Nexxus vs Kristin ESS Review

Nexxus vs Kristin ESS Review 2023 | Which Cult-Favorite, Salon Brand Is Better For Hair?

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

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. 

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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.

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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.

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.

FAQs about the Nexxus and Kristin Ess Brands

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. 

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