Kristen Ess, Celebrity Hair Stylist and Blogger at The Beauty Department

Kristen Ess, Celebrity Hair Stylist and Blogger at The Beauty Department

the 10

15

tools I keep in my red carpet kit


When celebrity hair stylist KRISTIN ESS isn't turning out starlets for magazine covers or big glittery award shows, she's usually on her computer, whipping out hair tutorials for The Beauty Department, a blog that Ess launched with Lauren Conrad and makeup artist Amy Nadine last year. The blog, which has rocketed to the top of many an RSS feed is arguably as pretty in its presentation as the hair styles and makeup how-tos themselves. Now that Awards Season is finally upon us, we asked Ess to spill on what she deems essential for the making a fabulous entrance.

Herewith, the 15 hair styling tools Kristen Ess keeps in her red carpet kit.

  • 1

    Flat Denman Paddle Brush

    This is my go-to detangling flat brush, plus it feels like a massage on your scalp. It's good for calming nervous clients down!

  • 2

    Rsession Tools Pin Up Kit

    If you want a one-stop shop, this kit is a great place to start: It has everything in it to execute a wide range of chignons and updos, including a rat roll. It's one of those things that looks freaky, but if you're going for a vintage style, this will give you the volume you need.

  • 3

    Hair Donut

    This is what I use for a 1950s style, voluminous bun: Most people don't have enough hair to get the effect on their own without its help!

  • 4

    Conair Hot Rollers

    Anyone with fine hair that won't hold curls should always have a set of hot rollers on hand. Because its time on your strands is so brief, a curling iron just can't give you the volume and texture of curl you need to really anchor an updo. (This means that you need to be patient, and leave the hot rollers in until they completely cool down!)

  • 5

    MetaGrip Premium Bobby Pins

    These are super, super strong, and key for really anchoring up-dos that can last all night. (I always have clients stash a few in their purse in case of mid-evening hair emergencies.)

  • 6

    Elchim USA 2001 Professional Dryer

    This is my favorite blowdryer hands down, end of story, period. It really has the perfect blend of wind and heat: There's really not much that I can't do with it!

  • 7

    Clear Elastics

    These are vital for any updo—I like the clear ones because they're invisible and great hair should always look like it happened by magic!

  • 8

    Teasing Brush

    This is good for both gentle teasing, and for smoothing out the top of a look. It's a soft, not-too-intense tease.

  • 9

    Teasing Comb

    I turn to this guy when I need to create a base for a look, i.e., an area that I can bobby pin into and get some hold. This sucker is very intense (so be careful if you have super long hair).

  • 10

    Warren Tricomi Super Hold Hair Spray

    When I'm finished with the look, I use this for a quick once-over. In my opinion, it's almost like a dry shampoo/hairspray combination. It's has a nice dusty quality to it that gives great texture. The last thing you want is hair that looks shellacked! (And keep in mind that hair should always be soft and touchable—and it should move—if it's too helmet-like, it won't last too far into the night.)

  • 11

    Tail Comb

    If you're executing a look that requires section, you need a comb with a tail on it. It's particularly essential when you're going for a precise, sleek, side part. This one is your ticket.

  • 12

    Goody Black Elastic Hair Ties

    I turn to these for my signature fun buns or a sleek ponytail. It provides the best tension for thicker hair. For the latter look, you'll want to disguise the hair tie by taking a small strand from the base of your ponytail, wrapping it around the elastic, and securing the end with a bobby pin.

  • 13

    Wella Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Spray

    I always use this when I'm prepping Lauren (you'll want to spray it in when your hair is damp), because it's the basis for a great beach-y look. In other words, hair that has a matte, no-shine texture.

  • 14

    Jennifer Behr Headband

    This is my favorite shortcut for a quick updo, since you can just tuck loose strands into the band. It's a really quick way to take a simple, slightly undone, casual chignon into fancy territory (in fact, don't use one of these on a hairdo that's too perfectly executed).

  • 15

    Ban.do Crystal Swirl Bobbi Pin

    This is the perfect way to finish off a 1940s, polished look—it's very Veronica Lake or Rita Hayworth. Use it to pin up one side when you're doing a style with a vintage wave.

Flat DENMAN Paddle Brush
Rsession Tools Pin Up Kit
Hair Donut
Conair Hot Rollers
Elchim USA 2001 Professional Dryer
Clear Elastics
Teasing Brush
Teasing Comb
Warren Tricomi Super Hold Hair Spray
Tail Comb
Goody Black Elastic Hairband
Wella Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Spray
Jennifer Behr Headband
Ban.do Crystal Swirl Bobbi Pin
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