Kristin Ess Shampoo Review: High Quality at Low Prices?

Kristin Ess Shampoo Review: High Quality at Low Prices?

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Kristin Ess is a popular hair care brand that has great packaging and reasonable prices. The brand claims that their shampoo gets hair “super clean” but also “leaves it feeling moisturized and looking shiny.”

But does Kristin Ess shampoo actually contain ingredients shown in research studies to have these effects? Does it contain any potentially harmful ingredients? How do real users rate and describe the effects of Kristin Ess shampoo? And which retailer sells this brand for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in two of Kristin Ess' most popular shampoo products (Signature Shampoo and Purple Shampoo) based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not these products are likely to be effective for improving hair quality.

We’ll feature unsponsored user reviews of the brand, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Kristin Ess shampoo for the best price.

Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo Review

Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo ingredients

The ingredients in Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo (which is one of the brand's best-sellers) are shown above.

Glycerin was shown in a medical review published in the British Journal of Dermatology to improve skin barrier function, hydrate the skin and have an antimicrobial effect, making it an excellent conditioning ingredient.

Chitosan is a natural anti-fungal ingredient derived from the shells of crustacean animals like crabs.

This ingredient was shown in a 2020 medical review to reduce levels of pathogenic bacteria on the scalp, making it a healthier option than commercial antifungals in our opinion.

This shampoo also contains some ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.

Fragrance is a broad categorical descriptor that could refer to any number of chemical compounds.

A 2016 medical review described the potential for “serious risks” to human health from fragranced consumer products.

Kristin Ess does offer a fragrance-free version, so we’d recommend consumers intent on purchasing from the brand choose that option.

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative found in at least one clinical trial to be toxic to human cells, as we documented in our Function of Beauty review article.

Sodium benzoate is another synthetic preservative.

Overall, we believe that Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo has the potential to improve hair moisture and quality, but we don’t currently recommend this product due to the inactive ingredients highlighted above.

Real People Try Kristin Ess

A YouTube creator named "SariReanna" evaluates whether or not Kristin Ess is the best "drugstore" shampoo:

A YouTube creator named Abbey Yung compares Kristin Ess to other shampoo brands in the same category:

Kristin Ess Purple Shampoo Review

Kristin Ess Purple Shampoo ingredients

The ingredients in Kristin Ess Purple Shampoo are shown above.

Basic Violet 1, which is an artificial dye, is used for the color.

A medical review published in the International Journal of Toxicology analyzed data on Basic Violet 1 and concluded the following:

“The panel concluded that because of the carcinogenic potential of these dyes, insufficient data exist to support the safety of Basic Violet 1, 3, and 4 in cosmetic formulation.”

Carcinogenic potential refers to the potential for an ingredient to cause cancer.

Fragrance is included, and we discussed in the previous ingredient analysis section why we consider this ingredient to be questionable from a health perspective.

Methylisothiazolinone is a synthetic preservative which is banned or prohibited by Health Canada due to safety concerns.

Overall, we do not currently recommend Kristin Ess Purple Shampoo due to these inactive ingredients, and we consider this formulation to be inferior to the Signature Shampoo formulation from a health perspective.

A YouTube creator named "Milabu" reviewed Kristin Ess Purple Shampoo:

Where to Get the Best Price

Kristin Ess shampoo is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase of the two shampoo products reviewed in this article, at the time of updating:

Signature Shampoo

Target: $11 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $10.97 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $10.97 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Purple Shampoo

Target: $13 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $12.97 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $12.97 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Kristin Ess shampoo is currently around 40% cheaper on Amazon than other retailers at the time of updating this article.

The brand does not currently allow purchases through their website.

Real Customers Review Kristin Ess

Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo and Conditioner set is currently the brand's most-reviewed product on Amazon, with over 2,500 total reviews and an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Marva Wilson" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims it's superior to other brands:

"This is the best shampoo I’ve used"

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Amanda” who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, who dislikes the product experience and suggests it caused hair shedding:

"... the shampoo is horrendously drying and causes a lot of excess hair fallout, like, A LOT, and the conditioner, no matter how well you wash it out, leaves a waxy finish."

Kristin Ess Signature Shampoo currently has an average review rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars on Google.

Our Clean Hair Care Picks

Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo is our top shampoo pick.

It contains argan oil which is clinically shown to help protect hair from damage.

Happy Head Topical is our top premium hair growth solution.

This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.

Momentous Zinc is our top value hair growth solution.

A 2022 medical review on the use of zinc in dermatology concluded that "This review has found evidence to support the use of hair loss disorders."

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients we consider to be unhealthy.

Pros and Cons of Kristin Ess

Here are the pros and cons of Kristin Ess shampoo in our opinion:


  • Great packaging
  • Mostly positive online customer reviews
  • Both formulations we reviewed contained some research-backed active ingredients
  • Affordable
  • Widely available in stores
  • Brand offers fragrance-free versions


  • Some formulations contain fragrance
  • Purple Shampoo contains artificial dye
  • Contains synthetic preservatives
  • Doesn't appear to be clinically tested
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Both of the Kristin Ess shampoos that we analyzed in this article (Signature Shampoo and Purple Shampoo) contained some research-backed active ingredients that may support hair quality.

However, both shampoos also contained several inactive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Purple Shampoo in particular contains both artificial dye and a synthetic preservative with restricted use provisions in Canada.

Kristin Ess offers fragrance-free versions of some of their products, and for consumers planning on purchasing from the brand, we would recommend purchasing those versions.

Most of the online customer reviews of Kristin Ess that we came across while researching this article were positive, and we'll give the brand credit that their packaging is excellent.

Amazon has the best prices on Kristin Ess shampoo at the time of updating this article, when factoring in shipping fees.