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From sound engineers and screenwriters to celebrity makeup artists and stylists, Variety’s series “Ask an Insider” asks top professionals within the entertainment industry to share their must-have essentials, for work … and for play. In this installment, “Queer Eye” star and haircare entrepreneur Jonathan Van Ness shares what every beauty lover should have on their wishlist this holiday season.
No matter where he is — on location shooting a new season of “Queer Eye,” or on the road for his ongoing comedy tour — Jonathan Van Ness always manages to find his way back home: namely, standing behind a head of hair, blowdryer in hand as he purrs out a string of compliments to whoever’s sitting in the chair in front of him. Just like on the Netflix show, almost every sentence starts with the word “Queeeen.”
“Full disclosure, my camera is off because I’m literally doing a curly set on my assistant right now,” Van Ness says over a Zoom call in New York. “Her water got shut off in her building in Brooklyn, so this girl has not been able to take a shower for literally five days. The hair is crazy so I’m fully setting her hair as we speak.”
This constant grind and genuine obsession with haircare explains Van Ness’s unstoppable success over the past year, first with the launch of his own line of products called JVN Hair in the summer of 2021 and most recently the release of a new book of essays “Love That Story.” It’s also why he makes for the perfect person to ask for recs when doing your holiday shopping. He’s never not thinking about hair and beauty, and is always in the know about what products every beauty lover should have in their cart.
Ahead of the holidays, he teamed up with the retailer Rakuten to curate a list of some of his favorite products. Plus, shoppers can earn 10% cash back on all the products he included in his Holiday Edit which features brands such as Ugg and Quay Australia.
Check out a few of Van Ness’s top beauty picks below:
Satin Heatless Curling Set Bundle
“Curling sets really create such a sleek, polished wave depending on which kind you use, I really love them. But I do think the right product choice is really important. You should use a cotton t-shirt to really smush and absorb as much moisture out of your hair as possible. Because if you set your hair with those heatless wavers and it’s still totally sopping wet — like all the way wet-wet — it’s going to take way too long to dry and it’ll actually still probably be wet when you wake up. So you want to make sure that you get enough of the moisture out of your hair before you start, unless your hair is a little bit more textured and then you want a little bit more moisture in there.”
Instant Recovery Serum
“Your product choice always really, really matters, and the technique in which you apply them really matters — it’s not ‘either-or,’ it’s definitely ‘both, and’.
Especially with a night hair set, it’s important that you smooth the hair really well around the thing that you’re setting it on. And in order to help smooth the hair, it can be really helpful to have an instant recovery serum like what JVN Hair has, or like an oil or hair serum to assist you in smoothing the hair out.”
“The Dyson Airwrap really is that good because when you’re getting a heat styling tool, typically there are some products that aren’t worth it. But the Dyson really is because it gets the hair really beautiful and all the way dry. That’s really the key to a good hair set is making sure that the hair is all the way dry. The way that Dyson collects the hair and directs the air and doesn’t overheat it (and controls the heat), it doesn’t fry your hair, but gets you a nice set.”
“A gorgeous T edger is always great for people to have on the go. It helps you keep the beard looking good, and your beard lines around your mouth looking nice and clean. But also for affordable grooming, I always love a good razor and a nice, non-irritating shaving cream.”
Biossance Omega Repair Cream
“I love this repair cream so much, it literally nourishes my skin and just calms me down. It really helps to deliver moisture and because it has Squalane it helps to seal it in as well. When I’m traveling, I can’t leave home without it. I literally have four going at any one time — one in my car, my purse, my bathroom, my office. Also, hot tip: I put the leftovers on my lips.”