Sally Hunwick: We are so excited that JVN has launched here in Sephora. Can you tell us what made you decide to create a haircare line?
Jonathan Van Ness: It’s really been the collection of a lifetime of loving hair. It's the accumulation of 15 years of experience being a hairdresser behind the chair. I've had such like a unique experience both inside and outside of the industry — as the consumer and as a professional, behind the chair and on camera — so I wanted to all of that together to create JVN.
SH: Other than getting us locks as amazing as yours, what makes JVN special?
JVN: Through my relationship with Biossance [Jonathan is spokesperson for the brand], I discovered [hydrating ingredient] squalane. It’s just unparalleled. I started using it in my hair and it was so transformative that I thought we should make clean hair here. The idea just clicked. JVN is all about efficacy, ingredients and formulas that work better than anything else.
Biossance Squalane + Copper Peptide Serum 50ml for $104, at Sephora
SH: You have been such a trailblazer for inclusivity and acceptance, how does this play into the new haircare line?
JVH: I always felt like I didn't know my place in the beauty industry. I didn't feel like as a little kid, I was allowed out to play with beauty in the way that I wanted to. I had curly hair and I didn’t feel like I looked like the beautiful women in the ads. I thought I wasn't like allowed to play with hair. So our thing at JVN is “come as you are” because I want everyone to feel so welcome to be here and welcome to play with their hair and ask questions and feel beautiful, no matter your age, race or gender.
SH: You are also passionate about the environment. How does JVN play its part?
JVN: Sustainability is so important. I've used every [haircare product] there is under the sun and and I just feel like there's such an abundance of plastic in the beauty industry. I thought, how can I start to change that paradigm from within? That's why we used aluminium [ in our packaging]. We’re so close to being plastic free. We’ll be totally plastic free by 2025. I'm really proud of where we've landed for our launch, and how much we're using glass and aluminium, which are infinitely so much more recyclable.
SH: I’ve been to the Biossance headquarters near San Fransisco and I too fell in love with the hydrating powers of squalane, Biossance’s key ingredient. Can you explain hemi-squalane to me, and what it does for our hair?
JVN: Just like [clean tech] squalane, hemi-squalane is still derived from sugar cane, but the molecule is half the size. It acts as a silicone alternative. Silicones can make hair seem more shiny and stronger, but what they really do is they live on the outside of the hair which prevents other ingredients from penetrating. [You can end up with] dryness or brittleness, weakness, or a lack of volume. That's why hemi-squalane is such a star because it is such a refined little molecule that it's able to penetrate through the hair cuticle and get to the inside of the hair, bringing the ingredients and the formulas deeper into the hair shaft so that it can really fortify the hair from the inside out.
SH: Is there a hair type that JVN works best for?
JVN: It’s going to work on all hair types. We formulated based on hair concern so you can customise for what your needs are, [whether that’s] more body and volume, moisture or strength.
SH: Do you have a favourite product that you like to use?
JVN: I mean, I love all of them for different reasons. I think for me, the Complete range is just incredible. Our Pre Wash Scalp and Hair Treatment Oil is one of our top sellers in the United States. It's sold out a bunch of times. Scalp health is so important; so many people have dry, flaky, irritated scalps. The oil is a gentle exfoliation to remove that dirt and debris and help to get it clean.
JVN Pre Wash Scalp and Hair Treatment Oil for $43 at Sephora
I also love our Complete Instant Recovery Heat Protectant Leave-in Serum. If you're someone who like blows your hair dry straight, or round-brush your hair, or use a curling iron, this is your one-stop shop. If you're someone who likes more natural curls or you like to rock your natural texture, the Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream is incredible.
JVN Complete Instant Recovery Heat Protectant Leave-in Serum for $100, at Sephora
JVN Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream for $37, at Sephora
SH: How many times a week should we be washing our hair?
JVN: Over-washing your hair isn't good. But also, under-washing, isn't good either. I think two to three times a week. Your sweat alone and like just living your life, doesn't make your hair dirty. But not washing you hair for 10 days or two weeks is not enough. Finding like the right amount of washing for you is an important thing [to work out].
SH: Notes! Now, we can’t let you go without your best hair tip…
JVN: If you have medium to long hair, sleep with your hair in a loose top bun. If you sleep with your hair down, your mid lengths will get stuck between your back and your sheets causing too much heat and friction which tangles and tatter the hair. You don’t want tension or to pull your hair too tight; just gather your hair on top of your head and then twist it in a very loose top bun using a big silk scrunchy. It will help your colour last longer; your hair cut last longer. I'm gonna do that tonight and think of you, Jonathan. Thank you so much.
JVN is available at Sephora stores and online now.