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Jonathan Van Ness’ JVN Hair Has Arrived In The UK

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‘It’s all about hydration’, Jonathan Van Ness tells us, when we grill him about making curly hair look its best. ‘Curls are naturally more porous, which means they lose water more easily. The cuticle also tends to be more open on curly hair, so it needs a little more love.’

If you were in any way sceptical about Van Ness’ hair expertise, we’re here to tell you the Queen of grooming knows his stuff. While it’s easy to file his eponymous JVN Hair in the ‘celebrity beauty line’ category – after all, Van Ness’ star power is not to be sniffed at – it actually feels a little unfair. Before he became everyone’s favourite body-positive cheerleader, Van Ness started out as a hairdresser, chalking up 15 years as a salon and session stylist.

So, come for the celeb hype, if you must, but stay for the forensically formulated products. This line works – and it won’t make you part with your bank balance, or your sustainable mindset, either.


JVN Hair, which is available now exclusively at Space NK, is based around a single skincare-inspired ingredient: hemisqualane. Van Ness discovered this smart hydrator via sister brand Biossance (both come under the biotech parent company Amyris) which is famed for its squalane skincare.

Van Ness describes hemisqualane as ‘a superior alternative to silicone.’ The molecule, which he has had patented, is created by putting sugarcane through a bio-fermentation process, creating an extract that can penetrate the hair’s outer cuticle, repairing each strand from the inside out. Where silicone slicks over the surface, hemisqualane sinks deeper.

JVN Hair: What To Try

So, where to start? There’s a trio of shampoo and conditioner duos – Nurture, Damage and Embody – each designed to suit a different hair concern, rather than a reductive hair type.

‘I was really clear from the get-go that I wanted to formulate for hair concern versus hair type, because we have to normalise all hair types,’ explains Van Ness. ‘Ultimately, hair is hair is hair – it’s just that all different types of hair need, in my experience, one of three things: more moisture, more strength, or more volume and body.’

Alongside the core cleansing products sits a universal line of treatment and styling aids. Those with a dry scalp or struggling edges will love the Pre-Wash Scalp Oil, which is specifically designed to prevent breakage: Van Ness used it to revive his own hairline after an intensive Queer Eye styling season. The Air Dry Cream is a real crowd-pleaser: scrunch it into damp ends to create texture minus the crunch, or use it to define curls and coils without adding weight.

Our highlight, however, is the Instant Recovery Serum. Combining hemisqualane with ceramides and glycerin, this surprisingly creamy formula works as both a treatment and a styling aid: it’ll wrap around the hair’s outer cuticle, making it smoother and stronger, which in turn should prevent split ends from creeping in. In the styling realm, it’ll replace both your heat-protection spray and your blow-dry cream, making hair look shiny and full of movement without any greasy residue. Whatever your hair concern, it’s magic.

After selling out across the US, the brand’s most raved-about product finally joins the UK line-up this month. Nourishing Shine Drops is where the the brand’s hemisqualane really comes into its own, delivering glass-like shiny hair without silicones or heavy oils. Again, this light-as-water formula works hard: it’ll block humidity (and therefore stop frizz), smooth your blow-dry, and add an incredible reflective finish to dry lengths. Sinking into hair, rather than slicking over the surface, there’s no greasy residue – even on the finest of strands.

Environmental awareness is non-negotiable today, and Van Ness has put in the work to ensure JVN Hair is as eco-conscious as possible from day one. ‘We’ve chosen aluminium and glass containers and tried to stay away from plastic as much as possible,’ he says. ‘The plastic we do have is post-consumer recycled plastic for now, and we’re aiming to be plastic free by 2025. Plus, all of our shipping is carbon-free.’
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You don’t need us to tell you that the JVN Hair experience is an inclusive one: Van Ness isn’t here for a singular beauty standard.

Take frizzy hair, for example. ‘I love a little bit of frizz on my natural curl,’ says Van Ness. ‘My hair is naturally curly and curly hair has frizz sometimes, and I like that! It gives it body and texture – but, equally, sometimes I also want my curls to be smoother. Sometimes after washing, or if I run outside, I do want to reduce the frizz – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous.’

‘So I’m okay with talking about frizz because it’s something that happens – I just think we need to rethink how we talk about it. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a gorgeous thing. Sometimes when you’re trying to blow dry your hair straight, you don’t want that dang frizz, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love your curls.’

Van Ness wants his parting message to be clear: ‘No one’s worth or value is based on how they look – and for so long, the beauty industry as a whole has made people feel less than. I don’t ever want to make people feel less than.’

There’s no doubt that Van Ness is refreshingly aware of the difference between self-improvement and self-expression, and it shines through in the brand he’s deemed inclusive and accessible enough to place his name on. Now, seriously, try that Instant Recovery Serum.

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