higher price tag.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess is a more affordable option, with most products priced under $15. Kristin Ess products are exclusively sold at Target, making them more accessible to customers who shop at the popular retail chain. Additionally, Kristin Ess offers a wider range of products for different hair types, including curly and textured hair, which may make it a more appealing option for those with specific hair care needs.

BrandPrice RangeAvailability
Nexxus$10 – $30Ulta, Target, Amazon
Kristin EssUnder $15Target

Customer Reviews and Satisfaction

When it comes to customer reviews and satisfaction, both Nexxus and Kristin Ess have received mixed feedback.

Nexxus has been praised for its high-quality ingredients and effectiveness in improving hair health. However, some customers have reported experiencing dryness and breakage after using certain Nexxus products.

On the other hand, Kristin Ess products have been praised for their affordability and accessibility.

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Customers appreciate the sleek packaging and salon-quality results at a fraction of the cost. However, some have reported that the products may not work as well for all hair types and textures.

Individual results may vary, so it is always recommended to do research and read reviews before purchasing any hair care products.

About Nexxus Hair Care

Like most drugstore brands Nexxus too was created by a hairstylist. Jheri Redding, the man who is responsible for our modern day conditioner formula is the one who started Nexxus in 1979. 

He discovered that protein is essential for hair health and treating them with these ingredients can benefit your tresses a lot. So at Nexxus, they employ proteomics (the study of molecular proteins) to create effective hair care products.

is Nexxus good for hair
Source: Instagram@nexxushaircare

Some of the top protein ingredients used in Nexxus products include silk protein, quinoa protein, elastin protein, keratin protein, etc. 

Nexxus creates shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, styling products, and much more for all hair types including curly and African American hair textures. 

They also have a fantastic range for colored hair that includes color-protect sulfate-free shampoos, UV protect products, purple shampoos and more. 

Nexxus has a price range ranging from $10-$40 which in my opinion is quite reasonable for the quality offered. 

Is kristin ess good for hair
Source: Instagram@thebrokenanny

About Kristin Ess

Kristin Ess is a celebrity hairstylist, color specialist and beauty influencer who created her namesake hair care brand to help make salon-quality products affordable to everyone.

She has partnered with Target to make her products more accessible. 

What I admire most about Kristin Ess products is that she ensures that all the products are cruelty-free. 

You can find hair products like shampoos, conditioners, hair glosses, hair accessories, etc. in this brand’s hair care line. 

The one thing that sets this brand apart is the use of Kristin Ess’s signature “Zip-up Technology”. This is a proprietary blend created by Ess herself that is supposed to help seal up split ends and damaged hair.

Kristin ESS products are very affordable with prices starting at $7.

nexxus shampoo vs kristin ess shampoo

Comparing The Two Brands

Here’s a snapshot of the comparison of the top features of both the Kristin Ess and Nexxus shampoos. 

BrandKristin ESSNexxus Hair Care
Variety of ProductsShampoos, Conditioners, Hair Glosses, Hair Accessories, Styling ProductsShampoos, Conditioners, Hair Masks
Pricing Average (starting at $7)Average (starting at $10)
SulfatesAll products are sulfate-freeColor Assure range is sulfate-free
IngredientsUses proprietary “Zip up” blend Mix of Proteins with natural ingredients
FragranceContains added perfumesContains added perfumes

Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo Vs Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo

To give a better insight as to which salon shampoo brand is better, I decided to try out two similar shampoos from each of them – the Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo and the Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture shampoo.

I have dry hair so I chose these two shampoos to see how they performed on my tresses. I used each shampoo for 4 weeks to better understand the results. 


First off let’s start off with the ingredients. I was very disappointed to see sodium laureth sulfate in the Nexxus shampoo. It is not as bad as SLS but it’s still very harsh on skin and hair. 

Here is the complete ingredient list of Nexxus Therappe shampoo

Is nexxus sulfate free

And since this was supposed to be a moisturizing shampoo for dry hair, I was surprised that it contained sulfates at all.

Kristin Ess on the other hand doesn’t have sulfates. However it does contain Cocamidopropyl Betaine (so does the Nexxus shampoo) that is a coconut-derived surfactant that is gentle on hair. 

