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These hair products by Jonathan Van Ness gave my locks major bounce and shine

I'm saying goodbye to frizz and dry ends.
TODAY Illustration / Abigail Barr

When it comes to celebrity beauty brands, a quick Google search will tell you that there's no shortage of them. From hair care and skin care to perfume and makeup, Hollywood stars are coming out with new lines left and right. Are they any good? Are they worth the money? Normally, I wouldn't bother to find out — until I heard Jonathan Van Ness was releasing his own hair care line: JVN. This was one collection I had to get my hands on.

Van Ness is an author, podcaster and my favorite host of Queer Eye (but I’ll always love your cookbook, Antoni!) — but first and foremost, he's a talented hairstylist! I love watching his transformations on the show and gathering tons of hair-related advice from his YouTube channel, so I was excited to see if his new products would give my tresses the glow-up they've been needing. Plus, we both have wavy, brown hair, and I've always wondered if the creams and serums he uses on himself would work for me, too!

Normally, my hair is a wavy-curly combo (a type 2b, if you follow the Curly Girl Method). That means my scalp and roots are often greasy, my hair doesn’t have much volume and my ends are dry and prone to splitting. Luckily, I found two JVN products that could help me deal with my hair woes: The Complete Hydrating Air Dry Cream and Complete Instant Recovery Leave-In Serum.

JVN Complete Instant Recovery Leave-In Serum

The serum promises to moisturize hair and reduce frizz, while the styling cream is said to provide body, without the crunchiness. I used them together to see if I could get softer hair and some gorgeous volume.

JVN Complete Hydrating Air Dry Cream

When I first unboxed the items, I was struck by how expensive and classy they looked. It's not that I don’t think Van Ness is classy, but for a person with so much verve, I was a little taken aback by the lack of bright colors and the simplicity of the muted cream tones before me. The packaging also felt high quality; the heavy glass and thick tubes added to the luxurious feel of the products. And although the overall look says "high-end," the prices are still more affordable compared to other celebrity brands.

The scent is equally as classy and gives off a light, floral fragrance. I've heard a lot of back and forth about the use of fragrance in skin care and hair care, as it can be potentially irritating. However, in this case, my experience was improved by the lovely scent. It added to the luxury feel.

Back of Writer Abigail Barrs hair after using the JVN hair care products
Courtesy Abigail Barr

I used the Instant Recovery Leave-In Serum first on freshly washed hair and was instantly impressed. The lightweight formula left my locks feeling super soft and significantly less frizzy, without causing any build-up or making my hair feel "crispy." My ends are often dry, so I like how this is formulated to fortify hair and treat breakage. An added bonus: The effects are long-lasting. Now, I can get away with not washing my hair for up to three days, without it feeling super gross.

After getting my daily dose of moisture from the serum, I turned to the Air Dry Cream to give my hair extra definition. Like the serum, the cream helped keep the frizz at bay, which can be attributed to the hair line's star ingredient: hemisqualane. According to the brand, this "breakthrough molecule" penetrates the hair shaft to not only fight frizz but also impart bounce and shine.

While I loved how the cream gave my curly locks life, I felt just a little bit of crunch after applying it. The feeling certainly wasn't as bad as other drugstore products I've tried over the years, however; my volume also fell a little flat the next day. I bet if I “pineappled” my hair (the act of putting it up in a ponytail and then flipping it over my head), then I could have combatted this. You can also spritz some water from a spray bottle to wake it up.

Most importantly, I love that these products are sulfate and silicone free. I try to stay away from those ingredients because they can cause flakiness and dry out my hair.

I’m always happy to try products with a JVN stamp of approval — but I especially enjoyed using the ones he created himself! They were the perfect duo to start with for my hair type and delivered on shine, moisture and frizz reduction. I can't wait to try the rest of the collection!

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This article was originally published on Nov. 5, 2021.