We're officially two days away from NYC Pride, and I don't know about you lovelies out there, but I am high-key panicking. WTF am I gonna wear? WTF am I gonna do to my face? Most importantly, HOW TF AM I GONNA WEAR MY HAIR? TBH, I'll wrap a rainbow flag around myself like a toga and call it a day, but if I'm gonna spend hours in the sweltering heat with my girlfriend, my hair and my face better be freaking ready. Like the true savior he is, Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness revealed his hair and skincare tips when getting ready for Pride (you know, when it's hot as balls outside). Granted, I'm still an unprepared mess — it's who I am as a person — but at least my hair and skin will look fresh AF.
Now, Jonathan Van Ness is no stranger to looking fab in the heat. He tells me that, not too long ago, he was celebrating another Pride festival, and when it came to making sure his skin was safe and solid in the sun, he used a pretty unexpected tool that I will 100 percent be bringing to Pride myself — because it's that fabulous.
"For L.A. Pride a few weeks ago, I was like, ‘I have to have an umbrella.' So I just walked around with, like, a really cute rainbow umbrella, because I was just like, ‘I’m not even gonna get third-degree burned out here, it’s just not worth it," he says. "So I feel like having just a gorgeous little lightweight umbrella moment is great."
Honestly, an umbrella is a great tip for someone as pale and prone to sunburns as I am. You can slather sunscreen on your skin all you want, but nothing beats walking in the shade 24/7. Still, though, even if you're ready to have your "gorgeous little lightweight umbrella moment," not just at Pride, but anywhere in the sun, you should also prep the parts of your body most susceptible to sunburn: your skin and your hair (well, your scalp).
Even in the colder months, you shouldn't be leaving the house without sunscreen. But when you're walking around like a piece of toast ready to be burnt to a crisp by the toaster that is the sun, Van Ness says you're still not finished after bathing in sunscreen before you walk out the door. You've gotta hold onto that little bottle of sunscreen like your life depends on it, honey. (And even if you're not planning to carry a bag to put it in, that's no excuse.)
"If you’re gonna be out all day just sweating and just, like, rubbing and side-cheek kissing people, your sunscreen rubs off. So keeping it with you is really important," he tells me. "Also fanny packs are really back in right now! Just put your sunscreen in your fanny pack ... You just gotta think ahead so you don’t end up with that, like, walk-of-shame Pride sunburn."
Let it be known, though, that just because you reapply sunscreen until you yourself are a bottle of sunscreen, still doesn't mean you're off the hook in the heat. You've gotta PREP! AND! PROTECT! THAT! HAIR! TOO!
Now, here's where I was lost before, and Van Ness found me. When you're in the heat, and your scalp is sweating in places you didn't even know you had sweat glands, how do you prep your hair to keep it from looking like a goddamn grease vat? Cue Van Ness with the easiest solution that I'm kicking myself for not thinking of: Just put it up.
"I wear my hair up for Pride typically, because I cannot even," he says. "Or I’ll do a half-up, half-down sort of situation."
As Van Ness says, though, "just because you’re putting it up, doesn’t mean you don’t prep it." He recommends using "a nice mousse" in your hair before you blow dry. "That’ll help give you a little bit of texture, that’ll help keep fly-aways at bay, [and] it’ll help prevent humidity moments from messing up your style."
Did I mention that you still have to protect your head from the sun, too? Yes? OK, well too bad, because I'm just gonna mention it one more time. While your hair itself won't get the "sunburn" we're all familiar with necessarily, your scalp can get a gnarly burn just as easily as any other part of your body. Not to mention, UVA and UVB rays from the sun can do some damage to the inner workings of your hair. Because of this, Van Ness also suggests you use sunscreen sprays for your hair, like Aveda's Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($29, Aveda), that you can mist onto your hair after you've styled it into the perfect up 'do. That way, your hair is fresh and not looking a mess, and your scalp isn't flaking more than I do after making plans.
So how does Van Ness himself get prepped for a hot day of Pride celebrations, you ask? Well, first and foremost, when it comes to his hair, he says he "[loves] a braid moment."
"I feel I’m gonna give you, like, a braid moment ... I feel like it’s gonna be something with a braid, and it’s gonna be up," he tells me. "I love just like a Pride chic moment, so I feel like there will be music, there will be braids, [and] there will probably be a gorgeous Smirnoff cocktail in there."
Of course, even with the most fabulously prepped (AND PROTECTED!!!) hair and skin, no Pride celebration is complete without a responsible little pride-in-a-bottle moment. And in case you haven't heard, Smirnoff is a lovely counterpart to any Pride celebration, but not just for responsibly drinking some cute cocktails. Rather, Smirnoff is contributing to Pride celebrations and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole in a big way, and it starts with their limited edition 2018 "Love Wins" bottles.
According to the brand, these rainbow bottles feature 34 different LGBTQ+ couples from around the country and will play a big part in making a difference for the LGBTQ+ community — something Smirnoff has continuously made a priority over the years. This year, the brand will donate $1 for every single Love Wins bottle made (donating a minimum of $1 million) to the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that works hard to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people. In fact, this is one major reason why Van Ness decided to partner with the brand.
"That’s some real money, honey. Like, in the words of Cardi B, 'Million dollar deal, where’s the check? Love, I’m signing?' I, like, re-wrote her song. 'Love Wins, I’m signing," he jokes, semi-quoting Cardi B's "I Like It."
In all seriousness, though, Van Ness recognizes that the Love Wins campaign is yet another win for LGBTQ+ visibility. "The campaign just lets people know that you can meet someone, and you can fall in love, and the possibilities are endless," he says. "And I love a dollar to the HRC. It just makes a real difference."
So as you prepare to have your fun in the sun, wrap yourself in a rainbow, and drown in all the love and support happening around you (the dream???) at Pride this year (or at any fun event in the sun, really), remember the game plan for a Van Ness-worthy, "Pride chic" moment: Hair up, sunscreen on, umbrella open, and bottoms up (responsibly!!!!!).