Review: I Tried JVN’s Hair Products — & These 3 Are My Favourite

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Ever since Jonathan Van Ness first lit up my laptop screen on his acclaimed series Gay Of Thrones (and later in 2018 during the fan-favourite Queer Eye reboot), I dreamed that the master stylist would one day bring his haircare expertise to my own wavy lob. (Van Ness, who is nonbinary, expressed a preference for he/him pronouns in a 2019 interview with Out.) That may not have happened (yet), but thanks to their new range of hair products, I'm a heck of a lot closer. Spanning everything from shampoos and conditioners to innovative styling products for all hair types, the collection is impressive — but did we expect anything else?
All JVN products are cruelty-free, vegan, colour-safe, and free of silicones and sulphates. The entire brand features four collections, each made with specific hair goals in mind; First, there's Nurture, a moisture-focused range. Then there's Undamage, for hair needs a bit more love. After that, there's Embody, for those looking to turn up the volume, and last but not least: Complete, for all your styling wants and needs.
I have naturally thick, wavy hair, so the main things I look for in my products are hydration, hydration, and hydration. As it happens, JVN's entire line is powered by a nifty hero ingredient called hemisqualane. Now, you've likely heard of squalane, a marine- or plant-derived molecule similar to oil in weight and benefits, but has the added bonus of being non-comedogenic (aka, won't clog your pores). It's commonly found in hydrating skin-care products (including Biossance, whose parent company Amyris is a collaborator in producing JVN's hair products).
Ahead, I'm giving the rundown on the three standouts that have earned a permanent spot in my hair care routine.

Review: JVN Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner, $28 each — "Perfect for my low-maintenance hair needs"

I started my JVN hair journey with the Nurture shampoo and conditioner, which arrived in aluminium bottles (which are more likely to be recycled several times within their life cycle) with post-consumer-recycled plastic pumps. For a sulphate-free shampoo, it offered a decent lather that left my scalp and hair feeling clean but not totally stripped. Next up, there was the conditioner. Since I have fine hair (just a lot of it), some conditioners can leave my roots weighed down and limp. This one nourished and coated each strand but still rinsed away without any residue. After towel-drying with my trusty Aquis, I inspected the results like a beauty detective. My hair felt amazing, and was softly scented with sandalwood and citrus. All in all, these felt like a much fancier version of the drugstore hydrating shampoo I grew up using — and perfect for my relatively low-maintenance hair needs. (If you have very dry or bleached hair, the Undamage duo is probably more up your alley.)

Review: JVN Nourishing Shine Drops, $34 — "TV commercial hair that gleams from the inside out"

Even though I've worked in beauty for years now, I'm actually pretty low-maintenance with my hair. I rarely heat style it, and even less frequently use any sort of product. The exception: A hair oil, which I rely on to hydrate and add luster to my brunette tresses. While I usually apply a few drops to damp hair, JVN's Nourishing Shine Drops are meant to add an instant boost of shine to dry, styled strands. Compared to hair oil, these drops were more serum-like in texture but still felt ultra-hydrating. I applied a few drops to my palm and worked it into my ends and mid-lengths. The result: TV commercial hair that gleamed from the inside out. My highlights looked better, and my flyaways and frizz were shown the door. (According to the brand, hemisqualane is supposed to reduce frizz over an extended period of time.)
While these are priced higher than your average drugstore products — which for the record, I also love — they feel quite luxurious for their under $35 price point. (Not to mention, I imagine JVN giving me a Yass, queen! whenever I use them.) Since I wash my hair about three times a week, I tend to take months to finish a single product; the 10-ounce shampoo and conditioner are sure to last me a while, and the same holds true for the shine drops, which I dispense in 3-5 drop increments.
Whether you're a hair product connoisseur looking to try a new brand or a longtime fan of JVN (the person), JVN (the brand) offers something for all hair-having folx — even if you, like me, can barely wield a curling iron.
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