Both the shampoos contain added perfumes which I don’t mind. But it might not be best if you have a very sensitive scalp or allergies to certain synthetic fragrances.

And here’s the ingredients list for Kristin Ess signature shampoo

Is nexxus sulfate free

Effects on Hair

Both the shampoos did a good job of cleansing my hair. I had color-treated that did fade a lot after using the Nexxus shampoo (it is not sulfate-free) but if you build up it’s probably a good choice.

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The Kristin Ess shampoo was a lot more gentle on my scalp. It did not fade my hair color. 

Coming to my hair, I think the Kristin Ess was more effective in moisturizing hair and leaving it frizz-free. But the Nexxus shampoo did a better job of controlling hair damage symptoms. 

nexxus therappe ultimate moisture shampoo

The Nexxus Therappe shampoo contains Elastin Protein and Green Caviar worked really well as I saw my hair breakage and split ends had reduced. My hair, however, looked dry after regular use.

The Kristin Ess shampoo, on the other hand, contains a blend of sunflower oil, avocado oil, and castor oil, along with Matricaria extract which are all excellent in retaining moisture on hair strands and keeping frizz at bay. 


I got the 400ml bottle of Nexxus Therappe shampoo for $15 while the Kristin Ess shampoo cost $11.00 for 296ml. So in terms of pricing, these two shampoos are at par with one another. 

kristin ess signature the one shampoo


I think that the Kristin Ess shampoo is more widely available as the brand has a partnership with Target and you can easily find one on your weekly shopping run. However, the Nexxus shampoo is also easily found in any drugstore including CVS.

Both shampoos can also be found online at Target, Ulta, Walgreens, and on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nexxus good for hair?

There is no definite answer to this question as different hair types can react differently to Nexxus shampoos. And also, there is a wide range of products available some of which can be good while others are not. But as a whole Nexxus products are free of harsh preservatives like DMDM hydantoin and parabens. However, some Nexxus shampoos still use sulfates.

Is Kristen Ess good?

Kristen Ess is a salon brand available at drugstore prices. All of this brand’s products are cruelty-free. There are no parabens or other harmful ingredients in these hair care products. However, some of Kristin Ess shampoos may contain strong surfactants and perfumes. So you need to pick stuff that will suit your hair and scalp. 

Is Nexxus used in salons?

Yes! Nexxus is definitely used in salons. It is one of the most sought after professional shampoo brands. It is used as there is a wide variety of Nexxus shampoos. You can find Nexxus shampoos with sulfates that clarify hair and produce a lot of lather. At the same time, there are color safe Nexxus shampoos that are gentle, SLS-free and protect hair. 

Does Kristin Ess cause greasy hair?

There are different shampoos, conditioners and hair masks available in Kristin ESS that are suited for different scalp types. So there are some products that suit dry scalp and help moisturize it, but these same products might make oily scalps greasier. It is up to you to select the right products that suit your hair texture and scalp condition.

Does Nexxus have sulfates?

Yes. A lot of Nexxus products have sulfates. These shampoos are meant for deep cleansing your hair and produce a lot of lather. However, they might not be suited if you’ve got dry scalp, sensitive scalp or color-treated hair. There are other Nexxus products (like the Nexxus Color Assure shampoo) that are free of harsh surfactants that you can use for colored hair. 

Final Thoughts on the Nexxus vs Kristin Ess Shampoo Brands

To sum it up, Nexxus and Kristin Ess both have a lot of high quality salon hair care products. 

When it comes to being cruelty-free, Kristin Ess and Nexxus both do not test on animals. So they are at par.

However, Nexxus is the older brand and has a lot of industry presence. It also has a wider range of products compared to Kristin Ess.

But when it comes to price Kristin Ess has the upper hand as these products are available at Target starting at $7 while Nexxus starts is slightly more expensive. 

Also, Nexxus has some sulfate-based shampoos while Kristin Ess is exclusively made without sulfates and harsh surfactants. 

Nexxus hair products also focus more on cleansing, moisturizing and color-protection while Kristin Ess focuses more on damage control and repair. 

Also Read:

Kristin ESS The One Signature Shampoo Review

Nexxus Therappe Moisturizing Shampoo Review

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