Jonathan Van Ness on the Best Advice He’d Give His Younger Self and the One Thing We Should All Do For Our Hair

This article first appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

He’s an icon, he’s a legend, and he is having a moment. Jonathan Van Ness stole our collective hearts in his turn as host of Netflix’s Queer Eye and on his podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. With every jovial flip of his luscious locks, the actor, activist and newly minted comedian radiates pure happiness. Now that he has our attention, the 34-year-old grooming guru is also coming for our hair.

With a new line of JVN hair-care products, formulated with plant-based ingredient hemisqualane, Van Ness is taking his talent for beautifying and bottling it for the world. “Some of my favorite, most nourishing skin-care products are powered by hemisqualane, which is this insanely hydrating yet lightweight molecule,” he says. “I started thinking about how effective it would be on your scalp and hair, and I realized we had the ability to replicate the effects of silicones without actually using them.” Making sure to have a solution for every hair type and texture, Van Ness wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This collection literally feels like my child. It feels like a lifetime of work, research and passion, and I’m truly excited to share it with everyone. It’s really about embracing everyone’s beauty and encouraging people to appreciate their hair and feel good about how they look in an authentic and transparent way.”

What is the best beauty tip you’d give a young JVN?

“Never leave home without SPF! Integrating sunscreen into your daily routine at an early age is invaluable. Make the time for self-care. Showing love to yourself and your body is necessary for your physical, mental and emotional health. And finally, beauty doesn’t have to be so serious. It can be empowering if you remember it’s supposed to be fun. Instead of trying to change who you are, search for products that enhance your best self. Your unique beauty is a gift, not a curse.”

What should everyone be doing, or not doing, with their hair?

“Don’t overwash. It strips hair of its natural oils that keep it healthy and shiny. A lot of people cleanse their hair daily when they don’t need to. When you do wash, give your scalp some extra TLC with a treatment or a little scalp massage to boost circulation. For long hair, try pulling it into a loose topknot while you sleep. This will keep your ends away from—hopefully—eight hours of friction and body heat at night. And, of course, weekly masking is always a win.”

How are you making the world a more beautiful place?

“My work, hopefully, is helping people feel more love and compassion for themselves. Showing empathy and compassion is a timeless style.”

What is one hair trend that should have never been?

“Cap highlights. I know because I had a phase.”

What are three glam must-haves you can’t live without?

“Easy: sunscreen, a toothbrush and a hair mask. SPF, oral care and a moisturizing mask are non-negotiable!”

What do you consider a good hair day?

“A day where you feel beautiful and didn’t have to spend too much time fighting your hair to get it looking good.”

What if styling your own hair doesn’t come naturally?

“It’s really all about practice. It wasn’t until I started hair school that I learned how to better style my own hair, but that was because of the repetition. You don’t literally have to go to hair school to have great hair. There are so many great resources, like YouTube and social media, that can help you learn. Also, finding the right products that enhance your texture or help you achieve the style you’re looking for is so, so helpful for your journey. When I first grew my hair out in my early 20s, it took me about 45 minutes to fully style it. Now, it never takes me more than about 25 minutes. Everyone learns at their own pace, so just enjoy the ride and love the hair you have. There’s no such thing as bad hair!”

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