Jonathan Van Ness has become a household name after appearing on the Netflix series Queer Eye. Working as the grooming expert on the show, JVN is one of the best parts of the show.
They are truly one of the brightest, most positive, and sunshine-y person we have ever come across. We still haven’t fully comprehended the fact that such a person can exist. As JVN would say, “can you believe?”
Vogue spoke to Jonathan Van Ness about the beauty industry, skincare, and more.
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WHAT DID JONATHAN VAN NESS SAY?
FIRST EXPERIENCES OF BEAUTY
“I remember saying I wanted to be a cosmetologist when I was really young. You know when you go to the pool and they have the concession stand selling snacks? Ok. So I would go to the concession stand and the girls working there had to wear these ponytails with these cute little 1950s paper caps. I was obsessed with them, I thought it was so cool. One of the girls there was going to hair school and she told me all about how you got to do nails and make-up and hair and what perms were and what backcombing was. This was probably like 1990. And then my dad’s friend asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said I wanted to be either a cabana girl or a cosmetologist because that’s what this girl was. I was such a precocious, chatty kid but I loved hair and I was curious about it. And so I have had a lifelong interest in it. It’s a university you don’t really graduate from because there’s so much to learn.”
ENTERING THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY
“When I was in school I did a brief entrepreneurial start-up of a travelling mani-pedi service, at the pool. Then I went to hair school when I was 18, I went to the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. I finished in 2006 and then I moved to Arizona, then I moved to Los Angeles and I worked at the Sally Hershberger salon. That’s really where I got inspired to know how to fix anything. I like it when working with a client is a collaborative process. As long as they’re open, I’m there for it. I love working with people.”
TAKING CARE OF THEIR SKIN
“I love oil cleansers for my face. I love Shu Uemura’s, I love the Josie Maran one and there’s a foam cleanser I just love by Marula. And then I do exfoliate, but I have psoriasis so only like once a week or once every other week. For that I like Dr. Brandt and Kate Somerville. Also in the shower I have been using a Jaboneria Marianella Kalahari oil and oh my gosh, it’s so rejuvenating. I haven’t done botox yet, I haven’t done anything to my face. No shade to anyone that has, just, like, live your life. But my grandma really was my style icon and she got more beautiful the older she got, so I want to see if I can do that too. And this oil is really working for me.
So once I’m out of the shower I start with a face serum. I really like Eve Lom, or sometimes straight-up hyaluronic acid – it’s like four dollars. Then I do a gorgeous eye cream. I use a bajillion. I’m using the NYDG Re-Contour Eye Gel right now. And I do a lymphatic massage when I put it on. I do it for like 30 seconds each side, then I jade roller and then I put an eye mask on. I mean, if I’m going to the grocery store then I don’t do that. But if I’m going to walk the carpet, or do press… when I want to look cute, basically. Then a sunscreen all over everything.”
“Well my best friend Patti got me really obsessed with Cover FX. I try to take care of my skin so it’s the best it can be and then conceal my under-eye when it’s needed, and any areas of redness. If I have dark purple under my eyes I’ll use the Marc Jacobs Under Eye Colour Corrector which I’m obsessed with, just to bring that down. Then a Cover FX concealer over that.”
“Cindy Crawford, like majorly. Plus every figure skater. Basically Michelle Kwan, oh my god. Those really sleek lines and a really tight topknot? Amazing. I was always obsessed with Diane von Furstenberg. Every time I saw her or her designs in a magazine… I never read articles but I loved pictures, I was always very visual. There weren’t many boys out there, but I loved Rupert Everett. My Best Friend’s Wedding was my everything.”
“I love a bath, I’ll do a Lush bath bomb or bath salts mixed with some oil. I turn on some gorgeous music and then I do my nails and toenails and then drain the tub and exfoliate myself to bejeesus. I do a self body scrub moment with Saran wrap to scrub it in. Like, moving it side to side to really get all the product in. From there I’ll do a pretty mask. Sometimes I make a mask of warm agave nectar for my hair, which seals your cuticle down. Then a DIY face mask, or I do enjoy a gorgeous science-meets-nature face mask. I got really into the Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask, it makes my skin look more beautiful. Ooh, and the Peter Thomas Roth ones, and Skinceuticals. A good tip for everyone to remember is take that mask down to your décolleté, don’t forget about her.”
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“When I moved to LA in my early twenties I was growing my hair, then when I was 25 I cut it off and was like: “Oh no, I think I’m a long hair person until I go bald!”. So ever since then it’s been long. When my hairline can’t support it I’ll cut it off and thank god I like my face. My biggest secret is that I don’t over-wash my hair. I wash it twice a week at the most, unless I’m on set every day. Over-washing is what creates so many of our hair issues. That happens from the sulphates and detergents, which overstimulate. You have to go through a little cycle when you jump on the not-over-washing bandwagon where you basically have to go hard on dry shampoo and wear your hair up, because it’s oily until your scalp gets the message. That’s the key. Ouai by Jen Atkin makes this dry shampoo foam that I love to put on mid-lengths and ends.”
“I use my fingertips to massage whatever cleanser I’m using right in under the hair, then a really great beard oil to put on straight away when I get out of the shower. I also have a soft boar bristle brush to brush it into my beard and then I blow-dry it in.”
“I think when we all first met as the cast last February I just knew that I was really going to enjoy working with them. I knew it would be fun but I didn’t really grasp how fun and how familial it would be. I think because leaving where you live and going to Atlanta and keeping that secret for so long… They’re four amazing sounding boards and four brothers I can go to that I know will support me. I didn’t think it would be as real as this.”
GROOMING AS SELF CARE
“We focus so much on our relationships with other people and beauty for me is about facilitating your relationship with yourself. And about remembering that actions speak louder than words, and it’s an action of showing yourself care. It’s not about doing it for someone else, it’s showing yourself you’re worth your own time and attention. Those endorphins and gorgeous chemicals can be really healing.”