Before the millions of Instagram followers and the Queer Eye empire, Jonathan Van Ness‘s entrée into hairstyling wasn’t exactly a fairytale. “I didn’t feel confident about the way I looked, and I think that’s because there was such a strict idea of what a man was supposed to look like. I don’t want people to feel bad about themselves ever again and that’s so much of what moves me about doing hair,” says Van Ness. “You don’t need to do anything with your hair because you’re a certain gender, a certain age, a certain this, a certain that. I want everyone to feel entitled to their version of beauty.”
It has led Van Ness to one of those career moments that most hairstylists can only dream about: launching an eponymous, extensive line of hair care. JVN is organized into four collections: Nurture (moisturizing), Undamage (strengthening), Embody (volumizing), and Complete (treatment and styling). The products’ prices range from $18 to $28, and each collection has its own subtle scent that’s “not gendered,” says Van Ness. “I wanted them to be not particularly feminine or masculine, and not trying too hard for just a relaxing experience.”
Every product is silicone-free, and the star ingredient of the line — which you will find in every formula — is hemisqualane from sugar cane. “It adds shine and has a smoothing effect,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “It is trendy [in hair care] — and also in skin care — because people are pursuing clean [ingredients]. The hemisqualane [in the JVN line] has the Ecocert natural certification.”
There are 10 products in all, with a common goal: “I always noticed that kids just have that happy, bouncy hair, and I want you to get to [that],” says Van Ness. The Nurture collection (infused with hydrating ingredients like camellia seed oil and with a lemon, blackcurrant, white orchid, and vanilla fragrance) includes Nurture Hydrating Shampoo, Nurture Hydrating Conditioner, and Nurture Deep Moisture Mask.
Undamage (with hair-coddling ingredients such as ceramides and jojoba esters and a bergamot, summer fruit, and cashmere musk scent) includes Undamage Strengthening Shampoo and Undamage Strengthening Conditioner. Embody (with volumizing ingredients like biotin and with a sandalwood, amber, and cassis fragrance) includes Embody Daily Volumizing Shampoo and Embody Daily Volumizing Conditioner.