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Jonathan Van Ness On the ‘Skinification’ of Hair and the Launch of His New Line

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Jonathan Van Ness On the ‘Skinification’ of Hair and the Launch of His New Line featured image
Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff / Getty Images

If you know anything about Queer Eye’s grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness, it’s that his passion for makeovers is fueled by his desire to make the world a better place, one strand at a time. Now, with his eponymous new JVN hair care line launching at the end of the month, he’s going to have a chance to do just that.

With a solution for every hair type—the line includes a Nurture, Undamage, Embody and Complete collections—he’s really thought of everyone. “It really is about embracing everyone’s beauty and encouraging people to embrace their hair and feel good about how they look in an authentic and transparent way. I’m thrilled that we have developed this inclusive line that is effective for all hair types, it’s also sustainable for our Earth. Whether your hair is as straight as they come, or the most beautiful kinky curly curl, we’ve got you covered.”

To develop the line, JVN himself was involved in every part of the formulation, which included taking inspiration from what works in skin care and applying it to hair care. “A key ingredient is hemisqualane, which is a sustainable silicone alternative derived from sugarcane,” he tells us. “So hemisqualane is half the size of squalane, about a half-sized molecule then squalane, which really gets into the hair to seal it and assuage any sort of damage that’s living outside the cuticle of our hair.”

For JVN, having an accessible line—products range between $18 and $28—that is both transformative and sustainable is what he’s always envisioned. “I’ve been truly passionate about beauty ingredients and finding ways to celebrate everyone’s unique beauty for as long as I can remember,” he says. “Finding ways to celebrate people’s individual beauty was specifically why I got into the beauty industry more than 15 years ago.”

How did you test each formulation? Did your friends and family act as guinea pigs? 

Of course! I have friends and family who have been my test models for all sorts of things for decades, so they were the first people I turned to when I started to formulate my line. Each product incorporates my knowledge from the professionals who helped nurture and teach me throughout the years, and the feedback from the loving folks who let me test out the products on their hair. 

JVN is available at JVNHair.com and Sephora on August 31st.

If there is one product that everyone one should try, which would it be?

GAH! They’re all so good, but I think our Deep Moisture Mask is a really functional, highly moisturizing treatment that gives you hair hydration without weighing it down. It’s crazy, because it’s universally effective on all hair types, and it also has other hidden talents, like acting as a little flyaway tamer on dry hair!

What did you capture in your line that you felt was really missing from the industry? 

I felt like we needed a hair-care line that could deliver serious moisture and shine without using silicones. Some of my favorite, most nourishing skin-care products were powered by hemisqualane, which is this insanely hydrating yet lightweight molecule. I started thinking about how effective it would be on your scalp and your hair, and I realized we had the ability to replicate the effects of silicones without using them. Because hemisqualane is so lightweight, it can be used on all hair types and textures, and if that wasn’t compelling enough, it’s made from a biofermentation process using sustainable sugarcane. This revolutionary ingredient is the basis for every product in the JVN collection, delivering hydration, strength, and shine, sustainably, to all hair types.  

What does a good hair day look like for you? 

A day where I feel beautiful and didn’t have to spend too much time fighting my hair to get it looking good.

What is your best advice for people who think they’re not “good” at doing their own hair? 

It’s all about practice. There are so many great resources on social media, like YouTube tutorials, that will help you learn how to style your type of hair. Also, finding the right products for your hair that enhance your texture or help you achieve the style you’re looking for is so, so helpful for your journey! In my early 20s, when I first grew my hair long it would take me about 45 minutes to fully style it. Now, after some practice, it never takes me more than about 25-30 minutes. Remember, everyone learns at their own pace, so just enjoy the ride, and love the hair you have.

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