Toning My Hair at Home with Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss

I haven’t had my hair highlighted or cut since mid-January. JANUARY. That’s a tough reality to swallow for a woman who religiously schedules her hair appointments for every eight weeks. But, you know – I never thought we’d be in the middle of a global pandemic, so here we are. While I’m definitely too scared to take scissors to my ends or attempt at-home color, I did want to find a way to bring back some life to my strands and tone down the brassiness. After seeing this picture, I promptly nicknamed my shade of blonde macaroni and cheese. Ha! After a lot of research, I decided to try toning my hair at home with Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss. I love a majority of her other products, so why not?!

kristin ess signature hair gloss winter wheat review

What is it?

The Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss is an in-shower treatment formulated to boost vibrancy and shine for all hair types. It will help keep color looking fresh, shiny and healthy between appointments. It’s silicone- and ammonia-free (aka it doesn’t lift, lighten or cover grays!). The formula is color and keratin-safe and will last three to four weeks depending on how often you wash your hair.

I will note, however, that even though this is described as an in-shower treatment I did it outside of the shower (minus to get my hair wet). It’s way easier to apply at your bathroom vanity where you can presumably look in a mirror. Plus, the toner needs to process for 10 to 20 minutes, and that’s a lot of wasted water if you’re just standing in the shower that whole time!

What color did I choose?

I went with Winter Wheat, which is described as ideal with anyone with light blonde hair looking to tone down warmth and boost shine. Kristin has a complete color guide on her Instagram page if you’re not sure what’s best for your own hair.

The Before + Process

Here’s an unfiltered look at my hair before the toner. I stood right in front of my bedroom window to capture my hair in the truest light possible.

before kristin ess at-home gloss
My color overall isn’t awful by any means, but there’s definitely some warmth and brassiness coming through. Ignore those ends, though … I can’t wait for the day that I can get a trim!

kristin ess signature gloss winter wheat before 2
The application process is pretty easy and foolproof, in my opinion. I washed my hair the day before and didn’t apply any product so my hair would be as clean as possible. So I simply had to jump in the shower to get my hair wet followed by a quick detangle with my favorite brush.

From here, I pretty much just followed along with Kristin’s IGTV video. There was more than enough product for my hair – I only used about half the bottle -, so I made sure to take plenty of time to really saturate my strands from roots to ends. I also think it’s much easier to apply the product into your hands, emulsify it a bit, and then apply it the hair. This allows for a better, more targeted application instead of squeezing the product right onto your head and hoping for the best!

When I finished, I wrapped my hair up in a clip and let the toner process for the full 20 minutes.

The After

Once the 20 minutes were up, I jumped back in the shower and washed/conditioned my hair as usual. Then I let it air dry a bit while I applied makeup, followed by a rough blow dry. Here are the immediate results! Again, unfiltered.

kristin ess at-home gloss winter wheat after
While subtle, there’s definitely a difference in the tone of my hair! Much more neutral and cooled down, opposed to the warmer golden/brassy tones that I was seeing before.

I also noticed how smooth my hair looked and felt! A lot less frizz and much easier to brush through and blow out.

kristin ess winter wheat after 2
So overall, is the Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss worth it? I say yes! Does it replace trips to your professional stylist? 100% no. My roots are still sad with no color, and my grays are popping. But, for $14 this at-home alternative is worth a try!

You might also enjoy my complete review of the Kristin Ess fragrance-free hair care line.

Leave a Comment


  1. 5.5.20
    cara said:

    Your hair looks gorgeous! Love that this is an affordable option in-between salon visits.

    • 5.5.20
      Karly said:

      Thanks, girl! It’s definitely worth a try.

  2. 4.29.20
    Ashley said:

    I’m really getting brassy. I usually go in and have my hair toned in between color/highlight appointment. Maybe I’ll try this and end up saving a lot of money in between!

  3. 4.27.20
    Debbie said:

    Your hair turned out great! We’re all going to be waiting in line at the salon when this is over!

    • 4.30.20
      Karly said:

      Thank you! And, that’s for sure!

  4. 4.27.20
    Lisa Autumn said:

    Oh your hair looks amazing!

    Lisa |

  5. 4.27.20
    Biana said:

    I’m glad you found something to help in the interim of getting to the salon! I’m going to need a serious cut and treatment when this is all over! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston